The latest on the 2020 election and SCOTUS battle

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 6:00 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020
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3:12 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Faith leaders and demonstrators protest SCOTUS nomination

From CNN's Adrienne Winston and Ali Zaslav

Religious leaders march in a demonstration against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on September 29 in Washington, DC.
Religious leaders march in a demonstration against the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on September 29 in Washington, DC. Al Drago/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Dozens of faith leaders and demonstrators marched from the US Supreme Court to the US Capitol, protesting the rush of President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination Amy Coney Barrett to replace the late Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The march was organized by Poor People’s Campaign, a national group working to unite poor communities. It comes as Judge Barrett is meeting with Republican senators all day on Capitol Hill.

The demonstration’s message was aimed at the Senate chamber with Bishop William Barber, co-chair of the Poor People’s campaign, saying “we need to stop just saying Trump is the problem alone. Senator Leader McConnell and this senate have blocked fixing the voting rights act but want to steal a Supreme Court”. 

The group wore signs saying “Remember Ruth and Breonna” for the late justice and Breonna Taylor, who was killed by Louisville Police, to highlight their focuses on the judiciary and justice reform. 

Capitol police did arrive at one point to warn the group about blocking the roadway, after which they moved to the sidewalk to continue the protest. 

1:48 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Here's who Joe Biden is bringing as guests to the debate tonight

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's campaign just announced his guests for the debate tonight. They are:

  • Kristin Urquiza, whose father died of Covid-19. She delivered a blistering condemnation of Trump via video at the Democratic National Convention.
  • Gurneé Green, the owner of Cleveland Heights fashion store Chemistry 11. She also appeared at the DNC to highlight the challenges faced by small businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • James Evanoff Jr., an ArcelorMittal steelworker and member of United Steelworkers. The union threw their support behind the Biden-Kamala ticket citing specific concerns, including health care and Social Security.

Remember: The size of the audience will be limited compared to previous debates. Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, estimated 60 to 70 audience members would be seated in the debate hall.

1:16 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Here's where Biden and Trump stand on gun violence

From CNN's  Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

Getty Images
Getty Images

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken very different positions on a range of policy issues. Here are the different ways they talk about gun violence. 

Biden

Biden has said he will push to ban so-called assault weapons if elected. In a New York Times op-ed, Biden — who helped lead the effort to ban assault weapons in the 1990s — wrote that the United States has a "huge problem with guns," and that assault weapons, which he defined as "military-style firearms designed to fire rapidly," are a threat to US national security.

He also told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he would push for a federal gun buyback program in an attempt to take more weapons off the streets. He supports universal background checks, and said assault weapons "should be illegal. Period."

In the first Democratic presidential debate, Biden called for "smart guns" — requiring manufacturers to include biometric measures that would block firearms from being used by those whose fingerprints aren't registered for that specific gun. He has also focused further on gun manufacturers. "Our enemy is the gun manufacturers, not the NRA. The gun manufacturers," he said at the debate.

Trump

In the wake of mass shootings throughout his presidency, Trump has vowed action on gun violence, including expanding background checks. But he has been vague on the details, and has repeatedly pointed to mental health and hate as the underlying issues.

After the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, Trump order the Department of Justice to ban bump stocks, attachments that effectively make semi-automatic rifles fire continuously. The ban became effective in March 2019.

The President has backed "red flag" gun laws on the state level, which enable those who have seen warning signs to seek court orders to intervene and prevent someone who is in crisis from temporarily having access to firearms.

1:09 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Joe Biden, Kamala Harris and their spouses to release tax returns ahead of debate

From CNN’s Sarah Mucha

Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images
Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

Ahead of Tuesday night’s debate, Joe Biden’s campaign revealed that the Bidens, along with Senator Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, will be releasing their 2019 tax returns. 

Here's what the campaign said on a press call this afternoon:

"Today, the Bidens are releasing their 2019 tax returns, making 22 years of records available to the American public. Senator Harris and Mr. Emhoff are releasing theirs as well," deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield said.
"For Senator Harris, this is now 15 years of returns that are available to the American public. This is a historic level of transparency and it will give the American people faith once again that their leaders will look out for them and not their own bottom line. So, we will have those returns available at joebiden.com/financial-disclosure shortly. They'll be available this afternoon, and we'll let you guys know when they get posted." 
12:52 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Senate Democratic leader says they will "keep fighting" against Barrett confirmation

From CNN's Ali Zaslav

ABC
ABC

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Democrats are going to “keep fighting” against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett from being confirmed, because “you never know."

"They didn't think we could win on preventing them from stopping Obamacare, we kept fighting and we did,” he said in a Tuesday interview on "The View." 

When asked his thoughts about Democrats questioning Barrett on her faith and participation in People of Praise in the upcoming Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, Schumer reiterated that Barrett’s religion “has nothing to do with it.

"It's her views on the issues that we must focus on, and that is the only path to victory," he said.

The New York Democrat said in the next few weeks there’s going to be a “huge national campaign” and a lot of protesting about Barrett’s views by the American people. He said he hopes that “might” convince two GOP senators to vote to delay the confirmation vote, by “feeling the heat” from constituents. 

Remember: At this point it’s very unclear there would be enough senators to defect and block Barrett’s nomination. Most GOP senators have already united behind the push for a quick confirmation.

11:36 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Here's where Biden and Trump stand on immigration

From CNN's  Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

Getty Images
Getty Images

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken very different positions on a range of policy issues. Here's where they stand on immigration.

Biden

Biden supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He has also called on Congress to immediately grant citizenship to some undocumented immigrants brought to the US as children.

At the first Democratic presidential debate in June, Biden said that undocumented immigrants with no criminal records "should not be the focus of deportation."

In an interview with CNN in July 2019, Biden said he opposes decriminalizing crossing the border without documentation, something other candidates in the field have supported. "I think people should have to get in line, but if people are coming because they're actually seeking asylum, they should have a chance to make their case," Biden said.

Trump

During his 2016 campaign, Trump proposed the construction of a wall along the US-Mexico border, and has made it a tenet of his immigration policy as President.

After taking office, he issued an executive order suspending the entry of people from a number of Muslim-majority countries for 90 days; the order went through several iterations in court before it was upheld.

The administration's "zero tolerance" policy in 2018 — criminal prosecutions of adults who illegally crossed the border — resulted in thousands of family separations at the border as parents were detained. Under a court order, the government must identify and reunify certain separated children.

The President has proposed a merit-based immigration system, establishing a points-based system for green card holders and restricting sponsorship to spouses and minor children.

Trump also officially ended Obama-era protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children, a decision that has now been taken to the Supreme Court.

11:30 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump will have all his adult children with him at tonight's debate

From CNN's Kate Bennett

Julio Cortez/AP
Julio Cortez/AP

All of the adult children of President Trump will be in attendance at Tuesday night's debate, a source familiar with the Trump guest list tells CNN. 

Don Jr., Eric and Tiffany are scheduled to attend. Kimberly Guilfoyle and Lara Trump will also be there.

CNN previously reported Ivanka Trump is on the guest list, as well as first lady Melania Trump.

11:27 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump and Biden prepare for a clash over voter fraud claims at Tuesday's debate

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman, Jeremy Herb and Pamela Brown

Getty Images
Getty Images

President Trump is expected to wage an attack on the election itself at Tuesday night's debate with former Vice President Joe Biden by repeating his past claims that conflate and exaggerate problems with mail-in voting.

The "integrity of the election" is one of six topics at the first presidential debate between Trump and Biden. A source close to the campaign said Trump's message at the debate will be consistent, and that the campaign plans to amplify any case of voter fraud or suspected voter fraud, even if it's murky. Trump will argue that even one case of fraud is too much and "integrity is one of the most important things in a democracy," the source said.

Trump also plans to go through the "laundry list of things he's done to solidify election security," according to the source, and he will respond to questions about a peaceful transition by arguing he "doesn't expect to lose." 

Trump previewed his assault on mail-in voting at a Sunday press conference, ticking off issues with voting in eight states in an effort to claim widespread voter fraud due to the expansion of mail-in voting during the Covid-19 pandemic. He's continued to harp on the issue on Twitter, as he's done for months, in the run-up to Tuesday's debate.

But the examples Trump cited on Sunday show how the President is making misleading and often outright false claims about fraud related to voting, incorrectly tying the rejection of mail-in ballots to fraud, and exaggerating the impact of isolated instances involving problems with small numbers of ballots. 

"We have a big problem, and you see it every day, you see it happening every day with ballots," Trump said Sunday. "When the ballots and when the system is rigged -- which it is, obviously it is -- and the only one that knows that better than me are the Democrats."

Trump's critics warn his repeated attacks on mail-in voting are undermining the integrity of the election, sowing doubts among his supporters about the results of the election.

Trump has also failed to highlight other possible threats to the election -- most notably Russia's interference efforts -- as the intelligence community says Russia is conducting an active campaign to try to denigrate Biden. And a ransomware attack targeting one of America's leading software providers has again raised concerns over the security of state and local governments' election systems ahead of the election.

Many of Trump's charges point to states where mail-in ballots have been rejected. While mail-in ballots are rejected at a higher rate than in-person ballots, that's typically not because of fraud. It's mostly due to voters failing to complete all required steps -- or often simply because the ballot was mailed too late.

Read the full article for a breakdown of the claims Trump is making about voter fraud.

11:10 a.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump and Biden have their first debate tonight. Here's what to expect.

Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images
Eric Baradat/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will face off this evening in the first presidential debate of 2020.

The debate will start at 9 p.m. ET and is happening at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

You can watch it pretty much anywhere — including on CNN and CNN.com.

Here's what you need to know about the event:

  • The moderator: Fox News' Chris Wallace is moderating. The commission on Presidential Debates said he alone is selecting the questions — they will not be known to the commission or the candidates.
  • Key topics: Wallace selected the following topics for the first debate: "The Trump and Biden Records," "The Supreme Court," "Covid-19," "The Economy," "Race and Violence in our Cities" and "The Integrity of the Election."
  • The format: Each of those topics will last about 15 minutes, and the candidates will have two minutes to respond after the moderator opens each segment with a question. Wallace will then use the rest of the time in the segment to facilitate further discussion on the topic, according to the commission.
  • How coronavirus is impacting the debate: The size of the audience will be limited compared to previous debates. Frank Fahrenkopf, the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, estimated 60 to 70 audience members would be seated in the debate hall. Both first lady Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump will be in attendance at the debate, a White House official confirmed to CNN. Everyone will undergo testing for Covid-19 and follow other health safety protocols. Biden and Trump will not shake hands.