The latest on the 2020 election

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:00 p.m. ET, October 9, 2020
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9:44 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020

White House casts doubt on Saturday rally

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Evan Vucci/AP
Evan Vucci/AP

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany appeared to cast some doubt on President Trump traveling as soon as Saturday, as he suggested on Fox News Thursday night.

She repeatedly declined to provide specifics when pressed on what bar Trump would need to pass in order to travel, yet told viewers to “rest assured” that he would somehow “not be able to transmit the virus.”

“He wants to be out there and logistically whether tomorrow is possible, it would be tough. It would be a decision for the campaign, but logistically, we're just trying to keep up with the president who's ready to go, ready to be out there as soon as he gets the okay from his doctor,” she said during an appearance on Fox News from her home.

McEnany reiterated Dr. Sean Conley told her he believes Trump will be “clear to go” by Saturday.

“I'll leave that to him as to how that works medically, but he assured me that there are medical tests underway that will ensure that when the President's back out there, he will not be able to transmit the virus,” she said.

McEnany continued, “So Dr. Conley will lay out exactly how that looks medically speaking, but rest assured, we will make sure that he's in a good spot before he's out there.”

On Trump's testing: Pressed again on whether Trump would need to test negative for Covid-19, she remained vague: “I'll leave it to Dr. Conley, because he has all the granular details of the testing and as to what medical bar needs to be met to show that you're not transmissible but yes, there will be a test in place and rest assured that tests will show that it's not transmissible, he won't be out there if he could transmit virus.”

She said she spoke by phone with Trump “three or four times” on Thursday.

McEnany also, bizarrely, suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is holding a news conference on legislation to give Congress a say in the 25th Amendment today, needs to be looking at it for herself.

“Maybe she's projecting here because the 25th Amendment, no reason for it to be considered with regard to the President of the United States but maybe for Nancy Pelosi herself,” she said, citing a recent ABC interview where she said “Good morning” after being asked a question.

On debates: She reiterated that Trump “has no interest in a virtual debate” and again criticized the Commission on Presidential Debates – “More like a commission to re-elect Joe Biden.”

McEnany said she continues to feel “great” with “no symptoms” and the hardest part has been being isolated from her 10 month-old daughter. 

9:35 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020

Here is who has seen Trump in person

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

Since President Trump returned from the hospital on Monday, only a few senior officials have actually seen him in person as he works from the Residence and Oval Office. 

That has included chief of staff Mark Meadows, social media adviser Dan Scavino and senior adviser Jared Kushner.

He has also been evaluated by members of the medical team and continues to have a Secret Service detail. All wear gowns, goggles and masks when they’re near him. 

But the circle of people who have actually seen him in the flesh since Monday is very small. His staffing has been kept to a minimum to avoid contagion but also because so many of his aides have caught coronavirus. 

Members of Trump’s inner-circle who would ordinarily interact with him multiple times a day — including Hope Hicks, Stephen Miller and Kayleigh McEnany — are themselves recovering from coronavirus at home. Daughter Ivanka Trump is quarantining at home as well, though she isn’t known to have the virus. 

The circle of people who have laid eyes on Trump is likely to expand Friday when he conducts a Fox interview. Aides were also discussing some type of outdoor photo-op that could put to rest concerns about his physical condition but plans were still preliminary and nothing had been decided. 

9:09 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020

Trump to do first on camera interview since Covid-19 diagnosis on Fox News

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

Today President Trump, who last took questions from the White House press corps on Sept. 30, will participate in his first in-person interview since contracting coronavirus.

He'll be interviewed by Dr. Marc Siegel, a medical analyst for Fox News, and the interview will be aired tonight on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."

Since returning from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Trump has done two live phone interviews — one with Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo and the other with Sean Hannity. 

Dr. Siegel interviewed Trump over the summer where he defended his cognitive abilities by reciting a sequence he claimed he memorized during a test at Walter Reed. 

According to Fox, Dr. Siegel "will conduct a medical evaluation and interview during the program."

9:36 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020

Next presidential debate in limbo as Biden and Trump campaigns spar over format and timing

From CNN's Dan Merica

Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

The Trump campaign’s push to hold an in-person presidential debate next week in Miami after the President backed out of the contest has done little to change the Commission on Presidential Debate’s belief that any debate next week must be virtual, commission head Frank Fahrenkopf told CNN on Thursday night.

Fahrenkopf said the commission is not outright ruling out a debate occurring next week in Miami, but a number of steps would need to take place, including Joe Biden’s campaign backing away from an ABC town hall that they have now scheduled and the commission’s medical advisers clearing an in-person event with Trump as safe.

 “The Cleveland clinic would have to clear it,” Fahrenkopf said. But, he added, that does not get the Biden campaign back involved, something the head of the commission believes is unlikely to happen after conversations with top Biden aides.

Fahrenkopf said he spoke to Ron Klain on Thursday and Biden’s top debate adviser told the commission head that Biden “would be in Nashville and willing to do a debate approved by the commission, whether it is the planned debate or, if the Trump campaign wants to do a town hall meeting, they would agree to do that.”

But the sense Fahrenkopf got was that Biden’s campaign, after Trump backed away, is unlikely to agree to an in-person debate in Miami next week.

“They’ve moved on and are going to do this thing with ABC,” said Fahrenkopf. “It doesn’t look good unless the Biden campaign changes their mind.”

If, for some reason, Biden’s campaign would be willing to agree to an in-person debate with Trump, the commission would then take it to their medical advisers at the Cleveland Clinic, who would be asked to make a determination about the safety. 

“This isn’t a game. We’ve got people’s lives here,” Fahrenkopf said about the possible coronavirus risks to his staff, many of whom are in Miami setting up for the unlikely debate.

The head of the commission also spoke with the Trump campaign on Thursday, particularly Rudy Giuliani and deputy campaign manager Justin Clark.

Right now, Fahrenkopf said, there is no commission meeting scheduled to discuss Thursday’s fervent back-and-forth, a sign that the possibility of a debate next week is low.

9:00 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020

Trump refused to answer if he's tested negative for coronavirus and says he hopes to hold a rally Saturday

From CNN's Jason Hoffman

Asked by Fox News’ Sean Hannity last night if he’d tested negative for coronavirus yet, President Trump refused to answer, telling Hannity instead, “I took this Regeneron, it’s phenomenal. Eli Lilly has something very comparable, it's phenomenal, and it's all a new day, it's all, and if you go back a few months, nobody ever even thought about this stuff we came up with it.”

Trump continued, “And I'm going to have it delivered to every hospital — we have sick people with the COVID, or the China virus as we call it, and we're going to make people better. It actually made me better. I went in, I could have left a day later, I'm telling you, Sean was incredible. So that's Regeneron but, again, Eli Lilly has something similar, and the kind of things we're coming up with now are incredible, Remdesivir, but it's a little bit different, works much differently, actually, but these are things that are absolutely incredible.”

Trump went on to suggest, “I think I'm going to try doing a rally on Saturday night if we can, if we have enough time to put it together, but we want to do a rally in Florida, probably in Florida on Saturday night, might come back and do one in Pennsylvania, on the following night.”

Pressed by Hannity if he’d tested negative, Trump said, “Well, what we're doing is probably, the test will be tomorrow, and the actual test, because there's no reason to test all the time, but they found very little infection or virus, if any, I don't know that they found any, I didn't go into it greatly with the doctors.”

It was not clear whether Trump understood which tests he would be getting or what they would mean.

9:37 a.m. ET, October 9, 2020

Pelosi will unveil a new bill to determine whether Trump is capable of serving as President

From CNN's Manu Raju and Caroline Kelly

Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images
Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, alarmed by President Trump's erratic behavior in recent days, is putting her weight behind a bill to give Congress a role in determining whether the President of the United States must be forced out of office because he's incapable of doing his job.

The move, in response to Trump's conduct in the days after testing positive for the coronavirus, would establish a process to effectively give Congress a say in removing a president from office under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for a president to be removed from office if a majority of Cabinet members and the vice president consider him unable to carry out his duties.

Section four of the 25th Amendment also says that if a majority of a body established by law, along with the vice president, declare in writing that if the president is disabled and unable to do his job, the vice president immediately becomes the acting president.

The bill, Democrats say, will create that body to help determine the fitness of the president. The proposal, which will be introduced Friday by Pelosi and Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, will create a body designed to "help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government," according to Pelosi's office.

What this means: The measure stands virtually no chance of becoming law. But it is designed to heighten the attention on Trump's condition after his doctors have provided limited information about his recovery from coronavirus.

Pelosi teased the plan at a news conference Thursday, saying she would speak about the 25h Amendment issue on Friday. And in a series of recent comments, Pelosi questioned whether Trump can do his job given his drug regimen, including the use of a steroid.

On Thursday, she said that Trump appears to be "in an altered state right now" and told Bloomberg TV that "there may be some impairment of judgment."

Read more here.