The latest on the 2020 election

By Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 5:38 AM ET, Tue October 27, 2020
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12:59 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

DC mayor asks people to think twice about attending White House event tonight

From CNN's Ali Main

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser
DC Mayor Muriel Bowser

Asked about the outdoor event the White House is planning to host on Monday evening following the Senate vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser posed the question to voters, questioning, "What does it feel like to see people flaunt scientific evidence and common sense?"

During a press conference Monday morning, Bowser also referenced the large and mask-less event held weeks ago in the Rose Garden to celebrate Barrett's nomination, which preceded a coronavirus outbreak that included President Trump and many of those in his orbit.

The mayor said many who attended the now-infamous event were "embarrassed" by their participation and explained she does not want to see DC residents and others from the surrounding areas put in a similar situation.

Bowser urged anyone who was considering attending Monday's event to ask themselves how they will leave the situation if it is not safe, saying this is the consideration she makes when she goes out in public.

"For all you know you could be packed in a Rose Garden event with somebody sitting next to you hacking. Ask yourself – if that's happening, are you going to get up and leave in the middle of the President's remarks? If you're not, you shouldn't go," Bowser said.

She then turned to the potentially dire consequences of attending a large gathering during the pandemic.

"You know, 642 people have died here," Bowser said of Washington, DC. "So you can believe that you can go to the White House and get Covid and nothing is going to happen to you, perhaps. Or you could die from it."

Some background: CNN reported Sunday that President Trump is expected to swear in Barrett at the White House at 9:00 p.m., according to a source familiar with the invitation.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said Monday morning the White House would be “doing the best we can” to prevent an outbreak at the event, including "encouraging as much social distancing as possible" and testing “in and around those that are critical to the mission."

As of Monday morning, the District had reported at least 16,812 positive cases of coronavirus.

12:34 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Trump says his Supreme Court nominee "will be confirmed by the Senate" tonight

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond and Nikki Carvajal

Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg/Getty Images

President Trump touted Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s likely confirmation to the Supreme Court on Monday as a "big deal” and called on his Democratic rival Joe Biden to release a list of his potential Supreme Court nominees. 

After accusing Biden of wanting to pack the Supreme Court, Trump asked a crowd in Allentown, Pennsylvania what they thought of “Amy.”

“Tonight she will be confirmed by the Senate and become the newest member of the Supreme Court,” he said, to loud cheers. 

He then said Biden should release a list of potential nominees, “because you can’t have radical left judges.” 

1:19 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Pence's team taking Covid-19 precautions as he continues campaign schedule

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images
Jeff Kowalsky/AFP/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence is taking precautions on the road after exposure to coronavirus from his chief of staff, Marc Short, as he insists on maintaining an aggressive campaign schedule in the final week of the race. 

Pence will not do any rope lines or greetings with supporters after his campaign speeches over the next few days and will simply leave after he makes remarks, a person familiar with the plans said. The vice president typically does between one and three local interviews in the battleground states that he visits, but will not be allowing any for the next few days as well.

He will travel with a “much more slimmed-down team” given that Short and three other aides have tested positive for the virus – his press secretary is quarantining and his communications director is at the end of her pregnancy.

Some background: Pence hit the road the day after Short tested positive for the virus, speaking in North Carolina amid criticism of the White House’s decision to deem him an “essential personnel” that does not need to quarantine despite the diagnosis of his close contact.

He was set to travel to Minnesota on Monday, after testing negative for the virus on both Sunday and Monday.

A close adviser to Pence, Marty Obst, tested positive for Covid-19 earlier last week after coming into contact with some of Pence’s team. Obst is not a government employee.

Although four aides in total have tested positive, the person familiar with the situation said, all but Short tested positive while quarantining after contact tracing was conducted in the wake of Obst’s diagnosis.

Dr. Jeffery Sachs discusses with CNN Brienna Keiler:

12:07 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Pence is no longer expected to preside over Amy Coney Barrett vote, aide says

From CNN's Sarah Westwood and Kaitlan Collins

Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, left, and Vice President Mike Pence walk through the Capitol on September 29.
Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, left, and Vice President Mike Pence walk through the Capitol on September 29. Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence is no longer expected to preside over the Senate's vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court following a coronavirus outbreak on his team.

“Vice President Pence is campaigning in Minnesota today. The VP is not planning to be at the Senate tonight unless his vote is needed,” an aide to the vice president said.

Some background: At least five people in Vice President Mike Pence's orbit have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, including chief of staff Marc Short, close aide Zach Bauer and outside adviser Marty Obst, sources told CNN.

Pence and second lady Karen Pence were both tested for Covid-19 Monday morning, according to Pence’s office. Both tested negative.

12:01 p.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Attorneys general defend integrity of upcoming election, warn against violence after results

From CNN's Ellie Kaufman and Dianne Gallagher

A bipartisan group of attorneys general from more than 35 states and US territories issued a statement encouraging citizens to vote in a timely manner and warning people that violence is not an “acceptable response” to any election outcome.

“We condemn violence of any kind,” the attorneys general said in the statement. 

The attorneys general said they “will take seriously any allegation of election interference, including voter fraud, voter intimidation, and suppression.” 

Attorneys general from critical battleground states like North Carolina, Iowa, Maine, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Virginia and Wisconsin were part of the group that issued the statement. 

Here's what the statement said:

“Across the country and under circumstances both familiar and uncharted, election officials are working to ensure that every eligible citizen can vote and that every vote is counted. America’s attorneys general are also working to ensure a free, fair, and secure election. As part of our duty to uphold the rule of law, we will take seriously any allegations of election interference, including voter fraud, voter intimidation, and suppression,” they said in the statement.
11:41 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Pence campaigning for Graham shows the GOP senator "is in trouble," his Democratic challenger says

CNN's Aditi Sangal

At least five people in Vice President Mike Pence's orbit have tested positive for coronavirus in recent days, but his plans to visit South Carolina to campaign for Sen. Lindsey Graham are still on.

“I don't think I'm old enough to remember the last time a presidential candidate or vice presidential candidate traveled to South Carolina in the last week of an election,” said Jaime Harrison, Graham's Democratic challenger. “When he has to call in that type of favor, it says that Lindsey Graham is in trouble, that he’s going to lose his race.”

Harrison raised $57 million during the final full quarter of the campaign, shattering Senate fundraising records as his party seeks to wrest control of the chamber from Republicans.

Graham has not yet released his fundraising totals. But Harrison has outraised him consistently this year — prompting the three-term Republican to appear on Fox News recently to implore viewers to send in donations. "They're killing me, moneywise," he said.

Harrison said Pence's visit could also be a concern for the health of South Carolinians who will attend the event, Harrison says.

“I was a guy who brought the plexiglas in my debate with Lindsey Graham because he had been exposed to several people who had Covid,” he said. “We've got to be much more responsible … We don't want to do anything that jeopardizes the health of any person in this great state.”

His close contest with Graham shows the “people are anxious for hope,” Harrison says. “Lindsey Graham is trying to scare people to support him. I'm trying to inspire people to support me. That's a very different contrast. And in the end, I think hope is going to beat fear.”

In the scenarios that he loses, he said he hopes for two things:

“One, I hope that Lindsey Graham will stop taking for granted the people here in the state. He represents South Carolina, not Washington, DC. And that means he need to focus on the issues that are important to the people in the state. And I hope I've pushed him to start doing just that. But second of all… I hope we’ve sparked a whole new generation of leaders in this state.”

11:26 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Trump just took the stage at his first rally of the day

From CNN's Nikki Carvajal

President Trump took the stage in Allentown, Pennsylvania, at 11:19 a.m. ET. It’s been drizzling on and off all morning, but the rain has let up for the moment. 

It looks like at least half the crowd, if not more, are wearing masks. 

This is Trump's first of three rallies today. His second rally at 1:30 p.m. ET is in Lititz, and his final one is at 4:30 p.m. ET in Martinsburg.

11:16 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Trump plans to spend election night at the White House, sources say

From CNN's Kevin Liptak

President Donald Trump departs the White House on October 21.
President Donald Trump departs the White House on October 21. Olivier Douliery/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump and his family plan to spend election night at the White House and are slated to make appearances at the nearby Trump Hotel, where a big party is being planned, according to people familiar with the matter.

Various other election night options had been weighed, including a celebration at Mar-a-Lago and other venues in Washington, including the Mellon Auditorium, where much of the Republican National Convention was programmed.

Mar-a-Lago still plans to hold an election night viewing party, but the President will remain in Washington.

For now, the plan is for the President to watch election returns from the White House residence before heading to the hotel at some point in the evening.

The Trump campaign has been emailing supporters for the past few days with an offer of tickets to an election night party "at (Trump's) favorite hotel in Washington, DC."

Trump himself is not playing a major role in planning the party, focused instead on his intensive campaign schedule leading up to the evening.

Past incumbents have adopted different approaches on election night. President Barack Obama claimed victory in 2012 from McCormick Place in Chicago, where his campaign was headquartered.

In 2004, President George W. Bush remained in Washington, delivering a victory speech at the Ronald Reagan building near the White House.

11:11 a.m. ET, October 26, 2020

Melania Trump to make her first campaign appearance Tuesday in Pennsylvania

From CNN's Kate Bennett

First lady Melania Trump attends a presidential debate in Nashville on October 22.
First lady Melania Trump attends a presidential debate in Nashville on October 22. Jim Bourg/Pool/Getty Images

First Lady Melania Trump will make her first solo campaign appearance tomorrow in Atglen, Pennsylvania, a source familiar with her campaign schedule tells CNN. Trump will give remarks at a Make America Great event, with Kellyanne Conway. 

Trump has not made a campaign appearance on behalf of her husband since June 2019. 

Her last solo campaign speech was four years ago, also in Pennsylvania, five days before the 2016 election.