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US elections 2020 LIVE updates: Second Trump-Biden debate will be virtual, say organisers

Mike Pence vs Kamala Harris Vice Presidential Debate 2020 Today Live updates, US Election 2020: Vice President Mike Pence and Senator Kamala Harris today discussed the coronavirus pandemic, the US economy, Donald Trump's taxes, America's international ties, and court-packing among other things during the Vice Presidential Debate 2020.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 8, 2020 5:50:33 pm
us elections, presidential debate, presidential debate highlights, joe biden, donald trump, trump biden debate, indian expressDemocratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden stands at the podium as President Donald Trump walks onto stage for the first presidential debate Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2020, at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland. (Olivier Douliery/Pool vi AP)

Mike Pence vs Kamala Harris Vice Presidential Debate Live updates:  The second election debate between US President Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Joe Biden will be conducted virtually, organisers informed AP Thursday.

Concerns about the debate had risen after the first presidential debate took place between Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on September 29 in Cleveland, Ohio. US President Donald Trump tested positive for the novel coronavirus soon after the debate.

President Donald Trump, still confined to the White House where he is being treated for COVID-19, planned more steps on Thursday to try to reinvigorate a re-election campaign hit hard by his handling of the pandemic. Trump is scheduled to appear in his first TV interview since revealing last Friday he had contracted COVID-19. Fox Business Network said the interview would air on Thursday after 8 a.m. (1200 GMT). Itching to get back out on the campaign trail since leaving a military hospital on Monday, Trump has called off negotiations with Congress for a fresh round of stimulus for the ailing economy and declared in a video that his illness was “a gift from God.”

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Mike Pence, Kamala Harris clashed in the only Vice Presidential Debate of 2020. Follow LIVE updates and latest news below

17:49 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Second debate with Biden going virtual amid Trump's COVID-19

The second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden will take place virtually amid the fallout from the president''s diagnosis of COVID-19. The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates debates made the announcement Thursday morning, a week before the two were scheduled to face on in Miami.

The candidates will “participate from separate remote locations,” while the participants and moderator remain in Miami, the commission said. Trump was diagnosed with the coronavirus a week ago and said he looked forward to debating Biden on stage in Miami, saying, “It will be great!” Biden, for his part, said he and Trump “shouldn''t have a debate” as long as the president remains COVID positive.

Biden told reporters in Pennsylvania that he was “looking forward to being able to debate him” but said “we''re going to have to follow very strict guidelines.”

16:49 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Server configuration caused Florida voter registration crash

Florida's chief information officer said Wednesday that misconfigured computer servers ? not a cyberattack ? were to blame for the crash of the state's voter registration system as the deadline approached for enrolling to cast ballots in next month's presidential election.

Because of Monday's crash, Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed additional registrations for seven hours on Tuesday.

James Grant told The Associated Press in an interview that the voter registration system worked as expected during that extra time after technicians reconfigured existing servers to expand the network's capacity and give the system a 'whole lot more horsepower'. It was not immediately known how many people were prevented from registering to vote during Monday's bottleneck.

16:08 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Harris on stage for vice-presidential debate proud moment for Indian-Americans: Community members

Senator Kamala Harris sharing the stage with US Vice President Mike Pence for the vice-presidential debate was a proud moment for Indian-Americans, according to some prominent community members who described her as the "winner". The 55-year-old feisty lawyer and Democratic Senator from California scripted history in August by becoming the first-ever Indian-origin, Black and African-American to be a vice presidential candidate of a major political party.

On Wednesday night, millions of people across America and other parts of the globe were glued to their television sets to see her perform on the debate stage with Pence, a Republican. In a tweet, Indian-American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal declared Harris the "winner" of the debate.

Ajay Bhutoria, a national finance committee member of the Biden campaign, said he was excited to watch the first-ever Indian-American vice presidential candidate, Harris, at the debate. A large number of Indian-Americans had organised virtual watch parties to celebrate the historic occasion. If elected in the November 3 presidential election, Harris would be the first-ever woman to occupy the second highest political post in the country.

15:29 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Will hold China 'accountable' for what it did to US with COVID-19: Pence

The Trump administration wants to improve its relationship with China but it is going to hold Beijing "accountable" for what it did to America with the deadly coronavirus, US Vice President Mike Pence has said.

Pence, during the only vice presidential debate with his Democratic Party challenger Kamala Harris ahead of the November 3 presidential election, asserted that China is to blame for the coronavirus.

"We want to improve the relationship but we're gonna level the playing field and we're gonna hold China accountable for what they did to America with the coronavirus," Pence said during the debate held at The University of Utah in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.

"President Trump is not happy about it. He's made that very clear. Made it clear again today. And China and the World Health Organisation did not play straight with the American people. They did not let our personnel into China to get information on the coronavirus until the middle of February," the Republican vice president said.

12:04 (IST)08 Oct 2020
White House aides downplay coronavirus aid chances; Pelosi blasts Trump, but discusses airline help

Top White House officials on Wednesday downplayed the possibility of more coronavirus relief, while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi disparaged President Donald Trump for backing away from talks on a comprehensive deal. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told reporters that "the stimulus negotiations are off," echoing Trump's announcement on Tuesday, and said in an interview on Fox News the administration backed a more piecemeal approach to help some sectors of the economy. But in a separate interview with CNBC, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said that approach would likely not work either. "Right now in terms of the probability curve, this would probably be low low-probability stuff." On Tuesday evening, after having shut down the negotiations on a comprehensive coronavirus package during the day, Trump wrote on Twitter that Congress should pass money for airlines, small businesses, and stimulus checks of $1,200 for individuals. Pelosi told ABC's "The View" that Trump's tweets were an effort to rebound from "a terrible mistake," but she brushed aside questions about doing a slimmed-down aid package, still favoring a comprehensive version.

11:08 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Recovering from COVID-19, Trump edges back into spotlight after VP debate

President Donald Trump, still confined to the White House where he is being treated for COVID-19, planned more steps on Thursday to try to reinvigorate a re-election campaign hit hard by his handling of the pandemic. Trump is scheduled to appear in his first TV interview since revealing last Friday he had contracted COVID-19. Fox Business Network said the interview would air on Thursday after 8 a.m. (1200 GMT). Itching to get back out on the campaign trail since leaving a military hospital on Monday, Trump has called off negotiations with Congress for a fresh round of stimulus for the ailing economy and declared in a video that his illness was "a gift from God."

09:47 (IST)08 Oct 2020
President Trump betrayed America's friends, embraced dictators: Kamala Harris

Democratic vice president nominee Kamala Harris has accused President Donald Trump of "betraying our friends and embracing dictators" as she attacked his "unilateral approach" to his foreign policy that led to America pulling out of the landmark Iran nuclear deal and making the country less safer. "You've got to keep your word to your friends. You've got to be loyal to your friends. People who've stood with you, you've got to stand with them,” Harris said during the 90-minute debate. "Donald Trump has betrayed our friends and has embraced dictators around the world," she said, inviting strong rebuttal from Vice President Mike Pence who said the Trump administration has "stood strong with our allies." “We've strengthened our alliances ... and stood strong against those who would do us harm," Pence said, strongly defending his boss.

08:59 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Fly lands on Pence's head, distracting internet

There was briefly another participant swooping into Wednesday night's vice presidential debate. For several minutes, a fly landed in Vice President Mike Pence's hair, not moving as he answered questions about racial injustice and whether justice has been done in the death of Breonna Taylor. Conversation about the fly briefly dominated corners of Twitter, where debate watchers discussed their distraction and inability to focus on Pence and California Senator Kamala Harris' answers. Some joked about the need to test the fly for the coronavirus, as it had skirted the plexiglass partitions separating the candidates and moderator. Wednesday night's intruder wasn't the first to take centre stage at an election year debate. In 2016, a fly briefly landed between Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton's eyes during a town hall-style debate with now-President Donald Trump.

08:32 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Pence won Big, tweets Trump on Vice Presidential Debate 2020

President Donald Trump was apparently watching the vice presidential debate and thought Mike Pence did “GREAT,” but he's not so hot about the Democratic nominee or the moderator's performance. Trump, who is quarantining at the White House as he convalesces from COVID-19, took to Twitter to praise Pence and slam the Democratic vice presidential nominee less than an hour into Wednesday's debate in Salt Lake City. “Mike Pence is doing GREAT! She is a gaffe machine,” Trump chimed in on Twitter. A few minutes later, he huffed that the moderator, USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page, cut Pence off as he was trying to make a point about Harris questioning a judicial nominee about his membership in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic social organisation. The president offered a link to a National Review article critical of Harris' questioning to highlight the point he said Pence was trying to make.

08:29 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Getting coronavirus a blessing in disguise: Donald Trump

Describing getting coronavirus that took him to a military hospital for treatment ‘a blessing in disguise’, US President Donald Trump on Wednesday told the countrymen that he will get them same medicine that cured him for free. “I want everybody to be given the same treatment as your president because I feel great. I feel like perfect. So, I think this was a blessing from God that I caught it. This was a blessing in disguise,” Trump said in a video message. Standing at the Rose Garden outside the Oval office, Trump attributed his fast cure to Regeneron drug along with others.

US President Donald Trump removes his protective mask on the Truman Balcony of the White House in Washington. (Photographer: Ken Cedeno/Polaris/Bloomberg)
08:07 (IST)08 Oct 2020
'Will not be lectured....': Harris hits back at Pence

“I will not sit here and be lectured by the vice president on what it means to enforce the laws of our country,” Harris said after Pence spoke about criminal justice reform, noting that she had prosecuted trials ranging from child sexual assault to homicide. Harris, who was formerly the Attorney General of California and a top prosecutor in San Francisco, embraced her record as a prosecutor on Wednesday night, leading Vice President Mike Pence to quickly accuse her for not doing enough on criminal justice reform. (CNN report)

08:02 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Need answer if Biden would add Supreme Court seats: Pence

California Sen. Kamala Harris ducked Vice President Mike Pence's question about whether a Biden administration would seek to add seats to the Supreme Court if the Trump administration pushes through the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to replace former Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "Joe and I are very clear: The American people are voting right now. And it should be their decision about who will serve on (the court) ... for a lifetime," she said.

07:58 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Plexiglas barriers won’t stop the virus at US VP debate, experts warn

Vice President Mike Pence and Sen. Kamala Harris were seated more than 12 feet apart on the podium, with Plexiglas barriers between them. Pence and his aides had objected to the barriers, but relented Tuesday night.

The barriers might make more sense if Pence and Harris were seated more closely together on the podium, scientists said. But the risk in this setting is airborne transmission of the coronavirus, and the barriers will do nothing to protect Harris and moderator Susan Page, Washington bureau chief of USA Today, if Pence were infected. Other experts said the barriers might have made some sense if the debaters were to be seated close together.

Workers clean Plexiglas barriers (NYT)
07:49 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Mike Pence praises Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

The latest question is on the Supreme Court vacancy and the fate of Roe v. Wade. Pence said he "pro-life" and then praised Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett. Pence says Democrats attacking Amy Coney Barrett’s faith does not square with the facts. "Incompetent people are being given lifetime appointment to courts during the Trump regime; of the 50 people appointed by Trump, not one is Black," Harris says.

(Source: Reuters)
07:31 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Harris and Pence spar over China

China to be blamed for coronavirus. Joe Biden opposed Donald Trump's decision to cancel all travel from China, says Mike Pence. On China, Harris said that the Trump administration's approach to Beijing has resulted in loss of jobs, lives. "Leaders of our allies say they have more respect for Xi Jinping than for Donald Trump. The vice president earlier said it’s what he thinks as an accomplishment that the President’s trade war with China,” Harris said. “You lost that trade war. You lost it. What ended up happening is because of a so-called trade war with China, America lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs.”

07:22 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Trump has been about covering up everything: Harris' jibe at NYT report on Trump taxes

When the moderator asked if voters deserve transparency when it comes to President's health, Harris took a jibe at Trump's taxes. Calling on The New York Times’ reporting on Trump’s tax record, she zeroed in on the $400 million in debt he is believed to owe to unknown business partners or creditors. “Just so everyone is clear when we say in debt, it means you owe money to somebody. It would be really good to know who the president of the United States, the commander-in-chief, owes money to,” Harris said. “Because the American people have a right to know what is influencing the President's decisions. And is he making those decisions on the best interests of the American people, of you, or self-interest?”

In contrast, Biden is more open, Harris said. “Joe has been incredibly transparent, over many, many years. The one thing we all know about Joe, he puts it all out there. He is honest, he's forthright,” she said. “But Donald Trump has been about covering up everything.” (Inputs from CNN)

(Source: Reuters)
07:15 (IST)08 Oct 2020

"The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump Administration, I think is unconscionable,” Pence said. “Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives.”

07:09 (IST)08 Oct 2020
If Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it: Harris on coronavirus vaccine

“The difference here is President Trump and I trust the American people to make choices in the best interest of their health,” Mike Pence said when asked about flouting of social distancing rules in Rose Garden. Harris shot back: “Let’s talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth.

Harris also said that she would take coronavirus vaccine only after advised by scientific advisors. “If Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.”

07:02 (IST)08 Oct 2020
Americans have sacrificed too much due to the 'incompetence of this administration': Harris

"Let's talk about respecting the American people. You respect the American people when you tell them the truth. You respect the American people when you have the courage to be a leader, speaking of those things you may not want people to hear, but they need to hear so they can protect themselves. But this administration stood on information that if you had as a parent or a worker, if you didn't have enough money saved up, you're standing in a food line because of the ineptitude," Harris said. "They've had to sacrifice far too much because of the incompetence of this administration."

06:50 (IST)08 Oct 2020
VP Debate 2020: From the very first day, President Trump has put the health of American people first, says Mike Pence

"From the very first day, President Trump has put the health of the American people first. President Trump cancelled travel from China, that was the single most important decision that helped save many lives," Mike Pence says

After last week’s chaotic presidential debate, Biden’s national lead over Trump increased to 14 percentage points, his highest since he entered the race, according to a Wall Street Journal poll.

Four weeks ahead of Election Day, senior national security officials provided fresh assurances about the integrity of the elections in a video message Tuesday, putting them at odds with President Donald Trump's efforts to discredit the vote.

"I'm here to tell you that my confidence in the security of your vote has never been higher," Chris Krebs, the director of the Department of Homeland Security's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency, said in the video message. "That's because of an all-of-nation, unprecedented election security effort over the last several years."

The video appeared to be aimed at soothing jangled nerves of voters ahead of an election made unique by an expected surge in mail-in ballots because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Though Trump was not mentioned during the nine-minute video, the message from the speakers served as a tacit counter to his repeated efforts, including in last week's presidential debate, to allege widespread fraud in the mail ballot process and to preemptively cast doubt in the legitimacy of the election.

The video was released as US officials have revealed efforts to interfere in the election, including Russian attempts to denigrate Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

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