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Monday, October 26, 2020

US Elections 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Trump will accept results of free-and-fair presidential polls, says White House

US Presidential Election 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: A Virginia health official is warning of a "severe public health threat" if a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump goes forward Friday evening.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: September 26, 2020 1:50:41 pm
Kamala Harris 'grossly incompetent'; surprised after she was chosen vice president nominee, says Trump"I was surprised to learn when Biden selected Harris as his running mate. Believe it or not, it's true she is rated the most liberal person in Congress. I think she's grossly incompetent I'll be honest with you," Trump said during a rally in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

US Presidential Elections 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: US President Donald Trump will accept the results of the election if it is free and fair, his press secretary said on Thursday, amidst a raging controversy on the president not committing himself to a peaceful transition of power in the case of a defeat in the November 3 polls. “The president will accept the results of a free and fair election. But I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats, who have already been on the record saying they will not accept the results of an election,” White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at her news conference.

Meanwhile, a Virginia health official is warning of a “severe public health threat” if a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump goes forward Friday evening. Dr Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director, said in a letter Thursday that the 4,000 people expected to attend Trump’s rally at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport would be breaking Governor Ralph Northam’s executive order generally banning gatherings of more than 250 people. She said the rally should be cancelled, rescheduled or scaled down to comply with the governor’s order.

Also, Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden have clashed on the coronavirus pandemic, both putting forward their plans to bring America out of the worst health crisis if voted to power. The US is the worst-affected country from the pandemic with over 200,000 Americans losing their lives to the disease. The virus has also battered the country’s economy with millions of people losing their jobs. Trump, a Republican, and Biden are pitted against each other for the November 3 presidential election.

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13:01 (IST)25 Sep 2020
New Mexico voters submit 250K absentee ballot requests

Voters across New Mexico have submitted nearly 250,000 absentee ballot requests with especially strong demand among Democrats for alternatives to in-person voting amid the pandemic. State election regulators on Thursday also said initial vote tallies could extend beyond Election Day if voters wait until late in the cycle to mail or hand deliver ballots.

Fewer than 8,000 absentee ballots were cast statewide in the 2016 presidential election. In other pandemic developments, the governor cited a slight increase in the rate of spread for COVID-19 statewide and more substantially signs of spread in areas including Albuquerque and Sandoval County.

10:38 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Trump admin proposes fixed time limit for students', researchers', journalists' visas

The Trump administration on Thursday proposed a fixed time limit on visas of students, researchers and foreign journalists in the United States, noting that it is concerned about the liberal existing visa programme being abused and a potential for increased risk to national security. The proposal scheduled to be notified in the Federal Register on Friday is not country-specific, but has been brought in view of the abuse of the existing loopholes in the system by China. In all the three categories of foreign students, researchers and journalists, those from China have benefitted the most.

Under the proposed rule, 'F' (students visa) or 'J' (researchers visa) nonimmigrants would be admitted into the US for a period up to the end date of their programme, not to exceed four years. Foreign nationals from countries associated with high visa overstay rates (rates greater than 10 per cent for student and exchange visitors) will be limited to up to a two-year fixed period of stay to increase monitoring, deter immigration violations and incentivise a timely departure, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said.

09:03 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Trump will accept results of free-and-fair presidential polls: WH

US President Donald Trump will accept the results of the election if it is free and fair, his press secretary said on Thursday, amidst a raging controversy on the president not committing himself to a peaceful transition of power in the case of a defeat in the November 3 polls. "The president will accept the results of a free and fair election. But I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats, who have already been on the record saying they will not accept the results of an election," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at her news conference.

She was responding to a question seeking an assurance that there will be a peaceful transition of power. "I am referring to the president being asked if there would be a peaceful transfer of power and he did not say yes. So I am asking, will there be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses this election?" the reporter asked.

08:59 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Trump promotes health care 'vision' but gaps remain

More than three-and-a-half years into his presidency and 40 days from an election, President Donald Trump on Thursday launched what aides termed a "vision" for health care heavy on unfulfilled aspirations. "This is affirmed, signed, and done, so we can put that to rest," Trump said. He signed an executive order on a range of issues, including protecting people with preexisting medical conditions from insurance discrimination.

But that right is already guaranteed in the Obama-era health law his administration is asking the Supreme Court to overturn. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissively said Trump's "bogus executive order on pre-existing conditions isn't worth the paper it's signed on." Democrats are betting heavily that they have the edge on health care this election season.

08:58 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Judge dismisses suit against Fox over Trump affair story

A Manhattan judge has tossed out a defamation lawsuit against Fox News brought by the former Playboy model who took a USD 150,000 payoff to squelch her story of an affair with a pre-presidency Donald Trump.

Karen McDougal had alleged in the suit filed late last year that Fox host Tucker Carlson slandered her by calling the payout "a classic case of extortion." U.S. District Court Judge Mary Kay Vyskocil ruled on Thursday that McDougal failed to prove that Carlson was accusing her of an actual crime in a way that would back up a defamation claim. The judge called the on-air remarks "rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary intended to frame a political debate, and as such, are not actionable as defamation," the judge said in a written ruling.

04:48 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Health officials seek to block Trump rally in Virginia

A Virginia health official is warning of a "severe public health threat" if a planned campaign rally for President Donald Trump goes forward Friday evening. Dr. Natasha Dwamena, a Department of Public Health district director, said in a letter Thursday that the 4,000 people expected to attend Trump's rally at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport would be breaking Governor Ralph Northam's executive order generally banning gatherings of more than 250 people. She said the rally should be cancelled, rescheduled, or scaled down to comply with the governor's order. "The rally poses a concerning public health risk," Dwamena said in the letter. (PTI)

02:40 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Trump will accept results of free-and-fair presidential polls: White House

US President Donald Trump will accept the results of the election if it is free and fair, his press secretary said on Thursday, amidst a raging controversy on the president not committing himself to a peaceful transition of power in the case of a defeat in the November 3 polls. "The president will accept the results of a free and fair election. But I think that your question is more fitting to be asked of Democrats, who have already been on the record saying they will not accept the results of an election," White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters at her news conference.

She was responding to a question seeking an assurance that there will be a peaceful transition of power. "I am referring to the president being asked if there would be a peaceful transfer of power and he did not say yes. So I am asking, will there be a peaceful transfer of power if he loses this election?" the reporter asked. "I believe that question asked by the Playboy reporter -- in fact, I think have it right here -- he (Trump) was asked win, lose or draw, whether he would accept the transfer of power. I am not entirely sure if he won, why would he accept a transfer of power. That is maybe the deranged wish of that reporter, but that is not how governing works," McEnany said. (PTI)

00:37 (IST)25 Sep 2020
Post office defends accusations that cuts threaten election

Lawyers for the US Postal Service were in court Thursday to defend accusations that service cuts are slowing down the mail and threatening the integrity of the presidential election. The latest hearing on the issue took place in federal court in Philadelphia, where the attorneys general from six states and the District of Columbia have sued. They argue that on-time delivery dropped sharply in July and has not fully rebounded as the nation battles a pandemic and prepares for an election that could hinge on mail-in ballots. (PTI)

23:37 (IST)24 Sep 2020
McConnell-Pelosi dispute Trump, vow peaceful power transfer

Congressional leaders from both parties, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, swiftly pushed back Thursday after President Donald Trump declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the Nov 3 presidential election. Trump said during a Wednesday news conference, 'We're going to have to see what happens,' responding to a question about committing to the results. 'You know that I've been complaining very strongly about the ballots and the ballots are a disaster,' he added. McConnell and other leaders of Trump's Republican Party had no hesitation in committing to an orderly transfer if Trump loses. Democrat Pelosi said it was very sad the president of the United States was even raising this question. 'What would our founders think,' she asked. 'Calm down Mr. President,' Pelosi said at a news conference. (AP)

22:49 (IST)24 Sep 2020
WATCH: Facebook, violence and the US elections

20:04 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Progressives pledge to keep pushing Biden to expand court

Since Joe Biden ran away with the Democratic presidential nomination in March, leading progressives have accepted him ? sometimes grudgingly ? as their party's leader. But, in the final weeks of the campaign, the Supreme Court vacancy is threatening to inflame old divides.

Some leading activists on the left are pressing Biden to endorse expanding the number of high court justices should he win the White House and Democrats take control of the Senate. But Biden, who ran a relatively centrist primary campaign, hasn't embraced those calls, worried they may intensify the nation's partisan split.

There's little indication that large swaths of progressives will abandon Biden or back third-party candidates, moves that wounded Democrat Hillary Clinton's 2016 bid. But activists insist they will keep pressure on Biden to pursue dramatic reforms to the Supreme Court if Republicans move forward with a plan to quickly approve President Donald Trump's pick to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. 

15:52 (IST)24 Sep 2020
WATCH: Donald Trump says he expects US election to go to supreme court

14:45 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Trump, Biden comment on protests, officers shot

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris are calling for policing reform in response to a Kentucky grand jury's decision not to indict police officers on criminal charges directly related to Breonna Taylor's death.

Biden said Wednesday that while a federal investigation continues, "we do not need to wait for the final judgment of that investigation to do more to deliver justice for Breonna." He added: "We need to start by addressing the use of excessive force, banning chokeholds, and overhauling no-knock warrants." Harris said on Twitter, "We must never stop speaking Breonna's name as we work to reform our justice system, including overhauling no-knock warrants." Taylor was shot multiple times when officers burst into her Louisville, Kentucky, home during a drug raid gong wrong earlier this year.

14:02 (IST)24 Sep 2020
High court fight adds to pile of issues weighing on voters

The Republican Party headquarters in this former steel town was buzzing Saturday as supporters filed in to pick up Trump 2020 stickers and yard signs, including ones declaring: "Your pro-life vote matters." But even as coverage of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death played on Fox News on an office television, the political fight brewing in Washington over her replacement felt like a world away to some.

"I don't really pay attention to the news much," said Dan Thomas, a 24-year-old from Johnstown, in western Pennsylvania, after he filled out paperwork to vote for the first time. It wasn't the court that brought Thomas in. (When a friend tried to convince him it was a big deal, he shrugged: "Oh, OK. Whoopie.") Instead, he's convinced that President Donald Trump is fighting for working-class voters like him in a tough economy and is "the best shot this country has."

12:19 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Trump expresses concerns about security of mail in ballot

US President Donald Trump expressed his concerns on Wednesday about the security of mail-in-ballot and as such deflected questions on a peaceful transition of power should he lose the election in November.

"We are going to have to see what happens, you know that. I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster...," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference when asked about a peaceful transition of power after the presidential polls in November irrespective of the results.

"Mr President, real quickly, win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the election? And there has been rioting in Louisville, there has been rioting in many cities across this country -- red and so-called red and blue states -- will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferral of power after the election?" he was asked. Not satisfied with the answer, the reporter again asked. "Do you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power?"

11:35 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Trump wants fair and balanced relationship with China: Pompeo

US President Donald Trump wants a relationship with China that is fair and balanced and where one nation does not threaten another, or another set of countries' livelihoods, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said, asserting that it is "imperative" to flip the nature of the ties with Beijing to get on equal footing. The ties between the US and China strained after Trump launched a trade war with China in 2018, demanding Beijing to reduce the massive trade deficit, which was USD 375.6 billion in 2017.

It suffered another blow due to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump has repeatedly called coranavirus as "China virus" and blamed Beijing for mishandling the outbreak. China, however, has denied the accusation. "We have to fundamentally use the set of tools we have, the power that the United States has to simply demand a set of fair and reciprocal relationships in every dimension with China," Pompeo said in an exchange with Wisconsin State Senator Roger Roth at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Wednesday.

11:00 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Trump declines to commit to peaceful transfer of power, expresses concerns about mail-in ballots

US President Donald Trump has declined to commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November 3 presidential election, complaining about the use of mail-in ballots and terming them a "disaster". Asked whether he will leave the White House peacefully, if he loses the election, Trump responded: "Well, we're going to have to see what happens."

"We are going to have to see what happens, you know that. I have been complaining very strongly about the ballots, and the ballots are a disaster...," Trump told reporters at a White House news conference on Wednesday. "Mr President, real quickly, win, lose or draw in this election, will you commit here today for a peaceful transferral of power after the election? And there has been rioting in Louisville, there has been rioting in many cities across this country -- red and so-called red and blue states -- will you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferral of power after the election?" he was asked.

Not satisfied with the answer, the reporter again asked. "Do you commit to making sure that there is a peaceful transferal of power?" Trump exuded confidence that there will be continuation of power.

10:32 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Trump, Biden clash on handling of coronavirus pandemic

US President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival Joe Biden have clashed on the coronavirus pandemic, both putting forward their plans to bring America out of the worst health crisis if voted to power. The US is the worst-affected country from the pandemic with over 200,000 Americans losing their lives to the disease. The virus has also battered the country's economy with millions of people losing their jobs. Trump, a Republican, and Biden are pitted against each other for the November 3 presidential election.

"Our plan will crush the virus. And actually, Biden's plan will crush America, if you think about it. You can't lock down. Again, we're growing at levels that nobody has ever seen before. Our plan is unleashing a rapid recovery. Our opponent's plan would hurt America very badly. It would send us into a depression," Trump told reporters at the White House on Wednesday, asserting that his Democratic challenger would not have been able to handle the pandemic.

10:18 (IST)24 Sep 2020
CCP aims to make Americans receptive to China's form of authoritarianism: Pompeo

Launching a scathing attack on the Chinese Community Party, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday said the CCP and its proxies aim to make Americans receptive to Beijing's form of authoritarianism. The remarks came against a backdrop of deepening mistrust and sharply deteriorating relations between the US and China.

"The CCP has a much more sinister vision of engagement. The Party and its proxies aim to make Americans receptive to Beijing's form of authoritarianism," Pompeo said in his speech titled 'State Legislatures and the China Challenge' at the Wisconsin State Senate.

Pompeo said he said CCP because he wants to draw a distinction between China's leaders and the Chinese people who want to live in freedom, peace and prosperity and "whose vibrancy is also evident in the many Chinese-American communities wonderfully woven into the fabric of America".

10:16 (IST)24 Sep 2020
Trump says he’s ‘not a fan’ of Meghan, wishes Harry luck
US President Donald Trump (L) and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle. (File)

President Donald Trump took a swipe at the Duchess of Sussexon Wednesday after the former Meghan Markle and Prince Harry participated in a Time 100 video urging Americans to vote.

Meghan, an American, says in the video that every four years elections are referred to as the most important election of our lifetime. “But this one is,” she stressed. “When we vote, our values are put into action and our voices are heard.”

Harry called on Americans to “reject hate speech, misinformation and online negativity.” Neither mentioned Trump or his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, by name, but some have interpreted their comments as critical of Trump.

Trump was asked about the video during a White House press conference, with the reporter saying the couple “essentially encouraged people to vote for Joe Biden.” “I’m not a fan of hers and I would say this, and she probably has heard that, but I wish a lot of luck to Harry. He’s going to need it,” Trump said.

Pressure mounts on GOP senators over filling Ginsburg seat

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZl1NhcPACI]

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden hammered President Donald Trump and leading Senate Republicans for trying to rush a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, as pressure mounted on senators to support or oppose a quick vote to fill the seat.

As the Senate returned to Washington on Monday, all eyes were on Republicans Mitt Romney of Utah and Chuck Grassley of Iowa for clues to whether Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will be able to confirm Ginsburg's replacement anytime soon.

A day earlier, Biden had urged unnamed Republicans to join Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine in opposing a confirmation vote before the November 3 election.

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