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Thursday, September 24, 2020

US Elections 2020 HIGHLIGHTS: Russia, China & Iran may interfere in Nov elections, US intel warns

In an abrupt reversal, President Donald Trump now is encouraging voters in the critical swing state of Florida to vote by mail after months of criticising the practice.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 20, 2020 10:11:02 pm
Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Trump-Putin, US-Russia relations, US elections, world news FILE — President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin confer during a bilateral meeting at the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019. Trump has settled on a strategy of silence about evidence of a new Russian playbook of cyberattacks and attempts to influence the 2020 election. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

In its most specific warning till date about foreign interference in this year’s presidential elections, US intelligence officials said that Russia might be using a variety of measures to belittle Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden while boosting President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. China on the other hand does not want Trump to win a second term and has been trying to shape public policy in the US to pressure political figures that oppose its interests, the officials further warned.

In his Ohio trip aimed at promoting economic recovery, US president Donald Trump pivoted to a deep personal attack on Joe Biden — questioning the former president’s faith in God.“ He’s following the radical left agenda, take away your guns, destroy your 2nd Amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy, our kind of energy. I don’t think he’s going to do too well in Ohio,” Trump said.

The Republican Party and the Trump campaign have collectively raised over $165 million in July, surpassing the billion-dollar threshold with a total haul of $ 1.1 billion, PTI reported. The joint re-election effort continues their cash in hand advantage, with an over $300 million war chest, the Republican National Committee (RNC) announced Wednesday.

“With 90 days until victory, our teams and supporters are in overdrive working to re-elect President (Donald) Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot,”  RNC chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was quoted as saying. According to the RNC, July’s massive haul is not only a record for the month, but also eclipses the total raised in any single month of 2016. July was also the largest online fundraising month ever for the re-election effort, it said. “The enthusiasm behind President Trump’s re-election continues to grow as July’s massive fundraising totals prove,” said Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager.

 

 

Live Blog

Follow this space for the LIVE updates of US Presidential elections 2020

14:13 (IST)09 Aug 2020
Ukraine president says Kyiv staying out of US internal politics, elections

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Saturday that it was a matter of Ukraine's national security to stay out of U.S. internal politics, particularly its election.#Ukraine did not and will not allow itself to interfere in the elections and thus harm our trusting and sincere partnership with the #USA," he wrote on Twitter

13:52 (IST)09 Aug 2020
US Senate candidate Bradshaw to visit every Tennessee county in Senate run

US Senate candidate Marquita Bradshaw said Saturday that she plans to visit all 95 Tennessee counties as she tries to flip the seat from Republican to Democrat.

Bradshaw won Thursday's Democratic primary election in the contest to replace Republican US Sen Lamar Alexander who is retirin. She faces Bill Hagerty a former ambassador to Japan who was endorsed by President Donald Trump in the GOP primary in the Nov 3 election.(AP)

13:47 (IST)09 Aug 2020
Kahele wins Hawaii Democratic primary for Gabbards seat

State Sen Kai Kahele has won the Democratic nomination to represent Hawai's 2nd Congressional District in Saturday's primary election.
The seat is currently held by US Rep Tulsi Gabbard a Democrat who decided not to run for reelection so she could focus on her presidential campaign which was ultimately unsuccessful. (AP)

14:37 (IST)08 Aug 2020
Biden risks alienating young Black voters after race remarks

Joe Biden’s controversial remarks about race this week risk alienating young Black voters who despise President Donald Trump but are not inspired by his Democratic rival.

When pressed by Errol Barnett of CBS News on whether he’d taken a cognitive test, Biden responded that the question was akin to asking the Black reporter if he would take a drug test to see if “you’re taking cocaine or not? … Are you a junkie?”

Later in an interview with National Public Radio’s Lulu Garcia-Navarro, Biden seemed to draw distinctions between Black and Hispanic populations in the U.S. “Unlike the African American community, with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things,” he told the Latina reporter. (AP)

14:30 (IST)08 Aug 2020
US intel: Russia acting against Biden; China opposes Trump

In its most specific warning till date about foreign interference in this year's presidential elections, US intelligence officials said that Russia might be using a variety of measures to belittle Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden while boosting President Donald Trump's reelection bid. 

China on the other hand does not want Trump to win a second term and has been trying to shape public policy in the US to pressure political figures that oppose its interests, the officials further warned. 

The latest intelligence assessment reflects concerns not only about Russia and China but Iran as well, warning that hostile foreign actors may seek to compromise election infrastructure, interfere with the voting process or call into question voting results.(With AP inputs)

19:56 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Is a Trump White House acceptance speech legal?

President Donald Trump instantly ignited new controversy when he said recently that he may deliver his nomination acceptance speech during the Republican National Convention at the White House. But using the Rose Garden, the Executive Mansion or even the Oval Office as the backdrop for his speech capping the Aug. 24-27 convention would mark an unprecedented use of federal property for partisan political purposes.

Critics allege it would violate ethics laws, such as the Hatch Act, which limits political activity by federal workers, although few have faced penalties. Trump says the idea is well within the law. 'It is legal. There is no Hatch Act because it doesn't pertain to the president,' Trump said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

13:29 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Nonpartisan Commission rejects Trump's push to add debate against Biden

 The nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday rejected a request from the Trump campaign to add additional general election debates or move up the calendar for the contests,saying that it is striking to its “existing schedule”.  The current schedule is made of 3 debates between Trump and his democratic challenger Joe Biden, a fourth debate could be added 'only if both sides agree to it' the commission said in a letter addressed to Trump's attorney.

If the candidates were to agree that they wished to add to that schedule, the Commission would consider that request but remains committed to the schedule of debates it has planned as reflected in the attached release, the commission wrote in a letter obtained by The Associated Press.

12:47 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Biden is against God, against guns: Trump in Ohio

In his Ohio trip aimed at promoting economic recovery, US president Donald Trump pivoted to a deep personal attack on Joe Biden questioning the former president's faith in God.

“ He's following the radical left agenda, take away your guns, destroy your 2nd Amendment, no religion, no anything, hurt the Bible, hurt God. He's against God. He's against guns. He's against energy, our kind of energy. I don't think he's going to do too well in Ohio," Trump said.  

Reacting to Trump’s remarks Biden said, “For President Trump to attack my faith is shameful.” Trump's remarks stood out and they signaled how contentious the campaign may get over the coming months.(With AP inputs)

12:37 (IST)07 Aug 2020
Ohio governor tests negative after the 2nd test

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that he tested negative for a coronavirus infection after testing positive earlier Thursday before he was to meet with President Donald Trump. The governor's office says he took the first test as part of standard protocol before meeting Trump at an airport in Cleveland. He had planned to join the president on a visit to the Whirlpool Corp. plant in northwest Ohio.(With AP inputs)

21:06 (IST)06 Aug 2020
Playing electoral defense, Trump to promote recovery in Ohio

Forced to play defense in states he led comfortably months ago, President Donald Trump set his sights on Ohio on Thursday in an attempt to reframe the centerpiece of his reelection pitch. During his visit, Trump planned to promote the economic prosperity that much of the nation enjoyed before the coronavirus pandemic and try to make the case that he is best suited to rebuild a crippled economy.

But his handling of the outbreak has weakened his bid for a second term, causing Trump to spend time and resources in a state he won easily in 2016 but now could be in danger of slipping away. The president also intended to use the Ohio trip to kick off a long weekend of fundraising that comes as his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has chipped away at Trump's financial advantage as the race enters its final three months.

The virus upended Trump's plan to run on the back of a strong economy, and Biden has charged that the president has pushed to reopen states too soon in hopes of jump-starting the markets and lifting his standing in the polls.

20:33 (IST)06 Aug 2020
Obama's Medicaid expansion keeps gaining ground under Trump

President Donald Trump is still trying to overturn 'Obamacare' but his predecessor's health care law keeps gaining ground in places where it was once unwelcome. Missouri voters this week approved Medicaid expansion by a 53 per cent to 47 per cent margin, making the conservative state the seventh to do so under Trump.

The President readily carried Missouri in 2016, but the Medicaid vote comes as more people have been losing workplace health insurance in a treacherous coronavirus economy. That leaves only a dozen states opposed to using the federal-state health program for low-income people as a vehicle for covering more adults, mainly people in jobs that don't provide health care. Medicaid expansion is a central feature of former President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, covering about 12 million people, while nearly 10 million others get subsidised private insurance.

If present trends continue, it's only a matter of time until all states expand Medicaid, acknowledged Brian Blase, a former health care adviser in the Trump White House, who remains opposed to the expansion. "Medicaid expansion is terrible policy, but it is attractive to states because it's almost all federal spending and the insurance companies and hospitals get lots of dollars when a state expands Medicaid," he said.

The federal government pays 90 per cent of the cost of covering people through the expansion, a much higher matching share than for low-income disabled and elderly people traditionally covered by Medicaid. Blase argues that's an incentive to waste federal dollars. Before the ACA most low-income adults couldn't get Medicaid unless they were caring for children.

18:31 (IST)06 Aug 2020
Joe Biden launches new national ad aimed at Black Americans

Joe Biden's Democratic presidential campaign has launched a new national ad focused on Black Americans, urging them to stand up to President Donald Trump the way their ancestors stood up to "violent racists of a generation ago." The one-minute ad, which was shared exclusively with The Associated Press before its digital and television release on Thursday, is meant to drum up support among Black Americans, a key constituency for Biden, ahead of November's general election.

The ad, titled 'Better America' also takes a direct swipe at Trump, without mentioning the Republican president by name. "We must choose to fight for that better America," the narrator states.

"And just like our ancestors who stood up to the violent racists of a generation ago, we will stand up to this president and say, 'No more,' because America is better than him. So we choose to be bigger. We choose to be bolder. We choose to bring back justice, respect and dignity to this country. We choose Joe Biden to lead us all towards that American promise together."

18:11 (IST)06 Aug 2020
No hoopla: Virus upends Trump and Biden convention plans

At the last minute, President Donald Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, are searching for places to impressively yet safely accept their parties' presidential nominations as the spread of the coronavirus adds fresh uncertainty to the campaign for the White House. Trump said Wednesday he's considering giving his Aug. 27 acceptance speech on the grounds of the White House, a move that could violate ethics law.

Biden, meanwhile, scrapped plans to accept the Democratic nomination on August 20 in Milwaukee, where the party has spent more than a year planning a massive convention. Presidential conventions are a staple of American politics and have played out against national traumas as significant as the Civil War and World War II.

But the pandemic's potency is proving to be a tougher obstacle, denying both candidates crucial opportunities to connect with supporters in the final stretch before the November 3 election. The campaigns are looking for alternative ways to deal with the virus and still reach millions of Americans through television and virtual events.

16:47 (IST)06 Aug 2020
Republican Party, Trump campaign raise 1 billion dollar for polls

The Republican Party and the Trump campaign have collectively raised over $165 million in July, surpassing the billion-dollar threshold with a total haul of $ 1.1 billion "With 90 days until victory, our teams and supporters are in overdrive working to re-elect President (Donald) Trump and Republicans up and down the ballot," said Republican National Committee (RNC)   chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.

According to the RNC, July's massive haul is not only a record for the month, but also eclipses the total raised in any single month of 2016. July was also the largest online fundraising month ever for the re-election effort, it said. "The enthusiasm behind President Trump's re-election continues to grow as July's massive fundraising totals prove,? said Bill Stepien, Trump 2020 campaign manager.

"Voters express their support for President Trump in many different ways and donating to his campaign is one of the most personal, because they feel invested in his success and the future success of the country. The President's support continues to increase while Joe Biden just posted a down fundraising month from his basement," he said. The RNC recently announced the hiring of an additional 300 field staffers, bringing the total Trump Victory operation to over 1,500 double that of Biden's field operation.

With a grassroots army of 1.8 million Americans, the Trump Victory field effort is on pace to surpass the 2.2 million volunteers that helped re-elect President Barack Obama in 2012, the media release said. Seeking re-election for his second consecutive term, Trump, 74, is pitted against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, 77, in the November 3 presidential elections. Most of the opinion polls show that Biden is several points ahead of Trump.

22:19 (IST)05 Aug 2020
Trump considering giving convention speech from White House

President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he's considering delivering his Republican convention acceptance speech from the White House in a move that would mark an unprecedented use of the public property for partisan political purposes. Trump also called for the first formal presidential debate, scheduled for Sept. 29, to be moved up on the calendar because early voting will have already begun in some states. 'Well, we're thinking about it,' Trump said when the hosts of Fox News Channel's 'Fox & Friends' asked whether he'd deliver a speech accepting his party's presidential nomination from the White House lawn.

Trump said doing so would be easiest from the standpoint of security' and the least expensive option because he wouldn't have to leave the building. 'It's a beautiful setting. I think it's a great place,' Trump said of the White House during a wide-ranging telephone interview. (AP)

20:44 (IST)05 Aug 2020
WATCH: Who will be Joe Biden's running mate?

20:42 (IST)05 Aug 2020
US will continue to invest in strategic partnership with India, says proposed Democratic Party Platform

The United States under a Joe Biden administration will continue to invest in strategic partnership with India, if he is voted to power , according to the proposed 2020 Democratic Party Platform. Running into 90 pages, the platform covers all policy aspects, including national security and foreign policy, and will be adopted by its delegates during the party's national convention in Wisconsin.

The four-day convention from August 17 to 20 will formally nominate former vice president Joe Biden as its candidate for the November 3 presidential elections. "We will continue to invest in our strategic partnership with India? the world's largest democracy, a nation of great diversity, and a growing Asia-Pacific power," the proposed Democratic Party Platform said. When it comes to India, there is not much different between the party's 2020 platform and that in 2016, when former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was the presidential nominee.

"We will continue to invest in a long-term strategic partnership with India?the world's largest democracy, a nation of great diversity, and an important Pacific power," the 2016 platform had said. However, unlike in 2016, the current proposed platform makes no mention of Pakistan and this time, it has elaborated its policy on China in more detail than ever in the past. "Democrats' approach to China will be guided by America's national interests and the interests of our allies, and draw on the sources of American strength -  the openness of our society, the dynamism of our economy, and the power of our alliances to shape and enforce international norms that reflect our values," the platform, which was considered by the 2020 Platform Committee at its meeting on July 27, noted.

19:18 (IST)05 Aug 2020
Joe Biden campaign announces $280 million ad buy through fall

Joe Biden’s Democratic presidential campaign is reserving USD 280 million in digital and television ads through the fall, nearly twice the amount President Donald Trump’s team has reserved.

The Biden campaign announced in a Wednesday memo it’s reserving USD 220 million in television airtime and USD 60 million in digital ads, in contrast to the USD 147 million the Trump campaign has reserved, according to a review of Kantar/CMAG data by The Associated Press.

Both campaigns can add to or subtract from their reservations at any time. READ MORE

Will end green card freeze, oppose H-1B visa suspension, says Democratic Party

h-1b visa, H-1B visa US, US h1-b visa, h1-b visa suspended, world news, Indian Express The proposed platform among other things has expressed opposition to the decision of President Donald Trump to temporarily suspend issuing of H-1B visas.

The Democratic Party in the US will end the freeze on green cards and take steps to end its backlog, if voted to power in the November presidential elections, the party's proposed 2020 platform said. Green Card, known officially as a Permanent Resident Card, is a document issued to immigrants to the US as evidence that the bearer has been granted the privilege of residing permanently

The proposed platform among other things has expressed opposition to the decision of President Donald Trump to temporarily suspend issuing of H-1B visas. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. Technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

The 2020 Democratic Party Platform, which is similar to an election manifesto in India, would be adopted by the party's delegates during its national convention in Wisconsin. The four-day convention from August 17 to 20 would formally nominate former Vice President Joe Biden as its candidate for the November 3 presidential elections.

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