Steve September 29, 2020

Simply 2020

The coronavirus, the Supreme Court, Trump’s taxes, and economy loom over the first of three presidential debates.

  • Tweety McTreason and Joe Biden will face off in Cleveland, Ohio in the first of three debates on Tuesday.
  • The Trump campaign hopes the first showdown, which starts at 21:00 ET, will give the president a boost amid lagging polls.
  • Mike Pence and top Senate Republicans are set to meet with Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
  • Pence will host a debate watch party on Tuesday, while Kamala Harris attends a virtual fundraiser.
  • Jill Biden continues her tour of northern battleground states, campaigning in Michigan with 35 days until November 3.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 28:

11:00 ET – US intelligence reports warn of extremist threat around election

Security officials are warning that violent domestic extremists pose a threat to the presidential election next month, amid what one official called a “witch’s brew” of rising political tensions, civil unrest and foreign disinformation campaigns.

FBI and US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos say threats by domestic extremists to election-related targets will likely increase in the run-up to the November 3 election.

Those warnings so far have largely remained internal. But New Jersey’s homeland security office took the unusual step of publicly highlighting the threat in a little-noticed report on its website last week.

“You have this witch’s brew that really hasn’t happened in America’s history. And if it has, it’s been decades if not centuries,” said Jared Maples, director of the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, which published the threat assessment.

10:30 ET -Voter purge case going before Wisconsin Supreme Court

The Wisconsin Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments Tuesday in a case that could result in the purging of about 130,000 people from voter rolls in the hotly contested battleground state.

However, it wasn’t clear if the court would rule in time to affect the Nov. 3 election that was just five weeks away. Attorneys for both sides didn’t expect a decision until after the election.

The arguments come in one of several closely watched lawsuits in Wisconsin. On Sunday, a federal appeals court temporarily put on hold  a ruling that would expand the time that absentee ballots can be counted.

President Tweety McTreason won Wisconsin by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016, making the fight over any change to the process of voting and who is able to vote all the more significant.

10:00 ET – Giuliani says in Fox interview Biden ‘has dementia’, prompting uncomfortable response from hosts

Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had an uncomfortable exchange with the hosts of the Fox programme Fox and Friends on Tuesday when he said Biden “has dementia – there’s no doubt about it”.

Giuliani went on to claim he had several doctors review tapes of Biden, prompting what appeared to be an increasingly uncomfortable response from the three hosts. Trump has repeatedly claimed Biden is mentally unfit to be president and baselessly suggested he has taken performance-enhancing drugs to aid his mental acuity.

“None of us are doctors, so this is just pure opinion,” host Steve Doocy eventually responds.

Giuliani’s conduct in Ukraine was central to an impeachment probe against the president [File: J Scott Applewhite/The Associated Press]

09:30 ET – Ranking House Republican calls for probe into Trump tax source

Representative Kevin Brady, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, has called for an investigation into the source who provided Trump’s tax returns to the New York Times.

Brady called the disclosure, the subject of a bombshell report published on Sunday, a “felony crime”.

“While many critics question the article’s accuracy, equally troubling is the prospect that a felony crime was committed by releasing the private tax return information of an individual – in this case, the President’s,” he said in a statement on Tuesday. “To ensure every American is protected against the illegal release of their tax returns for political reasons, I am calling for an investigation of the source and to prosecute if the law was broken.”

09:00 ET – What to watch for during the first Trump-Biden debate

One candidate who plays by the rules, another who does not. One candidate who has spent weeks preparing, another who has not. One candidate with fresh debate experience, another whose most recent debate took place four years ago.

These are some of the contrasts viewers can watch out for when they tune in to the first of three presidential debates between Joe Biden and Tweety McTreason. With a potential audience of close to 100 million viewers on television and online, the candidates will make their pitch to the American people, each attempting to close the deal with voters.

Although the outcome of a live debate can never be predicted, Al Jazeera looks at what we can reasonably expect when the two contenders for the highest office in the land face off.

Read more here.

Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders speak during a Democratic presidential primary debate, December 19, 2019, in Los Angeles [AP Photo/Chris Carlson]


Read all the updates from Monday, (September 28) here.



Al Jazeera and News agencies

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