Joe Biden answered more questions on coronavirus, and one undecided voter asked him about a potential coronavirus vaccine.
The Democratic nominee said he doesn’t trust what Trump says about vaccine candidates because he says “crazy stuff.”
But Biden emphasized that he would take a vaccine if public heath experts endorsed it, and he said he would encourage every American to do so as well, although he acknowledged it would be difficult to mandate vaccinations.
Biden also stressed that the usage of masks would be key to allowing the economy to remain open in the months to come.
“You don’t have to lock down if you’re wearing a mask,” Biden said.
– Joan E Greve
Trump falsely claimed that the CDC found that “85% of people who wear a mask catch it,” citing the CDC.
Guthrie, rightly, pushed back with a live fact check – that’s not what the study said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that Trump is citing (and has done before) found that 85% of a small group (about 150) of Covid-19 patients surveyed said they had often or always worn a mask in days before to their diagnosis.
– Maanvi Singh
Local attorney Nick Feden kicked off Joe Biden’s town hall by asking the Democratic nominee how he would handle the coronavirus pandemic.
Biden noted that Trump acknowledged to journalist Bob Woodward back in February that coronavirus was “more deadly than even your strenuous flus.”
“The president was informed how dangerous this virus was,” Biden said.
The Democratic nominee said he called for a more robust response to the virus even though he didn’t have the same alarming information that Trump did.
– Joan E Greve
NBC’s Savannah Guthrie has been pressing Trump on whether he was tested before the first presidential debate.
When Trump didn’t directly respond to her question, she pressed repeatedly. “I probably did, and I took a test the day before,” he said. The president very recently admitted that he’s not tested every day.
Guthrie, a trained lawyer, and former litigator has not been afraid to interrupt and press the president. She asked whether he had pneumonia, what his symptoms were, why he’s so resistant to masks.
– Maanvi Singh
Donald Trump on stage for his NBC town hall in Miami.
Follow along for live coverage and fact-checks.
– Maanvi Singh
Biden and Trump town halls begin
It is 8 pm ET, and Joe Biden and Donald Trump’s dueling town halls are now under way.
I will be watching Biden’s town hall, and Maanvi Singh will be watching Trump’s, so stay tuned for more updates and analysis of both events.
– Joan E Greve
White House was warned Giuliani was target of Russian influence operation – report
The town halls are just 10 minutes away, but there is breaking news about Rudy Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer.
The White House was reportedly warned by US intelligence agencies last year that Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation.
The Washington Post reports:
The warnings were based on multiple sources, including intercepted communications, that showed Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence during a December 2019 trip to Ukraine, where he was gathering information that he thought would expose corrupt acts by former vice president Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The intelligence raised concerns that Giuliani was being used to feed Russian misinformation to the president, the former officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information and conversations.
The warnings to the White House, which have not been previously reported, led national security adviser Robert O’Brien to caution Trump in a private conversation that any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia, one of the former officials said.
The message was, ‘Do what you want to do, but your friend Rudy has been worked by Russian assets in Ukraine,’ this person said. Officials wanted ‘to protect the president from coming out and saying something stupid,’ particularly since he was facing impeachment over his own efforts to strong-arm Ukraine’s president into investigating the Bidens.
But O’Brien emerged from the meeting uncertain whether he had gotten through to the president. Trump had ‘shrugged his shoulders’ at O’Brien’s warning, the former official said, and dismissed concern about his lawyer’s activities by saying, ‘That’s Rudy.’
The US intelligence community has concluded Russia interfered in the 2016 election to boost Trump’s chances of victory, and the IC has warned Russia is again trying to influence the election this year.
– Joan E Greve
Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and Trump ally who has been convalescing from Covid-19, said he was “wrong” to not wear a mask while he attended an event at the White House and while spending time with Trump.
Christie attended the Rose Garden event honoring supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett that has been linked to several infections in an outbreak at the White House. He also helped Trump prepare for the first presidential debate.
In a statement to the New York Times, he said:
I believed, when I entered the White House grounds, that I had entered a safe zone, due to the testing that I and many others underwent every day. I was wrong. I was wrong not to wear a mask at the Amy Coney Barrett announcement and I was wrong not to wear a mask at my multiple debate prep sessions with the president and the rest of the team.
I hope that my experience shows my fellow citizens that you should follow CDC guidelines in public no matter where you are and wear a mask to protect yourself and others.
Christie spent time in an intensive care unit, and was especially vulnerable to complications from the infection due to his asthma. While he has at times been critical of the president, Christie has on the whole been a loyal ally of the president – who has said it was “a blessing from God” that he caught the virus and has continued to draw maskless supporters to campaign rallies across the country.
In an interview with the New York Times, Christie did not directly blame Trump for his infection.
NBC has said Trump agreed to take a coronavirus test before tonight’s town hall, which comes two weeks after the president announced he had tested positive for the virus.
The test was conducted by the National Institutes of Health, and the results were reviewed by Dr Anthony Fauci and NIH clinical director Dr Clifford Lane.
After analyzing the test results and Trump’s medical records, Fauci and Lane concluded with a “high degree of confidence” that the president was not shedding infectious virus.
The Committee on Presidential Debates canceled the second presidential debate, which was scheduled for tonight, because Trump would not agree to a virtual event to eliminate any concern about spreading coronavirus.
The president is now en route to the town hall venue in Miami from Trump National Doral, according to the White House press pool.
Trump’s town hall will be held at the Perez Art Museum in Miami, the city where the second presidential debate was supposed to take place.
NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie will moderate the town hall, which is scheduled to run for 60 minutes. The president was previewing the event this afternoon by attacking NBC.
Joe Biden’s campaign said he was tested for coronavirus today, and the test came back negative.
The Biden campaign announced earlier today that both Biden and Kamala Harris had recently flown on planes with people who had since tested positive for coronavirus.
One of Harris’ top aides and a flight attendant on her campaign plane tested positive, as did an aviation company administrator on Biden’s plane.
The Biden campaign said neither Biden nor Harris had close contact to any of the three people who tested positive, so they do not need to quarantine. But Harris canceled her in-person campaigning through Sunday out of an abundance of caution.
Joe Biden is en route to Philadelphia from Wilmington, according to the Democratic nominee’s press pool.
Biden’s ABC News town hall tonight will take place at the National Constitution Center, where Barack Obama delivered his speech during the Democratic convention in August.
Biden’s town hall will be moderated by ABC anchor George Stephanopoulos, and it will air between 8 and 9.30pm ET.
During tonight’s town halls, Trump and Biden will likely both be asked about the coronavirus relief negotiations, which have hit yet another roadblock.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin have been trying to reach an agreement on a relief package in recent days, and the two had another conversation today.
According to Pelosi’s spokesperson, Mnuchin said today that he would accept the Democrats’ language in the bill on establishing a national testing strategy, which had been one of the major sticking points between the two.
But Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said today that he would not support another massive relief bill.
Instead, McConnell suggested that Republicans would only support a package with a cost of no more than $500 billion, which is far less than what Pelosi has called for.
Pelosi’s spokesperson said the speaker raised McConnell’s comments with Mnuchin, and the treasury secretary “indicated that the President would weigh in with Leader McConnell should an agreement be reached.”
Trump has indicated his own support for a massive relief bill, instructing lawmakers to “go big or go home.”
Trump and Biden hold dueling town halls in place of debate
Greetings from Washington, live blog readers.
Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be participating in dueling town halls tonight, in place of the second presidential debate.
The debate was canceled after Trump objected to the Commission on Presidential Debates’ proposal to hold a virtual event due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus after the president tested positive for the virus.
Instead, Biden will be addressing voters from an ABC News town hall in Philadelphia, and Trump will be making his pitch in an NBC News town hall in Miami.
The two events both start at 8 pm ET, forcing Americans to choose which town hall to watch. The dueling events have become a visceral representation of the country’s divided politics.
The blog will have both events covered, with me watching Biden’s town hall and my colleague, Maanvi Singh, tuning into Trump’s town hall.
Maanvi and I will have updates and analysis of both town halls once they get underway in a little over an hour, so stay tuned.