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Biden, Trump campaigns push in battleground states

Election news, voting results and polls.
Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of concentric circles made up of blue and red stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

With only nine days until Election Day, the campaigns for both President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are ramping up their public events in battleground states in their final full week on the trail. Both candidates are vying to win votes in those crucial states.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 26, 2020.

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Read highlights below:

Putin rejects Trump's criticism of Hunter Biden's business

Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Sunday that he saw nothing criminal in Hunter Biden's past business ties with Ukraine or Russia, marking out his disagreement with one of Donald Trump's attack lines in the U.S. presidential election. 

Trump, who is trailing in opinion polls, has accused his Democratic challenger Joe Biden and his son Hunter of engaging in unethical practices in Ukraine. No evidence has been verified to support the allegations, and Joe Biden has called them false and discredited.

"Yes, in Ukraine he [Hunter Biden] had or maybe still has a business, I don't know. It doesn't concern us. It concerns the Americans and the Ukrainians," Putin said in remarks broadcast by Russian state TV, taking the time to knock down what he made clear he regarded as false allegations from Trump about the Bidens.

"But well yes he had at least one company, which he practically headed up, and judging from everything he made good money. I don't see anything criminal about this, at least we don't know anything about this [being criminal]."

Read more here.

9 days to go: Candidates prepare for final days of campaigning

Biden says Hunter laptop allegations are part of 'a smear campaign'

Lesley Stahl challenges Pence on Trump's '60 Minutes' meltdown

"60 Minutes" host Lesley Stahl challenged Vice President Pence on President Trump's decision to storm out of his interview with the program on Tuesday.

Trump last week released unedited footage of the interview, which aired in full Sunday night as part of a series with Trump, Joe Biden and their running mates.

"What just happened with the president?" Stahl asked Pence, who then defended Trump as "a man who speaks his mind."

"But he walked out," Stahl responded.

The show also aired footage of the aftermath of Trump's exit when White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered the host a book she said contained the president's health care plan.

Stahl told viewers that the book, while "heavy" and "filled with executive orders" and congressional actions, did not contain a comprehensive health care plan.

Trump travel anticipates a race potentially decided by a single Electoral College vote

President Trump is spending precious time in the final days of the 2020 campaign in places with just a single Electoral College vote at stake — a sign of just how close an election his campaign is expecting.

With nine days to go, Trump traveled Sunday to Maine, and planned to go to Nebraska on Tuesday. Unlike most states, which tend to utilize a winner-takes-all system, Maine and Nebraska divide up their Electoral College votes, giving two to the winner of the statewide vote and one vote to the winner of each congressional district.

While most of the attention this year has been on traditional battleground states like Florida and Pennsylvania, both campaigns have included Maine and Nebraska — places typically off the beaten campaign path — in their last-minute push, with the Trump team citing possible scenarios where the election could come down to one or two Electoral College votes.

Read more here.

North Carolina voters discuss Covid as cases surge: 'We all feel this sense of doom'

Harris to campaign in Texas, but Trump won't visit before election

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., is expected to campaign in Texas on Friday, likely making stops in Houston and in the Forth Worth area, a source familiar with the planning told NBC News.

Harris had originally planned to visit Texas last weekend but had to cancel after her communications director tested positive for Covid-19.

This news comes on the same day a Dallas Morning News/UT-Tyler poll shows Biden leading Trump in Texas 48% to 45% (within the margin of error).

Meanwhile, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who also served as Trump’s secretary of energy, told reporters on a campaign call that Trump would not be in Texas before Election Day.

Trump "will be in battleground states," Perry said. "Texas is not a battleground state."


Trump struggles to stay on message during 90-minute New Hampshire speech

Trump on Sunday meandered his way through a roughly 90-minute campaign speech before a rally in New Hampshire on Sunday, touching on everything from his concerns about voting in Pennsylvania to negotiations over a new Air Force One.

"We have plenty of time today," Trump said. "Is there any football game? We don't watch football as much anymore."

Speaking about his recovery from Covid-19, the crowd began chanting "Super Trump." The president suggested he may not have needed substantial medical assistance when fighting the illness.

"Maybe I didn't need it but I'm happy I took that Regeneron," Trump said. "Regeneron. Superman."

The president attacked Joe Biden, at one point playing a video reel of comments Biden has made over time. But he also took aim at some of his other favorite Democratic punching bags, including his 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton, former President Barack Obama, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Health experts raise concerns about Pence events after aides test positive for Covid

Health policy specialists questioned White House officials' claim that federal rules on essential workers allow Vice President Mike Pence to continue to campaign and not quarantine himself after being exposed to the coronavirus.

Campaigning is not an official duty that might fall under the guidelines meant to ensure that police, first responders and key transportation and food workers can still perform jobs that cannot be done remotely, the health experts said.

A Pence aide said Sunday that the vice president would continue to work and travel, including for campaigning, after his chief of staff and some other close contacts tested positive. Pence tested negative on Sunday and decided to keep traveling after consulting White House medical personnel, his aides said.

Read more here.