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Trump, Biden compete in Midwest battlegrounds

Get the latest presidential election news and campaign updates.
Image: President Donald Trump and Joe Biden on a background of concentric circles made up of blue and red stars.
Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are competing for voters in crucial Midwest swing states.

Both candidates were in Wisconsin and Minnesota. Trump also visited Michigan and Biden made a stop in Iowa.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news for Saturday, October 31, 2020.

Stories we're following today:

—Latest polls from battleground states and more

—Plan your vote here

—The road to 270: How Biden or Trump could win

762d ago / 6:42 PM UTC

Nevada judge rejects Trump lawsuit to stop mail-ballot counting in largest county

A district court judge in Nevada on Monday rejected a Republican lawsuit seeking to stop the count of early votes of mail-in ballots in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas. 

Judge James E. Wilson Jr., said in his ruling that the state Republican Party and the Trump's campaign had no standing to bring the case. Nevada is a key battleground state and Clark County is heavily Democratic. 

Republicans filed the lawsuit late last month and alleged that election observers were not able to view the ballot processing and that it's impossible to check signatures in the state’s biggest county. They argued that the software that checks the authenticity of signatures had a "low tolerance" and would therefore lead to most ballots being accepted. 

The judge, however, indicated in his ruling Monday that election officials did nothing to stop members of the general public from observing the counting of ballots. 

"The president's deliberate attempts to undermine Nevada's elections have failed yet again," Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford said in a statement Monday. "Today's ruling makes clear that there is a proper procedure to observe an election that even the president must follow, and it's most certainly a victory for the constitutional rights of all Nevadans."

762d ago / 2:34 PM UTC

Trump to spend election night at the White House, McEnany says

Trump will be spending election night at the White House, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday.

"Yes, we will be together. We'll be there at the White House in D.C.," McEnany said on Fox News Monday morning. 

Trump's campaign began planning an election-night event at the White House after he delivered his convention acceptance speech there and felt the it was a success, sources familiar with the details told NBC News at the time

Democrats criticized Trump for using the White House as a backdrop of a purely partisan event, a move he defended by saying logistically it was easier. 

McEnany didn't offer any additional details about where exactly they would be at the White House and who would be attending the event as the results are tallied. 

Trump's campaign told supporters he would hold an event at his hotel in Washington, D.C., but those plans appear to have been abandoned.

762d ago / 1:37 PM UTC

Monmouth poll: Biden leads Trump in Pa. by 5 to 7 points

Biden leads Trump by 5 to 7 percentage points among likely voters in the key battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a new Monmouth University poll released Monday. 

The poll found that under a high-turnout scenario, Biden is ahead of Trump 51 percent to 44 percent. In a low-turnout scenario, however, that apparent margin shrinks slightly to 50 percent to 45 percent. Four percent said that they were undecided or declined to say which candidate they planned to vote for. 

In a similar poll conducted last month, Biden led Trump by 11 percentage points in a high-turnout scenario and 8 points in a low-turnout scenario. 

Among all registered voters in the state, which Trump carried in 2016, the latest poll found that 50 percent said that they support Biden and 45 percent said that they support Trump. 

The poll surveyed 502 registered voters between Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 and it has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.

762d ago / 12:13 PM UTC

Southern Poverty Law Center: 24 million voters have outstanding mail ballots they haven't returned

Twenty-four million people have an outstanding mail ballot that they haven't returned, the Southern Poverty Law Center said in a new analysis released Monday morning. 

The organization said that potentially hundreds of thousands or even millions of votes may arrive late and won't be counted due to delays through the U.S. Postal Service and a series of court decisions affecting how people can vote. 

Officials began warning voters last week to drop off their ballots in official drop boxes or deliver them in person to the local board of elections because of the USPS delays.

764d ago / 3:03 AM UTC

Pelosi tells Democrats not to let up or celebrate 'until every vote is counted'

In a Dear Colleague letter, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urged Democrats to not let up in the last days — and hours — of their campaigns.  

"In these last days, we must not waste any time, underutilize any resource, or have any regrets that we could have done more to win," she said in the letter. 

"We all agreed that we must be calm, confident, and patient — and not be celebrating until every vote is counted," she wrote. "As a Californian, I am especially concerned that we do not declare victory before the polls close in the West. That could harm Senate, House and local races across the country." 

764d ago / 2:05 AM UTC

What happens if Trump loses the election and refuses to concede?

 

764d ago / 2:03 AM UTC

Iran targeting U.S. state voter rolls and spreading election propaganda, officials say

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The FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency both issued advisories Friday warning that Iran is spreading propaganda and targeting U.S. state websites, including election sites, in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

The FBI sent a FLASH bulletin to various states, saying an Iranian group is “creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.” It added, “This group has been linked to efforts to disseminate a propaganda video concerning voter fraud and hacking of U.S. voter information. The FBI advises this video is almost certainly intended to make U.S. voter information and the voting process appear insecure and susceptible to fraud.”

The CISA advisory went further, stating that the Iranian hackers have also “successfully obtained voter registration data in at least one state.” The agency did not disclose which state.

Both the FBI and CISA confirmed that “a review of the records that were copied and obtained reveals the information was used in the propaganda video.”

There is no indication that any voter registration databases have been manipulated or any votes have been changed.

Click here for the full story

764d ago / 12:46 AM UTC
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764d ago / 12:00 AM UTC

 

764d ago / 11:44 PM UTC

Photos: Stores are boarding up windows over Election Day protest fears

In New York: 

Image: Board up store windows
Workers board up windows at the Chanel, Tiffany & Co. store in Soho, New York on Oct. 30, 2020.Luis Andy

In Washington: 

Image: Washington DC
A worker boards up the Angels Share Wines and Liquors store in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington DC on Oct. 30, 2020.@cenksidar
764d ago / 11:36 PM UTC

Here's what happened when NBC News tried to report on the alleged Hunter Biden emails

The complaints from President Donald Trump and his allies have been growing louder as the election approaches: Why isn’t the mainstream media covering the Hunter Biden laptop story?

Trump and his allies say there is evidence of corruption in emails and documents allegedly found on a laptop belonging to Democrat Joe Biden’s son. They say those and other documents show that Hunter Biden used his father’s influence to enrich himself through business deals in Ukraine and China, and that his father not only facilitated that, but may have benefited financially.

But the Wall Street Journal and Fox News — among the only news organizations that have been given access to key documents — found that the emails and other records don’t make that case. Leaving aside the many questions about their provenance, the materials offered no evidence that Joe Biden played any role in his son’s dealings in China, let alone profited from them, both news organizations concluded.

As to Ukraine, a single email published by the New York Post suggests Joe Biden may have had a meeting with a representative of a Ukrainian company that employed his son. Trump and his allies alleged that means Joe Biden has lied when he said he never discussed his son’s business roles. The Biden campaign denies the meeting happened.

The lack of major new revelations is perhaps the biggest reason the story has not gotten traction, but not the only one. Among others: Most mainstream news organizations, including NBC News, have not been granted access to the documents. NBC News asked by email, text, phone call and certified mail, and was ultimately denied.

And, although no evidence has emerged that the documents are the product of Russian disinformation, as some experts initially suggested, many questions remain about how the materials got into the hands of Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who has met with Russian agents in his effort to dig dirt on the Bidens.

Click here to read the full story. 

764d ago / 11:00 PM UTC

Trump, Biden campaigns blame Facebook for ad problems

Image: FILES-US-INTERNET-COMPUTER-FACEBOOK
A Facebook "like" sign at Facebook's corporate headquarters campus in Menlo Park, Calif.Josh Edelson / AFP - Getty Images file

The campaigns for former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump said Friday they were having difficulty running some ads on Facebook, hindering their ability to reach voters on social media for at least the second straight day.

“We are just a few days from the election & thousands of pre-approved Biden ads are still not live on Facebook,” Biden adviser Megan Clasen tweeted.

“We are working with FB (flagging problems, having meetings, etc.) to try to resolve each specific issue - but unclear when they can be fixed,” she said. The Biden campaign had described similar frustrations Thursday.

The Trump campaign said it also was experiencing technical issues Friday, though it did not give details.

“The Silicon Valley Mafia is now turning it up a notch, stopping us from running approved ads in the days before millions of Americans cast their ballots,” Trump campaign spokesperson Samantha Zager said in an email. She said Facebook’s rules around ads amounted to censorship.

Read the full story.

764d ago / 10:59 PM UTC

 

764d ago / 10:42 PM UTC

'We're gonna take care of them as well': Biden on protestors trolling him during speech

Joe Biden tried to keep his cool as he was being trolled by dozens of President Trump's supporters with loud horns, prompting him at several points during his speech in Minnesota to point out that while he finds them annoying, he would work to represent them as their president. 

“These guys are not very polite but they're like Trump, but look we're gonna be okay. We're gonna take care of them as well. We need to come together. We need to fight for all these folks,” he said beginning his remarks in St. Paul.

Biden went hard on the president’s coronavirus and healthcare record, becoming increasingly passionate as he responded to Trump falsely telling people in Michigan today that doctors are faking the number of coronavirus deaths because they get paid more when a patient succumbs to the disease.

“Doctors and nurses go to work every day to save lives. They do their jobs. Donald Trump should stop attacking them and do his job,” he said. “Folks, this is the same man who weeks ago, when he was told we are losing a thousand lives a day, remember what he said? He said 'It is what it is.' That's thoughtful. It is what it is because he is who he is.”

Biden reiterated his call for people to protect each other from the virus by wearing masks, noting that doing so “isn’t a political statement like those ugly folks over there beeping the horns. This is a patriotic duty, for God sake.”

764d ago / 10:29 PM UTC

Iran targeting state election websites: Intelligence agencies

The FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency say that Iran is targeting U.S. state websites, including election websites in “an intentional effort to influence and interfere with the 2020 U.S. presidential election.”

A FBI bulletin has been transmitted to various states, saying, “are creating fictitious media sites and spoofing legitimate media sites to spread anti-American propaganda and misinformation about voter suppression.” 

The CISA advisory says the Iranian hackers have, “successfully obtained voter registration data in at least one state.”

The advisory from the FBI and CISA “A review of the records that were copied and obtained reveals the information was used in the propaganda video.”

764d ago / 9:55 PM UTC

Klobuchar rips Trump at Biden event

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, once a top contender to be Joe Biden's running mate, spoke ahead of the former vice president at his event in St. Paul, Minnesota — and ripped President Trump for failing to take responsibility for the spread of the coronavirus. 

"He should have a sign on his desk that says the buck stops anywhere but here," Klobuchar said. 

The Minnesota Democrat noted that for her, the pandemic has been personal — her husband and her father were both stricken with the virus. Both survived, but "so many Americans have not made it through," she said, faulting the president for not speaking out about how deadly he knew the virus was at the end of January. 

The former presidential candidate urged attendees of the drive-in rally to vote for Biden. "We deserve leaders who are as resilient as our people," she said. 

Biden gave her a shout-out after he started speaking, saying, "Amy, I love you. Thank you." 

764d ago / 9:53 PM UTC

How to report voting issues

NBC News is reporting on voting issues nationwide through a partnership with ProPublica’s Electionland. You can share your voting experience by texting the word VOTE, VOTA (for Spanish) or 投票 (for Chinese) to 81380 (standard text message rates apply). 

You can also message us on Facebook or fill out this form, so ProPublica and partners can investigate.

765d ago / 9:21 PM UTC

Democrats eyeing Alaska Senate race as potential upset

Here's what the Senate race in Alaska might look like.

765d ago / 9:07 PM UTC

GOP senators try to narrow TV and radio spending gap ahead of Election Day

WASHINGTON — In the week before Election Day, Senate Republican candidates have tried to narrow the spending gap in TV and radio ads compared to the Democratic rivals. 

According to data from Advertising Analytics, Maine Sen. Susan Collins, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner have narrowed their gap between their spending and their respective Democratic challengers. But aside from Collins surpassing her challenger one day this week, the candidates have not been able to sustain any upper hand in TV and radio buys. 

On Tuesday, one week before Election Day, Collins spent over $50,000 less than Democratic challenger Sara Gideon on her TV and radio buys. But in the last two days, Collins was able to outspend Gideon on Thursday — by over $40,000, and then spend just $38,000 less than Gideon on Thursday. Thanks to the help of Republican party efforts, Collins' total spending effort came close to tying Gideon's on Wednesday and Thursday. And the change is notable: Collins recorded her highest single day of spending on Monday, and then beat that by her identical high $200,000 spends on Wednesday and Thursday.

It's an even better story for Graham. Graham has struggled to raise the same amount of money as his challenger, Jaime Harrison, throughout the entire general election. And Harrison has spent more money than Graham on TV and radio ads every day since at least Labor Day. But in the week that started with Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation vote, Graham has gotten closer. By week's end, Graham nearly matched Harrison's Thursday buy — and with the help of Republican groups, Graham's total effort bested Harrisons by $300,000 on Thursday and by about $200,000 on Wednesday.

Read more here.

765d ago / 9:01 PM UTC

Trump, Biden tout polar-opposite coronavirus messages in Midwest barnstorm

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Image: President Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Michigan Ahead Of Tuesday's Election
President Donald Trump greets supporters at a campaign rally in Waterford, Mich., on Oct. 30, 2020.John Moore / Getty Images

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden covered much of the same ground as they crisscrossed Midwestern battleground states on Friday, but they brought diametrically opposite messages on the coronavirus crisis.

At a rally in Michigan, Trump brushed off the deadliness of the virus, made fun of Fox News host Laura Ingraham for wearing a mask, and suggested hospitals were falsely inflating the number of Covid-19 deaths in the country in order to make more money.

Biden focused his remarks in Iowa on what he said was Trump's "surrender" to the virus that has infected more than 9 million people and killed over 230,000 across the country, and urged Americans to mask up in order to save lives.

Read the story.

765d ago / 8:24 PM UTC

What to watch for in North Carolina on election night

Here is a breakdown of the latest NBC News/Marist poll out of North Carolina and what counties to watch out for on election night.

765d ago / 7:09 PM UTC

Trump asked supporters to watch the polls. How states are countering fears of intimidation.

President Donald Trump's campaign appears to be using volunteers to try and prove voter fraud while simultaneously asking courts to OK further restrictions in the key presidential battleground of Pennsylvania where Joe Biden narrowly leads, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro's office said Thursday.

Shapiro, a Democrat, is investigating multiple "disturbances" between these Trump campaign volunteers and voters who were filmed or photographed dropping off absentee ballots, according to the communications director, Jacklin Rhoads.

She said the images have popped up in lawsuits the Trump campaign has brought to tighten voting laws, without much success, while The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the campaign has been using such footage to pressure election officials into policy changes.

Early incidents like the ones Shapiro's office is investigating have raised alarm about "poll watchers" — the official, party-sanctioned kind, or simply people showing up to places where voting is taking place — in part because of the president's frequent and false claims of widespread voter fraud and repeated calls for his supporters to "watch the polls" and stop it.

Read more here.

765d ago / 6:51 PM UTC

QAnon becomes an issue in tossup Utah House race

The conspiracy theory QAnon bubbled into the forefront in a competitive race for a suburban Utah swing congressional district this week, another sign of how the baseless theory has diffused into mainstream politics.

Republican Burgess Owens has now come under scrutiny three times for media appearances related to QAnon, but it hasn’t stopped him from becoming a serious threat to first-term Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Ben McAdams.

Owens has called the idea that he believes in QAnon “silly,” and says appearances on online programs supporting QAnon programs are just part of his effort to get his conservative message out.

More than two dozen congressional candidates have endorsed or given credence to QAnon, according to a tally by the liberal-leaning Media Matters. QAnon followers embrace the baseless belief that President Donald Trump is waging a secret campaign against enemies in the “deep state," an alleged secret network within the government, and a child sex trafficking ring run by satanic pedophiles and cannibals.

Read more here.

765d ago / 6:41 PM UTC

Stores and businesses hire extra security, board up windows fearing Election Day unrest

After a spring of lockdowns and a summer of protests, storefront businesses across the country are girding for a potential wave of social unrest related to the election.

Ulta Beauty, whose stores were damaged in protests of George Floyd's death at the hands of police in May, told NBC News that it is boarding up stores, closing early and hiring overnight security guards in certain locations.

Nordstrom said it is monitoring for any activity that might threaten employee or store security, and plans to close early on Election Day. In Chicago, several businesses along the Michigan Avenue shopping district have already boarded up their windows.

Walmart, which said this week it would remove all guns and ammunition from its sales floors as a precaution, announced Friday it was reversing that decision.

Leading up to the election, President Donald Trump has repeatedly suggested that he will refuse to participate in a peaceful transition of power in the event he loses to former Vice President Joe Biden. In a Friday tweet, Trump suggested that the only way Biden could become president would be if the Supreme Court intervened to "make such a ridiculous win possible."

Read the story.

765d ago / 5:16 PM UTC
765d ago / 5:09 PM UTC

Poll: Biden leads Trump by six in North Carolina

Image: Joe Biden
Joe Biden speaks at the Black Economic Summit in Charlotte, N.C., on Sept. 23, 2020.Jim Watson / AFP - Getty Images

Joe Biden holds a modest six-point lead with likely voters over President Donald Trump in the hard-fought swing state of North Carolina, a new NBC/Marist poll shows.

Among likely voters, Biden’s support stands at 52 percent, compared to 46 percent for the incumbent president. (Among all registered voters in the state, the former vice president’s lead is similar, at 51 percent to Trump’s 46 percent.)

Biden’s edge is within the poll’s margin of error of +/-4.7 percentage points for likely voters and +/-4.1 percentage points for registered voters. (A +/-4.7 margin of error means that pollsters believe each candidate’s actual vote percentage could be as much as 4.7 percentage points higher or lower).

The poll also shows a 10-point advantage for Democratic Senate candidate Cal Cunningham, who hopes to oust first-term GOP incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis.

Read the story.

765d ago / 4:54 PM UTC

Texas breaks turnout records as more than 9 million cast ballots before Election Day

Everything is bigger in Texas — including voter turnout this year.

The Lone Star State, a traditional Republican stronghold that is rapidly turning into an electoral battleground, has smashed turnout records as of Friday morning. The number of early in-person and mail-in ballots surpassed the total number of votes cast in the 2016 presidential election.

The Texas Secretary of State's office reported that 9,009,850 people cast their ballots in-person, by mail or via dropboxes during the state's early voting period, which began Oct. 13 and ends Friday. That amounts to 53.14 percent turnout among registered voters in just early voting.

Four years ago, a record-shattering 8,969,226 people in Texas voted, according to the state's records — which amounted to 59.39 percent turnout. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton there by nearly nine points, 52.23 percent to 43.24 percent.

This year's surge is coming partly in counties that have historically voted for Democrats.

Continue reading on NBCNews.com.

765d ago / 4:37 PM UTC

In a first, ICE agents are poised to respond to potential Election Day unrest

Image:
Federal officers use chemical irritants and projectiles to disperse Black Lives Matter protesters near the Mark O. Hatfield United States Courthouse in Portland, Ore., on July 24, 2020.Noah Berger / AP

Department of Homeland Security agents, including those from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection, have been told to be ready to protect federal property in Washington if there is unrest on or after Election Day, two DHS officials told NBC News.

The agency is regularly tasked with providing additional security around the nation’s capital on inauguration days, but has never stepped in to quell unrest on Election Day. The unprecedented step is in response to nationwide protests and attacks on federal property seen this year, the officials said.

Read the story.

765d ago / 4:12 PM UTC

GOP Sen. Perdue drops out of final debate amid tight race against challenger Ossoff

The final debate between Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic challenger Jon Ossoff, scheduled for Sunday, has been canceled after Perdue dropped out to attend a campaign rally.

Polls show a tight race between the two candidates heading into the final days of the campaign.

Perdue’s communications director John Burke said in a statement shared on Twitter that Perdue would instead join President Donald Trump at an expected rally.

“As lovely as another debate listening to Jon Ossoff lie to the people of Georgia sounds, Senator Perdue will not be participating in the WSB-TV debate but will instead join the 45th president, Donald J. Trump, for a huge Get-Out-The-Vote rally in Northwest Georgia,” Burke said.

Ossoff fired back in a statement: “Senator Perdue’s cowardly withdrawal from our final debate says it all: David Perdue feels entitled to his office, and he’ll do anything to avoid accountability for his blatant corruption and his total failure during this unprecedented health crisis.”

The move comes after a contentious debate Wednesday night in which Perdue repeatedly accused Ossoff of backing radical, socialist policies while the Democrat slammed the incumbent's handling of the coronavirus pandemic and GOP efforts to overturn the Affordable Care Act. Ossoff also called the senator a "crook" in an exchange that went viral.

765d ago / 3:21 PM UTC

Taylor Swift allows Dems to use her song 'Only the Young' in closing-argument ad

Taylor Swift is allowing Democrats to use her song "Only the Young" for a closing-argument ad ahead of Election Day on Tuesday. It’s the first time Swift has licensed a song for free.

"Why are so many powerful people making it so difficult for us to vote?" Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Biden's vice presidential nominee, says at the beginning of the nearly 2-minute-long ad. 

The ad then shows a montage of video clips spliced together that features footage from Trump removing his mask after he returning to the White House from the hospital with Covid-19, to people sick with the disease in a hospital. It shows footage of wildfires, Justice Amy Coney Barrett being sworn in and Americans dancing in line at the polls as they waited to cast their ballots early in recent weeks, among other things.

Swift has endorsed Biden.

765d ago / 2:45 PM UTC

National security adviser O'Brien jockeys for future spot in a second Trump administration

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WASHINGTON — National security adviser Robert O'Brien was just a few months into his new job when he asked aides to print him copies of two transcripts.

One was of O'Brien's remarks at a foreign policy forum, where he'd offered a glowing review of what it's like to work for President Donald Trump. The other was of Defense Secretary Mark Esper's comments at the same forum, where he said Trump is "just one of many bosses I've had" who "you learn to work with."

O'Brien wanted to present Trump with a side-by-side comparison of his and Esper's comments so he could tell the president "look at how much more supportive I am," a senior administration official with direct knowledge of O'Brien's request said.

"It was really strange," a second official with direct knowledge of the request said, and O'Brien ultimately took Trump only his own remarks.

The episode encapsulates a theme that more than two dozen current and former senior administration officials, U.S. lawmakers and American and European diplomats told NBC News has run through O'Brien's 13 months as national security adviser: his concern about his future and standing with Trump.

Read more here.

765d ago / 1:21 PM UTC

Trump adviser Stephen Miller reveals aggressive second-term immigration agenda

Image: Stephen Miller
Senior advisor Stephen Miller attends a working dinner hosted by President Donald Trump for President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico at the White House on July 8, 2020.Anna Moneymaker / Pool via Getty Images file

President Donald Trump's senior adviser Stephen Miller has fleshed out plans to rev up Trump's restrictive immigration agenda if he wins re-election next week, offering a stark contrast to the platform of Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

In a 30-minute phone interview Thursday with NBC News, Miller outlined four major priorities: limiting asylum grants, punishing and outlawing so-called sanctuary cities, expanding the so-called travel ban with tougher screening for visa applicants and slapping new limits on work visas.

The objective, he said, is "raising and enhancing the standard for entry" to the United States.

Some of the plans would require legislation. Others could be achieved through executive action, which the Trump administration has relied on heavily in the absence of a major immigration bill.

Read the story.

765d ago / 1:19 PM UTC

FIRST READ: The battle for Senate control looks more volatile than the presidential race

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Image: Martha McSally and President Donald Trump
Martha McSally and President Donald Trump arrive at a "Make America Great" rally in Mesa, Arizona on Oct. 19, 2018.Nicholas Kamm / AFP via Getty Images file

The outcome of the presidential contest is looking more and more apparent — unless you believe we’re headed for a bigger polling error than in 2016.

But with four days to go until Election Day, the outcome for control of the U.S. Senate looks less certain.

Yes, Democrats are the favorites to net the three to four seats needed to retake the chamber, as the Cook Political Report’s Jessica Taylor writes.

But the realistic possibilities range from the Dems netting just two seats (Colorado/Arizona) and falling short, to them flipping seven or eight seats (Colorado/Arizona/Maine/North Carolina/Iowa/Montana/both Georgia seats) and having a sizable majority next year, to anywhere in between (which would give Dems a bare majority).

Get more First Read.

765d ago / 1:15 PM UTC

5 ways the Russians could wreak havoc on the 2020 election

WASHINGTON — Intelligence and cybersecurity officials say they see no sign that Russian hackers have tried to infiltrate the election infrastructure the way they did in 2016, when all 50 states were probed, and voter rolls in some states were accessed. Officials also say that when it comes to cyber defenses, this is the best protected election in history.

But those same officials acknowledge that there is no way to protect every state, county and precinct network from infiltration by hackers, and that the Russians or another foreign power could still decide to mount a cyber offensive to disrupt the election.

Experts say this is unlikely, because it would mean crossing a red line that could provoke a serious reaction from the U.S. government. And they say it would be extremely difficult for hackers to actually change vote tallies.

But if an adversary decided to attack, here are the ways experts say the Russians (or even less likely, the Iranians or the Chinese) could use cyber techniques to cause an election nightmare:

Continue reading to see the 5 ways — including by turning out the lights and locking computers — on NBCNews.com.

765d ago / 1:11 PM UTC

Sports' biggest names offer up arenas and stadiums to limit minority voter suppression

More than 40 arenas, stadiums and ballparks across the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer are being used for election-related purposes.

The effort, in many cases spearheaded by the professional athletes who compete in the venues, is designed to increase voting opportunities, with a particular focus on  and  voters who continue to face voter suppression.

While the pandemic has created a need for bigger venues for voting, it has also left such large arenas dormant and available.

Continue reading on NBCNews.com.

765d ago / 10:49 AM UTC

 

765d ago / 10:48 AM UTC

 

765d ago / 10:47 AM UTC

Minnesota late absentee ballots must be separated, appeals court rules

A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Thursday that Minnesota absentee ballots that arrive after Election Day should be separated from other ballots in case they are later invalidated by a court.

The ruling doesn’t block Minnesota’s seven-day extension for counting absentee ballots outright — but it does order a lower court to issue a ruling to segregate the ballots so they can be “removed from vote totals in the event a final order is entered” that finds them unlawful.

The ruling orders Secretary of State Steve Simon to inform local election officials so they can comply, and sends the case back to the lower court for further proceedings. It also sets the stage for post-election litigation.

The decision is likely to create voter confusion, with people who haven’t returned their absentee ballots scrambling to make sure their votes count. People who are worried their absentee ballots may not arrive on time may drop off their ballots at a designated location, vote early at an early voting station, or vote in person on Election Day.

As of last Friday, more than 500,000 of some 2 million requested absentee ballots remained outstanding. The state was due to update totals on Friday.

“The consequences of this order are not lost on us. We acknowledge and understand the concerns over voter confusion, election administration issues, and public confidence in the election,” the majority wrote. But they said those problems were preferable to a post-election scenario where invalidated and valid votes are mixed.

765d ago / 10:46 AM UTC

Harris and Sanders get chummy in talk about $15 federal minimum wage

In a conversation centered around fighting for a $15 federal minimum wage, Bernie Sanders was joined by Kamala Harris to discuss how the Biden-Harris administration would tackle issues like paid family leave, student debt, affordable higher education and helping people decimated by the economic crisis.

A gaping hole in the conversation, was, unsurprisingly, health care, which he didn’t ask about. Sanders’ questions were almost in bullet point form, extremely blunt and short. It was less of a conversation and more of a pop quiz interview. Sanders ended their conversation essentially re-hashing the points Harris made, saying what kind of a difference it would make, calling their ideas a “big step” and “no small thing.”

“When we go to vote, I know we will be talking about Trump all the time. That's fine. It is another thing to talk about what we have to do to improve the lives of tens of millions of people today that are hurting,” he said.

Harris’ answers ran through her usual talking points and policy points on these topics, which was not new. But what was pretty interesting was her and Sanders’ compliments of each other at the top of the conversation.

“The thing about you, Bernie,” Harris said, “You decided to do it from inside the system. And to challenge everyone from inside. I do believe on that debate to stage you and I shared for almost a year in the primary, that the majority of those debates would not have been on the topic of health care in America if not for a discussion that you started and the way you challenged the status quo. And our thinking about what is possible and what the American people are prepared for and what they want.”

“I want to thank you for what you have done and continue to do. You really are a treasure,” Harris said.

Sanders’ response: “I don't want to make this a love fest.”

765d ago / 10:45 AM UTC

Final debate off between Georgia Senate candidates Purdue and Ossoff

The final debate between Georgia senate candidates Republican Sen. David Perdue and Democratic hopeful John Ossoff is off.

Ossoff tweeted that Perdue cancelled their final debate, adding that at last night’s debate Perdue had, "no answers when I called him out on his record of blatant corruption, widespread disease, and economic devastation."

Perdue's spokesman John Burke confirms that the incumbent senator did cancel the debate, but says it's because President Donald Trump will be in the state campaigning and Perdue intends to be by his side.

The two faced off on Wednesday night in a fiery debate where Ossoff accused Purdue of being a "crook" in a video clip that's gone viral.

 

765d ago / 10:43 AM UTC

Heat at Trump rally sends a dozen attendees to the hospital

A crowded Trump rally in steamy Tampa, Florida, on Thursday resulted in 17 attendees needing medical attention, with a dozen being taken to the hospital, fire officials told NBC News.

Trump spoke for just under an hour in 87-degree heat at the event outside of Raymond James Stadium to a largely mask-less group of supporters.

A fire truck at the rear of the rally sprayed water in the air to rain down on some rallygoers, but the heat was too much for some attendees, many of whom had been waiting for hours. Tampa Fire Rescue said one of the attendees fainted and another had a seizure. The other 10 who were taken to the hospital were just listed as "sick" with no other details.

 

Click here for the full story. 

765d ago / 10:42 AM UTC

How a fake persona laid the groundwork for a Hunter Biden conspiracy deluge

One month before a purported leak of files from Hunter Biden's laptop, a fake "intelligence" report about him went viral on the right-wing internet, asserting an elaborate conspiracy theory involving former Vice President Joe Biden's son and business in China.

That report, a 64-page document that was later disseminated by close associates of President Donald Trump, appears to be the work of a fake "intelligence firm" called Typhoon Investigations, according to researchers and public documents.

The author of the report, a self-identified Swiss security analyst named Martin Aspen, is a fabricated identity, according to analysis by disinformation researchers, who also concluded that Aspen's profile picture was created with an artificial intelligence face generator. 

Read more here.

765d ago / 10:37 AM UTC

Harry Reid says he hopes Lindsey Graham loses his Senate race

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Thursday that his opinion of his former colleague Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., has changed because of his loyalty to Trump.

"I changed because the facts change. Lindsey Graham used to be independent. He was a rebel with John McCain. With John McCain passing he became a sycophant for Donald Trump, goes golfing with him and says all these nice things about him," Reid said during an interview on Peacock TV's “The Mehdi Hasan Show."

"It's hard for me to say this, but I hope that Lindsey loses the race. Cause he certainly deserves to. I lost such respect for him, for how he's become a lap dog for Donald Trump," he added.

Graham is in a competitive re-election race against Democrat Jaime Harrison in South Carolina.

765d ago / 10:35 AM UTC

'I'm the guy that ran against socialists': Biden shuts down GOP attacks

Biden on Thursday rejected attacks by Trump and other Republicans that he would impose socialist policies if elected.

The former vice president was responding to a question during an interview with CBS4 Miami Biden about reassuring Cuban and Venezuelan Americans that he is not a socialist.

"Look on my record he's just a lying president. There's not a single solitary thing that I have ever done that anyone's ever remotely, in matter of fact, I'm the guy that ran against socialists, okay?" Biden said, apparently referring to his Democratic primary opponents.

Biden, who did the interview after a drive-in rally in Florida's Broward County, also said that Trump is unable to take on dictators around the world.

"This guy is the worst person to carry the banner of saying he wants to take on dictators and take on socialist because everything he does is consistent with the kind of things they're doing. Slow the vote, talk about not having the vote taking, you know, counting and so on and so forth," Biden said.

765d ago / 10:20 AM UTC

Trump campaign official defends rallies despite spiking Covid cases

Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh joins Andrea Mitchell to discuss the state of the race, the president's handling of the pandemic, and react to polling that shows the president's campaign rallies are unpopular with voters due to the potential health risks.

Murtaugh argues the rallies show that "the president represents moving forward as a country," despite the rise in Covid cases, and adds that they provide masks and hand sanitizer to attendees.

765d ago / 10:19 AM UTC

Sick of getting texts from the Biden or Trump campaigns? You're not alone.

Voters' phones have been vibrating and beeping for months with texts from political campaigns — mostly from volunteers they don't know asking for money and votes — and many of them are about fed up.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic put a damper on in-person campaigning and volunteering, the text message was set to be a top political tool of the 2020 election season. New software allows one person to text many others without running afoul of federal rules against robo-texting, and campaigns have been seizing on it since 2018 or even earlier.

But Covid-19 has supercharged texting as a campaign weapon, turning virtual text-banking — where volunteers coordinate their messages and share tips while sitting comfortably at home — into this year's equivalent of knocking on doors or stuffing envelopes.

Read more here.

765d ago / 10:17 AM UTC

Trump has signaled he won't accept an election loss. Many of his voters agree.

Trump has refused to say he'd accept the results of the election if he loses, and in the closing days of the race, some of his supporters have taken his unsubstantiated claims about voter fraud to heart.

At a packed outdoor rally in this battleground state Wednesday, Trump said the polls that show him trailing Joe Biden are "fake," drawing boos from the crowd and raising their expectations of victory. He also said he feared voter fraud, which studies have repeatedly found to be extremely rare.

"The biggest problem we have is if they cheat with the ballots. That's my biggest problem," he told supporters at the Phoenix Goodyear Airport this week. "That's my only thing — that's the only thing I worry about."

Followers are echoing his claims.

765d ago / 10:15 AM UTC

In dueling Florida rallies, Trump and Biden paint different pictures of Covid — and America

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Joe Biden and Donald Trump held dueling rallies in Florida on Thursday, painting a stark contrast for their visions of the U.S. and the Covid-19 pandemic in the key battleground state just five days before Election Day.

"I know it's hard. Over the past few months there’s been so much pain, so much suffering, so much loss," Biden said at an event in Coconut Creek. "Millions of people out there are out of work, on the edge, can’t see the light of the end of the tunnel, and Donald Trump has given up."

Trump, meanwhile, held a “Make America Great Again” rally in Tampa, where a large crowd of mostly unmasked supporters sitting close to one another cheered loudly as the president touted his own quick recovery from Covid-19 — a virus that has so far, in the U.S., sickened nearly 9 million people and killed more than 229,000.

"You know the bottom line, though?" Trump told the crowd. "You're gonna get better. You're gonna get better. If I can get better, anybody can get better. And I got better fast."

Read more here.