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.
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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]."
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.
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.
NYPD investigating videos of officer who said 'Trump 2020' over patrol vehicle speaker
The New York City Police Department is investigating after videos shared over social media Saturday night appeared to show an officer using his patrol vehicle's speaker to say “Trump 2020.”
The department’s official NYPD News Twitter account shared one video posted of the incident and said that the Brooklyn South Investigation Unit was looking into the matter. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea also commented on the matter, calling the incident “one hundred percent unacceptable.”
“Law Enforcement must remain apolitical, it is essential in our role to serve ALL New Yorkers regardless of any political beliefs,” Shea tweeted.
Biden to attend virtual concert after Trump rallies in New Hampshire
With nine days to go until Election Day, Joe Biden is spending a quiet Sunday in Wilmington, Delaware.
The Democratic presidential candidate attended church near his home with two of his granddaughters. It’s a Sunday constant for Biden, who makes sure to attend most of the time he’s home.
Sunday evening, Biden will speak at a star-studded virtual get-out-the-vote concert. Jill Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris and her husband, Doug Emhoff, will also speak at the event, and a handful of celebrities — including John Legend, Jon Bon Jovi and Cher — will appear and perform. The concert is part of the campaign’s push to get voters to head to the polls early. Harris is spending Sunday campaigning in Detroit, a key base of Democratic support in pivotal Michigan for the Biden campaign.
Biden has had a relatively thin schedule in the final stretch of the campaign, visiting just three states in the past seven days, including Tennessee for the final presidential debate. This week, he’s slated to deliver his closing message with a speech in Georgia, a traditionally red-leaning state where Democrats feel they have an opening due to Trump’s struggles in the polls.
Large audience, few masks at Trump's New Hampshire rally
Biden spokesperson on in-person events: We're trying to keep communities safe
A top aide to Joe Biden’s presidential bid defended the campaign’s in-person event schedule as compared to President Donald Trump’s more robust travel during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the Democrat is pushing forward “aggressively” while still keeping communities safe.
“We are campaigning incredibly hard," deputy campaign manager Kate Bedingfield told "Meet the Press" Sunday. "Vice President Biden has visited all of these battleground states multiple times. He was in Pennsylvania yesterday,” she noted.
“We have been very aggressively campaigning, but here’s the difference between what we are doing and what Donald Trump is doing: We’re doing it safely. We’re taking into account the safety of these communities that we’re visiting.”
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Meadows says Pence won't quarantine because he is 'essential'
White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday that Vice President Mike Pence will not quarantine after multiple aides tested positive for Covid-19 because he is "essential."
Meadows was pressed about Pence continuing to campaign even after four of his aides, including his chief of staff and top political adviser, tested positive for the virus in recent days.
A Pence spokesman said the vice president and his wife tested negative for the virus, but Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines stipulate that a person who has come into close contact with infected individuals should quarantine for 14 days.
Meadows said Pence, who is continuing to campaign on Sunday, is considered "essential personnel," adding that Pence will social distance and wear a mask.
"I spoke to the vice president last night at midnight," Meadows said. "And I can tell you that what he's doing is wearing a mask, socially distancing. And when he goes up to speak, he will take the mask off, put it back on. But he — he's wearing a mask as it relates to this particular thing because the doctors have advised him to do that."
Supreme Court sides mostly with Republicans in last-minute voting cases
The U.S. Supreme Court has faced a stream of last-minute appeals over election procedures since the spring, and most of the time it has rejected calls to allow less restrictive voting measures despite the pandemic.
That has generally meant that Republicans prevailed in seeking to block changes that would make it easier to vote, especially in casting mail-in ballots. Of 11 election-related cases filed as emergency appeals since April, Republican interests won in eight.
The court rejected Democratic efforts to lift an age eligibility requirement for mail ballots in Texas, or allow curbside voting and waive the witness requirement for mail ballots in Alabama, or suspend the witness requirement in South Carolina. And it put a hold on lower court orders that would have made it easier to get initiative measures on the ballot in Idaho and Oregon.
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'This is not magic': Democrats work to make inroads in the South for the first time in decades
Despite the political convention that Republicans hold a secure grip on the South, Democratic candidates are polling competitively in North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas — which together account for eight Senate seats and possibly the balance of power in the chamber.
They could also help usher in additional Electoral College votes for Biden, though many experts remain skeptical whether Democrats can achieve a blue wave.
Georgia races have grown increasingly tight in the past few years, which is why it remains the main target for Democrats. Since losing the state’s race for the governorship by only 50,000 votes, Stacey Abrams and her voter rights organization, Fair Fight, have helped register more than 800,000 new voters in the state.
These 8 Latino Democratic candidates could be historic firsts in Congress
From becoming the first Afro-Latina or LGBTQ congresswoman to the first Native American veteran in Congress, these eight Latino Democratic candidates running for House seats could make congressional history in November.
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Melania Trump to vote on Election Day
Melania Trump will vote on Election Day, the first lady’s chief of staff told NBC News.
President Trump cast his early vote in person in Palm Beach County Saturday.
In key states, Trump's hard-sell pitch to seniors may be falling short
Eleven days out from the election, President Donald Trump held a last-minute campaign event in one of the most reliably red areas of Florida, whose voters have become a question mark hanging over his campaign — one that could help make or break his re-election bid.
The Villages, a sprawling retirement community home to one of the whitest and oldest populations in the country, has consistently supported Republican candidates for years, breaking for Trump by nearly 40 percentage points in 2016.
But the president's decision to campaign here came amid his struggle to hold on to older white voters, like the ones he addressed at this Friday stop, who have grown uncomfortable with his rhetoric and his response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Polling this year has shown an increasing number of seniors abandoning Trump. An October NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed that trend accelerating: Trump was hemorrhaging support among registered senior voters, with 62 percent supporting Biden and only 35 percent supporting the president.
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Some going to great lengths to vote early and in person
Voting in this election is so important to Jeremy Kirkland that he bought a plane ticket from Chicago, where he's a sophomore at Columbia College, to his home in Virginia just to cast his ballot in person.
“I wanted to ensure that my vote was going to count for this election,” Kirkland said.
Kirkland is one of more than a dozen Americans who spoke to NBC News’ Social Newsgathering team about casting their ballots in person this year, as the U.S. is experiencing Covid-19 surges coupled with higher infection rates and controversy surrounding mail-in ballots.
Five key races likely to determine Senate control
Democrats have 47 seats and are widely projected to lose a seat in deep-red Alabama that they managed to capture in 2017. That means they’ll need to pick up five seats to win a majority — or four to secure control if Joe Biden captures the presidency. There are about a dozen Republican-held seats considered potential pickups for Democrats.
The stakes are high. The party that controls the Senate will have power over the next president’s legislative agenda, cabinet officials and judicial appointments.
Here are five races that are likely to decide which party holds that power.
Obama asks voters to imagine what a 'normal' president would feel like
President Obama hit the campaign trial for Joe Biden Saturday, hosting a drive-in rally in North Miami.
Touching on Biden's key campaign themes, Obama encouraged the crowd to imagine what having a "normal" president again would feel like.
"There might be a whole day where they don't tweet some craziness," Obama said. "You'll be able to go about your lives knowing that the president's not going to suggest injecting bleach."
"A Florida man wouldn’t even do this stuff," Obama joked. "Why are we accepting it from the president of the United States? It's not normal behavior."