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Trump's Pennsylvania push, Senate confirms Barrett to Supreme Court

The candidates are heading into their last full week of campaigning before Election Day.
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 heading into their last full week of campaigning before Election Day.

The candidates and their surrogates will spend the week in key battleground states such as Michigan and Pennsylvania. But Biden is also set for last-minute pushes in Georgia and Texas, historically Republican strongholds that could be in play this year, and Trump is visiting places with just a single Electoral College vote at stake, a sign that his campaign is anticipating a close race.

It's also a crucial day for one of the biggest issues of the election: the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. The Senate is expected to vote on to confirm Barrett at 7:30 p.m. ET after having advanced her nomination a day earlier.

This live coverage has ended. Continue reading election news from October 27, 2020.

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How states aim to prevent a surge in mail-in ballot rejections

In North Carolina, voters whose absentee ballots are rejected will be notified and given the chance to fix it and deadlines are extended. Experts worry rejection rates may be double or triple what they are in a normal election year.

Biden adds stop in battleground Michigan to campaign schedule

Joe Biden’s campaign said Monday it has added an event in Michigan on Saturday to the former vice president’s schedule in the final week before Election Day. He was last in Michigan on Oct. 16, when he made stops in Southfield and Detroit.

Polls show Biden leading President Trump in Michigan, a state Trump won four years ago.

Biden’s last week of campaigning hits several states that are in play. He heads to Georgia for two events on Tuesday and returns to the trail on Thursday with two events in Florida then travels to events in Iowa and Wisconsin on Friday.

Ivanka Trump fundraises in Beverly Hills for father's cash-strapped campaign

White House senior adviser Ivanka Trump, alongside Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, fundraised with major donors in Beverly Hills on Monday for President Trump’s cash-strapped campaign, an unusual move in the final week before Election Day.  

“In order to provide some stimulus, Ivanka has graciously accepted an invitation for me to host a luncheon in her honor,” wrote Tom Barrack, a close ally of the Trump family, in an invitation to a luncheon at Spago, the flagship restaurant of chef Wolfgang Puck. The event was limited to 15 individuals willing to make a minimum contribution of $100,000. 

Health care executive Lee Samson, who previously hosted the president in April 2019, opened up his home on Monday afternoon for an event of about 100 donors. McDaniel led a discussion with Ivanka Trump.  

Two individuals told NBC News that there were few masks and that Trump and McDaniel were not wearing face coverings for at least the backyard portion of the fundraiser. All attendees for both events were required to test negative ahead of the gatherings and were socially distanced throughout, according to a Republican familiar with the planning.

"There was certainly no social distancing going on," one of the individuals said. "Almost no one was wearing a mask — except the valet, the waiters and the law enforcement." 

Los Angeles County health officials have issued strict protocols to prevent the spread of COVID-19, barring gatherings of “of any size,” including for special events like baby showers, barbecues and cultural celebrations. 

The Trump re-election effort has been doing a substantial amount of fundraising in the closing stretch, with the president hosting a roundtable with supporters just hours before last week’s debate in Nashville, Tenn.  

The GOP operation has been outraised consistently by Democrats in the final months of the 2020 race, leaving the incumbent trailing Joe Biden and his allied committees a week from the election.

Murkowski explains Barrett vote: 'A lot of restless nights'

WASHINGTON — Sen. Lisa Murkowski spoke to NBC News on Monday ahead of her vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett, which came as a surprise to some observers after the Alaska Republican repeatedly said she was against confirming a new justice so close to the November election.

"It doesn't fit neatly on a bumper sticker but I don't think that the position that I have taken is inconsistent in any way,” Murkowski told NBC News in an extensive interview before the vote on Monday. She announced her support for Barrett's confirmation on Saturday.

"I might not like where we are," she said, explaining how her previous opinions on the confirmation process shaped her decision this week. "I objected to where we are and how we got here but I lost on that procedural aspect of that and now I had to decide."

She added, "There've been a lot of restless nights and writing things down in the middle of the night just to process them in my head but there's a lot of considerations here."

Murkowski said she raised a number of issues with Barrett when they met following the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, including the possibility Barrett could side against Roe v. Wade or the Affordable Care Act. Murkowski was one of three Republicans who voted in 2017 to uphold the landmark health care legislation.

"There's a lot of concern that with the case coming up in early November, if this is going to be an opportunity to completely wipe out the ACA," she said. "And if I thought that was going to be the outcome, if I truly, truly believed that that was going to be the outcome, I think that might have influenced my outcome here."

Twitter flags Trump voting tweet as misleading

Twitter placed a warning label on a tweet President Trump sent Monday night, calling it misleading for its baseless claims about mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election. 

"Big problems and discrepancies with Mail In Ballots all over the USA. Must have final total on November 3rd," Trump tweeted.

Twitter later placed a label the tweet, warning "Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet is disputed and might be misleading about how to participate in an election or another civic process." It also linked to a page on the site explaining that voting by mail is safe and secure.

This is the latest move by the social media giant, which has recently taken an aggressive approach to limit and remove misinformation and misleading claims on the site. Last week, Twitter removed a tweet from one of Trump's top Covid-19 advisers, which falsely claimed that masks don't work to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

There is no evidence of massive voter fraud and election experts have repeatedly noted that if fraud happens, such as a recent case in New Jersey in which a new election was called after allegations of mail-in ballot fraud, it is easily found. 

In setback for Democrats, Supreme Court won't let late mail ballots count in Wisconsin

WASHINGTON — Wisconsin cannot count mail ballots that arrive well after the polls close, under an order issued Monday by the U.S. Supreme Court, a defeat for Democrats in a battleground state.

Buy a vote of 5-3, the justices declined to lift a lower court ruling preventing the state from counting mail ballots that arrive as much as six days after election day. Justices Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan said they would have granted the request.

Voting rights groups, the state and national Democratic parties, and the League of women Voters filed lawsuits seeking to extend the deadline for accepting mail-in ballots. They said the flood of absentee ballots and problems arising from the pandemic make it harder for voters to receive their mail ballots and return them on time. Wisconsin has been especially hard hit by COVID-19, with hospitals nearly filled to capacity.

Read more here.

Photo: Mini-Trump in Pennsylvania

A child dressed as President Donald Trump waves during the president's campaign event in Martinsburg, Pa., on Monday.Leah Millis / Reuters

Trump continues to claim Covid-19 vaccine coming soon, promises 100M doses by year's end

President Trump continued his sprint across Pennsylvania, a crucial battleground state, on Monday, holding rallies to make his case to voters in the last week of the campaign. 

At his third rally in the state in the city of Martinsburg, Trump repeatedly hammered Biden over his promise to phase out fossil fuels, which he did at each of his rallies. He also promised to get the economy roaring and claimed that 100 million Covid-19 vaccines will be available in the U.S. by the end of the year. 

“And the vaccines are going to free,” he said. “We are going to deliver 100 million vaccines before the end of the year, maybe a little sooner than that, and seniors will be first in line,” Trump said. The president has repeated this claim multiple times during the campaign, however, public health experts say a vaccine will not be available to the general public until the middle of next year. 

Trump also boasted about his pick for the Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, calling her a “good choice” and a smart judge who he said he was glad he wasn't running against for president.

Barrett’s confirmation vote was to take place tonight and the White House scheduled an event to celebrate afterward, despite the outbreak of Covid-19 cases among White House and campaign staffers linked to the last event there celebrating the jurist.

Biden: Trump's 'not even trying to stop' the Covid-19 crisis

Joe Biden on Monday said White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ statement over the weekend that “we're not going to control the pandemic” proved President Trump was “not even trying to stop” the Covid-19 crisis.

In brief remarks to voters and reporters in Chester, Pa., Biden added that the “bottom line is Donald Trump is the worst possible president, worst possible person to lead us through this pandemic.”

“Mr. President, you have to have a little bit of shame, a little bit, because people are dying,” Biden said.

Earlier in the day, Meadows had mocked Biden's use face masks, saying that, "the only person waving a white flag, along with this white mask, is Joe Biden."

Biden's remarks represented his latest pitch to voters in the key battleground of Pennsylvania. Biden held events in Bucks and Luzerne counties over the weekend, while Trump was holding several rallies across the state on Monday.

In Trump country, Biden supporters pooled money for a billboard. Then it was vandalized.

In a small, Western Pennsylvania town, a group of local Biden supporters sought to put an end to their stolen yard signs by pooling together their money and purchasing a billboard.

Now, that billboard has been vandalized, one of them told NBC News.

"Since Biden became the nominee, our yard signs have been stolen within 24 to 48 hours of being posted," Kara Illig of Ebensburg, Pa, told NBC News. "Because we don't feel represented, we decided to crowdfund a billboard. We had so much support that we crowdfunded two in under two hours."

"The billboards went up October 4th and people went crazy, threatening and harassing group members online and in person," she added. "Trump supporters held a little rally in front of one of the billboards yesterday, then overnight it was vandalized."

Her group is called "Huddle Ebensburg," which she said was formed shortly after Trump's 2016 election.

On Tuesday, Ebensburg Police Chief Terry Wyland told NBC News they are investigating the spray painting of the billboard in the early morning hours Monday, saying the act of vandalism caused $800 in damage.

"We have received several leads as to the actors," he said. "We have an active investigation going on. We have received reports from both Biden and Trump supporters that yard signs have been stolen in the past few weeks, but this happens with any election. The billboard is the first time that I can remember." 

Cambria County, which is home to Ebensburg, backed Trump by more than a 2-to-1 margin in 2016.

Trump on Monday held several campaign events in the state, including a late-afternoon rally in nearby Martinsburg.

Biden adds more in-person campaign stops in Iowa and Wisconsin

Joe Biden announced that he’s expanding his reach across the map in the days before Election Day, traveling to Iowa and Wisconsin on Friday.

Biden’s visit to Iowa is an indicator of how the campaign is feeling, given that he’s traveling to a state that the campaign had filed under their “win back” column but has done little in-person campaigning there. The Democratic nominee has not been to Iowa since he jetted out of the state the evening of the primaries in early February. 

However, Dr. Jill Biden has visited the state with Doug Emhoff and the campaign has ran ads there for several weeks. 

Biden was last in Wisconsin on Sept. 21 where he made two stops. The campaign wanted him to go more often since then, but the coronavirus cases spikes delayed the visit.