NEWS THIS MORNING
Oh this should go over well. Swimmingly, even!:
House Democrats unveiled a bill this morning to create a 17-member panel to assess the president’s “capacity” to perform the job. https://bit.ly/3iST44p
Is the panel designed just for Trump?: Well, the commission would be permanent but is definitely a shot at President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Trump chastises Whitmer for calling him ‘complicit’ in extremism associated with kidnapping scheme Trump says he hopes to hold rally Saturday despite recent COVID-19 diagnosis MORE, whose capacities have been questioned amid his coronavirus treatment.
Where Pelosi stands: “Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiOn The Money: Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now ‘working out’ | Pelosi shoots down piecemeal approach | Democrats raise questions about Trump tax audits Trump retweets reporter saying 25th Amendment is not equivalent to a ‘coup’ Trump responds to Pelosi bringing up 25th Amendment: ‘Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation’ MORE (D-Calif.), a sharp critic of the president, has fueled those questions in the days since Trump returned to the White House after three nights in the hospital, floating the idea that Trump’s drug regimen — which includes a steroid linked to mood swings — might be affecting his decisionmaking.”
Pelosi told reporters this morning: “This is not about President Trump; he will face the judgment of the voters. But he shows the need for us to create a process for future presidents.”
Reaction from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care: Regeneron asks for emergency authorization of coronavirus treatment Trump received | McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus | Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums rise 4 percent McConnell says he hasn’t visited White House in two months due to coronavirus Human Rights Campaign unveils its congressional scorecard ahead of election MORE (R-Ky.): “Look, that’s absurd. Absolutely absurd. Again, right here in this last three weeks before the election, I think those kinds of wild comments should be largely discounted.”
Chances of a coronavirus relief bill before the election? Unlikely:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said a COVID-19 relief package passed before the Nov. 3 elections is “unlikely.” https://bit.ly/30R2dnF
In McConnell’s words: “I think the murkiness is a result of the proximity to the election, and everybody kind of trying to elbow for political advantage. I’d like to see us rise above that … but I think that’s unlikely in the next three weeks.”
Back story: “Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Trump says talks on COVID-19 aid are now ‘working out’ | Pelosi shoots down piecemeal approach | Democrats raise questions about Trump tax audits House Democrats to unveil bill to create commission on ‘presidential capacity’ Trump’s new Iran sanctions raise alarm over humanitarian access MORE and White House chief of staff Mark MeadowsMark Randall MeadowsTrump administration officials pushing to get promised drug-discount cards to seniors before election: report Meadows hosted wedding despite guidelines banning gatherings of more than 10 people: report The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 during policy-focused debate MORE have been seesawing for months … The latest curveball came this week when President Trump appeared to pull the plug on a large agreement before the Nov. 3 elections. He then walked back his comments, saying he was open to specific pieces.”
It’s Friday! I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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IN THE WHITE HOUSE
Trump can end his quarantine tomorrow:
White House physician Sean Conley said it is safe for President Trump to return to public events, less than two weeks after being diagnosed with COVID-19. https://bit.ly/2SHBNAc
From Dr. Conley: “Saturday will be day 10 since Thursday’s diagnosis, and based on the trajectory of advanced diagnostics the team has been conducting, I fully anticipate the President’s safe return to public engagements at that time.”
Conley on Trump’s health: “Since returning home, his physical exam has remained stable and devoid of any indications to suggest progression of illness. Overall he’s responded extremely well to treatment, without evidence on examination of adverse therapeutic effects.”
The concern from health experts: “Health experts questioned his assessment, noting that patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms can be infectious for longer than 10 days.”
Getting traction — What the White House says about the president’s last negative COVID-19 test:
Reaction from Bloomberg’s White House correspondent Justin Sink: “I honestly don’t understand what conclusion we’re supposed to draw here other than that trump wasn’t tested before the debate in possible violation of the rules.” https://bit.ly/3lrVecM
And from CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperThe Hill’s 12:30 Report: White House COVID-19 outbreak widens Biden adviser: ‘We are not concerned, because we are being safe’ Ohio governor: I hope Trump’s positive coronavirus test serves as ‘cautionary tale’ to those who don’t wear masks MORE: “The only logical reason to stonewall this much is because the actual answer is even more damaging … There is a compelling public health reason to disclose when the president — who we were told was tested daily — last tested negative. He potentially exposed countless people at the WH, in Ohio, Minnesota, and New Jersey to the virus.” https://bit.ly/36PnG4o
LATEST WITH THE DEBATES
I suppose it is tough to socially distance in an actual wrestling match:
Via The Hill’s Peter Sullivan and Amie Parnes, “An extended back-and-forth between the campaigns threw the presidential debate schedule into chaos Thursday, raising the question: Will there even be another debate?” https://bit.ly/2IeB9bB
The major complication: President Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
Yeah, but it goes further than that: “In addition to the safety concerns, there is also a political standoff between the two campaigns, with a fight over the dates and settings of the two remaining debates.”
The gist of what happened: The Commission on Presidential Debates made Oct. 15’s debate virtual. The Trump campaign then pulled out and called for the debates to be pushed a week — Oct. 22 and Oct. 29. The Biden campaign then rejected that idea, saying it was Trump’s decision whether to debate on Oct. 15.
What we know: https://bit.ly/2IeB9bB
ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL
Dems are winning the early voting race:
Via The Hill’s Reid Wilson, “A surge in absentee ballots cast in states across the country is handing Democrats an early advantage heading into Election Day amid signs that the party’s vote-by-mail focus is turning out regular and new voters alike.” https://bit.ly/36MFCfO
The total number of ballots returned: “More than 6 million Americans have already voted in 27 states for November’s general election, according to data released by states that have begun accepting ballots.”
Breaking that down by party: “Registered Democrats have returned 1.4 million ballots, more than twice the 653,000 ballots registered Republicans have returned so far, according to Michael McDonald, a political scientist at the University of Florida who analyzes early voting.”
What to take from this data: https://bit.ly/36MFCfO
MEANWHILE — ‘TRUMP CAMPAIGN READY TO UNLEASH THOUSANDS OF POLL WATCHERS ON ELECTION DAY’:
Via Politico’s Alex Isenstadt and Natasha Korecki: https://politi.co/33JxN8R
Exclusive — foreign influence is a leetle more expansive than we thought:
Via The Hill’s Olivia Beavers, Director of National Intelligence John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeNot treason, not a crime — but definitely a gross abuse of power Former Trump campaign adviser named to senior role at CIA: report Hillicon Valley: Facebook to label posts if candidates prematurely declare victory | Supreme Court hears landmark B Google, Oracle copyright fight | House Dem accuses Ratcliffe of politicizing election security intel MORE held closed-door briefings last month, informing both the House and the Senate on the expansive foreign influence campaigns that are targeting Congress. https://bit.ly/30QTgL5
What we know: “Ratcliffe gave ballpark estimates of how many lawmakers have been targeted, suggesting it is from the dozens to roughly 50. But in the briefings, he declined to identify which members of Congress were the targets and he did not indicate if one party was being more heavily targeted than the other.”
LATEST WITH THE CORONAVIRUS
Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 7,611,616
U.S. death toll: 212,840
Breakdown of the numbers: https://cnn.it/2UAgW3y
The highest number of cases since August:
The U.S. has reported the highest daily number of coronavirus cases since mid-August, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. https://bit.ly/30K6fOL
How many new cases were confirmed yesterday: More than 56,000
When you see it, you see it:
The House and Senate are out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C. Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden campaign raises over M on day of VP debate Experts predict record election turnout as more than 6.6 million ballots cast in early voting tally Trump-appointed global media chief sued over allegations of pro-Trump agenda MORE is in Las Vegas, Nev.
President Trump has no public events scheduled.
2 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a conference call with the U.S. Cruise Industry.
WHAT TO WATCH:
7 p.m. EDT: The Colorado Senate debate between Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerGreenfield raises record .7 million for Iowa Senate bid The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 during policy-focused debate Hickenlooper raises .6M for Colorado Senate bid MORE (R-Colo.) and challenger John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperGreenfield raises record .7 million for Iowa Senate bid The Hill’s Morning Report – Sponsored by Facebook – Pence, Harris spar over COVID-19 during policy-focused debate Hickenlooper raises .6M for Colorado Senate bid MORE. Livestream: https://cs.pn/3iHF2SL
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…:
Today is National Moldy Cheese Day. And for planning purposes, tomorrow is National Tic Tac Day and Sunday is National Sausage Pizza Day.
You go, Glen Coco!!:
“An 88-year-old Massachusetts man has completed the ultimate achievement: walking nearly 25,000 miles — equivalent to the total circumference of the Earth.” https://bit.ly/3nA4gpS
You can watch your clothes knitted into a new item:
Via Reuters’s Anna Ringstrom, “Shoppers at H&M in Stockholm will be able to watch their old jumpers be knitted in to a new sweater or scarf on the spot as the world’s second-biggest fashion retailer looks for new ways to encourage its customers to recycle used garments.”
And to get your weekend off to the right start, meet Finley, a golden retriever who loves to give hugs: https://bit.ly/3lGCgPV