2020 election live updates: Biden and Trump prepare for first presidential debate, Pelosi outlines scenario in which House decides election
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and President Donald Trump are preparing for what is likely to be a bruising first president debate Tuesday night in Cleveland hinged on personal attacks.
The 90-minute debate will be stripped of typical debate standards. There will be no handshake over coronavirus concerns and no opening statements, fitting for an unconventional race happening during a global pandemic and social unrest.
Biden may have new fodder in which to knock Trump after the New York Times reported the president paid just $750 in personal federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017 and didn't pay any taxes in other years because of business losses and write-offs. Trump dismissed the report as "fake news" Sunday evening, but did not discuss his tax returns, which he has said have been under audit.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is considering a scenario in which neither Trump nor Biden win enough Electoral College votes to be claimed the winner, a situation that would leave it up to the House to decide the election. On Sunday, she asked House Democrats to double down on efforts to pick up more House seats just in case. The House hasn't decided an election since 1824.
☕ The latest:
- Trump's taxes: We break down the top seven revelations from the New York Times report on Trump's taxes.
- Biden on Amy Coney Barrett: The Democratic nominee says Trump nominated the appeals court judge as a means to "throw out" the Affordable Care Act.
- Biden and Rust Belt voters: Joe Biden is betting that emphasizing his centrist credentials will help win over crucial Rust Belt states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – three states President Donald Trump won in 2016.
- When will the Senate vote on Barrett?: Senate Republicans have indicated they want to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme court by Nov. 3, that would mean a quicker-than-normal confirmation process.
- Abortion, health care and guns: Here are 10 ways the Supreme Court could be altered if Barrett moves to the high court, which would have a 6-3 conservative majority.
- Brad Parscale: Trump's former campaign manager was hospitalized Sunday in Florida after his wife called police to say he planned to harm himself.
- 'Notorious A.C.B.': The National Republican Senatorial Committee began selling "Notorious A.C.B" T-shirts after Barrett was nominated, a play on the late justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's nickname, the "Notorious RBG."
- From the archives: Former President Richard Nixon paid $1,670.84 in federal income tax in 1970 and 1971.
📆 36 days until Election Day, 1 day until the first presidential debate, 114 days until Inauguration Day, 95 days left in 2020.
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has urged Democrats to win more House seats if a scenario unfolds in which the House of Representatives would vote to determine the outcome of the presidential election in November.
In a letter to Democrats on Sunday, Pelosi outlined an option in which neither President Donald Trump nor former Vice President Joe Biden win a majority of votes in the Electoral College, meaning the House of Representatives would have to decide the election by a vote.
Under the 12th Amendment, the vote in the House would take part in two stages. First, members of Congress would vote among their state delegations for president, the winner of each state determined by a simple majority of the state's congressional members. Then the votes of all 50 state delegations in Congress would be tallied to determine the final election outcome. The candidate who wins the most states would win the election.
Pelosi said the upcoming elections could be the deciding factor if such a scenario were to happen. Democrats are favored to keep control of the House in November, though Republicans hold a majority of state delegations. Republicans control 26 state delegations, Democrats control 22, and two delegations – Pennsylvania and Michigan – are tied.
- Nicholas Wu
President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will meet face-to-face for the first time of the 2020 campaign Tuesday in what analysts expect will be a bruising presidential debate hinged on personal attacks.
The 90-minute contest in Cleveland will be stripped of typical debate standards. There will be no handshake over coronavirus concerns and no opening statements, fitting for an unconventional race that has recently been eclipsed by the coronavirus pandemic, social upheaval and a heated Supreme Court battle over the vacancy left by the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
A little over a month from Election Day, Trump will seek to close his nearly 7-point deficit in national polls while Biden will present his case for why he's a better alternative, strategists and historians say. Achieving these aims, they say, may mean touchy subjects, such as attacks on the candidates' children, will be on display for a national audience in prime time.
- Courtney Subramanian, John Fritze and David Jackson
Brad Parscale, President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, was hospitalized Sunday in Florida after his wife called police to say he planned to harm himself.
Police arrived at Parscale's home in Fort Lauderdale after his wife called saying he was threatening suicide and had firearms, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported. The newspaper said Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Karen Dietrich described the incident at Parscale's house as brief.
Dietrich said Parscale didn't threaten police and willingly left his house and was taken to a local hospital after negotiating with police, the Sun-Sentinel reported. Police Sgt. DeAnna Greenlaw said Parscale was hospitalized under the state's Baker Act, which allows anyone deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to be detained for 72 hours for psychiatric evaluation.
- Jordan Culver
President Donald Trump on Sunday refused to discuss his tax returns after a report said he paid only $750 in personal federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, and he paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years.
Trump dismissed a New York Times investigation into his tax records, which revealed a string of financial losses that helped him avoid paying taxes, and showed the president is beset by hundreds of millions in personal debt that will come due within the next four years. The analysis also found Trump earned millions abroad after he took office, raising questions about whether it conflicts with his role as president.
During a news conference Sunday, the president called the report "totally fake news."
"Actually I paid the tax, and you'll see them as soon as my tax returns are done," Trump told reporters at the White House. "It's under audit. They've been under audit for a long time. The IRS does not treat me well."
Trump was the first major presidential candidate in four decades to refuse to release tax returns and has long used the excuse that he cannot reveal them due to an audit by the Internal Revenue Service. However, an audit does not prevent Trump from releasing his records.
- David Jackson and Courtney Subramanian
A new NBC News/Marist poll shows the majority of likely voters in Michigan and Wisconsin say that the U.S. Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg should be filled by the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
Fifty-six percent of likely Wisconsin voters and 54% of likely Michigan voters say that the winner of the November election should determine who picks the nominee.
Thirty-seven percent of likely Wisconsin voters and 35% of likely Michigan voters think President Donald Trump should fill the seat immediately. And 7% of likely Wisconsin voters and 5% of likely Michigan voters think that Trump should fill the seat no matter the presidential election results.
- Sarah Elbeshbishi
Joe Biden rankled some progressives this month when he boasted of his primary victory over Sen. Bernie Sanders while responding to President Donald Trump's efforts to paint him as a left-wing radical.
"I beat the socialist," Biden said without mentioning Sanders by name during a campaign stop in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. "Do I look like a socialist? Look at my career. My whole career. I am not a socialist."
Biden is betting that emphasizing centrist credentials will help him win over swing voters in Rust Belt states such as Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, including some who backed Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump won all three states by whisker-thin margins: a combined 77,744 votes out of 13,940,912 cast, or about half a percentage point. Without Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, Trump would have lost in the Electoral College.
- Ledyard King and Joey Garrison
'I beat the socialist': Biden tacks to the center in fight with Trump over Rust Belt moderates
Contributing: David Jackson, Courtney Subramanian, Sarah Elbeshbishi, Richard Wolf, Jordan Culver, Ledyard King, Joey Garrison, Christal Hayes and Nicholas Wu.