Trump rejects rule change for debates: US election news

After rumble in Cleveland, President Trump says ‘no’ to letting moderators shut off mics in next debates with Biden

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden repeatedly interrupted each other in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020. [Brian Snyder/Reuters]
President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden repeatedly interrupted each other in the first 2020 presidential campaign debate in Cleveland, Ohio, on September 29, 2020. [Brian Snyder/Reuters]
  • Trump and Biden were fundraising and off the campaign trail.
  • Mike Pence campaigned in the battleground state of Iowa.
  • Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Amy Coney Barrett, continued meeting with Senate Republicans.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a news conference.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US election. This is William Roberts and Steve Chaggaris.

Thursday, October 1

19:35 ET – Trump says he ‘will not stand’ for attacks on Amy Coney Barrett’s faith

US President Donald Trump has defended his nominee for the country’s Supreme Court, Amy Coney Barrett, saying her Catholic faith should be respected.

“We will not stand for any attacks against Judge Barrett’s faith. Anti-Catholic bigotry has absolutely no place in the United States of America,” Trump said during his speech to the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

Critics have questioned whether Barrett’s faith would guide her decisions on the Supreme Court bench, especially as it pertains to the right to an abortion.

In his address, the president also hit out at the Democratic Party, saying anti-Catholicism “predominates” within it, and urged people to vote for Republicans in next month’s elections.

19:25 ET – Biden says he is ‘guided’ by Catholic faith

Former Vice President Joe Biden, says that in the midst of myriad challenges facing the United States – from the COVID-19 pandemic to a recession and the effects of climate change – he is guided by his Catholic faith.

In remarks at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, held virtually this year, the Democratic presidential candidate described himself as an “Irish-Catholic kid … from Scranton, Pennsylvania”.

“We cannot serve ourselves at the expense of others. We have a responsibility to future generations and that’s the charge before us today,” Biden said.

19:00 ET – Biden and Trump to address Al Smith dinner

Both US President Donald Trump and his Democratic presidential challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, will be addressing the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner.

The dinner benefits charities of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York.

It is being held virtually this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

18:00 ET – Conservative hoaxers face charges in Michigan over false robocalls

Two notorious conservative operatives were charged with crimes in connection with false robocalls that aimed to dissuade residents in Detroit and other US cities from voting by mail, Michigan’s attorney general announced.

Jacob Wohl, 22, and Jack Burkman, 54, each face four felony counts in Detroit, including conspiring to intimidate voters in violation of election law and using a computer to commit crimes, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said.

The calls falsely warned residents in majority-Black Detroit and urban areas in at least four other states that voting by mail in the November 3 election could subject people to arrest, debt collection and forced vaccination, Nessel said.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel charged Jacob Wohl, 22, and Jack Burkman, 54, two notorious conservative operatives, with felonies in connection with false robocalls that aimed to dissuade residents in Detroit and other cities from voting by mail [David Eggert/AP]

17:45 ET – Agency chiefs opposed release of unverified Russia intelligence to Republican legislator: Report

The CIA and National Security Agency directors opposed US spy chief John Ratcliffe’s decision to declassify and send to a top Republican lawmaker unverified Russian intelligence that may have been fabricated, the Reuters news agency said.

The disclosure that CIA Director Gina Haspel and NSA Director Paul Nakasone opposed the material’s release comes after Democrats and former US intelligence officials alleged Ratcliffe made it public for the political purpose of helping President Donald Trump as he pursues a tough re-election fight.

Ratcliffe sent a letter to Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Lindsey Graham that implied US intelligence had information in 2016 that Hillary Clinton planned to tar Trump with Russia links. Trump cited the dubious material in his debate with Joe Biden on Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe is a former Republican congressman and close ally of President Trump. He has been accused of politicising his office to help the president get re-elected [File: Leah Millis/Reuters]

17:30 ET – Trump campaign rejects proposed rule change in debates with Biden

President Donald Trump’s campaign rejected calls to tweak the rules of the next two debates between him and Democratic challenger Joe Biden after a first matchup marred by constant interruptions and outbursts, the Reuters news service reported.

“We don’t want any changes,” Trump senior campaign adviser Jason Miller said on a conference call with reporters about the debates. Campaign officials did not respond to a question about whether Trump would agree to abide by the existing rules.

Tuesday night’s debate saw Trump regularly interrupt and talk over both Biden as well as moderator Chris Wallace. The next debate is scheduled for October 15 in Miami. A third debate is set for October 22 in Nashville.

The Commission on Presidential Debates had proposed giving moderators a button to shut off Donald Trump’s microphones if he fails to follow the rules the next debate with Joe Biden [Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]i

16:40 ET – Trump holds roundtable with supporters and a fundraiser at Bedminister golf resort

President Donald Trump is holding a roundtable discussion and fundraiser with supporters at his private Trump National Golf Club in Bedminister, New Jersey. The event is closed to the media.

Joe Biden and the Democratic Party have out raised Trump and the Republicans with Biden garnering $531 mn to Trump’s $476 mn in this campaign cycle so far, according to campaign finance data published by

16:15 ET – President Trump complains on Twitter about changes to debate rules

President Trump, who repeatedly interrupted Democratic rival Joe Biden in Tuesday’s presidential debate, tweeted against proposed rule changes from the Presidential Debates Commission that would allow moderators to cut off his microphone in the next two debates.

Officials for the commission, a joint Republican and Democratic body that organises the debates, said on Wednesday it was considering allowing moderators to cut-off the microphones of Trump or Biden if they break the rules by interrupting.

Fox News presenter Chris Wallace, who moderated the last debate, cast doubt on the advisability of shutting off the president’s mic.

“You know, they say, ‘Well, we’re going to give the moderator a button to mute them’. Boy, I don’t want to be in the position of saying, you know, ‘I’m going to interpose myself between the president and the public’ and say, ‘You can’t hear what he has to say now’. I think that’s a pretty tough spot. It’s pretty sad,” Wallace said in remarks on Fox earlier today.

President Donald Trump, left, and Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, right, interrupted each other repeatedly during the first presidential debate at Case Western University and Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. [Julio Cortez/AP Photo)

16:00 – Trump to campaign in key swing state Wisconsin on Saturday

The Trump campaign announced that the president will campaign in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Saturday with an additional stop in Janesville, Wisconsin. Both events will be airport rallies featuring remarks by the president.

Trump has been drawing large crowds of several thousand supporters, many without masks, to his campaign rallies which have been largely held outdoors at airports, often with the presidential plane Air Force One as a backdrop.

Trump’s campaign added the Janesville rally to its schedule after cancelling a planned rally in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. The city’s mayor and Wisconsin governor, both Democrats, had warned of a COVID surge in the western part of the state.

The Trump campaign is requiring rally attendees to sign a waiver holding the campaign harmless if they catch the virus. “By registering for this event, you understand and expressly acknowledge that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists … ” the waiver form says.

Trump supporters cheer as Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump at Duluth International Airport in Minnesota for a rally on September 30, 2020. [Jack RendulichAP Photo)

15:40 – Democratic VP candidate Harris joins Hillary Clinton on her new podcast

Kamala Harris was interviewed by Secretary Clinton on her new iHeartRadio podcast ‘You and Me Both’. Clinton asks the California senator about her upbringing by a mother whose core principle was “to concern yourself with the condition of other people and to help them.”

Harris reflected on her childhood and being raised with her sister by a strong working mother — which became a factor in Harris’s life and career. Harris is the first person of colour to be nominated by a major US political party to be vice president.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks with a young fan during a last-minute stop at a pizza restaurant while campaigning in Raleigh, North Carolina, on September 28, 2020. [Jonathan Drake/Reuters]

15:20 ET – Majority of LGBTQ voters support Joe Biden: Poll

With just over a month to got before the election a new survey shows LGBTQ voters overwhelmingly support Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

Fully 76 percent of LGBTQ voters plan to vote for Biden in November, according to new survey by the media watchdog group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLADD). Only 17 percent of LGBTQ voters support Trump.

The data is significant because newly motivated LGBTQ voters could make a difference for Biden in closely contested states like Michigan that Trump won in 2016. GLADD also said the data serves as a rebuttal to claims by Trump allies of gay support.

The president’s son, Eric Trump was criticized by GLADD after claiming in a recent TV interview that the LGBTQ community supported Trump. “They are incredible. And you should see how they come out in full force for my father every single day,” Trump said, claiming he was “part of that community and we love the man”.

Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump, drew fire from LGBTQ groups for claiming the ‘community’ supports his father. [File: Carlos Barria/Reuters]

15:00 ET – After pandemic delay, Biden launching in-person canvassing

After months of avoiding direct contact with voters because of the pandemic, Joe Biden’s campaign is launching door-to-door canvassing across several battleground states, news wires reported reported.

Several hundred volunteers will fan out across Nevada, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania in support of Biden and with new training from the campaign, focused on voters who may be difficult to reach by phone or online, according to Reuters.

The move comes after Democratic officials on the ground in key states voiced fear that Biden was giving away an advantage to President Trump and his Republican allies, who have been aggressively courting voters at their doorsteps for months, The Associated Press said.

Biden campaigned by train in Pennsylvania on Wednesday. He was greeted at a distance in Pittsburgh by a supporter holding a flag and wearing a mask [Mike Segar/Reuters]

14:15 – Pelosi and Mnuchin remain apart on COVID relief deal

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin discussed new coronavirus relief legislation in a 1 pm phone call on Thursday but “distance on key areas remain,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said on Twitter. The talks were to be continued.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said after speaking with Pelosi that she and Mnuchin were not in an agreement yet. “They have a lot of issues of disagreement,” Schumer told reporters at the US Capitol.

14:00 ET – US judge halts Trump administration panel on policing reforms

A federal judge halted the work of a policing panel created by President Donald Trump’s administration that aimed to deliver “law and order” reform proposals before the November 3 election, saying it violated federal open meeting laws, according to Reuters.

The Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice was part of an effort to deliver on a promise by Trump last year to a meeting of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

But the commission’s membership was limited to law enforcement officials who conducted secretive proceedings without civil rights advocates which led the NAACP to sue to stop its work. US District Judge John Bates in Washington on Thursday ruled in the NAACP’s favor.

13:50 ET – Religious group deleted mentions of Supreme Court nominee Barrett from its website

A religious organization tied to Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, sought to erase all mentions and photos of her from its website before she meets with lawmakers and faces questions at her Senate confirmation hearings, The Associated Press reported.

Barrett, a federal appeals judge, has declined to publicly discuss her decades-long affiliation with People of Praise, a charismatic Christian group that opposes abortion and holds that men are divinely ordained as the “head” of the family and faith.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Trump’s nominee for the US Supreme Court, is meeting with US senators ahead of her confirmation hearings set for next week. She faces opposition from Democrats. [Stefani Reynolds/Pool via AP]
An analysis by The Associated Press shows that People of Praise erased numerous records from its website during the summer of 2017 – when she was first considered by Trump for the high court – that referred to Barrett and included photos of her and her family.

13:30 ET – Researchers find Trump is biggest media driver of COVID ‘Infodemic’

Researchers at Cornell University who analyzed 38 million articles about the coronavirus pandemic found that US President Donald Trump accounted for much of the bad information about the virus.

“We found that media mentions of US President Donald Trump within the context of COVID-19 misinformation made up by far the largest share of the infodemic,” the Cornell researchers said.

President Donald Trump has been the biggest source of misinformation in the media about the coronavirus pandemic, according researchers at Cornell University. [Evan Vucci/AP Photo]
“Trump mentions comprised 37.9 percent of the overall misinformation conversation, well ahead of any other topics. We conclude that the President of the United States was likely the largest driver of the COVID-19 misinformation ‘infodemic’,” the researcher said.

The World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said the world was fighting not just a pandemic, but also an “infodemic” of fake news, misinformation and conspiracy theories related to the COVID virus.

13:15 ET – Biden campaign highlights Joe Biden’s Catholic faith in new ads

The Biden for President campaign announced it is launching a paid media campaign centered around Joe Biden’s faith. A trio of ads will be placed on Catholic and Christian TV and radio programs and faith-related digital platforms in key battleground states, the campaign said.

In an ad titled “Principles” airing on Catholic TV programs Biden speaks to Father Matt Malone, a Jesuit priest and editor of ‘America’ magazine, about core lessons he learned from his father such as stopping the abuse of power and treating everyone with dignity.

13:00 ET – House Speaker Pelosi, Treasury Sect Mnuchin in last ditch bid to reach a COVID stimulus deal

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are to speak by telephone about a potential $2.2 tn to $1.6 tn coronavirus relief package.

Pelosi told reporters earlier she is “optimistic” about the opportunity to reach an agreement with the Trump administration although she said Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on broad principles.

“We not only have a dollars debate, we have a values debate. Still, I’m optimistic,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference.

Members of the House are preparing to leave Washington to campaign for re-election. Pelosi told members of the Democratic caucus earlier this morning she did not “see a deal happening right now”, according to a report in the Politico news outlet.

12:40 ET – Top Democrat Pelosi says Trump debate ‘behaviour’ keeps her up at night

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said President Trump’s conduct in Tuesday night’s presidential debate with Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden “keeps me up at night”.

“As Speaker, over time, people have said to me, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ The night of the debate you saw what keeps me up at night,” Pelosi said a news briefing at the US Capitol.

“To see the president of the United States, in a debate with a potential president of the United States, refuse to condemn white supremacists, refuse to commit to a peaceful transfer of government. To ignore the climate crisis – our country is burning and our coasts are hit by fierce storms. To be there to crush the Affordable Care Act instead of crushing the virus,” Pelosi said.

“What keeps me at night is what we saw that night was authenticity on both sides of the stage. The president authentically as a bully. Joe Biden authentically a decent person who cares about America’s working families,” she said.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the highest ranking Democrat in the US government, disparaged Trump’s debate with Biden on Tuesday night [Erin Scott/Reuters]

11:50 ET – Brad Parscale steps down from Trump campaign after incident with police

Brad Parscale, a senior political adviser to President Donald Trump, has stepped away from the president’s re-election campaign after being involuntarily detained by police in Florida on suspicion of risk of self-harm.

In a statement late Wednesday, Parscale said: “I’m stepping away from my company and any role in the campaign for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress.”

Parscale’s wife raised alarm that he had chambered a bullet in a gun.

Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale and White House senior advisor Jared Kushner at a Trump rally with supporters in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 30, 2020. [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

11:35 ET – White House spokesperson McEnany says Trump has answered ‘white supremacy’ question

Trump spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany said at a White House media briefing that President Trump has adequately answered questions about whether he condemns white supremacy following his statement in the first presidential debate with Joe Biden on September 29.

“This has been answered, yesterday by the president himself the day before by the president himself on the debate stage the president was asked. He said ‘sure’ three times. Yesterday he was point-blank asked, ‘do you denounce white supremacy’ and he said ‘I’ve always denounced any form of that’,” McEnany said.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany speaks to reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, DC, on October 1, 2020. [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

10:00 ET – Trump cuts refugee admissions to record low

In an 11th-hour announcement, the US State Department announced President Donald Trump will accept only 15,000 refugees next year, the lowest number since the US refugee programme began.

“The United States anticipates receiving more than 300,000 new refugees and asylum claims in Fiscal Year 2021,” the State Department said in its announcement, adding: “Of that number, up to 15,000 would be refugees admitted through the US Refugee Admissions Program.” The State Department cited the Trump administration’s “continuing commitment to prioritize the safety and wellbeing of Americans, especially in light of the continuing COVID-19 pandemic” as its reason for the cut.

Trump has been cutting the number of new refugees each year since he took office in 2017. The 15,000 planned for the fiscal year 2021, which begins today, is a record low since 1980 when the refugee resettlement programme was created by the US Congress.

Trump has promised to cut the number of immigrants allowed into the US, arguing Americans are losing jobs to immigrants. Trump’s challenger, Joe Biden, has promised to increase the number of refugees allowed to 125,000.

09:30 ET – Minnesota Trump supporters’ familiar chant

Rally-goers at Trump’s campaign event on Wednesday night in Duluth, Minnesota trotted out a familiar refrain: “Lock her up.” Instead of directing it at Hillary Clinton, who the chant was originally directed towards four years ago, last night’s target was US Representative Ilhan Omar.

Trump referenced an unsubstantiated report that supporters of Omar were “harvesting” ballots – collecting absentee ballots and allegedly filling them out in favour of Omar. “And what about Omar, where she gets caught harvesting? What the hell is going on?”

The crowd then began their chant.

Read all the updates from Wednesday, September 30, here.

Source : Al Jazeera and News agencies

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