Biden, Trump campaigns enter final sprint: US elections live news

  • Democratic candidate Joe Biden is set to spend the remainder of the presidential race in Pennsylvania, a battleground state that has become increasingly significant to both candidates.
  • Donald Trump on Sunday will hold five rallies in five states, in last-minute, breakneck appeals to energise voters – a strategy that helped him ride to victory in 2016.
  • The Republican president has praised a caravan of supporters that harassed a Biden campaign bus, leading to the cancellation of an event in Texas.
  • With just two days until election day, more than 92 million US citizens have already cast their votes, far outpacing early voting in any past elections and accounting for 67 percent of all votes counted in 2016.

    Trump laments losing friends after becoming president

    Trump, holding his first of five events on Sunday, a rally in Michigan, lamented losing friends who are “intimidated by the office”.

    While delivering a stump speech in Washington Township, Trump digressed into discussing a friend who treated him differently after he became president.

    “It’s like you lose all your friends because they’re intimidated by the office, does that make sense?” he said.

    “You don’t have any friends,” he said, before adding, “I have my friends in Michigan”.

    Federal Judge to consider throwing out 100,000 votes in Texas

    A federal judge in Texas will hold a hearing on Monday on whether Houston officials illegally allowed drive-through voting and must toss more than 100,000 votes in the Democratic-leaning area.

    US District Judge Andrew Hane will consider whether votes already cast at drive-through voting sites in the Houston area should be rejected.

    A lawsuit was brought on Wednesday by plaintiffs including Steve Hotze, a conservative activist, and state Representative Steve Toth. They accused Harris County Clerk Chris Hollins, a Democrat, of exceeding his constitutional authority by allowing drive-through voting as an alternative to walk-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic.

    Harris County, home to about 4.7 million people, is the third most populous county in the United States. It currently has 10 drive-through polling sites, which are available to all voters.

    Trump advisor baselessly claims Democrats will try to ‘steal’ election

    Senior Trump advisor Jason Miller has said that Democrats will try to “steal” back the election if Trump appears to be leading on election night, casting unfounded doubt on an unprecedented election that may take days for final results to come in.

    During an interview on ABC News, Miller said: “You speak with many smart Democrats, they believe President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 [electoral votes], somewhere in that range. And then they’re going to try to steal it back after the election.”

    Miller is referring to a possible scenario in which Trump appears to be ahead in some states on election night, but loses that lead as states continue counting all ballots cast, including mail ballots, in the following days. Some key states, in particular North Carolina and Pennsylvania, allow mail votes to be counted if they are post-marked by election day. Democrats are expected to vote more by mail than Republicans, who have baselessly claimed voting by mail is ripe for fraud.

    Pennsylvania central to campaigns in final days

    Pennsylvania, one of three northern rust-belt battleground states considered most competitive, has become central to both campaign’s schedules in the final days of the race.

    Trump held four rallies in the state on Monday, while Biden is holding two events on Sunday. On Monday, both candidates will be joined by their running mates and various surrogates in blanketing the state with events on the final full day of the campaign.

    Trump won the state, a former Democratic bastion, by 0.7 percent in 2016 and its 20 electoral votes may prove essential to his re-election hopes this time around. In recent weeks, the state had appeared more competitive than nearby Michigan and Wisconsin, in which Biden has maintained a steady lead. All three states were fundamental to Trump’s 2016 victory. Combined, he won by a margin of just 77,000 voters in the three states.

    A batch of new polls show Biden widening the gap in Pennsylvania, up seven points in a Washington Post-ABC poll, six points in a New York Times-Siena poll and five points in a Muhlenberg College poll.

    Top health expert Fauci contradicts Trump claims US is ’rounding the corner’ on pandemic

    Dr Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert and a member of the White House coronavirus task force, has said the US could not “possibly be positioned more poorly” when it comes to dealing withe pandemic during the winter months.

    Fauci, in an interview with the Washington Post, warned: “We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” while calling for an “abrupt change” in public health practices and behaviours as the colder months approach and people are more likely to congregate indoors.

    The statements stand in stark contrast Trump’s closing campaign arguments, as he has sought to portray the US as “rounding the corner” on the pandemic while repeatedly suggesting that the threat is being exaggerated by Democrats, the media and even health professionals.

    Trump has continued to hold in-person rallies despite the pandemic, a stark contrast to Biden, who has only held socially-distanced events. A recent Stanford University study found that 30,000 infections and 700 deaths were likely linked to 18 Trump rallies.

    A Trump spokesperson told the newspaper Fauci’s statements were “unacceptable and breaking with all norms…to choose three days before an election to play politics”.

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