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Wake Up To Politics - October 22, 2020

It’s Thursday, October 22, 2020. Election Day is 12 days away. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

As Election Day nears, take a listen to some of my recent election-related podcasts: on polling, campaign finance, mail-in voting, presidential debates, the Electoral College, and more.

Campaign 2020

Debate preview: FBI makes announcement, but not the one Trump wants

Then-FBI Director James Comey’s letter announcing the reopening of the Hillary Clinton email investigation landed in congressional inboxes four years ago next week.

Trump has since fired Comey — ostensibly for breaking protocol with that “October surprise” — but he is now calling on his new FBI chief to make a similar move. According to the Washington Post, Trump has grown “increasingly frustrated that federal law enforcement has not delivered his campaign the kind of last-minute boost that the FBI provided in 2016,” by not publicly launching an investigation into Hunter Biden for allegedly attempting to profit off of his father’s vice presidency.

The president is reportedly mulling firing Comey’s successor, Christopher Wray, after the election, for his failure to take “official action similar to the announcement made 11 days before the last presidential election” by Comey.

However, Wray did appear before the cameras Wednesday night — not to announce a Biden probe, as the president has sought, but to reveal that Russia and Iran have both obtained America voter registration data as part of attempts to influence U.S. public opinion ahead of the election.

Much of the data is publicly available, but Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said that it was being “used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe specifically announced that Iran had been identified as the source of intimidating emails sent to Democratic voters this week. The emails had claimed to be from the Proud Boys, a pro-Trump group.

Even without backup from his G-men, Trump is still expected to hammer Joe Biden for the allegations concerning his son at their final presidential debate tonight. According to Politico, Biden is bracing for the president to attack his children, but is not expected to respond in kind, instead hoping to keep focus on the economy and the coronavirus.

According to CNN, Trump aides are advising the president to “lower the temperature” at tonight’s showdown, pointing to his recent drop in the polls after his aggressive performance at the first debate did little to change “negative impressions about his behavior among women and seniors.”

But the president’s rhetoric heading onto the debate stage has shown little signs of softening, calling for the Bidens to be jailed and referring to NBC’s Kristen Welker — tonight’s moderator — as “terrible and unfair.”

While Biden has been off the campaign trail all week preparing for the debate, Trump had not attended any formal or informal prep sessions as of Wednesday night, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Trump has railed against a rule change that will mute the candidates’ microphones to ensure that each contender has two minutes to speak at the beginning of each segment. His campaign also urged the Commission on Presidential Debates to make tonight’s showdown solely focused on foreign policy, accusing the commission of protecting Biden from questions about his son’s overseas business ties.

The topics for the debate, which were selected by Welker, are: “Fighting COVID-19,” “American Families,” “Race in America,” “Climate Change,” “National Security,” and “Leadership.” Each topic will be discussed in 15-minute segments, which will begin with uninterrupted two-minute statements from each candidates and then morph into open discussion.

Tonight’s debate will air from 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Eastern Time on all major broadcast and cable networks.


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden will participate in their final presidential debate at 9 p.m. Eastern Time at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at campaign rallies in Waterford Township, Michigan, at 12:30 p.m. and Fort Wayne, Indiana, at 4:30 p.m.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris will participate in a virtual “Women for Biden” rally at 4:30 p.m., along with the leaders of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, EMILY’s List, NARAL Pro-Choice America, and other pro-choice groups.

Green Party presidential nominee Howie Hawkins will hold a meet and greet in Nashville, Tennessee, at 4 p.m.

The Senate will convene at 12 p.m. and resume consideration of the nomination of Michael Jay Newman to be a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. The chamber will hold a procedural vote on the nomination at around 1 p.m. and likely vote on confirmation later in the day.

  • The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet at 9 a.m. to vote on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to be an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. The panel will also consider five other judicial nominations, the Online Content Policy Moderation Act, and a motion to subpoena the CEOs of Twitter and Facebook.

The House is not in session.

The Supreme Court is not in session.

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