Election Live Updates: Trump Likely to Name Supreme Court Pick on Saturday as McConnell Vows Vote ‘This Year’

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Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump, speaking during a visit to working-class Dayton, Ohio, accused former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., of betraying American workers with his past support for “globalist” economic policies that devastated the Midwest’s manufacturing base.

“Can you believe it? For 47 years Joe Biden shook the hands of American workers and then stabbed them in the back,” Mr. Trump said, citing Mr. Biden’s support for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

“Joe Biden, he should not be asking for your support. He should be asking for your forgiveness,” Mr. Trump said.

Speaking outdoors to a large crowd of voters at an airport, Mr. Trump said Ohio had lost “one in three manufacturing jobs, two out of three iron and steel mill jobs and half of its auto jobs — courtesy of Joe Biden.”

Mr. Trump also criticized Mr. Biden for supporting the 2015 Paris climate accords, which he called an “anti-American deal,” saying the pact would close “probably 25 percent of your companies” if he had not withdrawn from it.




Biden Appeals to Obama Voters Who Backed Trump in Wisconsin

Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, appealed to voters in Manitowoc, Wis., who had supported Barack Obama but backed President Trump in 2016.

When Donald Trump said he didn’t create — he didn’t want to create a panic — he wasn’t just talking about a health panic. He was focused on the stock market. Trump was worried that if he told the public the truth, there would be a panic in the financial markets and that would hurt his chances of being re-elected. That’s how Donald Trump views the world. He sees the world from Park Avenue. I see it from where I grew up, in a town like this, from Scranton, Penn. Workers here pay close to twice that amount, close to 30 percent. Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy is going to cost billions of dollars a year, and those who — and whose hide does it come out of? It comes out of your hide. The simple truth is that Donald Trump ran for office saying he would represent the forgotten men and women in this country. And then once he got in office, he forgot us. The truth is that he never really respected us very much. Oh, he loves his rallies. The next time he holds one, look closely — Trump keeps his distance from anyone in the rally.

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Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic presidential nominee, appealed to voters in Manitowoc, Wis., who had supported Barack Obama but backed President Trump in 2016.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Joseph R. Biden Jr. directly appealed on Monday to voters who once supported Barack Obama but were drawn to President Trump in the last presidential election, visiting a foundry in northeast Wisconsin and accusing the president of turning his back on working people.

In his latest campaign trip to a critical Midwestern battleground, Mr. Biden traveled to Manitowoc, a city along Lake Michigan in a county that Mr. Trump won by 21 points in 2016 — a dramatic shift from 2008, when Barack Obama won there by nearly eight points. (Mitt Romney narrowly won it in 2012.)

“I know many of you were frustrated,” Mr. Biden said at Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, offering a direct message to people who voted for Mr. Trump in 2016. “You were angry. You believe we weren’t seen. You weren’t being seen, represented or heard. I get it. It has to change, and I promise you this: It will change with me. You will be seen, heard and respected by me.”

The speech was Mr. Biden’s latest attempt to place himself squarely on the side of American workers while presenting Mr. Trump as catering to the rich. “The simple truth is that Donald Trump ran for office saying he would represent the forgotten men and women in this country,” Mr. Biden. “And then once he got in office, he forgot us.”

It was another appearance in which Mr. Biden drew upon his upbringing in Scranton, Pa., continuing a theme from last week. Once again, he took issue with it being pointed out that he, unlike recent presidents, lacks an Ivy League degree.

“You close the door on me because you think I’m not good enough. ” Mr. Biden said. “Guess what? Like all you guys, I’m going to bust down that door.”

Mr. Biden, a graduate of the University of Delaware and Syracuse University College of Law, added: “I say it’s about time that a state school president sat in the Oval Office. Because you know what? If I’m sitting there, you’re going to be sitting there, too.”

Mr. Biden also addressed the latest grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic, with the death toll in the United States now at about 200,000. He criticized Mr. Trump for playing down the virus earlier this year, noting that the president has said he did not want to create panic.

“Trump panicked,” Mr. Biden, who wore a mask during his speech, said. “The virus was too big for him. All his life Donald Trump has been bailed out of any problem he faced. And with this crisis, a real crisis, a crisis that required serious presidential leadership, he just wasn’t up to it. He froze. He failed to act. He panicked. And America’s paid the worst price of any nation in the world.”

The trip on Monday was Mr. Biden’s second to Wisconsin as the Democratic presidential nominee. In early September, he visited Kenosha in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake and held a small event in Wauwatosa, a Milwaukee suburb.

Polls continue to show Mr. Biden with an edge in Wisconsin. A poll conducted by The New York Times and Siena College this month found him with a five-point lead over Mr. Trump among likely voters.

Senator Majority Mitch McConnell has been polling his members on how best to proceed on a Supreme Court nomination.
Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, said on Monday that he would support moving forward before the election to fill the Supreme Court vacancy after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and his fellow Republican, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, later announced that he would vote to confirm any “qualified nominee.”

Mr. Grassley’s announcement, a reversal of his earlier stance on election-year vacancies, and Mr. Gardner’s statement significantly strengthened the hand of Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, who has vowed to confirm a new justice in the coming months.

“This Senate will vote on this nomination this year,” Mr. McConnell confirmed on Monday, though it remains unclear if he will press for a vote before or after the Nov. 3 general election.

The announcement by Mr. Grassley, the most senior Senate Republican and a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, was perhaps most helpful to Mr. McConnell, who has made it clear he would move forward with President Trump’s nominee despite the party’s refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court pick in 2016. At the time, Mr. McConnell, Mr. Grassley and other Republicans had argued that doing so in a presidential election year would not be appropriate.

On Monday, Mr. McConnell restated his intention to move forward. “The Senate has more than sufficient time to process a nomination,” Mr. McConnell said in a speech meant to knock down complaints lodged by Democrats. “History and precedent make that perfectly clear.”




How 3 Republicans Explain Their Supreme Court Flip-Flops

Senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz changed their positions on election year Supreme Court nominations. Here’s what they are saying now.

“I want you to use my words against me. If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say, Lindsey Graham said, let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination. And you could use my words against me and you’d be absolutely right. If an opening comes in the last year of President Trump’s term and the primary process is started, we’ll wait till the next election.” “There is a long tradition that you don’t do this in an election year. The Senate is advising right now, we’re advising that a lame duck president in an election year is not going to be able to tip the balance of the Supreme Court.” “I think it is particularly important that the Senate take it up and confirm this nomination before the election, because Joe Biden has been explicit, he has said, if he doesn’t win, he’s going to challenge this election. He’s going to go to court, he’s going to challenge, he’s already hired a big legal team, Hillary Clinton has told Joe Biden, under no circumstances should you concede. Given that, there is a serious risk of a constitutional crisis.” “It’s campaign season, we’re right in the middle of it. And one of the most important issues now is this: Who will Americans trust to nominate the next Supreme Court justice? As senators, it leaves us with a choice. Will we allow the people to continue deciding who will nominate the next justice, or will we empower a lame duck president to make that decision on his way out the door?” “President Trump’s nominee for this vacancy will receive a vote on the floor of the Senate. The Senate has more than sufficient time to process the nomination. History and precedent make that perfectly clear.”

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Senators Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz changed their positions on election year Supreme Court nominations. Here’s what they are saying now.CreditCredit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

With President Trump vowing to name a replacement by the weekend, Mr. McConnell has been working behind the scenes to lock up the support he would need to proceed.

Republicans could try to rush to confirm a replacement for Justice Ginsburg before Election Day. But doing so could put some of their members up for election — including Mr. Gardner — in greater political peril and keep them off the campaign trail in the crucial closing weeks of the campaign. There are risks in waiting, too, particularly if voters overwhelmingly reject Mr. Trump and Republican senators at the ballot box.

Two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine, have publicly objected to the idea of a vote before Election Day, meaning Mr. McConnell could only afford to lose one more member of his party, given his slim, 53-to-47 majority.

That focused attention on Mr. Grassley, Mr. Gardner and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, who were seen as possible holdouts but had said nothing publicly about their intentions.

Mr. Grassley’s flip was likely to fuel Democrats’ outrage over what they are calling rank hypocrisy by Republicans in light of their actions and statements in 2016.

Around the same time, Iowa’s junior senator, Joni Ernst, who is in a tough re-election fight this fall, indicated she, too, would support moving forward, though she did not explicitly say she would support voting on a nominee this year. Polls have shown Ms. Ernst, who is also a member of Mr. McConnell’s leadership team, in a dead heat with her Democratic opponent, Theresa Greenfield.

“Once the president puts forward his nominee for the Supreme Court, I will carry out my duty — as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee — to evaluate the nominee for our nation’s highest court,” she said.

President Trump, who campaigned in Fayetteville, N.C., over the weekend, said Monday that he was currently considering five people as potential Supreme Court picks but did not name them.
Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump said Monday afternoon that he would “probably” announce his selection to succeed Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court on Saturday, and that he would “much rather” have a vote on his nominee before the Nov. 3 election.

Speaking to reporters at the White House before a trip to Ohio, Mr. Trump added that he was considering five women for the position, and that he had already spoken with some candidates. He said he expected to meet in person with some of them in the coming days.

Asked about the timing of the vote, he said that there is “a great deal of time before the election” but that it would be “up to Mitch in the Senate,” referring to Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader.

Asked about Republican Senators who oppose a swift vote, Mr. Trump said that he “would think that that would be very bad for them,” and a disappointment to the voters who elected them.

White House officials had indicated that the announcement of Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court pick could come as early as Tuesday, and they remain eager to get it done sooner rather than later. The president’s aides have been working on a plan for a Supreme Court vacancy for months, whittling down the list of candidates in advance in order to move quickly.

The front-runner is said to be Judge Amy Coney Barrett of the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago, followed by Judge Barbara Lagoa of the 11th Circuit in Atlanta, according to people close to the process. Kate Todd, a deputy White House counsel, was also said to be on the list. Mark Meadows, the White House chief of staff, has also been promoting Judge Allison Jones Rushing of the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, but at age 38, she is viewed by many aides as too young.

If Mr. Trump announces his choice on Saturday, that would leave only 38 days until Election Day, which would be the quickest confirmation since Sandra Day O’Connor was appointed in 1981. Since 1975, confirmation on average has taken about 70 days.

But Mr. Trump again insisted on a confirmation “before the election” even though Senate Republicans blocked consideration of President Barack Obama’s nomination for a vacant seat in 2016 despite a far longer gap until the election.

Lindsey Graham wrote to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee that “if the shoe were on the other foot, I am certain you would do the same.”
Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Senator Lindsey Graham, the South Carolina Republican whose striking reversal on filling a Supreme Court vacancy in the run-up to a presidential election has drawn criticism from opponents, an ad attacking him as hypocritical, and even protests outside his home, sought to defend himself Monday in a letter his Democratic colleagues.

He wrote them that “if the shoe were on the other foot, I am certain you would do the same.”

In the letter, to Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mr. Graham said that Republicans would move “expeditiously” to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and sought to push back against the charges of hypocrisy.

Mr. Graham had vocally joined other Republican senators in 2016 in blocking President Barack Obama’s Supreme Court nominee after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, arguing that a confirmation vote should not be held in a presidential election year.

“I want you to use my words against me,” he had said in 2016. “If there’s a Republican president in 2016 and a vacancy occurs in the last year of the first term, you can say Lindsey Graham said, ‘Let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination.’” He repeated his pledge to wait on any election-year nominee in 2018.

But on Saturday, Graham reversed himself.

“Because our Senate majority committed to confirming President Trump’s excellent judicial nominees — and particularly because we committed to supporting his Supreme Court nominees — the American people expanded the Republican majority in 2018,” Mr. Graham wrote on Monday. “We should honor that mandate.”

He also argued that the circumstances of a Supreme Court vote in 2020 would be different than in 2016, because Mr. Trump was facing re-election and “the people will have a say in his choices.” And he claimed that Republican-appointed nominees had been treated far worse than their Democratic-appointed counterparts.

“It’s clear that there is already one set of rules for a Republican president and one set of rules for a Democrat president,” he wrote.

Mr. Graham is facing harsh criticism for his change in position, both at home and in Washington. Jaime Harrison, the Democrat running against him in South Carolina, said the senator had proved that his “word is worthless.” Protesters swarmed outside of Mr. Graham’s house on Capitol Hill on Monday, carrying signs quoting his past statements and calling on him not to begin the confirmation process.

People paid their respects to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court on Sunday.
Credit…Michael A. McCoy for The New York Times

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, allowing visitors to pay respects during an unusual outdoor viewing aligned for the pandemic era, the Supreme Court announced on Monday.

Justice Ginsburg, who died on Friday at 87, will be brought for a final time to the court where she served for 27 years for a private ceremony at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday. The service will be held in the Great Hall of the building and attended by her fellow justices, relatives and close friends.

Afterward, Justice Ginsburg’s casket will be brought outdoors, where she will lie in repose under the Portico at the top of the front steps.

The public can pay respects from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. on Wednesday and again from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday.

Justice Ginsburg will also lie in state in the National Statuary Hall at the Capitol on Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced. A formal ceremony will be held there that morning but will be by invitation only over concerns about the coronavirus.

Justice Ginsburg will later be interred in a private ceremony next week at Arlington National Cemetery, where her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, is also buried.

The services at the court are somewhat in keeping with recent tradition: Justices John Paul Stevens and Antonin Scalia and Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist all lay in repose in the Supreme Court.

Usually, however, such viewings are held in the court’s Great Hall. But the court has been closed to the public during the pandemic.

As in the past, the Lincoln catafalque, or platform, which was used for President Lincoln’s coffin in 1865, will be loaned by Congress to the Supreme Court, and Justice Ginsburg’s coffin will be placed on it. A portrait of her will also be on display inside the Great Hall.


President Trump said he would wait until after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s funeral services to nominate his choice to fill her position, out of “respect.”
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

President Trump questioned Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dying wish that her replacement on the Supreme Court be chosen by the next president, suggesting without evidence Monday that Democrats had concocted a quote provided by Justice Ginsburg’s grieving family.

“I don’t know that she said that, or if that was written out by Adam Schiff, and Schumer and Pelosi,” Mr. Trump said during an interview on “Fox & Friends” early Monday, referring to three top Democrats, Representative Adam Schiff of California, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California.

“That came out of the wind. It sounds so beautiful, but that sounds like a Schumer deal, or maybe Pelosi or Shifty Schiff,” added Mr. Trump, interrupting one of the show’s co-hosts, who had tried to interject that the quote had been verified by journalists.

Days before her death on Friday, Justice Ginsburg, 87, dictated a statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera, saying, “my most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” according to NPR’s Nina Totenberg.

Mr. Trump’s baseless questions about the provenance of the quote appear to originate with him. Questions about the legitimacy of Justice Ginsburg’s “dying wish” were not circulating online in any significant way before his Fox News appearance.

But since his appearance, social media has filled with false claims echoing Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theory. On Twitter, users continued to spread their false claims that Justice Ginsburg had dictated the note to her “8-year-old granddaughter.” (Ms. Spera is a lawyer who graduated from Harvard Law School in 2017.) They have cast doubts on the integrity of NPR’s reporting. (Ms. Totenberg, the NPR reporter who published the detail about Justice Ginsburg’s last wish, is a longtime Supreme Court reporter who has been close to the Ginsburg family for decades.)

In an appearance on MSNBC on Monday, Ms. Totenberg confirmed her account of Justice Ginsburg’s statement, and said that others in the room at the time witnessed her making it, including her doctor. “I checked,” Ms. Totenberg added, “because I’m a reporter.”

Mr. Schiff, one of the congressional Democrats Mr. Trump speculated might have invented Justice Ginsburg’s request, responded on Twitter. “Mr. President,” he wrote, “this is low. Even for you.”

Senator Kelly Loeffler, Republican of Georgia, is running in a special election to retain her seat.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times

Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican trying to hold her seat in a special election, on Monday turned to a head-scratching historical figure to burnish her conservative credentials: Attila the Hun.

In an ad released by her campaign, Ms. Loeffler compared herself favorably to Attila, the fifth-century barbarian ruler known for plundering the Roman Empire but not — as the ad suggests — for waging war on China and the news media.

“She’s more conservative than Attila the Hun,” a man in the 30-second ad declares as he sits on a couch discussing Ms. Loeffler’s right-wing appeal.

The ad segues to a satirical exchange in which an actor purporting to be Attila, dressed in armor and seated on a throne, grunts orders to a servant who translates them into English.

“Fight China, got it,” the servant responds, nodding. “Attack big government, yeah. Eliminate the liberal scribes.”

The commercial, which a spokesman for the Loeffler campaign said was part of a six-figure television advertising push across Georgia, quickly drew widespread attention and scorn, including from her top Republican opponent in the special election, Representative Doug Collins.

“Kelly thinks conservatives are grunting, filthy, mass-murdering open borders atheist polygamists,” Dan McLagan, a spokesman for Mr. Collins, said in a statement. “She lives in a seriously warped palace with an odd view of the peasants.”

Meghan McCain, a co-host of “The View” and the daughter of the late Republican senator John McCain, was more succinct. She called the ad “stupid” on Twitter, and asked, “Aren’t you supposed to be appealing to moderate women?”

The spokesman for the Loeffler campaign did not address the content of the ad, or the critics who suggested Ms. Loeffler and her campaign had conflated Attila, whose empire was in Central and Eastern Europe, with the Mongol ruler Genghis Khan, who was known for his conquests in China.

Ms. Loeffler, who is one of the wealthiest people ever to serve in Congress, was appointed in 2019 by Gov. Brian Kemp of Georgia to fill the term of Senator Johnny Isakson, a Republican who resigned citing health reasons. She is facing several Republicans and Democrats in a special election on Nov. 3.

Congressional leaders clashed on Monday over a stopgap spending bill to stave off a government shutdown at the end of the month, as Democrats put forth a measure that omitted billions of dollars in additional relief that President Trump has promised for farmers battered by his trade policies.

The late-stage dispute, which came as Republicans and Democrats had been nearing a bipartisan deal on the measure, could jeopardize efforts to cement an agreement to avert a lapse in government funding when the fiscal year ends on Sept. 30. It came after Democrats balked at additional money for the Commodity Credit Corporation, arguing privately that Mr. Trump was seeking to use it as a political piggy bank to reward a powerful constituency.

The looming fight over filling the Supreme Court vacancy left by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death has escalated partisan tensions on Capitol Hill, leaving the chances of a quick resolution unclear.

The House is expected to vote on the spending bill as early as this week, but Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, denounced the Democratic-written proposal as “unacceptable.”

“House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement. “This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.”

In an effort to win Republican approval, Democrats had agreed to extend funding through Dec. 11, rather than providing enough money to last into early 2021, as they had originally sought to do. They also dropped provisions, opposed by Republicans, that would have provided additional money for election security and extended crucial deadlines for the census to provide redistricting data.

The legislation would extend funding for a flood insurance program through next September, extend a program that finances the construction and maintenance of highways, and prevent furloughs at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, an agency that has seen a dip in revenue partly because of the pandemic.

But the bill did not include any additional relief for American families or businesses struggling to weather the toll of the pandemic, as talks over a broader coronavirus relief package remained at an impasse.

A City of Milwaukee Election Commission worker processes and sorts absentee ballots for Wisconsin's primary election.
Credit…Mark Hoffman/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, via Associated Press

Wisconsin, a prize on the political map that in the last week has drawn visits from President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr., was ordered by a federal judge on Monday to extend its mail-in voting deadline until six days after the election.

The ruling by Judge William M. Conley of United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin requires election officials to accept absentee ballots until Nov. 9, instead of by 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, when in-person polls close in the state. The mail-in ballots still have to be postmarked by Election Day.

More than 1 million voters in Wisconsin, many of them seeking to avoid voting in person during the pandemic, have requested absentee ballots.

Democrats had sued to extend the deadline for ballots to arrive. Mr. Trump carried Wisconsin in 2016, beating Hillary Clinton by only 22,748 votes.

Republicans are expected to appeal the decision.

In his ruling, Judge Conley wrote that Democrats had presented credible evidence from experts that in-person voting on Nov. 3 would pose a significant risk to human health.

“While the exact trajectory of Covid-19 in Wisconsin is unknown, the unrebutted public health evidence in the record demonstrates that Covid-19 will continue to persist, and may worsen, through November,” Judge Conley wrote.

The decision also extended by a week the deadline for registering to vote by mail or online in the state, to Oct. 21. Wisconsin already allows voters to register in person on Election Day.

The ruling was not complete victory for Democrats, however. Judge Conley denied a motion to suspend the state’s requirement that all absentee ballot return envelopes must be signed by a witness, and must include their address. He wrote that he was not persuaded that the requirement would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, as Democrats had asserted.

Philadelphia’s top election official warned that 100,000 mail-in ballots were at risk of being thrown out because of an antiquated rule.
Credit…Mark Makela for The New York Times

Philadelphia’s top election official warned on Monday that up to 40,000 mail ballots cast by city voters and 100,000 ballots statewide were at risk of being thrown out because of a rule that might be unfamiliar to inexperienced voters.

Lisa M. Deeley, chair of the Philadelphia City Commissioners, which runs elections in the city, projected that tens of thousands of voters’ ballots could be disqualified if they are not placed in a “secrecy envelope” that then goes inside an outer envelope before being mailed. In a letter to leaders of the State Legislature, Ms. Deeley warned that if no action was taken, these so-called naked ballots could make the state the center of “postelection legal controversy, the likes of which we have not seen since Florida in 2000.”

In every election in every state, mailed ballots are ruled ineligible because of human errors, such as a missed deadline or the absence of a voter’s signature. With so many voters expected to use mail ballots for the first time because of the coronavirus pandemic, election officials fear a surge in these errors. Pennsylvania is one of 16 states that requires secrecy envelopes, intended to protect voters’ privacy. Naked ballots — those that arrive without one — will not be counted.

Ms. Deeley appealed to the Republican-led Legislature to pass an immediate law to let such ballots be counted. Last week, the State Supreme Court extended the deadline for receiving mail ballots and allowed ballots to be submitted via drop boxes — changes sought by Democrats. But in the same decision, the court ruled that state law requires secrecy envelopes.

Ms. Deeley argued, however, that the inner envelopes were a vestige of the past when absentee votes were tabulated at polling places, and that they were unnecessary now that Philadelphia counts them centrally with machines.

“The secrecy envelope exists now only as a means to disenfranchise well-intentioned Pennsylvania voters,” she wrote. President Trump won Pennsylvania by just over 44,000 votes in 2016.

The office of the Manhattan District Attorney, Cyrus Vance, Jr., said news reports and public testimony would justify a grand jury inquiry into a range of possible crimes.
Credit…Desiree Rios for The New York Times

The Manhattan district attorney’s office, which has been locked in a yearlong legal battle with President Trump over obtaining his tax returns, suggested for the first time on Monday that it had grounds to investigate him and his businesses for tax fraud.

The assertion by the office of the district attorney, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., offered a rare detailed disclosure about the office’s investigation into the president and his business dealings, which began more than two years ago.

Lawyers for Mr. Trump have said the subpoena should be blocked, calling it “wildly overbroad” and politically motivated. Mr. Vance responded to that argument in a new filing that did not directly accuse Mr. Trump or any of his businesses or associates of wrongdoing.

However, prosecutors listed news reports and public testimony that alleged misconduct by Mr. Trump and inside his businesses. The reports, prosecutors wrote, would justify a grand jury inquiry into a range of possible crimes, including tax and insurance fraud and falsification of business records.

Mail ballots in Renton, Wash., last month. By Sept. 25, the Postal Service must begin treating all election mail, including ballots, as first-class or priority mail, a federal judge ruled.
Credit…Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

A federal judge in New York on Monday ordered the Postal Service to reverse operational changes that have slowed mail delivery in recent months and to prioritize election mail, the latest legal rebuke to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s management of the agency.

By Sept. 25, the Postal Service must begin treating all election mail, including ballots, as first-class or priority mail; pre-approve all overtime requested between Oct. 26 to Nov. 6, the peak times for election mail; and submit a plan to restore on-time delivery of mail to its highest level this year, Judge Victor Marrero wrote in his ruling Monday.

“The right to vote is too vital a value in our democracy to be left in a state of suspense in the minds of voters weeks before a presidential election,” Mr. Marrero wrote.

The order came in response to a lawsuit filed by mail-in voters from six states against President Trump and Mr. DeJoy, seeking to block cuts Mr. DeJoy put in place only months before the November election.

Among the 17 plaintiffs from California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin were some prominent New York Democrats, including Mondaire Jones, a progressive congressional candidate running to represent the suburban 17th district, and Alessandra Biaggi, a state senator.

Judge Marrero’s order came after courts in numerous states issued rulings last week that could expand the use of mail-in voting.

In Pennsylvania, the state Supreme Court paved the way for more mail-in ballots to be counted by extending the due date by which they must be received by election officials and allowing the expanded use of drop boxes. And in Washington State, a federal judge blocked Mr. DeJoy’s operational and policy changes, issuing a nationwide injunction to force the Postal Service to reverse them.

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez distributed bags of groceries, school supplies and written information about the census in English, Spanish and Bangla in the Bronx on Saturday.
Credit…Gabriela Bhaskar for The New York Times

With a little more than a week left before the deadline to complete the census, so-called counters have been knocking on doors across the country in order to boost the number of people included. In New York City, their work has been supplemented by a million-dollar effort from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Since easily winning a Democratic primary this summer, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez has repurposed her campaign operation to spread the word about the census, using digital ads, flyers and phone banks to encourage people in her district, half of whom are immigrants, to participate in spite of potential fear of federal immigration authorities.

“Whether you do have papers or you don’t have papers, it’s 100 percent confidential,” she said in Spanish in a recent Telemundo online forum, highlighting the Sept. 30 deadline.

The census helps determine the distribution of federal funding, how many seats in the House of Representatives each state is entitled to, and the geographical boundaries of legislative districts.

“We have an opportunity not just to count everybody, not just to make sure that resources are allocated justly, but also to really redraw the entire political possibilities of the House,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said Saturday.

Representative Dan Crenshaw has alternated between embracing and distancing himself from President Trump.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Dan Crenshaw, a high-profile freshman Republican congressman from the Houston suburbs, acknowledged on Monday that moderate voters in his district “have a personal dislike” for President Trump — yet another harbinger of possible trouble for the G.O.P. in a supposedly safe Red State.

Mr. Crenshaw, one of the few Republican stars to emerge from the Democrat-dominated class of 2018, was asked about his party’s struggles in suburban areas during an online question-and-answer session sponsored by Politico and The Texas Tribune. His response was candid.

“It’s not secret that in the suburbs, and especially amongst women,” voters “are simply turned off by Donald Trump,” said Mr. Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL who lost his right eye in an insurgent attack in Afghanistan.

“It’s pretty obvious to me as I talk to people on a daily basis, in these suburban areas around Harris County, for instance, that people are definitely center-right voters, but they don’t want to vote for Donald Trump,” he said.

“They have a personal dislike for him, it’s just that simple,” he added. “Does this mean they are turned off by Republicans? Does this mean they are not center-right voters any more? No, not necessarily.”

The Second Congressional District of Texas, a gerrymandered crescent that encircles the northern and western suburbs of the city, went for Mr. Trump by nine points over Hillary Clinton four years ago — matching his overall statewide margin of victory.

Mr. Crenshaw is currently fighting for re-election against Sima Ladjevardian, an Iranian-born lawyer who served as a campaign adviser to Beto O’Rourke in his campaign against Senator Ted Cruz. Ms. Ladjevardian has mounted a strong challenge, but Texas Democrats still think Mr. Crenshaw holds the edge.

The overall environment in Texas is much less favorable to Republicans this year, however. Mr. Trump is locked in a neck-and-neck contest with Joseph R. Biden Jr., according to recent polls.

 Democrats immediately vowed to challenge the legal authority of Attorney General William P. Barr, who has sought, along with President Trump, to portray the cities in question as lawless.
Credit…Anna Moneymaker for The New York Times

Attorney General William P. Barr escalated the Trump administration’s war on Democratic-led cities on Monday by identifying three that he said could lose federal funding over their responses to protests against police brutality and systemic racism this summer.

It is unclear whether the administration has the legal standing to withdraw the funding. An effort by the former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to defund so-called sanctuary cities is still winding its way through the courts with mixed results.

Still, the Justice Department said that New York, Seattle and Portland had all “permitted violence and destruction of property to persist and have refused to undertake reasonable measures to counteract criminal activities.” President Trump had ordered the review of the cities’ funding, accusing them of “permitting anarchy.

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Mr. Barr said in Monday’s statement. “It is my hope that the cities identified by the Department of Justice today will reverse course and become serious about performing the basic function of government and start protecting their own citizens.”

Democrats immediately vowed to challenge the Justice Department’s authority.

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York said on Monday that the administration’s portrayal of city as lawless was a complete misrepresentation, and that residents were going about their business and were excited about the first day of school.

“I saw anything but anarchy,” Mr. de Blasio said after visiting the Elmhurst section of Queens. “This is just another one of President Trump’s games. It’s thoroughly political.”

Letitia James, New York’s attorney general, said in a Twitter post on Monday that the Trump administration’s actions would not pass legal muster.

“This order hypocritically lays the groundwork to defund New York and the very types of law enforcement President Trump pretends to care about,” Ms. James said. “The president should be prepared to defend this illegal order in court.”

Mayor Jenny Durkan of Seattle characterized the move as an abuse of power and said it was “blatantly unlawful.”

The memo gave Mr. Barr 14 days to identify anarchist jurisdictions, citing the cities of New York, Seattle and Portland as some that had permitted “anarchy.” All three cities are led by Democratic mayors.


It will be a while until we have a good understanding of public opinion in the aftermath of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Most high-quality polls are conducted over three or more days, so we’ll have to wait to see many full poll results. Even then, those results will reflect only the state of play at the outset of what’s sure to be a long fight. But here’s what we know so far.

The early results are decent for Biden. We do have our first results from a few quick online surveys. YouGov found that voters didn’t want President Trump to appoint a new Supreme Court justice before the 2021 presidential inauguration, by a margin of 51 percent to 42 percent, and that if Mr. Trump did appoint a new justice, they did not want the Senate to seat him or her.

Ipsos found that a much larger majority of Americans — 62 percent — think that the winner of the presidential election should replace Justice Ginsburg, while just 23 percent disagreed.

Why the big difference? Question wording. The results of issue questions are often highly sensitive to the wording of the question. In this case, the huge difference between the Ipsos and YouGov results might be explained by a common bias in questionnaire design: acquiescence bias.

In general, people tend to be nice and agreeable, so questions that simply ask voters to agree or disagree with a statement will generally find higher support for “agreement” than a similar question with a forced choice between opposing ideas.

In this case, if the pollster simply asks whether the respondent agrees that the winner of the election should replace Justice Ginsburg, most voters might say “yes.” But if you give the same respondents a second option — whether Mr. Trump should choose the nominee — you can bet that plenty of Trump supporters would take the option, even though they might have agreed, if asked the other question, that the winner should decide. That’s probably a better reflection of the politics of the issue.

More of the same in the horse race. There weren’t too many polls this weekend, but most of them were very consistent with what we thought we already knew: a modest but still significant advantage for Joe Biden.

State polls
Pollster Margin Diff. from ’16 result
Fla. YouGov

Sept. 15-18, 1,205 L.V.

Biden +248-46 +3D
Ga. Redfield & Wilton Strategies

Sept. 12-16, 800 L.V.

Trump +145-46 +4D
Minn. Redfield & Wilton Strategies

Sept. 12-17, 718 L.V.

Biden +951-42 +7D
Mo. Remington Research Group

Sept. 16-17, 1,046 L.V.

Trump +845-53 +11D
Mont. New York Times/Siena College

Sept. 14-16, 625 L.V.

Trump +742-49 +13D
Pa. Trafalgar Group

Sept. 15-17, 1,006 L.V.

Biden +247-45 +3D
Pa. Climate Nexus

Sept. 8-11, 659 R.V.

Biden +548-43 +6D
Texas YouGov

Sept. 15-18, 1,140 L.V.

Trump +246-48 +7D
National polls

Maybe the most noteworthy one was an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, the first live-interview, education-weighted national survey in a while. It found Mr. Biden up by eight points among registered voters, with a net one-point shift in the president’s direction since August. On balance, that’s better for Mr. Biden than both the trend line and the average.

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