The latest on the 2020 election and SCOTUS battle

By Meg Wagner and Mike Hayes, CNN

Updated 6:00 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020
32 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
5:53 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Climate and racial justice activists protest ahead of debate

From CNN's Rachel Janfaza

Climate and racial justice activists are protesting in Cleveland Tuesday, demanding “accountability and justice,” organizers say.

The protest, which has been organized by a number of different climate and racial justice organizations, started at 5 p.m. at Wade Lagoon Park in University Circle, Cleveland, which organizers say is less than a 5 minute walk from the debate location. 

With wildfires ravaging the West Coast and hurricane season remaining “extremely active,” young activists are angered that plans for the debate don’t include a discussion about climate. Climate activists are demanding that the climate crisis be covered and that the presidential candidates discuss the issue of climate change, they say. 

“As young people, climate really matters to us,” Emma DiLavore , 22-year-old senior at Case Western and a member of Sunrise Movement Case Western Reserve University, told CNN.

Tuesday’s protest in Cleveland is a joint action with a coalition of 14 partners including climate organizations such as Sunrise Movement Cleveland Hub, Sunrise Movement Case Western Reserve University, Ohio Youth for Climate Justice as well as racial justice organizations Black Lives Matter Cleveland, Black Spring Cleveland, Defend Black Women and others including New Voices for Reproductive Justice Cleveland. 

“Racism upholds the system that allows for environmental destruction,” Sunny Savron, a 23-year-old organizer with Sunrise Movement’s Cleveland hub and a student at Cleveland State University, told CNN. “Everyone’s heard of environmental racism, and poor communities of color see the brunt of environmental destruction. If all people were treated equally, we wouldn’t see as much destruction.” 

“Climate justice means racial justice,” organizers of the protest say. 

One of the topics at the debate is "race and violence in our cities."

In preparation for Tuesday’s debate, Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine issued a proclamation activating around 300 National Guard members. According to DeWine, the guard members will assist Cleveland police to "ensure a safe and secure environment for those attending Tuesday’s presidential debate," he said in a tweet last week.

Young activists, including students at Case Western Reserve University, say they are uncomfortable with the guard presence. 

“The protest is [also] protesting that fact that there are military police descending on our city right now,” DiLavore said.

5:46 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump claims "Real Polls" show him leading in Ohio ahead of tonight's debate

From CNN's Jason Hoffman 

President Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as he and First Lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One at the White House on Tuesday in Washington.
President Donald Trump gives the thumbs-up as he and First Lady Melania Trump walk to board Marine One at the White House on Tuesday in Washington. Carolyn Kaster/AP

Hours before the first presidential debate, President Trump tweeted that “Real Polls” show him leading in Ohio by more than they showed in 2016.

He also wrote, "Biden being against Fracking (Energy & Jobs) & your Second Amendment, we should be in very good shape!"  

Trump won Ohio by eight points in 2016. CNN’s tracking of the polls in Ohio show Biden leading by five points in one recent poll and another poll conducted this month was within the margin of error. 

"I am not banning fracking, no matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me," Biden said in August. 

Facts First: Biden is not running on a proposal to completely ban fracking (hydraulic fracturing, a drilling method used to extract natural gas or oil). However, there is at least some basis for Trump's claim: During the Democratic primary, Biden sometimes suggested he was proposing to get rid of all fracking. He's also pledged to "establish an enforcement mechanism to achieve net-zero emissions no later than 2050," which would almost certainly require a significant reduction in fracking.

5:37 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Here's where Biden and Trump stand on the climate crisis

From CNN's Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

Although the climate crisis is not set to be a topic of discussion in tonight's debate, it is a big issue for many voters. President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken very different positions on the climate, as outlined below. 

Biden

Biden in July 2020 proposed spending $2 trillion over four years on clean energy projects and ending carbon emissions from power plants by 2035. In a speech detailing the plan, Biden called the threat posed by climate change a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to jolt new life into our economy." The plan marks a clear shift by Biden toward progressives' goals of urgently reducing fossil fuel consumption to combat climate change.

Biden's new proposal is more ambitious than the 10-year, $1.7 trillion plan he'd offered during the Democratic primary, which included the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

His proposed 100% clean electricity standard by 2035 is modeled after a proposal initially offered by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee and later embraced by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. The same aim was included in a series of recommendations recently negotiated by a task force made up of members appointed by Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and co-chaired by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a chief proponent of the Green New Deal.

Trump

Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord – a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets – was a major blow to the global response to the climate crisis. The decision sent a message to the rest of the world that the US – which can legally leave the agreement as early as 2020 – would not be leading the global fight against climate change.

Trump's EPA chief has said that while he believes in climate change, it is not a top priority.

The administration shrunk two of Utah's national monuments. It has also pushed to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas exploration, as well as waters along the East and Pacific coasts.

Under the Trump administration, the EPA announced it would no longer require oil and gas companies to install monitors to detect methane leaks from new wells, tanks and pipelines.

5:31 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Joe Biden arrives in Cleveland ahead of debate

Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives at Cleveland Airport in Cleveland, on Tuesday, September 29.
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden arrives at Cleveland Airport in Cleveland, on Tuesday, September 29. Andrew Harnik/AP

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden arrived in Cleveland, Ohio, moments ago ahead of tonight’s presidential debate.

The former vice president climbed into an SUV without answering questions from the press pool.

The debate kicks off in just a few hours at 9 p.m. ET at Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Clinic. It will last 90 minutes without any commercial breaks.

5:10 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump campaign adviser: Trump "needs the debate to break his way"

From CNN's Jim Acosta

A Trump campaign adviser said the President must make up some ground at this first debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The adviser pointed to some recent polls showing Trump running behind Biden in key battleground states, including the latest Wash Post/ABC numbers from Pennsylvania, indicating the former vice president is building up a sizable lead.

"He needs the debate to break his way," the adviser said.

 

4:38 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Here's where Biden and Trump stand on education

From CNN's  Mackenzie Happe and Kate Sullivan

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden have taken very different positions on a range of policy issues. Here's where they stand on education.

Biden

Biden has proposed an education plan that would increase funding for schools in low-income areas, help teachers pay off student loans and double the number of health professionals working in schools. A core element involves tripling federal Title I funding for schools that serve low-income areas, closing what his campaign called a $23 billion funding gap between majority white and nonwhite school districts.

In October 2019, Biden unveiled a plan that would cut student loan debt obligations, waiving $10,000 per year – for up to five years – for those in public service work, like teachers or members of the military. He would also guarantee that those earning less than $25,000 owe nothing on their undergraduate federal student loans, while everyone else's payments would be capped at 5% of their discretionary income above $25,000 — halving the current 10% cap.

His plans heavily emphasize executive action. Biden said at an American Federation of Teachers forum in Houston in May 2019 that "the bulk of" his education proposals can become law even if Republicans maintain control of the Senate after the 2020 elections.

Trump

Trump, as President, has vowed to fix student loan debt. As directed by an executive order, the Department of Education published new data in November 2019 about graduates' income and debt levels aimed at helping students make more informed borrowing decisions before choosing colleges.

The White House has also made loan forgiveness automatic for veterans with disabilities and urged Congress to include place a cap on student loan borrowing. By contrast, it has repeatedly proposed ending a student loan forgiveness program for public workers, but Congress has rejected those efforts.

The administration has pushed for a school choice tax credit known as "Education Freedom Scholarships," which students could use to attend public or private schools, including charters, outside of their districts.

It has rescinded a number of Obama-era policies, including those that promoted racial diversity in schools and protections for transgender students in public schools that let them use bathrooms and other facilities corresponding to their gender identities. It has also rolled back two rules that were intended to hold for-profit colleges accountable.

4:45 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Schumer says Dems have “fewer tools” to delay SCOTUS confirmation vote beyond October 

From CNN's Manu Raju

Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference September 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.
Senate Minority Leader Sen. Chuck Schumer speaks during a news conference September 10 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer acknowledged Democrats don’t have as many options to delay the confirmation vote for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to sit on the Supreme Court. 

Senate GOP leaders are looking at the end of October for her confirmation vote, shortly before the November election. 

“We will use all the tools we have in the tool box,” Schumer told CNN when asked if he thinks he can delay the vote beyond the last week of the month. “After McConnell's defiling the Senate, there are fewer tools and they’re not as sharp. But we will use every tool we can.”
4:37 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump arrives in Cleveland ahead of tonight's debate

From CNN's Matthew Hoye

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for the first presidential debate on September 29 in Cleveland.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump arrive at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport for the first presidential debate on September 29 in Cleveland. Evan Vucci/AP

President Trump has arrived in Cleveland ahead of tonight's presidential debate. During the flight from Joint Base Andrews, a senior Trump campaign official told reporters that Trump feels confident about the debate – adding that the campaign feels better going into this debate than they did before the first debate with Hillary Clinton in 2016.

This official also said that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and UFC fighter Colby Covington would be among the President’s guests at the debate. 

Giuliani, along with Chris Christie, played the role of Joe Biden during Trump’s very brief debate prep earlier.

3:31 p.m. ET, September 29, 2020

Trump's children attend a fundraiser at the Trump Hotel before tonight's debate

From CNN's Kaitlan Collins

President Trump's children were at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, for a Trump Victory fundraiser earlier Tuesday, before departing for Cleveland, according to a person who was there. 

Donald Trump Jr., Eric Trump and Kimberly Guilfoyle were all there as supporters and made calls to raise money ahead of the first debate.