The end of the 2020 presidential campaign is near. With just two weeks until Election Day, President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are making final appeals to voters key to winning what has been a contentious contest.
Trump holds a rally Tuesday in Erie, Pennsylvania, as both he and Biden fight for the Keystone State. The Supreme Court ruled Monday that Pennsylvania absentee ballots can be received up to three days after Election Day.
In Florida, which began in-person early voting Monday, Democrats are making a late push to woo Cuban Americans, who have overwhelmingly supported Trump.
☕ The latest:
COVID stimulus: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set the end of the day Tuesday as the deadline to get a COVID-19 stimulus deal done before Election Day. She and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are still in talks.
Pentagon: As Election Day violence becomes a concern, leaders at the Pentagon have sought to shelter the military from President Donald Trump's political battles with top leaders reiterating that troops hold no role in elections.
📊 What the polls are saying: Joe Biden holds a narrow 1-point lead over President Donald Trump in Florida, according to a poll released Tuesday. Trump leads Biden by 17 percentage points in Kentucky, a a far smaller advantage compared to 2016, when he beat Hillary Clinton by 30 percentage points in the state. In North Carolina, voters are nearly split, with Biden holding a 1-point edge in a survey of likely voters.
📆 14 days until Election Day, two days until the final presidential debate, 92 days until Inauguration Day, 74 days left in 2020.
We will update this article throughout the day. You can follow all of USA TODAY's politics reporters on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter.
Trump: 'I wasn't coming to Erie' without COVID-19
President Donald Trump told a rally crowd in battleground Pennsylvania on Tuesday that he wouldn’t have to campaign so much for reelection were it not for the coronavirus pandemic.
"Before the plague came in, I had it made. I wasn't coming to Erie. I mean, I have to be honest: There's no way I was coming....I would have called you and said, ‘Hey, Erie, you know, if you have a chance get out and vote,’” Trump said to laughter from the audience.
“We had this thing won," Trump asserted about the election, "and then we got hit with the plague and I had to go back to work. ‘Hello, Erie, may I please have your vote?’”
Trump joked about the cold weather and spent less time on stage than usual, just about an hour. He’s made similar remarks about the weather as he has stepped up his schedule considerably in recent days, telling a rally audience in Wisconsin this weekend that he wasn’t speaking on a "freezing night with 45 degree winds" because it was fun.
“What do you think?” he asked. “Think I'm doing this for my health?”
Polls show Trump is running slightly behind in battleground states such as Pennsylvania. Nationally, 58% of voters disapprove of how Trump has handled the virus, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll earlier this month, a figure that has been essentially unchanged since the summer.
Even if the virus had not struck the U.S. as hard as it has and raised questions about his administration's response, Trump almost certainly would have campaigned in Pennsylvania. He held one of his first rallies there after becoming president in 2017 and held at least four political events in the state in 2018.
— John Fritze
Amy Coney Barrett: Full Senate to vote on Supreme Court confirmation on Monday
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate will vote on Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court on Monday, likely allowing Barrett to take her place as the ninth justice just days before Election Day.
The Kentucky Republican outlined a schedule at his weekly news conference Tuesday that would mean the Senate would remain in session this weekend to debate her confirmation before voting on Monday.
“We'll be voting to confirm justice to-be Barrett next Monday,” McConnell said. "And I think that will be another signature accomplishment in our effort to put on the courts, the federal courts, men and women who believe in a quaint notion that maybe the job of a judge is to actually follow the law.”
Barrett has sailed through the confirmation process. After four days of hearings and hours of questioning by senators last week, a vote on her nomination is set to be taken up by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The hearings were largely without controversy or drama, allowing Barrett to retain enough Republican support that is likely to lead to her confirmation.
McConnell plans to take up her confirmation on Friday, setting up two days of debate over the weekend and a final vote by the chamber on Monday – eight days before the election.
– Christal Hayes
COVID stimulus update: Pelosi backs away from deadline
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seemed to back away from a Tuesday deadline to reach a deal on a COVID-19 stimulus plan before the election.
Pelosi said in an interview with Bloomberg her Tuesday ultimatum was not actually a deadline to have a deal but in fact "the day where we would have our terms on the table, to be able to go to the next step."
Asked how a bill could come together, Pelosi left open the possibility a bill might not be passed until after the election, saying "we could still continue the negotiations. It might not be finished by Election Day."
Pelosi spokesperson Drew Hammill said Monday the speaker hoped she would "have clarity on whether we will be able to pass a bill before the election" by the end of Tuesday.
– Nicholas Wu
COVID stimulus update: Senate to vote on PPP as deadline nears
The Republican-controlled Senate is set to vote on the reauthorization of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses as Congress runs up against a Tuesday deadline to reach a deal on COVID-19 stimulus before the election.
The bill reauthorizes another round of the small business loans but is likely to be blocked by Democrats, who have opposed standalone relief bills.
Meanwhile, Congress and the White House face a Tuesday deadline to reach a deal before the election. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi set the deadline for both sides to reach a deal to restore urgently needed benefits before Nov. 3.
– Nicholas Wu
Trump says Attorney General William Barr should investigate Biden
President Donald Trump said Tuesday that Attorney General William Barr should "appoint somebody" to investigate immediately Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
"We’ve gotta get the attorney general to act," Trump said during an interview on "Fox & Friends." "He’s gotta act. And he’s gotta act fast."
The comments echo the president's past demands that Barr take action against members of the Barack Obama administration – including the former vice president – for investigating the Trump campaign team over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign.
This time, Trump wants an investigation into a laptop computer and alleged emails regarding Hunter Biden's business dealings in Ukraine and China. Trump and his supporters claim the emails show Joe Biden's involvement in his son's business affairs, but there is no evidence of a direct connection.
There is also concern about the origins of the emails and the laptop that was provided to the New York Post by Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer who has been conducting his own investigation of the Bidens.
Federal authorities are investigating whether the material may be tied to a Russian disinformation aimed at undercutting the Democratic nominee, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Biden backers said Trump is trying to use the investigative powers of the federal government to dump dirt right before Election Day.
"With the election 14 days away we wake up to trump shouting for bill barr to arrest his political opponent’s family," tweeted Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr., D-N.J.
– David Jackson
Tennessee poll worker fired after turning away voters in Black Lives Matter shirts, masks
A Shelby County, Tennessee, poll worker was fired Friday after election officials learned that he had turned away voters who were wearing masks and T-shirts that said Black Lives Matter.
“What he did was patently wrong, and he was fired,” said Suzanne Thompson, spokeswoman for the Shelby County Election Commission.
State law prohibits people from wearing items with the name of a political party or candidate currently on the ballot while in a polling place, but statements like “Black Lives Matter” or “I Can’t Breathe” are not violations of that law.
A manager of operations went to the Dave Wells Community Center in Memphis during early voting and fired the worker on the spot after confirming the reports, Thompson said.
– Katherine Burgess (Memphis Commercial Appeal)
Ratcliffe: Russia disinformation not behind published emails targeting Biden
Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said Monday that recently published emails purporting to document the business dealings of Hunter Biden are not connected to a Russian disinformation effort, even as federal authorities continued to review whether the material was part of such a campaign.
Ratcliffe, in an interview with Fox Business, did not elaborate on the basis of his conclusion, though he acknowledged knowing "little" about the material published by the New York Post.
The FBI, according to a person familiar with the matter, has been investigating at least in part whether the material, allegedly drawn from a laptop owned by Biden and provided to the newspaper by Rudy Giuliani, President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, may be tied to a Russian influence operation aimed at undercutting Biden's father and Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
– Kevin Johnson
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Election 2020 updates: Trump to rally in PA, Biden up in Florida