The United States presidential election is in 18 days.
Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines today.
1. Full Senate vote on Barrett next week
The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday scheduled an October 22 vote to advance Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court to the full Senate for confirmation.
With 12 Republicans on the committee and 10 Democrats, it has long been inevitable that U.S. President Donald Trump’s nominee would get a full Senate vote and be confirmed as Republicans hold a 53-seat majority in the 100-member legislature.
Committee members heard testimony from legal experts on Thursday after two days of questioning Barrett. Four of Thursday’s witnesses supported Barrett’s nomination and four opposed.
Democrats have said the confirmation process has been rushed and accused Barrett of sidestepping questions on healthcare, abortion, presidential powers and other issues.
She has cited the long-standing principle of not discussing issues she might later have to rule on. “If I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would basically be a legal pundit,” she said. “I don’t think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully with an open mind.”
Trump has asked that the Senate confirm Barrett before the November 3 U.S. elections and said he expects the court to decide the election’s outcome.
a. Packing the Supreme Court explained – The National Constitution Center
2. Senate panel to seek testimony from Twitter CEO on censorship
The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote next week to subpoena Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, after several Republican members of the committee raised the issue of social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, blocking the distribution of stories regarding Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, his son Hunter and the younger Biden’s business dealings with a Ukrainian oil company.
“The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know what the hell is going on,” committee member Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican, said.
He accused Twitter’s actions of being “election interference” less than three weeks from Election Day.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was among those locked out of her personal Twitter account for sharing one of the Biden-Ukraine stories.
U.S. President Donald Trump naturally took to Twitter to jump into the controversy, tweeting:
a. You Haven’t Heard More About Hunter Biden’s Emails Because Twitter And Facebook Didn’t Want You To – Forbes
3. Harris suspending travel after staffers contract coronavirus
Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Kamala Harris is suspending campaigning until Monday after two people tied to her campaign tested positive for the coronavirus. The campaign said it was making the move out “an abundance of caution” and that Harris herself tested negative for the virus on Thursday. Her running mate, presidential candidate Joe Biden, also tested negative for the virus on Thursday.
Harris had been scheduled to travel to swing state North Carolina yesterday, where the first African-American woman on a major party ticket is seen as vital to the Democrats’ effort to increase turnout among black voters. They are considered key to Biden’s chances of taking the state, which U.S. President Donald Trump won in 2016.
a. Why black voters are so important for Democrats in 2020 – CNN
4. Republican Massachusetts governor won’t support Trump
Republican Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker won’t back U.S. President Donald Trump’s reelection bid, his communications director, Lizzy Guyton, said.
“The governor cannot support Donald Trump for president and is focused on seeing Massachusetts through the pandemic,” Guyton told local media in an email. “He’ll leave the election analysis to the pundits.”
Baker has criticized Trump’s “bitterness, combativeness and self-interest” in the wake of nationwide protests following the police killing of George Floyd, an African-American.
“At so many times during these past several weeks when the country needed compassion and leadership the most, it was simply nowhere to be found,” Baker said of Trump in June.
Harris had been scheduled to travel to North Carolina on Thursday, where the first African-American woman on a major party ticket, was seen as vital to the effort to increase turnout among black voters. They are seen as key to Biden’s chances taking the state the U.S. President Donald Trump won in 2016.