The Latest: Trump casts election doubts, Biden urges voting

Politics

President Donald Trump speaks about coronavirus testing strategy, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Monday, Sept. 28, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential election (all times local):

10:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are painting a very different picture of the reliability of the upcoming election.

Biden urged voters to cast their ballots and not be intimidated by Trump’s suggestions he might not accept a loss. Trump has been groundlessly casting doubt on the reliability of mail ballots and elections in general.

“Vote whatever way is the best way for you,” Biden said. “Because he will not be able to stop you from determining the outcome of this election.”

Biden agreed not to declare victory before the ballots are counted and to accept voters’ verdicts.

Trump continued to spread falsehoods about mail voting. He said falsely that his campaign’s poll watchers were improperly turned away at a Philadelphia early voting site Tuesday — the poll watchers had not yet been accredited to observe. He suggested widespread Democratic fraud because a handful of ballots were improperly thrown in the trash last week — but didn’t mention it occurred in a Republican-controlled elections office and was quickly reported to authorities.

Biden urged viewers not to worry about Trump’s scare tactics.

“I will accept it, and he will, too. You know why?” Biden said. “Because once the winner is declared once all the ballots are counted, that’ll be the end of it.”

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden begins at 9 p.m. Eastern time in Cleveland.

Read more:

— 5 questions heading into Trump and Biden’s first debate

— Viewers’ Guide: Trump, Biden meet in Ohio for 1st debate

— Trump, Biden prepare to debate at a time of mounting crises

— Analysis: In debate, a last chance for Trump to define Biden

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

10:30 p.m.

Democrat Joe Biden has evoked his son Beau Biden to criticize President Donald Trump for reportedly calling members of the American military who lost their lives “losers” and “suckers.”

Raising his voice at Tuesday night’s debate, Biden described his son as a hero. Beau Biden died of cancer in 2015.

Trump responded by pivoting to a familiar attack, on Biden’s other son, Hunter.

The president said, “I don’t know Beau. I know Hunter,” and accused Hunter Biden of having collected millions of dollars from oversees interests, including China, while working as a consultant during his father’s tenure as vice president. It echoed attacks the president made earlier in the debate in Cleveland, but have little basis in fact.

Trump also opened a new line of attack when he said Hunter Biden was dishonorably discharged from the military for cocaine use. Biden responded that his son wasn’t dishonorably discharged.

He addressed viewers directly and said that, like a lot of Americans, Hunter had a drug problem but was “working on it” and had “fixed it.”

Biden added, “I’m proud of my son.”

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10:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he does see human beings as contributing somewhat to climate change but doesn’t support strict regulations in part because of negative ramifications for business.

When asked at Tuesday’s debate about humans being partially to blame for environmental deterioration, Trump said, “to an extent, yes.”

But when asked why he took steps like withdrawing the U.S. from the landmark Paris climate pact, Trump reiterated his argument that such agreements were “driving energy prices through the sky.”

Nearly 200 nations signed the climate deal in which each country provides its own goals to curb emissions of heat-trapping gases that lead to climate change.

Biden said he would champion job-creating programs that embrace green technologies and would rejoin the Paris accord, which is “all falling apart” without U.S. involvement.

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10:20 p.m.

President Donald Trump has sidestepped a question from moderator Chris Wallace about whether he was willing to condemn white supremacists and militia groups.

“I would say almost everything I see is from the left wing, not the right wing,” Trump responded. “I’m willing to do anything. I want to see peace.”

When pressed further, Trump said, “What do you want to call them? Give me a name. Give me a name?”

Finally, he said, “Proud Boys — Stand back, stand by, but I’ll tell you what, somebody’s got to do something about Antifa and the left because this is not right-wing problem….. This is a left wing problem.”

Antifa followers have appeared at anti-racism protests, but there’s been little evidence behind Republican claims that antifa members are to blame for the violence at such protests.

Trump infamously said there were good people “on both sides” after a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, that led to the death of a counterprotester.

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10:15 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Joe Biden are making their pitches to win over Black voters in the coming election, with Biden mockingly questioning: “This man, this man is a savior of African Americans? This man has done virtually nothing.”

Biden says that 1 in 1,000 African Americans has died because of the coronavirus, and if Trump doesn’t do something quickly, it will be 1 in 500.

Trump turned the discussion from COVID-19 to a crime bill passed in 1994 that Biden helped write and get passed that, among other things, increased the penalties for certain drug offenses.

Trump says “I’m letting people out of jail now,” and asserted that Biden had treated the Black community “about as bad as anybody in this country.”

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10:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Joe Biden are trading barbs about each other’s relatives.

While Biden was making a point during the first presidential debate in Cleveland about the Trump administration’s trade deals with China not having the desired effect, Trump jumped in. He resurrected past claims about the former vice president’s son Hunter working overseas.

Trump said Hunter Biden reaped millions in ill-gotten profit from China and other overseas interests, accusations that have been repeatedly debunked. Biden shot back, “None of that is true.” He then added of Trump, “His family, we could talk all night.”

Trump interrupted to respond that his children gave up lucrative jobs to join government and “help people,” which left moderator Chris Wallace pleading, “Mr. President, please stop” trying to restore order on the stage.

Biden then turned to the camera and addressed the audience directly, something he did frequently Tuesday night. “This is not about my family or his family,” Biden said. “It’s about your family.”

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10:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump won’t say when he will finally make his personal taxes public as he has long promised.

During the first presidential debate Tuesday, Trump was asked specifically about a report in The New York Times that revealed he paid only $750 in personal income taxes each of those years.

All presidents except Trump have publicly released their taxes since the presidency of Richard Nixon.

Trump has said since 2016 that he would eventually release them. But when asked by moderator Chris Wallace when, he said only: “You’ll get to see it.”

Democratic nominee Joe Biden quickly used that as a point of attack, saying Trump “does take advantage of the tax code” and “pays less tax than a schoolteacher.”

Trump shrugged off the attack, saying that all business leaders do the same “unless they are stupid.”

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10 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are showcasing vastly different approaches during their first presidential debate in Cleveland.

Trump is being aggressive toward Biden on Tuesday, interrupting the former vice president and repeatedly being admonished by debate moderator Chris Wallace of Fox News to stick to the rules that both campaigns had agreed to.

Biden is taking a more personal approach. At several times during the debate, Biden addressed his comments to “you folks at home” watching on television as he looked straight into the camera.

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9:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he’s had “no negative effect” from massive campaign rallies with thousands of attendees not adhering to social distancing recommendations amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Trump said during Tuesday night’s debate against Democrat Joe Biden that he thought masks “are OK,” pulling one out from his pocket and saying, “I wear masks when needed.”

But Trump also bragged that he’s drawn “35 to 40,000 people” at his campaign rallies, saying he brings such large crowds to outdoor events “because people want to hear what I have to say.” Trump portrayed Biden’s socially distanced events as insignificant affairs where the Democrat “has three people some place.”

Former Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain, who attended one of Trump’s rallies in June without wearing a mask or social distancing, tested positive for the coronavirus nine days after the rally and died a month later. Neither Trump nor Biden mentioned him.

Biden has held smaller campaign events, requiring attendees to spread out and at times sit in taped-off circles. Calling Trump “totally irresponsible” on managing COVID-19, Biden said the president is “a fool on this” and said Trump only worried about masks in the interest of protecting his own health, not others.

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9:35 p.m.

The first presidential debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden has gotten off to an contentious start, breaking down after just a few moments with Trump interrupting Biden on several occasions and Biden calling the president a clown and a liar.

As the discussion about the Supreme Court quickly turned to COVID-19, Trump claimed without evidence that 2 million people would have died if Biden were president.

Moderator Chris Wallace pleaded with Trump, stating that COVID-19 would be discussed later in the day. He then asked Trump about whether he had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act, and the president said, “First of all, I guess I’m debating you, not him, but that’s OK. I’m not surprised.”

Biden laughed at Trump’s jabs. But he also appeared to get upset at times, too.

“Here’s the deal, the fact is that everything he’s saying so far is simply a lie,” Biden said. “I’m not here to call out his lies. Everybody knows he’s a liar.”

Wallace asked Trump to let Biden finish. “Folks do you have any idea what this clown is doing?” Biden said.

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9:25 p.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden says he is the leader of his party.

Biden made the comment during Tuesday night’s debate after President Donald Trump accused him of supporting abolishing private insurance.

Biden noted that he won the Democratic nomination partly by arguing against single-payer health care that many of his rivals sought. The former vice president has instead proposed expanding the Affordable Care Act to provide a public option that people could buy into.

Trump responded that Democrats still want to abolish private health insurance and suggested the party would force Biden to do its bidding.

“My party is me,” Biden replied. “Right now, I’m the Democratic Party.”

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9:20 p.m.

The first face-off for President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden is coming over a clash concerning a president’s prerogative to put push through an election-year Supreme Court nominee.

Trump says during a debate Tuesday night in Cleveland that Republicans “won the election and therefore we have the right to choose” Amy Coney Barrett as a replacement for the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Trump added that he felt Democrats “wouldn’t even think about not doing it” if given the chance to nominate a justice with just weeks until the election.

Biden and other Democrats have decried Trump’s nomination of a new justice given Republicans’ refusal to consider President Barack Obama’s selection following the 2016 death of Antonin Scalia. Biden didn’t mention that during the debate, however.

Biden says that Barrett seems like “a very fine person” but that her nomination after “tens of thousands of people have already voted” was troubling.

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9 p.m.

President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden are face-to-face in their first presidential debate, the most pivotal moment so far in an election that turns on a historic pandemic, racial unrest and an economy in shambles.

The two are meeting Tuesday night in Cleveland. It’s a key opportunity for Trump to improve his standing in a race that polls show has remained stubbornly unchanged. For Biden, the debate offers a chance to show the steadiness he says the nation needs in contrast to Trump’s divisiveness.

Biden welcomed Trump to the stage, saying, “How you doing, man?”

The topics are the records of the candidates, the Supreme Court, the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, “race and violence in our cities,” and election integrity.

At issue is the coronavirus pandemic that has killed 205,000 Americans and cost the country millions of jobs. Early voting is underway in many states, with the election 35 days away.

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5:50 p.m.

Kamala Harris says her running mate, Joe Biden, will share his vision for tackling the coronavirus and rebuilding the nation’s economy during his presidential debate against President Donald Trump.

The Democratic California senator said Tuesday during a digital fundraiser with artists that “Joe’s goal in the debate is to communicate directly with the American people.”

Harris says the country is at a crossroads in more ways than one, from the pandemic and economic recession to a reckoning on racial injustice and climate change. She’s calling Republican efforts to fill a Supreme Court seat before the election a “crisis.”

Harris says, “And in the midst of all this, a president whose instinct is to always stoke chaos, division, and mistrust.”

Harris is set to debate Vice President Mike Pence next week.

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2:15 p.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have released more of their personal tax returns ahead of the first presidential debate.

The Bidens’ returns show the couple paid almost $300,000 in federal taxes in 2019, including almost $288,000 in personal income tax. The Bidens reported taxable income of $944,737.

The release on Tuesday comes just days after The New York Times reported that Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year he was elected president, and again in 2017, his first year in office. The Times said Trump paid no federal income taxes for 10 of the 15 years before that.

Biden and Trump are set to meet Tuesday night in Cleveland for their first presidential debate, and Trump’s taxes are sure to come up.

Trump has called the reports “fake news” yet still refuses to release his returns himself. Biden already had released two decades’ worth of his tax returns, in addition to the federal financial disclosures required of him when he was a senator and vice president.

Biden’s running mate, California Sen. Kamala Harris, and her husband, Doug Emhoff, also released their 2019 returns Tuesday. Harris and Emhoff reported paying $1.05 million in personal income taxes and $1.19 million in total federal taxes on $3.02 million in taxable income.

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2:10 p.m.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump emerged from the White House to a crowd of more than 100 cheering supporters as they departed for the first presidential debate in Cleveland.

The crowd, which included staffers and interns, cheered as the Trumps left the White House.

Both the president and first lady paused to recognize the show of support with a few claps of their own and several first pumps from Trump.

Trump boarded Marine One without comment. At Joint Base Andrews, where Air Force One was set to take off, Trump gave a wave and thumbs before boarding.

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12:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump spent Tuesday morning in informal preparations for the first debate with Joe Biden. A longer, more formal preparation session was set for the afternoon once he arrives in Cleveland.

Trump’s prep team includes former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, campaign communications strategist Jason Miller, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows, Jared Kushner, press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and communications director Alyssa Farah. Some other advisers like Dan Scavino and Hope Hicks have also been involved.

While Trump is itching to go on the offense against Biden, some aides have encouraged him to adopt a more measured tone — believing that in many ways the debates are more about Trump vs himself than Biden. Trump, they argue, should focus more on selling his accomplishments than trying to viciously attack Biden. Some involved with the preparations, though, have encouraged Trump’s more aggressive ‘counterpunching’ side.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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