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Recognition…Erin Schaff / The New York Times
The event that Conservatives hoped would reshape the 2020 elections is just around the corner: the Supreme Court confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett begin at 9:00 a.m. east coast time on Monday and promise to be most of the week to last. Republicans saw their nomination as an opportunity to revitalize right-wing voters and focus the broader electorate on matters other than the coronavirus pandemic.
So far, Judge Barrett's appointment has not worked out that way. The White House event that saw President Trump announce her election became a major transmission point for the coronavirus – Dr. Anthony S. Fauci called it a "super-spreader event" – and at least two Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee were infected. Mr. Trump's battle with the disease and the growing number of cases in most of the country have largely pushed the Supreme Court battle into the political background in recent weeks.
There is still hope within the G.O.P. that Democrats could fumble the hearings in a way that could be politically useful to them – a concern some Democrats have given the seemingly diminished capacity of Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the jury who will consider the nomination. divide. And at least the hearings give Republicans something to say next to Mr Trump and the virus, even if that's where most of the voters stay focused. That could be no small favor in red states where Senate seats are at stake.
However, it is unlikely that Mr Trump will partner with efforts this week to shift the limelight. He's said to be camping in Florida on Monday and making his first personal appearance outside of Washington since testing positive for the coronavirus. The president's insistence on returning to the election campaign while big questions remain about his health, including the persistent presence of the coronavirus in his body and his ability to spread it to others, can become a bigger story than the judicial opening stages Confirmation process.
This can double if Mr Trump and his supporters continue to disregard basic public health guidelines for major events, as they have up until that point.
The question for Democrats – not just Joseph R. Biden Jr., but the party's entire ticket – could be how much time and political capital they will invest in a grueling public trial against Judge Barrett at a time when Mr Trump remains in office is raising generous amounts of light political fodder for the election that is only weeks away.
Recognition…Anna Moneymaker for the New York Times
Tommy Tuberville, the Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, draws heavily on his experience at the Southeastern Conference of college football, known as S.E.C., where he coached Auburn University.
However, he has experience with another S.E.C., the Securities and Exchange Commission, and other financial regulators.
A New York Times review found that Mr. Tuberville, who heads Senator Doug Jones in the polls, has worked with at least three people in the past who were later convicted of financial fraud in so-called Ponzi programs. Mr. Tuberville was largely viewed as a victim and was never charged with a crime.
Mr. Tuberville lost millions of dollars in two episodes. A third was less when Mr. Tuberville and his wife Suzanne bought a house through a company founded by a lawyer who was later convicted of running a property-related Ponzi program.
The Times review included a small charitable foundation founded by Mr. Tuberville that found that tax records show that less than one-third of the proceeds were used for the benefit of the veterans for whose advance payment it was established. The foundation also had accounting problems.
The review raised questions about Mr. Tuberville's judgment and financial acumen. While on the campaign he said he hopes to serve on the "Bank Finance" committee – the Senate has separate and reputable banking and finance committees – he has at times undercut his own qualifications. Speaking of an unfortunate hedge fund company, he once said to a reporter, "I'm not smart enough to get all the numbers."
In a statement, Paul Shashy, Mr. Tuberville's campaign manager, largely distracted questions about Mr. Tuberville's financial affairs. "Doug Jones, Chuck Schumer, and other swamp liberal Democrats are spreading lies to tarnish the career, accomplishments, and community service of Coach Tuberville," Shashy said, adding, "Coach is solely focused on serving his fellow Alabamians and fellow Alabamians faithfully represent their conservative values, beliefs and desires. "
The Times previously reported on a fraudulent scheme in which Mr. Tuberville was an investor and 50/50 owner of a financial company, TS Capital, that was closed by state and federal regulators. In a 2012 complaint from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, it was found that Tuberville's partner John David Stroud had nearly $ 1.2 million in trading losses and nearly $ 2.3 million in "auto payments." , Travel Expenses, Entertainment and Retail Purchases ”. As one of Mr. Stroud's lieutenants put it, the company had "the look of a Ponzi scheme" according to court records.
Recognition…Allison Farrand for the New York Times
Just over three weeks from election day, hundreds of President Trump's supporters took to the Michigan freeways on Sunday afternoon to loudly show their devotion to their candidate.
It was similar to the Trump boat parades that took over the waterways this summer, only on wheels. Hundreds of people decking their cars with Trump banners and American flags, President's cardboard clippings, and hand-painted slogans gathered at rest stops along I-75 and US-31, the main highways running east and west north and south run sides of the state. At noon everyone drove north with honking horns and drove for an hour or more while passing people walking home from fall foliage tours.
"The American people have two options: you either vote for socialism or you vote for capitalism," said Vern Mueller, 77, of Reese, who worked in agriculture and hit more than 60 cars at a Bay County roadhouse. “Trump is a capitalist. This is how America should be. That's how it was founded. "
The Trump campaign has shown public support for boat parades and street rallies in Michigan and other states since the coronavirus hit the country in March. The president regularly tweeted brightly about the flotillas, and his son Donald Trump Jr. even invited boaters to join him in a parade off the Hamptons on Long Island in August.
This way, the president's fans can gather for re-election without having to worry about social distancing.
"We're all ready to get on and off and we can do whatever we want in our cars, right?" said Debra Ell, 64, from Frankenmuth, an organizer of the rally who also helped to get people to vote on election day.
Not everyone was a fan, Krystie Linton, 44, an Ann Arbor special education worker who supports Joseph R. Biden Jr., watched a Trump group at a truck stop that had arrived in cars with a mixture of horror and curiosity Trucks covered in pro-Trump symbols with tables set up with Trump goods.
"I just don't get it," Ms. Linton said on the way home from an autumn weekend in the north. “Trump produced the worst in America. It's a scary place for our country. "
The rally, called "The Cannonball Run," also provided an opportunity to recruit Republican election workers to count postal ballots and monitor polling stations in Flint, a predominantly black town and Democratic stronghold.
"We thought about where we can have the greatest impact," Ms. Ell said. "You have to have Republicans and Democrats alike, and we believe the city of Flint needs help most."
Both Republicans and Democrats have recruited workers to observe polling stations and places where postal votes are counted. Under state law, paid workers must be evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats in elections. However, over the years there have been complaints from election officials in urban areas who said that election volunteers tried to intimidate voters while they wait in line to vote.
Here are the presidential and vice-presidential candidate daily schedules for Monday, October 12th. All times are east time.
President Donald J. Trump
7 p.m .: Hold a rally in Sanford, Florida.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.
1:15 p.m .: Speaks to union members in Toledo, Ohio.
5:45 pm: Attends a voter mobilization event in Cincinnati.
Vice President Pence
12:30 p.m .: Hold a rally in Columbus, Ohio.
Senator Kamala Harris
9 a.m.: Attends Amy Coney Barrett's confirmation hearing from a distance from the Hart Senate Office Building.
Recognition…Michael A. McCoy for the New York Times
Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the U.S. government's foremost infectious disease expert, announced on Sunday the Trump campaign's decision to post him in an advertisement without his consent, saying he misrepresented his comments.
"I was totally surprised," said Dr. Fauci. "The use of my name and my words by the G.O.P. The campaign was conducted without my permission, and the actual words themselves were taken out of context based on something I said months ago about the entire effort of the task force. "
CNN first reported on Dr. Fauci's displeasure with the campaign ad.
The commercial tries to use Mr. Trump's illness with Covid-19 and the apparent recovery to improve the negative image many Americans have of his dealing with the coronavirus.
"I can't imagine anyone could do more," says Dr. Fauci in the ad – although he actually spoke of the government's broader efforts.
Dr. Fauci, who said he had never publicly endorsed a political candidate in decades of public work, has long had an awkward relationship with President Trump. A little over a week ago, he bumped into his boss about his position in wearing masks.
In his debate with former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., Trump claimed that Dr. Fauci initially said: "Masks are not good – then he changed his mind." When Mr Biden said that wearing masks could save tens of thousands of lives, Mr Trump claimed that "Dr. Fauci said the opposite. "
In fact, Dr. Fauci and other health experts discouraged the general public from buying masks in the early days of the pandemic because of concerns about the shortage of health workers. Their position changed when it became clear that asymptomatic transmission was spreading the virus.
Dr. Fauci may prefer measured language, but his criticism of the White House – and, implicitly, the man in the Oval Office – of how the pandemic was handled has not gone unnoticed – even by die-hard Trump supporters who claim he is part of it "deep state" conspiracy to undermine the president.
On Friday, Dr. Fauci attended the White House ceremony to announce Judge Amy Coney Barrett's nomination to the Supreme Court as a "superspreader event".
"It was in a situation where people were huddled together and not wearing masks," he said. "The data speak for themselves."
Judge Barrett's confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee begins Monday. Part of the trial will be videotaped so senators who may be ill or worried about an infection can attend remotely. The lecture hall, which is only sparsely populated with senators and spectators, is not allowed to visit the public.
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