US election 2020 latest news: Facebook to BAN political ads the week before election – LIVE updates

DONALD Trump denied calling the late John McCain a "loser" and "our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES."

The president took to Twitter to decry claims that he had insulted the late senator or the troops on Thursday night.

"This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!" Trump raged.

The news comes as Democrat Joe Biden continues to top recent polls –  but so too did Hillary Clinton before Trump's 2016 victory.

Fifty percent of likely voters told Quinnipiac University they felt less safe with Trump as president, versus 35 percent who felt safer with him in charge according to FiveThirtyEight.

Still, Republicans are hoping their man can pull off another dramatic win, while Democrats are looking to the former VP to make Trump a one-term president and turn blue.

The coronavirus crisis and Black Lives Matter protests have added to the uncertainty of a political race that sharply divides the country.

We’ll be with you for the next eight weeks and beyond, through the daily ups and downs, the debates, and the election day itself to see who will walk into the Oval Office in January 2021 as US president.

Follow our US election 2020 blog below for all the latest on the Trump vs Biden race.

  • TRUMP'S BIDEN HIS TIME

    According to reports, Donald Trump has begun studying Joe Biden as the presidential candidates prepare to debate each other.

    Politico reported that Trump is analyzing Biden's idiosyncrasies in a strategy shake up.

    The president, 74, is set to attack his Dem rival – who is three years older than him – over his age and mental abilities.

  • CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVIST BLASTS TRUMP

    Civil rights activist Al Sharpton has accused President Donald Trump of “trying to make Black Lives Matter look like 'hoodlums and thugs'” as protests continue in Portland and Kenosha.

    “We had this big March on Saturday, tens of thousands of people, not one arrest, no violence, all of the families there, you didn’t hear one tweet from the president,” Sharpton said on MSNBC.

    Read the full story here.

  • 'I SWEAR ON WHATEVER'

    Donald Trump denied calling the late senator John McCain a “loser” and insisted he never had anything but praise for the fallen troops.

    The president insisted he was telling the truth and swore “on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on,” even though he was “never a big fan” of McCain.

    “The lowering of our Nations American Flags, and the first class funeral he was given by our Country, had to be approved by me, as President, & I did so without hesitationor complaint,” Trump wrote.

    “Quite the contrary, I felt it was well deserved. I even sent Air Force One to bring his body, in casket, from Arizona to Washington. It was my honor to do so,” he continued.

    “Also, I never called John a loser and swear on whatever, or whoever, I was asked to swear on, that I never called our great fallen soldiers anything other than HEROES.

    “This is more made up Fake News given by disgusting & jealous failures in a disgraceful attempt to influence the 2020 Election!”

  • ANTI-TRUMP REPUBLICANS FOR BIDEN

    The Lincoln Project, a political action committee formed by Republicans who want to prevent President Donald Trump from being reelected, is launching a digital initiative to garner support for Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

    The PAC will use its network of more than 50,000 Facebook members to reach people who voted for Trump in 2016, its spokesperson Keith Edwards told CNBC on Thursday.

    Meanwhile, the project will target battleground stages including Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas through advertisements.

  • DNC VS RNC

    The Democratic National Convention was more effective than the Republican National Convention, according to a Hill-HarrisX poll released on Thursday.

    One-third, or 33 percent, of registered voters said they thought the Democrats’ event nominating Joe Biden was more effective, while 27 percent said the GOP’s event was the better one.

    However, 4 in 10 voters did not watch either party convention last month.

  • RUSSIAN TROLLS TARGET VOTE-BY-MAIL

    Russian social media trolls attacked mail-in voting in August, according to a US intelligence bulletin, just like President Donald Trump has been doing.

    In a warning issued on Thursday, Department of Homeland Security intelligence branch analysts said they were highly confident that “Russian malign influence actors” have been “spreading disinformation” about absentee voting.

    “Russian state media and proxy websites in mid-August 2020 criticized the integrity of expanded and universal vote-by-mail, claiming ineligible voters could receive ballots due to out-of-date voter rolls, leaving a vast amount of ballots unaccounted for and vulnerable to tampering,” states the bulletin obtained by ABC News.

    In early August, US intelligence community officials stated they believe that Kremlin-linked actors are seeking to boost Trump’s candidacy and “denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden.

  • JUDGE REMOVES KANYE FROM VIRGINIA

    Rapper Kanye West’s presidential bid in Virginia has officially ended, after a Richmond circuit court judge on Thursday ordered that he be removed from the state’s ballot.

    The judge’s decision, reported by WWBT, came after Attorney General Mark Herring and a lawyer representing plaintiffs in a lawsuit against West accused him of trying to get on the ballot through fraudulent means.

    The judge agreed with the suit, which alleged that 11 of West’s 13 electors were invalid, and said the rapper obtained them through improper and misleading methods.

  • TRUMP RALLIES IN PENNSYLVANIA

    President Donald Trump is holding a “Keep America Great” campaign rally Thursday evening in Pennsylvania, a battleground state where the latest poll shows he is trails challenger Joe Biden by 8 percentage points.

    During the rally in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Trump denounced protests in cities including Portland and called Biden “a puppet of the socialists, Marxists and the cop-hating extremists.”

    A Quinnipiac University poll released earlier in the day showed that Biden had 52 percent of support from likely voters in Pennsylvania, while Trump had only 44 percent.

    Watch the rally live below.

  • BIDEN PULLS AHEAD IN PENNSYLVANIA

    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by 8 percentage points in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday.

    Biden got 52 percent of support from likely voters in the Keystone State, compared to 44 percent for Trump.

    The new poll reflected a wider lead for Biden, who lead by 4 percentage points in Pennsylvania in a Monmouth University poll released on Wednesday.

    Trump won Pennsylvania in 2016 by less than 1 point, or about 44,000 votes.

  • PINTEREST RESTRICTS ELECTION-RELATED ADS

    Popular social media site, Pinterest announced on Thursday it would no longer allow ads when users search for things related to the election like candidate names.

    CNBC reported the company will also be giving employees eight hours of paid time off for “civic engagement” on Election Day.

    The time off can be used to vote, work as a poll worker or other types of community engagement and it is not limited to Election Day.

  • NORTH CAROLINA WARNS VOTERS AGAINST VOTING TWICE

    On Thursday, the North Carolina State Board of Elections warned voters against traveling to polling locations to ensure their mail-in ballots are counted.

    Karen Brinson Bell, the executive director of the board said in a statement it was “not necessary” and could leave to “longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”

    The comments come after President Trump advocated for voters to travel to the polls after sending in a mail-in ballot to check their ballots were received and counted.

    “Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so is a violation of North Carolina law,” Bell said.

  • PIZZERIA INTO POLLING LOCATION

    In Madison, Wisconsin, the city was struggling to find polling locations as schools and senior centers no longer became options due to fears of spreading coronavirus.

    Ian's Pizza, a restaurant near the University of Wisconsin-Madison, agreed to turn their space into a low-traffic polling site.

    According to CNN, the owner, Nick Martin did not say yes right away but agreed after talking with his staff and leadership team.

    “Business right now is a little more low-key than it usually, is, but we knew it wouldn't be incredibly intrusive because we don't have a whole lot of volume coming through the doors right now,” Martin said.

  • HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE REQUESTS HATCH ACT VIOLATION INVESTIGATION

    On Thursday, the House Oversight Committee requested an investigation into alleged violations of the Hatch Act during the Republican National Convention.

    The Oversight Committee Chair and three other Democrats wrote in a letter that “Administration officials repeatedly used their official positions and the White House itself to bolster President Trump's reelection campaign,” the Washington Post reported.

    Last week, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the Hatch Act was being applied “beyond the originally intent” and denied the administration was in violation.

  • BIDEN AND TRUMP TIE IN NORTH CAROLINA

    A Monmouth University Poll reveals Joe Biden and President Trump are virtually tied in percentage points in North Carolina.

    Trump won the state by more than three percentage points over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

    Biden currently takes 47 percent of registered voters while Trump has 45 percent.

    Washington Post reports that the poll was conducted from Aug. 29 to Sep. 1 with a margin or error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

  • ALL NFL LOCATIONS CLOSED ON ELECTION DAY

    The NFL and NFLPA announced on Thursday that all NFL facilities will be closed on Election Day this November.

    The decision is “to ensure that every member of the NFL family has an opportunity to exercise the precious right to vote,” they said in a joint statement.

    ESPN reported that the NFL will be working with state officials to create polling locations in stadiums, sponsor education programs on how to register, vote and obtain absentee ballots for players staff and their families, set up meetings between elected officials to “discuss steps that can be taken to reduce conflict and improve relations between law enforcement and members of the community” and support college education for children of victims recognized by NFL players.

  • TRUMP 'IS BEING SILENCED'

    Shortly after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Facebook would be banning political ads a week before the election in November, a spokesperson for Trump claims he is being “silenced by the Silicon Valley Mafia.”

    “In the last seven days of the most important election in our history, President Trump will be banned from defending himself on the largest platform in American,” Deputy National Press Secretary Samantha Zager said.

  • Facebook BANS political ads

    Facebook announced it is banning political ads in the week leading up to the election on November 3.

    CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed the plan as he is worried about “an increased risk of civil unrest across the country.”

    The changes include not accepting any new political ads in the week running up to November 3.

    Facebook will be removing posts that claim people will catch coronavirus if they participate in voting and will be sharing “authoritative information” on the topic.

  • OLD NAVY PAYING EMPLOYEES TO WORK THE POLLS

    On Tuesday, Old Navy announced it would be paying employees that work as poll workers eight hours of pay even if they are not scheduled to work that day.

    “64% of Old Navy field employees are 18-29 years old, which historically is the segment of the population with the lowest voter turnout,” the company said via a press release. “This initiative allows for this demographic to become more involved in the election process than in years past.”

    According to WATE, Old Navy has more than 50,000 employees in more than 1,000 stores across the United States.

  • CALIFORNIA VOTERS CAN TRACK BALLOTS FOR FREE

    Voters in California can sign up for a free service that tracks their mail-in ballot before it arrives to their home and after they send it back.

    Voters that provided an email address when registering to vote should have received an email last week on how to sign up for updates.

    When signing up, voters provide information such as name, date of birth and zip code to verify that they are a registered voter.

    They are then given the option to chose between email, text, phone call or a combination of the three to receive updates on the status of their ballot.

  • BARR CALLS VOTING BY MAIL 'PLAYING WITH FIRE'

    Attorney General William told CNN on Wednesday that voting by mail is “playing with fire.”

    “We're a very closely divided country here,” he said. “People are trying to change the rules to this, to this methodology — which, as a matter of logic, is very open to fraud and coercion — is reckless and dangerous and people are playing with fire.”

    He told CNN that his evidence was based “on logic.”

  • TRUMP TELLS VOTERS IN NORTH CAROLINA TO VOTE TWICE

    When in North Carolina on Wednesday, President Trump told voters to vote twice, by mail and in person, to see how “good” the voting system is.

    “Let them send it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote,” the president said. “If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote.”

    Trump made the comment after he was asked about his faith in the voting by mail system, The New York Times reported.

    It is illegal to vote twice in the same election.

  • STOCK MARKET GURU TELLS INVESTORS TO 'PREPARE FOR TRUMP WIN'

    According to Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s global head of macro quantitative and derivatives strategy, investors should brace for a Donald Trump win as the president is likely to continue gaining favor in the polls.

    “Certainly a lot can happen in the next ~60 days to change the odds, but we currently believe that momentum in favor of Trump will continue, while most investors are still positioned for a Biden win,” Kolanovic told his clients.

    Kolanovic reasoned public opinion of violence around protests have all but evened the lead Biden originally held over Trump.

  • CORONAVIRUS VACCINE COULD BE READY BEFORE ELECTION

    A COVID-19 vaccine may be distributed in all 50 states as soon as late October or early November, the CDC revealed.

    A vaccine in late October or early November could mean it arrives before election day on Nov. 3.

    The CDC provided planning scenarios for two coronavirus vaccines given that supplies “may be constrained” during the distribution.

  • TRUMP CAMPAIGN SUES MONTANA GOV. TO HALT MAIL-IN BALLOTS

    President Donald Trump's presidential campaign and three other Republican groups are suing Montana Gov. Steve Bullock after he permitted counties to hold the presidential election in November through mail-in ballots.

    “The Governor's power grab under the cover of COVID-19 is particularly egregious,” the lawsuit says. “The Governor is running for U.S. Senate as a member of the Democratic Party and his race is one of the most competitive in the country. So he is using his current position to force a brand-new election system on Montanans that, according to his own party, will sway in the election in his favor. This action cannot stand.”

    Gov. Bullock responded and called mail-in voting “safe” and “secure” in Montana.

  • LAWSUIT SEEKS TO REMOVE KANYE WEST FROM VIRGINIA BALLOT

    Two Virginia voters say they were tricked into serving as electors for Kanye West's presidential campaign.

    The Washington Post reported that Matthan Wilson and Bryan Wright filed a suit against the rapper on Tuesday and are seeking to remove him from Virginia ballot immediately.

    Virginia's Board of Elections determined last week that West met the 5,000 petition signatures and 13 electors required to be listed on the ballot.

    According to the lawsuit, the campaign got at least three of the electors under false pretenses.

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