Here’s what’s happening Thursday in Election 2020, 12 days until Election Day:
ON THE TRAIL: President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden will be in Nashville, Tennessee. Vice President Mike Pence will be in Michigan and Indiana.
TODAY’S TOP STORIES:
FACE TO FACE: Trump and Biden are set to square off in their final debate. It’s one of the last high-profile opportunities for the trailing president to change the trajectory of an increasingly contentious campaign. Some Trump advisers are urging him to trade his aggressive demeanor for a lower-key style, hoping Biden will get himself in trouble with verbal gaffes. In an effort to curtail interruptions, Trump and Biden will each have his microphone cut off while his rival delivers an opening two-minute answer to each of the six debate topics.
SPOOFED EMAILS: U.S. officials have accused Iran of being behind a flurry of emails sent to Democratic voters in multiple battleground states that appeared to be aimed at intimidating them into voting for the Republican president. The officials did not lay out specific evidence for how they came to pinpoint Iran, but the activities attributed to Tehran would mark a significant escalation for a country some cybersecurity experts regard as a second-rate player in online espionage.
BARRETT PUSH: Despite a Democratic boycott, Republicans are powering ahead to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by Election Day. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote to recommend Trump’s nominee to the full Senate. Never before has the Senate confirmed a high court pick so close to a presidential election. The Senate is planning a rare weekend session to push the Indiana judge's nomination forward. Final confirmation by the Senate is expected Monday.
PATH TO 270: Trump still has a path to the 270 Electoral College votes he needs to win reelection. But it requires everything to break in his direction again. His most likely route would be to win two crucial states: Pennsylvania and Florida. If he can win there and hold onto North Carolina and Arizona — while playing defense in Georgia and Ohio — he will win.
ANXIOUS LEADERS: While the world will be closely watching the U.S. election, some countries will be watching more closely than others. A number of prominent world leaders have a personal stake in the outcome of the race, with their fortunes depending heavily on the success — or failure — of Trump. Perhaps none has so much riding on a Trump victory as Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli leader, who had a rocky relationship with President Barack Obama, has praised Trump as “the greatest friend” Israel has ever had in the White House.
ALABAMA VOTING: The Supreme Court has put on hold a lower court order that would have permitted curbside voting in Alabama in November. The justices’ vote was 5-3, with the court’s three liberals dissenting. It was unclear how many counties might have offered curbside voting, allowing people to vote from their car by handing their ballot to a poll worker.
QUOTABLE: “You should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism.” — FBI Director Chris Wray, insisting that the integrity of the 2020 U.S. election is still sound.