THIS IS AMERICA

By Holly Thomas

Wednesday, October 28

FORECAST: HIGHEST TURNOUT SINCE 1908 More than 70 million Americans have already cast ballots in the U.S. presidential election, more than half the total turnout of the 2016 election with one week to go until Election Day, according to a Tuesday tally from the U.S. Elections Project. The tally, which shows a record-breaking pace that could lead to the highest voter turnout in percentage terms in more than a century, is the latest sign of intense interest in the contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. It also highlights voters’ desire to reduce their risk of exposure to COVID-19 as the pandemic regathers strength heading into winter. [Reuters]‌

TRUMP TELLS WOMEN: ‘WE’RE GETTING YOUR HUSBANDS BACK TO WORK’ Trump pledged to women that if reelected, he’d be sure to get their “husbands back to work.” He made the astonishingly sexist remark during a campaign rally in Lansing, Michigan, after falsely bragging that he “did great with women” in the 2016 election. “Women, suburban or otherwise, they want security, they want security, they want safety. They want law and order,” he said. The president detoured briefly to attack Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) ― the target of a violent kidnapping plot recently foiled by the FBI. [HuffPost]‌

FAMILY OF BLACK MAN KILLED BY COPS CALLED FOR AMBULANCE The family of a Black man named Walter Wallace who was killed when Philadelphia police officers fired a dozen rounds in a shooting caught on video had called for an ambulance to get him help with a mental health crisis, not for police intervention, their lawyer said. Wallace’s wife is pregnant and is scheduled to have labor induced in the coming days, the lawyer told reporters. Wallace’s father, Walter Wallace Sr., told The Philadelphia Inquirer that his son was on medication and struggled with his mental health. [AP]

COVID-19 SURGES IN CRITICAL MIDWEST BATTLEGROUNDS The coronavirus is getting worse in states that Trump needs the most. In Iowa, polls suggest Trump is in a toss-up race with Biden after carrying the state by 9.4 percentage points four years ago. Trump’s pandemic response threatens his hold on Wisconsin, where he won by fewer than 23,000 votes in 2016. Meanwhile, Trump rally hosts are racking up COVID-19 fines in Nevada, and public health experts have warned that the U.S. is on track to hit 10,000 new cases a day. [AP]‌

GRAND JURORS IN BREONNA TAYLOR CASE CALL POLICE ‘NEGLIGENT,’ ‘CRIMINAL’ Two grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case sat down for an anonymous interview set to air Wednesday on “CBS This Morning.” Gayle King asked the jurors what they thought of the police officers’ actions the night they carried out a botched warrant search on Taylor’s apartment in Louisville, Kentucky, in March. Juror One said: “Negligent.” “They couldn’t even provide a risk assessment, and it sounded like they hadn’t done one.” Juror Two more matter-of-factly said that the officers’ actions were “criminal.” [HuffPost]‌

JUDGE BLOCKS BAN ON OPEN CARRY OF GUNS AT POLLING PLACES A Michigan judge struck down a rule that banned the open carry of firearms at polling places on Election Day, siding with gun rights groups. Judge Christopher Murray issued a preliminary injunction against the rule, saying a directive issued by Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson did not follow proper procedure. State law already bans open carry at some locations that may serve as polling places, including churches. The new directive also doesn’t address concealed weapons. [HuffPost]‌

JUDGE BLOCKS BID TO SHIELD TRUMP FROM RAPE DEFAMATION SUIT A federal judge denied Trump’s request that he be replaced as the defendant in a defamation lawsuit alleging he raped columnist E. Jean Carroll in the 1990s. The Justice Department argued that the United States —U.S. taxpayers — should replace Trump as the defendant. The judge ruled that a law protecting federal employees from being sued individually for things they do within the scope of their employment didn’t apply to a president. But even if it did, Trump’s public denials of the rape allegation would have come outside the scope of his employment. [AP]‌

FACEBOOK LET TRUMP LAUNCH NEW POLITICAL ADS POST-BAN  Trump’s campaign launched more than a dozen new political ads on Facebook on Tuesday, despite the platform’s ban on such ads in the week leading up to the election. Political ads in the U.S. “must be created and start delivering before October 27,” according to Facebook’s widely touted policy, which was implemented to prevent unsubstantiated information from spreading through ads in the run-up to Nov. 3. Existing political ads that went live prior to the ban are allowed to run throughout the restriction period; new ads cannot be launched post-ban. [HuffPost]‌

TENS OF THOUSANDS EVACUATED IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA  Crews tried to beat back two out-of-control wildfires in Southern California. These fires have kept tens of thousands of people out of their homes even as more dangerous fire weather raises the risk across the state. Fierce winds that drove twin fires through brushy hills near cities in Orange County a day earlier were expected to pick back up, although not to the earlier extremes. Southern California Edison reported to regulators that it was investigating whether its equipment might have sparked the Silverado Fire near the city of Irvine. [AP]

  • Emily Maitlis and a team from BBC Newsnight are flying out to America today to cover the Presidential Election right up to polling day and thereafter.

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