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2:10 PM ET, September 23, 2020


 Top Items: 
Trump falls into the trap he set for Biden  —  Donald Trump will face Joe Biden within days for the first of three presidential debates, and some of the president's supporters are already bracing for a humiliating loss.  —  White House allies, Republican donors and some of Trump's closest advisers worry …
Discussion: Raw Story, The Hill and Common Dreams
Washington Post:
Post-ABC polls: Trump and Biden in tight races in Florida, Arizona  —  Sunbelt battlegrounds could hold key to 2020 election outcome  —  President Trump and former vice president Joe Biden are locked in close races in Florida and Arizona, according to a pair of Washington Post-ABC News polls …
Jonathan Martin / New York Times:
Cindy McCain Endorses Biden, Citing Trump's Disparagement of Troops  —  The widow of Senator John McCain praised Joe Biden's “character and integrity” and noted that both he and her family had children who had served in the military.  —  WASHINGTON — Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain …
John F. Harris / Politico:
McConnell Is on the Losing Side of History — And He Knows It  —  Mitch McConnell may be driving American politics to the brink of insanity, but let's assume that the majority leader himself is entirely sane.  —  There are two possible reasons why it would be rational for him to act …
Abby Livingston / The Texas Tribune:
Ted Cruz blocks a U.S. Senate resolution to honor Ruth Bader Ginsburg, citing a “partisan” amendment  —  The junior Texas senator objected to language his Democratic counterparts added noting that late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dying wish was that a successor …
Dion Rabouin / Axios:
Wall Street fears meltdown over election and Supreme Court  —  The death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and President Trump's vow to name her replacement to the Supreme Court before November's election are amplifying Wall Street's worries about major volatility and market losses ahead of and even after the election.
Peter Baker / New York Times:
With Nothing Else Working, Trump Races to Make a New Supreme Court Justice the Issue
Barton Gellman / The Atlantic:
The Election That Could Break America  —  Illustrations by Guillem Casasús / Renderings by Borja Alegre  —  There is a cohort of close observers of our presidential elections, scholars and lawyers and political strategists, who find themselves in the uneasy position of intelligence analysts in the months before 9/11.
Washington Post:
GOP senators' report calls Hunter Biden's board position with Ukraine firm ‘problematic,’ but fails to show how it changed U.S. policy  —  A pair of Senate Republican committee chairmen released a report Wednesday arguing that Hunter Biden's board position with a Ukrainian energy company was …
Nicholas Fandos / New York Times:
Republican Inquiry Finds No Evidence of Wrongdoing by Biden
Democrats worry Feinstein can't handle Supreme Court battle  —  As the Senate prepares for yet another brutal Supreme Court nomination fight, one particularly sensitive issue is creating apprehension among Democrats: what to do with 87-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking member of the Judiciary Committee.
Jessica Taylor / The Cook Political Report:
Colorado Senate Moves From Toss Up to Lean Democrat
Manu Raju / CNN:
Democrats weigh how to handle Trump's potential Supreme Court pick after past flap over Barrett's faith
Orion Rummler / Axios:
Former Louisville officer indicted on wanton endangerment in Breonna Taylor case  —  A grand jury has indicted Brett Hankison, a Louisville police officer who entered Breonna Taylor's home in March and fired shots blindly, on three counts of wanton endangerment.
Washington Post:   Breonna Taylor grand jury will present its report to judge this afternoon
Karoun Demirjian / Washington Post:
House Democrats unveil reforms to ‘prevent future presidential abuses’  —  House Democrats unveiled a sweeping package of reforms Wednesday morning designed to strengthen Congress's ability to check the executive branch and prevent abuses of power, especially by the president.
Kate Nocera / Axios:
House Democrats unveil sweeping reforms package to curtail presidential abuses
Discussion: Townhall and POLITICUSUSA
Greg Miller / Washington Post:
Allegations of racism have marked Trump's presidency and become key issue as election nears  —  In unguarded moments with senior aides, President Trump has maintained that Black Americans have mainly themselves to blame in their struggle for equality, hindered more by lack of initiative …
CIA clamps down on flow of Russia intelligence to White House  —  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel and President Donald Trump attend the swearing-in ceremony for Haspel as CIA director May 21, 2018, in Langley, Va. |  The CIA has made it harder for intelligence about Russia to reach …
Julia Ainsley / NBC News:
DHS awarded $6 million in contracts to firm where Acting Secretary Wolf's wife is executive … WASHINGTON — The consulting firm where the wife of acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is an executive has been awarded more than $6 million in contracts from the Department …
Thomas B. Edsall / New York Times:
Five Things Biden and His Allies Should Be Worried About  —  Interestingly, the suburban vote may not be one of them.  —  Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.  —  There are at least five reasons Joe Biden's consistent lead …
Vicky Prodeline / Polls:
Countervailing Shifts in a Stable Race  —  Democrat makes gains in special Senate election  —  West Long Branch, NJ - Donald Trump and Joe Biden remain locked in a tight race for Georgia's electoral votes according to the Monmouth ("Mon-muth") University Poll.
Nancy Benac / Associated Press:
Dear Donald, Dear Mr. President: A Trump-Nixon '80s tale  —  WASHINGTON (AP) — They were two men in Manhattan who craved the same thing: validation.  One was a brash, young real estate developer looking to put his stamp on New York, the other a disgraced elder statesman bent on repairing his reputation.
Michael S. Schmidt / NBC News:
The story of how Trump chose children over country — and the men who tried to stop him  —  This piece has been adapted from “Donald Trump v. The United States: Inside the Struggle to Stop a President” by Michael S. Schmidt.  —  Counterintelligence officials had concerns about the attempts …
Michael Cooper / New York Times:
The Metropolitan Opera Won't Reopen for Another Year  —  The nation's largest performing arts organization, shut by the coronavirus pandemic, sends a chilling signal that American cultural life is still far from resuming.  —  The Metropolitan Opera announced Wednesday that the still-untamed …
Discussion: National Review and New York Post
New York Times:
White House Accused of Improperly Politicizing Review of John Bolton's Book  —  The account by a former National Security Council official also implied that the Justice Department may have told a court that the book contains classified information and opened a criminal investigation based on false pretenses.
The Economist:
Estimated Senate seats  —  Our model is updated every day, blending the latest data on polls and fundraising with “fundamental” factors like incumbency and each state's partisan lean.  Below is a chart over time of our best estimate of the most likely number of Senate seats each party will win …
U.S. health officials defend handling of pandemic policies at Senate hearing  —  NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. health officials on Wednesday defended their agencies against broad criticism of their handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic, telling a U.S. Senate committee that they were using science as their guide, not politics.
Discussion: Politico, CNBC, NPR and Mediaite
Jim Acosta / CNN:
A ‘distressed’ Birx questions how long she can remain on White House task force, sources say  —  (CNN)Once a fixture at the administration's coronavirus briefings, Dr. Deborah Birx has confided to aides and friends that she has become so unhappy with what she sees as her diminished role …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Mediaite
David French / Persuasion:
The Hate at the Heart of Conspiracy Theory  —  Liberty can survive intense disagreement.  But it cannot survive pure hate.  —  Something bothers me about the most common explanations for why conspiracy theories are spreading on the American right.  When trying to account for the rise …
Change Research:
States of Play: Battleground & National Likely Voter Surveys on the Mail-in Election, COVID-19 and the Supreme Court  —  Change Research/ CNBC Poll: September 18-20, 2020  —  Key Takeaways  — Biden now leads by 9 points nationally (51% to 42%), and maintains his advantage across six battleground states.
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 More Items: 
Conversations with Tyler:
Alex Ross on Music, Culture, and Criticism (Ep. 105)
Luke Mayville / Commonweal Magazine:
How progressives win in rural America
Timothy L. O'Brien / Bloomberg:
Mueller Failed to Follow Trump's Money Trail
Casey Newton / The Verge:
MARK IN THE MIDDLE  —  In 2020, Facebook would be roiled by a global pandemic …
Stephen Collinson / CNN:
Trump again minimizes the pandemic as officials warn of a fall surge
Emily Stewart / Vox:
We can end America's unemployment nightmare
John Caniglia / Plain Dealer:
Voters' groups say poor face 90-minute travel time to deliver ballots to Cuyahoga County's lone drop box
 Earlier Items: 
Ned Ryun / American Greatness:
In Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Democrats Plan to Cheat
Discussion: Washington Post and Reason
Pew Research Center:
The Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the U.S. Electorate
Mark Sullivan / Fast Company:
Facebook will let Trump run ads on election night prematurely claiming victory
Erik Larson / Bloomberg:
Eric Trump Gave ‘False’ Reason for Dodging Deposition, New York AG Says
Alona Ferber / New Statesman:
Judith Butler on the culture wars, JK Rowling and living in “anti-intellectual times”
Discussion: PinkNews
New York Times:
The Russian Trolls Have a Simpler Job Today. Quote Trump.
Discussion: Bulwark+ and Raw Story