White House pushes to hold next week’s canceled debate

A White House spokesman on Sunday called for a canceled in-person debate between President TrumpDonald John TrumpNorth Korea unveils large intercontinental ballistic missile at military parade Trump no longer considered a risk to transmit COVID-19, doctor says New ad from Trump campaign features Fauci MORE and Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenDemocratic poll shows neck-and-neck race brewing in Florida House district Nebraska district could prove pivotal for Biden in November Bringing Black men back home MORE to be rescheduled after the president’s physician said Saturday that Trump was no longer at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others.

White House deputy communications director Brian Morgenstern said Sunday that a previously-planned debate on Oct. 15 should take place, CNN reported.  

“The President is ready to debate and his doctors have cleared him for participating in public engagements,” Morgenstern told reporters at the White House Sunday. “They’ve said he’s no longer a risk for transmission so it would be nice if the commission would get the debate back on the schedule.”

That follows a memo released by the Trump administration a day earlier in which White House physician Sean Conley said that he was “happy to report that in addition to the President meeting the CDC criteria for the safe discontinuation of isolation, this morning’s COVID PCR sample demonstrates, by currently recognized standards, he is no longer considered a transmission risk to others.”

The Biden campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.

The Commission on Presidential Debates on Friday canceled Thursday’s debate after a day of back-and-forth between the campaigns over the event’s format. 

The commission on Thursday morning announced it was shifting the debate from an in-person town hall-style format to a virtual debate. Trump refused the virtual format and proposed delaying both remaining debates by a week, which the Biden campaign shot down.

In the end, Trump scheduled a rally for Oct. 15 while Biden said he would hold his own town hall. The commission said in its statement Friday that, “It is now apparent there will be no debate on October 15, and the CPD will turn its attention to preparations for the final presidential debate scheduled for October 22.”

Biden has said that he will follow the advice of medical experts as to whether he will appear in public with Trump again following the latter’s diagnosis, but stated that he would not attend a debate if the president still tested positive for the virus.

“I think if he still has COVID, we shouldn’t have a debate,” Biden said Tuesday.

“I think we were gonna have to follow very strict guidelines. Too many people have been infected. It’s a very serious problem, so I will be guided by the guidelines of the Cleveland Clinic and what the docs say is the right thing to do,” he added.

The president declared himself COVID-free in a tweet Sunday morning that was labeled as misleading by Twitter due to his claim that he was now “immune” from the virus, 

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White House pushes for limited stimulus bill

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[NFA] The Trump administration on Sunday asked U.S. lawmakers to approve using leftover funds from the last pandemic stimulus package toward new economic recovery efforts as negotiations on a larger rescue bill face resistance.

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White House pushes for limited coronavirus relief bill as broader effort meets resistance

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin takes questions from news reporters with White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows following a series of meetings on efforts to pass new coronavirus aid legislation on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows on Sunday called on Congress to pass a coronavirus relief bill using leftover funds from the small business loan program as negotiations on a more comprehensive package face resistance.

Their proposal was the latest twist in the on-again, off-again talks to try to secure more stimulus for the economy.

In a letter to House and Senate members, Mnuchin and Meadows said the White House would continue to talk to Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but that Congress should “immediately vote on a bill” that would enable the use of unused Paycheck Protection Program funds.

“The all or nothing approach is an unacceptable response to the American people,” they wrote.

President Donald Trump on Friday offered a $1.8 trillion coronavirus relief package in talks with Pelosi after urging his team on Twitter to “go big” – moving closer to Pelosi’s $2.2 trillion proposal. That came after Trump earlier last week said he was calling off negotiations until after the Nov. 3 election.

Trump’s reversal and higher offer drew criticism from at least 20 Senate Republicans, who said they were concerned a deal would cost Republicans support in the upcoming elections.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that he thought Senate Republicans would eventually come around.

“I think if an agreement can be reached, they will go along with it,” he said, adding that there will be “further efforts of negotiation” on a package this week.

Reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Bill Berkrot

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Nikola Pushes Back on Skeptics by Showcasing In-House Tech

(Bloomberg) — Nikola Corp. wants to put allegations of deception behind it with a push to showcase its own innovations and detail how it plans to get its clean-powered trucks to market.

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Executives at the embattled startup are talking to investors to rebut criticism it has no working prototypes and to clarify its business plans after the resignation of founder and former Chairman Trevor Milton. That effort includes highlighting technology with existing or pending patents, explaining the role partners will play and providing better milestones on efforts to start production.

“Our message is the same as it was before,” said Chief Executive Officer Mark Russell in an interview. “We have an ecosystem of partners that have validated what we’re doing. We believe we’re within three years of producing a fuel cell truck and one year of producing a battery-powered truck.”

Nikola executives will also use planned and direct communication to media and investors instead of the social media posts that Milton favored, according to people familiar with the company’s plans, who asked not to be identified.

The charm offensive is an attempt to counter investor skepticism about Nikola’s business model in the wake of a short-seller report last month that questioned the company’s capabilities and claims of progress. Nikola has denied misrepresenting itself, but federal regulators are reportedly examining the allegations against the company and Milton, who has been accused of unrelated harassment claims that he denies.

Shares of the company have fallen almost 50% from their price after going public in June through a reverse merger. The stock pared a decline of as much as 9.3% on Tuesday, trimming losses in early afternoon trading. The stock was down 6.2% to $18.10 as of 1:30 p.m. in New York.

Patents and Software

Nikola has forged technology-sharing relationships with automotive titans Robert Bosch GmbH and General Motors Co., both of which own stakes in the company. That helps underpin the company’s work — and potential value — as a systems integrator for its fast-track projects, including a battery-electric pickup truck and hydrogen fuel-cell semi trucks.

The Phoenix-based startup is also anxious to show investors in-house know-how, including six published patents in the U.S. for innovations such as a purpose-built frame for a fuel-cell truck. It also has several other U.S. patents pending for things like fuel-cell membranes and catalysts, hydrogen storage, fast fueling systems and system control technologies, according to a document seen by Bloomberg News.

While these patents represent future potential, they are many years away from commercialization, according to a person familiar with the matter. For the time being, Nikola will rely on Bosch’s fuel cells for prototypes to be built next year. GM’s fuel-cell technology is viewed by Nikola as more mature than Bosch’s, but it will take a longer time for the fuel cell’s packaging, compression and power management systems to be adjusted to fit the design of Nikola’s trucks, the person said.

Nikola plans to show investors its competitive edge in hydrogen-powered vehicles that

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White House pushes for pre-election SCOTUS vote, ‘Zoombie’ storm Paulette and CDC issues Halloween warnings

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump appears to have secured enough Senate support to push a vote on his Supreme Court nominee. “Zombie” storm Paulette has come back to life and Covid-19 claims another victim: Halloween.

Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.


White House gets behind idea of pushing Supreme Court nominee vote before the election

A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation, three NBC News White House correspondents report.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to GOP confidence Tuesday when he threw his support behind Trump’s push to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quickly.

All eyes had been on Romney, often a Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Trump even expressed appreciation toward his frequent foe during a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday, saying: “Thank you, Mitt.”

To date, only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

The president promised to “reveal” his nominee at the White House at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Meantime, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden punted on the hypothetical question of how Democrats should retaliate if Republicans manage to secure their nominee. Asked if he’d be open to expanding on the number of Supreme Court seats if given the opportunity, he demurred.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question. Because it will shift the focus,” Biden said.

The former vice president also won an interesting endorsement Tuesday: Cindy McCain threw her support behind Biden in a stinging rebuke of Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee.

Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals until now.

Cindy McCain’s backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump and give him a boost the crucial swing state

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White House pushes for pre-election SCOTUS vote

Good morning, NBC News readers.

President Donald Trump appears to have secured enough Senate support to push a vote on his Supreme Court nominee. “Zombie” storm Paulette has come back to life and Covid-19 claims another victim: Halloween.

Here’s what we’re watching this Wednesday morning.

White House gets behind idea of pushing Supreme Court nominee vote before the election

A consensus has formed within the West Wing to push for a vote on President Donald Trump’s coming Supreme Court nominee before the election, with aides and advisers saying they are increasingly optimistic that they will be able to pull off the speedy confirmation, three NBC News White House correspondents report.

Some outside advisers had initially argued that waiting to hold a vote until after Election Day could be the most politically advantageous strategy, said a person familiar with the thinking. Having the seat vacant could motivate conservatives to turn out for Trump to ensure that it got filled and save senators in tight races from having to make a controversial vote so close to the election.

But the momentum in the past 48 hours has swung toward getting a vote done as soon as possible, with those inside and outside the White House arguing that the quicker the process, the more likely they are to fill the seat, senior administration officials said.

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, added to GOP confidence Tuesday when he threw his support behind Trump’s push to fill the seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg quickly.

All eyes had been on Romney, often a Trump critic who voted to convict the president during the Senate impeachment trial earlier this year, as someone who could join Democrats to block the confirmation vote.

Trump even expressed appreciation toward his frequent foe during a rally in Pennsylvania Tuesday, saying: “Thank you, Mitt.”

To date, only two Republican senators have said it is too close to the presidential election to consider a court nomination, not enough to block it.

The president promised to “reveal” his nominee at the White House at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Meantime, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden punted on the hypothetical question of how Democrats should retaliate if Republicans manage to secure their nominee. Asked if he’d be open to expanding on the number of Supreme Court seats if given the opportunity, he demurred.

“It’s a legitimate question. But let me tell you why I’m not going to answer that question. Because it will shift the focus,” Biden said.

The former vice president also won an interesting endorsement Tuesday: Cindy McCain threw her support behind Biden in a stinging rebuke of Trump by the widow of the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee.

Trump has had a fraught relationship with members of John McCain’s family since he disparaged the Arizona senator during his 2016 campaign. But the McCains have stopped short of endorsing Trump’s rivals until now.

Cindy McCain’s backing could help Biden appeal to Republicans disaffected with Trump and give him a boost the crucial

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Billy Joel Pushes 2020 Madison Square Garden Gigs to Start Fall 2021

Billy Joel has pushed his postponed monthly shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden to start again in the fall of 2021.

The singer initially postponed his spring residency dates to start in the fall of 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic; with Covid still making indoor concerts impossible, Joel announced Friday that those six postponed dates have now been rescheduled to 14 months later.

The first postponed gig, March 19th, 2020, which was initially moved to September 26th, 2020, will now take place November 5th, 2021; similarly, the April 2020 gig is now December 2021, the May 2020 arrives in January 2022, etc.

“Tickets for the original show dates and initial rescheduled show dates will be valid for the corresponding new rescheduled dates in 2021 and 2022,” Joel’s site says. “Ticketholders can request a refund over the next 30 days, beginning today, if they cannot commit to the new rescheduled show date.”

It’s unclear whether Joel plans on resuming his Madison Square Garden residency prior to November 2021 with new dates, or if those rescheduled dates mark the return of his monthly MSG gigs.

See Joel’s new Madison Square Garden dates below:

November 5th, 2021

December 20th, 2021

January 14th, 2022

February 12th, 2022

March 24th, 2022

April 8th, 2022

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