Where Things Stand: It’s Not Up To You

WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: White House advisor Jared Kushner wears a face mask while as he departs a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Sev... WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 11: White House advisor Jared Kushner wears a face mask while as he departs a press briefing about coronavirus testing in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Several White House staff members and aides have recently tested positive for the coronavirus and three top health officials from the White House coronavirus task force are now self-quarantining after potential exposure. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 13, 2020 12:59 p.m.

White House senior adviser and son-in-law to the President Jared Kushner is walking back his outrageous suggestion about pushing back the presidential election.

As he should.

In a statement, Kushner acknowledged that he is not “involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the Presidential election.” Kushner was forced to back-track after he alluded in an interview with Time that he couldn’t “commit one way or the other” to the possibility of delaying the election in November due to COVID-19.

“Hopefully by the time we get to September, October, November, we’ve done enough work with testing and with all the different things we’re trying to do to prevent a future outbreak of the magnitude that would make us shut down again,” Kushner told Time yesterday.

You can’t blame the President’s son-in-law for thinking he has any say in when the election will be held. Since he joined the White House, he’s had the freedom to handle a plethora of tasks that he’s highly unqualified for, including an attempt to solve decades-old tensions in the Middle East.

But alas, as the Washington Post points out, a federal statute mandates the timing of presidential elections, which has been the same since 1845: “on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November.” And, according to the National Constitution Center, only a combination of state and congressional actions could “delay elections but not postpone the selection of a president and vice president.”

Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following today:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Tierney Sneed is outlining curious new developments in the Michael Flynn case, which the Justice Department recommended should be dropped last week.

Josh Kovensky is reporting on Republican senators efforts to learn the identities of several Obama administration officials at the center of a right-wing conspiracy theory. Josh is also following up on a report that the Trump administration is reportedly pressuring the CDC to change how it calculates COVID-19 deaths so the death toll appears lower than it is.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from prison early to serve the remainder of his seven-year sentence at home after his attorney pushed to get him out of incarceration amid concerns about coronavirus spread in U.S. prisons. Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was scheduled to be released from prison for the same reason, but was denied that planned release earlier this month.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) defended Dr. Anthony Fauci on Twitter last night as the top infectious disease expert endures attacks from conservatives, including Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY). Trump allies have gone after Fauci in recent weeks because he has broken with the President on numerous occasions, most recently cautioning against the reopening of the economy. We’ll keep an eye on this rift.

If You Read Anything On COVID-19 Today, Read This

Kate Riga reports on the Democratic National Committee’s steps toward allowing virtual voting during the convention in Milwaukee in August amid COVID-19 uncertainty. The DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee approved the measure unanimously yesterday and the motion will now go to the full DNC for consideration.

Earlier coverage of COVID-19’s impact on the 2020 election:

Coming Up

4:00 p.m. ET: Trump will meet with the governors of Colorado and North Dakota in an open press event in the Rose Garden.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

SCOTUS Hears Oral Arguments On Trump Financial Doc Cases — Josh Kovensky and Tierney Sneed

What We Are Reading

Facebook Will Pay $52 Million In Settlement With Moderators Who Developed PTSD On The Job — Casey Newton

What Does It Mean To Be A ‘Karen’? Karen Explains — Elle Hunt

Correction: This article incorrectly stated that Michael Cohen was released from prison early. Cohen was originally approved for early release but was later denied. TPM regrets this error. 

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