ICYMI: Your TPM Weekend News Roundup

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October 16, 2020 4:51 p.m.

Chasing Amy

  • Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett found herself in the hot seat this week. The marathon confirmation hearings stretched on for several days, but failed to produce many fireworks.
  • The hearing kicked off on Monday, technically a federal holiday, with Republicans using the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s words to justify their speedy confirmation process with Barrett.
  • During their opening statements, Democrats kept the focus on the vulnerability of the Affordable Care Act under a staunchly conservative Supreme Court. The high court is set to take up an Obamacare case just a week after Election Day.
  • Things got more interesting on Tuesday, once senators began asking questions of Barrett, who kept tight-lipped on how she would rule on controversial cases.
  • Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), with surgical precision, laid out how conservative groups and dark money have propelled Barrett’s nomination.

The Debate That Wasn’t

  • Two candidates. Two networks. One time slot. That’s how the debate-that-wasn’t played out this week at two competing town halls. NBC’s Savannah Guthrie grilled President Trump, who also took questions from voters. ABC’s George Stephanopoulos moderated a similar event with Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
  • Conservatives on Twitter were up in arms about Guthrie’s grilling of Trump, labeling her tough but on point questions an “interrogation.”
  • During Trump’s town hall, the President refused to denounce the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory.
  • Biden, for his part, left the door open to adding more seats to the Supreme Court. But he said it depends how the confirmation process for Barrett plays out.
  • But the ratings-obsessed president suffered a blow to his ego, at least according to preliminary numbers: Biden’s event attracted more viewers, even though NBC’s programming was spread across multiple networks.

GOP’s October Surprises Are Duds

  • Bear with us as we wade through the muck on this one. The New York Post on Wednesday published what it claimed to be a scoop that revealed the contents of Hunter Biden’s hard drive. The son of former Vice President Biden, Hunter Biden has long been a target of the right’s desperate attempts to gin up allegations of corruption against the family.
  • TPM’s Josh Kovensky took a look at the many reasons the New York Post story was so bogus.
  • But like clockwork, Trump’s allies and cronies quickly pounced on the story. From Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) to Steve Bannon to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, here are some of the biggest boosters of the bogus story.
  • And that’s not all: Another GOP obsession, digging into allegations of “unmasking” by Obama-era officials, died with barely a whimper.
  • But wait! There’s more! The Durham investigation, nominally meant to put the Russia probe under a microscope, will reportedly not yield any results before Election Day, as Trump and his cohort had so desperately hoped.
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