- Hours after we published this news roundup last Friday, news broke of the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. On Friday, she became the first woman to lie in state at the U.S. Capitol. Americans visited to pay their respects. (Her longtime personal trainer honored the late judge with push-ups. Ginsburg’s fitness regiment was famous despite her diminutive stature.)
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quickly locked in enough votes to confirm President Trump’s yet-to-be-announced nominee to the high court. Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News this week that Republicans will move on the nomination before the November election.
- Trump paid his respects to Ginsburg Thursday at the Supreme Court, where he was met with loud chants of “vote him out!”
- Trump has vowed to nominate a woman to fill Ginsburg’s seat, and he is expected to announce his pick Saturday afternoon.
Trump’s Strongman Threat
- Trump set off yet another wave of election fears on Wednesday evening when he refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses to Joe Biden in November.
- “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump told reporters during a briefing at the White House.
- Quite a few Republicans pushed back on Trump’s comments, albeit not by name.
- The White House insisted Trump will accept the results of the November election — but only if it is “free and fair.”
- However, the White House is making plans for Trump’s potential transition should he lose.
A Big Ol’ Mess In Pennsylvania
- As TPM’s executive editor David Kurtz said Thursday: Buckle up, the election news is getting wild with less than 40 days to go.
- This week we’ve been reporting on a bizarre story out of Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued a press release Thursday saying it was investigating “potential issues” regarding military ballots in the Pennsylvania county. The announcement of the ongoing investigation, along with the selective release of information about it, raised eyebrows among former DOJ officials, TPM’s Tierney Sneed reported.
- The story got more confusing after U.S. Attorney David Freed sent a letter to a local election official. The letter seemed to acknowledge that the issue stemmed from a mistake, rather than a criminal conspiracy, but it left hanging the notion that there was some malicious intent.
- On Friday, ABC News reported that Attorney General Bill Barr briefed Trump on the matter, which set off the chain reaction of events that led to the initial bizarre press release.
- Finally, Luzerne County Manager C. David Pedri explained the situation, saying a temporary seasonal contractor had “incorrectly discarded” the Uniformed Military and Overseas Voters Act (UMOVA) ballots into the trash.
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