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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows defends Trump's "deep state" attacks on FDA

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said he applauds President Trump's accusation that the "deep state, or whoever" at the FDA is making it harder for drug companies to develop coronavirus treatments and vaccines in order to hurt him politically.

Why it matters: There is no evidence that the agency is purposely working to undermine Trump ahead of the election by slowing progress on life-saving virus treatments.


  • Trump's tweet came on the heels of a policy change by the Department of Health and Human Services to block the FDA's ability to regulate lab-developed tests, which has public health experts worried that unreliable COVID-19 tests could go to market.
  • HHS said it is taking the action as part of broader Trump administration review of "duplicative actions and unnecessary policies."

Driving the news: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany tweeted Sunday that Trump will hold a 6 p.m. news conference "concerning a major therapeutic breakthrough" on the coronavirus.

What they're saying: "We're not going to cut corners in any kind of research we can do, but what we will do is cut the red tape. And what the president was specifically addressing was something that I've been involved with over the last three or four weeks, is a real frustration with some of the bureaucrats to think that they can just do this the way they normally do it," Meadows said.

  • "We are facing unprecedented times, which require unprecedented action. This president is right to call it out, and I can tell you that the announcement that's coming today should have been made several weeks ago.
  • "It was a fumble by a number of people in the federal government that should have done it differently. Having been personally involved with it, sometimes you have to make them feel the heat if they don't see the light."

Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

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Trump and Xi to give dueling speeches Tuesday at UN General Assembly

President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping will address the UN General Assembly just minutes apart on Tuesday morning — with Russia’s Vladimir Putin following soon thereafter.

The big picture: Trump has promised a “strong message on China.” Xi, meanwhile, is expected to laud global cooperation — with the clear implication that it can be led from Beijing.

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Trump meets with Supreme Court frontrunner Amy Coney Barrett

President Trump met with Judge Amy Coney Barrett Monday afternoon at the White House, days before he is set to announce his pick to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, two sources familiar with meeting tell Axios.

Between the lines: Barrett, a U.S. circuit court judge who has long been seen within Trumpworld as the frontrunner on the president's short list, is known widely within the White House and well-liked.

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Federal judge extends deadline for Wisconsin ballots postmarked by Election Day

A federal judge in Wisconsin on Monday extended the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots until up to six days after the Nov. 3 election if they are postmarked by Election Day, AP reports.

Why it matters: The ruling, unless overturned, "means that the outcome of the presidential race in Wisconsin likely will not be known for days after polls close," according to AP.

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Trump's Supreme Court plans create major opportunity for Kamala Harris to go on offense

President Trump's Supreme Court plans have created a major opportunity for Sen. Kamala Harris to go on offense.

Why it matters: A confirmation fight puts Harris back in the spotlight thanks to her role on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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McConnell: Senate has "more than sufficient time" to process Supreme Court nomination

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a floor speech Monday that the chamber has "more than sufficient time" to confirm a replacement for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the election, and accused Democrats of preparing "an even more appalling sequel" to the fight over Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation.

Why it matters: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has said "nothing is off the table next year" if Republicans push ahead with the confirmation vote before November, vowing alongside Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) to use "every procedural tool available to us to ensure that we buy ourselves the time necessary."

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House Democrats file legislation to fund government through Dec. 11

House Democrats on Monday released their proposal for short-term legislation to fund the government through December 11.

Why it matters: This is Congress' chief legislative focus before the election. They must pass a continuing resolution (CR) before midnight on Oct. 1 to avoid a government shutdown — something both Hill leaders and the White House have claimed is off the table.

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Trump announces new Iran sanctions in effort to maintain international arms embargo

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that would impose sanctions on any person or entity that contributes to the supply, sale, or transfer of conventional arms to or from Iran or is engaged in providing training and financial support related to those weapons.

Why it matters: The executive order is the first step by the Trump administration to put teeth into its claim that international sanctions on Iran were restored over the weekend, one month after the U.S. initiated the "snapback" process under a United Nations Security Council resolution.

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