No, Joe Biden Did Not Only Improve in Four Major Swing-State Cities

No, Joe Biden Did Not Only Improve in Four Major Swing-State Cities


November 16, 2020 4:16 PM

It’s time to debunk another bogus claim. In looking for fraud or misconduct in an election, we sometimes assume that “where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” But that too often leads people to assume there must be fire when, on closer inspection, there is not even smoke. Disappointed Trump supporters looking to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the 2020 vote counts have spread an unfortunate profusion of viral claims since the election pointing to apparently suspicious or inexplicable patterns in the reported vote tallies. As I have previously noted here and here, however, many of these patterns have entirely rational explanations, or are framed in ways that are outright false or misleading. This is not a reason to ignore hard evidence of actual fraud or misconduct in the election. But patterns in the voting are, at most, smoke; and if there is nothing suspicious about the pattern, we should be all the more demanding of proof of fire.

Consider the latest viral claim, from Patrick Basham at Democracy InstituteMatt Vespa at Town HallMike LaChance at Gateway Pundit, and amplified by sources such as Rassmussen Reports, quoting pollster Richard Baris:

How curious that, as Baris notes, “Trump won the largest non-white vote share for a Republican presidential candidate in 60 years. Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in every major metro area around the country, save for Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta and Philadelphia.” Robert Barnes, the foremost election analyst, observes in these “big cities in swing states run by Democrats…the vote even exceeded the number of registered voters.” Trump’s victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin were on target until, in the middle of the night, counting was arbitrarily halted. Miraculously, several hundred thousand votes – all for Biden – were mysteriously ‘found’; Trump’s real leads subsequently vanished. (Emphasis added).

The reader is left to believe that Joe Biden did unusually well in these four particular cities compared to 2016. These cities are all in key swing states that flipped narrowly to Biden, all traditionally provide a crucial source of votes to Democrats in their states, and Detroit, Atlanta, and Philadelphia in particular have extremely long-entrenched, notoriously corrupt one-party Democratic governments (Milwaukee may be run by Democrats, but it was only a decade ago that the county executive was Scott Walker). Those three are also, although this is never quite stated out loud, cities dominated by their African-American populations, and Milwaukee is almost 40 percent black. Now, the fact that these are heavily black cities should not blind us to the well-known and well-documented flaws of their governments, but there is certainly at least a whiff of racial appeal in efforts to convince white audiences that these particular cities must have stolen the election. In some quarters, that whiff is more like a reek.

The problem, if you look at the cities themselves, is that the facts do not fit the story. I took a look across the 36 largest U.S. cities outside of California and New York where Biden beat Trump by at least 10,000 votes, as measured by county-wide vote totals (admittedly, some cities cross county lines or have suburban voters within county lines, and Maricopa County, Ariz., has two large cities in a single county). I excluded California and New York only because they are still counting votes so slowly that it is not yet possible to fairly compare their vote totals to 2016. I also excluded four cities where Trump either won or lost by a tiny margin: Colorado Springs, Fort Worth, Oklahoma City, and Tulsa. That leaves us with a comparison across the major American Democrat-voting cities. Is it true that Joe Biden underperformed Hillary Clinton in 32 out of 36, and overperformed in Milwaukee, Detroit, Atlanta, and Philadelphia? No, it is not. It is emphatically false:


Biden improved his margin of victory compared to Hillary in 31 out of 36 urban counties — and Philadelphia was one of the five in which he didn’t. In 29 of the cities, the Democratic margin of victory grew on a percentage basis. Of the twelve cities in which Biden overperformed Hillary by enough that his margin of victory grew by 10 percent or more (as a percentage of the 2016 electorate), only one (Atlanta) was in a swing state, and one other (Omaha) in a swing district. Biden’s improvements in Milwaukee and Detroit were distinctly subpar, and in Detroit, Trump improved his own share of the vote enough to be the first Republican to break 30 percent of the vote in Wayne County, Mich., in 32 years.

Yes, Biden had some really striking “metro area” improvements over Hillary in key states, but other than Atlanta, many of those came either in the surrounding suburbs (the election was really won in the suburbs, most of all around Philadelphia) or in counties such as Maricopa County, Ariz., (which contains both Phoenix and Mesa and was won by Trump four years ago) and Douglas County, Neb.,(which contains Omaha and swung one electoral vote). But those are not counties run by infamously corrupt Democratic local parties, and “voter fraud in the suburbs” is neither as sexy nor as plausible as fraud by the kinds of urban machines that gave us 100,000 fraudulent votes in Chicago in the 1982 Illinois governor’s race. Biden turned out tons of additional votes in Austin, Denver, San Antonio, Albuquerque, Portland, and Nashville, too, but none of those mattered to the outcome.

If you are still looking for proof that Joe Biden did not legitimately win the 2020 election, nearly two weeks after Election Day, you will need to do better than this.


Senator Rand Paul claims statistical ‘fraud’ in states where Trump lost, calls out Big Tech

These supposed “vote spikes” occurred in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia, according an analysis cited by Paul.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
, on Sunday claimed statistical “fraud” was found in four states where President Donald Trump lost in the presidential election during supposed “data dumps” in the middle of the night and early morning.

“Interesting . . . Trump margin of “defeat” in 4 states occurred in 4 data dumps between 1:34-6:31 AM,” the Republican Senator tweeted. “Statistical anomaly? Fraud? Look at the evidence and decide for yourself. (That is, if Big Tech allows u to read this)”

By Sunday afternoon, the tweet was flagged with the warning: “This claim about election fraud is disputed.”

The tweet included a link to an article, “Anomalies in Vote Counts and Their Effects on Election 2020,” which aimed to demonstrate how Democratic candidate Joe Biden supposedly received “vote spikes” in the early hours of Nov. 4, 2020.

These supposed “vote spikes” occurred in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia, according to the analysis. It goes on to argue, that these vote spikes in favor of Biden cut into Trump’s lead – claims that echo the president’s own unsubstantiated claims.

Biden earned 306 electoral votes to Trump’s 232, the same margin that Trump had when he beat Hillary Clinton in 2016, which he repeatedly described as a “landslide.” (Trump ended up with 304 electoral votes because two electors defected.) Biden achieved victory by prevailing in key states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia.

Trump’s allegations of massive voting fraud have been refuted by a variety of judges, state election officials and an arm of his own administration’s Homeland Security Department. Many of his campaign’s lawsuits across the country have been thrown out of court.


No case has established irregularities of a scale that would change the outcome. Lawsuits that remain do not contain evidence that would flip the result.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



Is Voter Fraud Afoot? A Look at 7 Claims

Fred Lucas @FredLucasWH / November 05, 2020 /23 Comments

An elections worker takes a short break Wednesday while processing absentee ballots at the Detroit Department of Elections’ counting center at TCF Center. (Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

As might be expected during the undecided presidential contest between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, pundits and typical voters alike are voicing more concerns about voter fraud and unfair election practices.

Already numerous internet rumors have been proven wrong or lack evidence. That doesn’t mean every assertion will prove to be without merit, however. 

Conversely, some legitimate questions about ballot counting have enough evidence behind them to support litigation. That doesn’t mean such questions won’t ultimately have satisfactory answers. 

Here’s a sampling—based on what currently is known—of seven claims in the postelection chaos. 

The left is actively working to undermine the integrity of our elections. Read the plan to stop them now. Learn more now >>

1. Wisconsin Votes vs. Registered Voters?

One popular claim circulating on social media and at least one viral email goes like this: “Wisconsin magically now has more votes than registered voters.” 

That essentially is a “fake” claim, said J. Christian Adams, president of the conservative-leaning election integrity watchdog group Public Interest Legal Foundation.

“Wisconsin has same-day voter registration, so you are obviously always going to have more voters than registered voters,” Adams told The Daily Signal. 

Adams noted that by Thursday afternoon, he had gotten at least 20 emails calling for investigations into bogus rumors floating on the internet. determined that the number of registered voters as of Nov. 1 actually exceeded the actual voters Nov. 3 by 388,000.

2. No Sharpies in Arizona? 

An example of a legitimate problem is in Maricopa County, Arizona, Adams said, where 11 voters are suing the county for not “curing” their vote, meaning not providing a new ballot when a ballot is somehow spoiled. 

The lead client in the case, Laurie Aguilera, represented by the Public Interest Legal Foundation, is asking a court to vindicate her voting rights. Aguilera is joined by 10 unnamed plaintiffs, dubbed “Does I-X.”

The lawsuit asks the court to order that election officials identify and correct all ballots that were denied because poll workers had required voters to use Sharpie markers in filling out ballots.

Aguilera was issued a Sharpie to mark up her ballot on Election Day, according to the lawsuit. That’s despite established state guidance that felt-tip writing utensils not be used. 

Aguilera said she became alarmed when she noticed ink bleeding to the other side of her ballot, according to the lawsuit. Election officials instructed her to feed her ballot through the counting machine. 

When the machine failed to accept her ballot, the attending poll worker cancelled the ballot and Aguilera’s request for a replacement ballot was denied, according to the lawsuit.

“These voters were denied the right to vote. Arizona election officials allegedly were part of the problem, and denial of the right to vote should not occur because of failures in the process of casting a ballot,” Adams said in a public statement. 

The suit asks that ballots denied because of the supplied Sharpies be identified and allowed to be cured; that voters who were given felt-tip markers be given the chance to be present to observe the handling and adjudication of their ballots; and that the court order their votes to be tabulated. 

Maricopa County officials pushed back, saying that Sharpies in fact may be used, referring to an Election Day video that said ink could not bleed through ballots. 

3. Wisconsin Ballot Dump?

Another claim about Wisconsin is that someone discovered more than 112,000 ballots marked for Biden between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning. 

The left-leaning PolitiFact identified a Facebook post as being the source of this rumor, which the social media site flagged.  

PolitiFact called this claim “false,” quoting Reid Magney, a spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission, as stating, “Absolutely no ballots were ‘found.’” 

Magney added: “All of the election results that were reported in the early morning hours of Wednesday were valid ballots that were received by 8 p.m. on Election Day according to the law.”

Aside from social media and a blog post, no major Republican or conservative figures have made a case for this claim. 

4. Who’s Counting in Michigan?

A lawsuit filed Wednesday in Detroit asserts that Democratic observers are reviewing thousands of spoiled ballots without an Republican observer present, as required by law. 

About 100 counting groups operating in Wayne County determined that ballots rejected by voting machines had to be reviewed. 

State law allows a Democrat and Republican election observer to review each ineligible ballot and make a mutual determination of the voter’s intent. However, several witnesses allege that only Democratic observers were correcting such ballots in violation of state law, the lawsuit says. 

“The law in Michigan requires Republican and Democrat observers,” Phill Kline, a former Kansas attorney general who now directs the Amistad Project and represents the plaintiffs in the case, told The Daily Signal. 

Kline said every ballot could be perfectly legitimate, but the public needs to have confidence in the process and so far, Wayne County has not been transparent. 

“The lawsuit is only asking to open the record to the public. We need to know how the votes are being counted,” Kline said. “We know they are violating state law. That makes fraud easier.”

The suit calls for officials to quarantine the ballots until representatives of both parties have evaluated them. 

Biden supporters assert that the charge of no Republican observers is “unfounded.”

5. 138,000 for Biden, 0 for Trump?

Another claim stated that Michigan at one point gained 138,339 ballots, all marked for Biden and none for Trump.

This didn’t require hostile fact-checking. The person who first made the assertion admits it is false. 

The Detroit Free Press reported that this rumor began when Matt Mackowiak, chairman of Texas’ Travis County Republican Party, first tweeted that Biden received 100% of newly counted votes. An attachment showed two election maps. 

But Mackowiak deleted the tweet and posted another tweet saying: “I have now learned the MI update referenced was a typo in one county.”

It’s nearly impossible for such a thing to happen anywhere, said Hans von Spakovsky, manager of the Election Law Reform Initiative at The Heritage Foundation. 

“There are a lot of stories and rumors that turn out not to be true,” von Spakovsky told The Daily Signal. “If it was true that tens of thousands of votes appeared and every single one was for one candidate, that would of course raise grave suspicions, particularly this year when even black and Hispanic voters supported Trump in surprisingly high numbers.

6. Huge Biden Flip of Trump County?

In 2016, Trump won 62% of the vote in Antrim County, Michigan, in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Yet, when the county tabulated votes this week, Biden reportedly beat Trump by 3,000 votes. 

Republicans at the local and national level, including American Conservative Union President Matt Schlapp, flagged this development as unusual.

The questions got results when the Antrim County Clerk’s Office announced it would count the ballots manually. The county has about 24,000 residents. 

“There is no way that we flipped from 62% Trump in 2016 to upside-down this time around,” saidstate Rep. Triston Cole, a Republican, according to Interlochen Public Radio. 

7. Dead Voters?

The Public Interest Legal Foundation also filed a lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania for failing to maintain and update voter rolls after finding 21,000 apparently deceased voters still on the rolls. 

That does not mean anyone was falsely voting under the names. However, critics have said unclean voter rolls present the opportunity for fraud. 

The lawsuit in Pennsylvania states:

As of October 7, 2020, at least 9,212 registrants have been dead for at least five years, at least 1,990 registrants have been dead for at least ten years, and at least 197 registrants have been dead for at least twenty years.  … 

Pennsylvania still left the names of more than 21,000 dead individuals on the voter rolls less than a month before one of the most consequential general elections for federal officeholders in many years.

Wisconsin Vote Turnout Indicates Nearly 9-in-10 Voters Cast Ballots

Scott Olson/Getty Images

JOHN BINDER 5 Nov 2020 

Wisconsin’s voter turnout, with 98 percent of precincts reporting, indicates that nearly 9-in-10 registered voters cast ballots in the 2020 presidential election.

While Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden leads President Trump in Wisconsin by about 20,510 votes, voter turnout across the state is at a nearly unprecedented level, according to calculations.

With almost all the votes tallied, more than 89 percent of all 3,684,726 registered voters in the state of Wisconsin apparently voted in the election. So far, 3,297,137 votes have been tallied in Wisconsin.

Such a turnout would be a more than 46 percent increase compared to turnout 32 years ago in 1988, when turnout hovered around 61 percent. Likewise, the turnout would shatter the 2004 turnout tota, when more than 73 percent of Wisconsin voters cast ballots.

Below is a breakdown of voter turnout in Wisconsin dating back to the 1988 election:

2020: 89.26 percent

2016: 67.34 percent

2012: 70.14 percent

2008: 69.20 percent

2004: 73.24 percent

2000: 67.01 percent

1996: 58 percent

1992: 68.99 percent

1988: 61 percent

Wisconsin is one of many states that allows eligible voters to register to vote on the day of the election so long as they provide proof of residency documents and a photo ID.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly Strassel questioned the Wisconsin turnout in a series of posts:

9)One thing that makes more sense is if MSP number of 71% if referring to voting-eligible population (rather than registered voters). But still, wow–89% turnout of registered voters….

Wisconsin has 3,684,726 active registered voters.

They counted 3,288,771 votes.

That’s, um, a bit unbelievable.

89% turnout? Ok sure. 🙄

2) The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is claiming a 71% state turnout. I’m not sure where it gets this, but that would make more sense, given even populous Milwaukee didn’t exceed 83% turnout, and Dane lower. (Do math on what rest of state wud need to bump up state avg to 89)

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder


FAKE NEWS is what the President calls the mainstream press and is this article below the perfect example?

What Trump Needs to Win: A Polling Error Much Bigger Than 2016’s

Several factors that led to the misfire last time are no longer in play.

By Nate Cohn

  • Nov. 2, 2020, 5:00 a.m. ET

If the polls are right, Joe Biden could post the most decisive victory in a presidential election in three and a half decades, surpassing Bill Clinton’s win in 1996.

That’s a big “if.”

The indelible memory of 2016’s polling misfire, when Donald J. Trump trailed in virtually every pre-election poll and yet swept the battleground states and won the Electoral College, has hovered over the 2020 campaign. Mr. Biden’s unusually persistent lead has done little to dispel questions about whether the polls could be off again.

President Trump needs a very large polling error to have a hope of winning the White House. Joe Biden would win even if polls were off by as much as they were in 2016.Polling averages as of 10 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2020 

U.S.+9 Biden+7+12
N.H.+11 Biden+8+15
Wis.+10 Biden+4+14
Minn.+10 Biden+4+12
Mich.+8 Biden+4+14
Nev.+6 Biden+8+9
Pa.+6 Biden+1+7
Neb. 2*+5 Biden+9<1
Maine 2*+4 Biden+9+9
Ariz.+4 Biden+2+2
Fla.+2 Biden<1+4
N.C.+2 Biden+3+3
Ga.+2 Biden<1+2
Ohio<1 Trump+6<1
Iowa+2 Trump+6+3
Texas+2 Trump+4+1

Electoral votes if polling leads translate perfectly to results (they won’t):

E.V.351 Biden 335 

But while President Trump’s surprising victory has imbued him with an aura of political invincibility, the polls today put him in a far bigger predicament than the one he faced heading into Election Day in 2016. The polls show Mr. Biden with a far more significant lead than the one held by Hillary Clinton, and many of the likeliest explanations for the polling misfire do not appear to be in play today.

Of course, it’s possible the polls could be off by even more than they were four years ago. But to win, that’s exactly what Mr. Trump needs. He would need polls to be even worse than they were in the Northern battleground states four years ago. Crucially, he would also need polls to be off to a far greater extent at the national level as well as in the Sun Belt — and those polls have been relatively accurate in recent contests.

Another way to think of it: Pollsters would have far fewer excuses than they did for missing the mark four years ago. Mr. Trump’s upset victory was undoubtedly a surprise, but pollsters argued, with credibility, that the polling wasn’t quite as bad as it seemed. Mrs. Clinton did win the national vote, as polls suggested she would, and even the state polls weren’t so bad outside of a handful of mostly white working-class states where there were relatively few high-quality polls late in the election.

In post-election post-mortems, pollsters arrived at a series of valid explanations for what went wrong. None of those would hold up if Mr. Trump won this time.

Here are the many ways the polls are different today than they were in 2016.

The national polls show a decisive Biden win. Four years ago, the national polls showed Mrs. Clinton with a lead of around four percentage points, quite close to her eventual 2.1-point margin in the national vote. This year, the national polls show Mr. Biden up by 8.5 percentage points, according to our average. The higher-quality national surveys generally show him ahead by even more.

Unlike in 2016, the national polls do not foreshadow the gains Mr. Trump made in the Northern battleground states.

Waiting to vote in Queens on the last day of early voting in New York City.Credit…Dave Sanders for The New York Times

Four years ago, national polls showed Mr. Trump making huge gains among white voters without a college degree. It hinted that he was within striking distance of winning in the Electoral College, with possible victories in relatively white working-class states like Wisconsin, even though the state polls still showed Mrs. Clinton ahead.Election 2020 ›

Latest Updates

2 hours ago

This year, the national polls have consistently shown Mr. Biden making big gains among white voters and particularly among white voters without a degree. In this respect, the national polls are quite similar to state polls showing Mr. Biden running well in relatively white Northern battleground states like Wisconsin and Michigan. The national pollsters won’t be able to sidestep blame while pointing fingers at the state pollsters.

There are far fewer undecided or minor-party voters. Four years ago, polls showed a large number of voters who were either undecided or backing a minor-party candidate, and it was always an open question how these voters would break at the end.

Over all, Mrs. Clinton led Mr. Trump, 45.7 to 41.8, in the FiveThirtyEight average, and 12.5 percent of voters were either undecided or supporting a minor-party candidate like Gary Johnson or Jill Stein.

There’s significant evidence that undecided and minor-party voters shifted to Mr. Trump in 2016. The exit polls found that late deciders broke toward him, 45-42 — but by even higher margins in the states where the polling error was worst, like Wisconsin, where late deciders broke toward him, 59-30, in the last week. Post-election surveys, which sought to re-contact voters reached in pre-election polls, found voters drifting to Mr. Trump. And all of this was foreshadowed by pre-election polls, which showed the race tightening after the third debate and the Comey letter. It doesn’t explain the whole polling error four years ago, but it probably does explain part of it.

This year, just 4.6 percent are undecided or backing a minor-party candidate, according to the FiveThirtyEight average. Even if these voters broke unanimously to Mr. Trump, he would be far short of victory across the battleground states and nationwide.

Some pollsters — including the New York Times/Siena poll — do show more undecided voters, voters backing a minor-party candidate, or voters who simply refuse to state whom they’ll back for president. Yet there’s little evidence that they’re poised to break unanimously for the president.

In the final Times/Siena polls of the six battleground states likeliest to decide the election, the 8 percent of likely voters who didn’t back either Mr. Trump or Mr. Biden were slightly likelier than average to be young, nonwhite, less educated and male. They were slightly likelier than average to be registered Democrats. They disapproved of the president’s performance by the same modest margin as voters over all, and didn’t have a favorable view of either Mr. Biden or Mr. Trump. They were far less likely to have voted in a recent election. One wonders whether many of these voters will ultimately turn out at all, even though they say they will.

Many more state pollsters now properly represent voters without a college degree. The failure of many state pollsters to do so four years ago is probably one of the biggest reasons the polls underestimated Mr. Trump. It’s not 100 percent solved in 2020, but it’s a lot better.

The issue is simple: Voters without a college degree are less likely to respond to telephone surveys. To compensate, pollsters need to weight by education, which means giving more weight to certain respondents to ensure that less educated voters represent the appropriate share of a survey.

This has been true for decades, but Democrats and Republicans used to fare about the same among white voters in both groups, so many political pollsters glossed over whether their samples had too many college graduates. That changed in 2016: Mr. Trump fared far better among white voters without a degree, and suddenly polls that had been accurate for years were woefully biased against Mr. Trump.

By Upshot estimates, failing to weight by education would have biased a national survey by four points against Mr. Trump in 2016. It would have had no effect at all in 2012.

Importantly, most national surveys in recent cycles weighted by education. There’s an arcane reason: They mainly sample all adults, and adjust their samples to match census demographic variables — like educational attainment. Many state polls, in contrast, called voters from lists of registered voters and adjusted their samples to match variables that voters provided when they registered to vote, like their party registration or age — but not their educational attainment.

Fortunately, most state pollsters now weight by education. There are a couple of exceptions, but they’re generally not polls that get talked about too much anyway. Virtually all of the polling you’re looking at shows white voters without a degree as a very large share of the electorate. They’re just supporting Mr. Biden in far greater numbers than four years ago.

No guaranteed improvement. There’s no reason to assume the polls will be very accurate this year. There’s not even reason to be sure that the polls will be better than they were in 2016, which wasn’t exactly the worst polling error of all time. In fact, the polls were even worse in 2014 and quite bad in 2012 — though few cared, since they erred in understating the winner’s eventual margin of victory. The polls could easily be worse than last time.

Even if the polls do fare better than they did in 2016, they might still be off in ways that matter. In the 2018 midterms, the polls were far more accurate than they were in 2016, but the geographic distribution of the polling error was still highly reminiscent of the error in the presidential election.

Today, polls show Mr. Biden faring best in many of the same states where the polls were off by the most four years ago. Take Wisconsin. It was the highest-profile miss of 2016; now, it’s a battleground state that Mr. Biden seems to have put away.

We won’t know until Election Day whether that simply reflects real strength among white voters, as shown repeatedly in national polls, or whether it’s an artifact of an underlying bias in polls of states. Four years ago, undecided voters broke to Mr. Trump at the end, leading to an error in his direction; today, perhaps they’ve swung back to Mr. Biden.

The survey research industry faces real challenges. Response rates to telephone polls are in decline. More and more polls are conducted online, and it’s still hard to collect a representative sample from the internet. Polling has always depended on whether a pollster can design a survey that yields an unbiased sample, but now it increasingly depends on whether a pollster can identify and control for a source of bias.

Nonetheless, pollsters emerged from the 2016 election mostly if not completely convinced that the underestimation of Mr. Trump was either circumstantial — like the late movement among a large number of undecided voters — or could be fixed if pollsters adhered to traditional survey research standards like weighting by education. If Mr. Trump wins this time, they will be in for a whole new round of self-examination. This time, they might not find a satisfactory answer.



8 Highlights From Second Biden-Trump Debate

Virginia Allen and Jarrett Stepman7 hours ago

President Donald Trump and his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, clashed Thursday night in the second and final presidential debate before the Nov. 3 election.

Trump and Biden traded boasts and criticisms in a meeting that began at 9 p.m. at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, after officials said both men tested negative for COVID-19. 

What follows are eight highlights from the 90-minute debate moderated by NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker.

1. Reopening Schools, Businesses

The first debate between Trump and Biden took place Sept. 29. The Commission on Presidential Debatescanceled the originally scheduled second of three debates, set for Oct. 15, after Trump objected to a format in which the candidates would appear in separate “town hall” settings. 

The commission announced the change in format Oct. 8, the day after Vice President Mike Pence and Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris of California, met in their only debate. At the time, Trump was recovering from COVID-19 after a three-day stay at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

In their second debate, Republican Trump and Democrat Biden differed on the issue of shutdowns during the pandemic, especially in terms of reopening schools safely as soon as possible.

Trump said that although Americans will continue to deal with COVID-19, the country can’t stay closed and must continue the process of reopening.

“We can’t close up our nation, or you’re not going to have a nation,” Trump said.

Biden said that he did not aim to keep the country shut down.

“I’m going to shut down the virus, not the country,” Biden said.

However, Biden expressed a greater willingness to keep lockdowns in place until certain needs are met.

“I’m not shutting down today, but look, you need standards,” Biden said. “If you have a [virus] reproduction rate above a certain level, everybody says slow down, do not open bars and gymnasiums, until you get this under more control.”

He wants schools to reopen, Biden said, but more needs to be done to get them into a place to do so, such as better ventilation.

“Schools, they need a lot of money to open,” Biden said. “They need to deal with smaller classrooms.”

>>> What’s the best way for America to reopen and return to business? The National Coronavirus Recovery Commission, a project of The Heritage Foundation, assembled America’s top thinkers to figure that out. So far, it has made more than 260 recommendations. Learn more here.

Biden’s reopening plan stipulates: “Emergency funding needs have been met so that schools have the resources to reconfigure classrooms, kitchens, and other spaces, improve ventilation, and take other necessary steps to make it easier to physically distance and minimize risk of spread.”

The Trump administration has pushed aggressively for schools to reopen this fall, under the guidance of health officials.

Biden also said Trump had failed to negotiate a new coronavirus relief package with the Democrat-controlled House.

The president countered that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., doesn’t want to make a deal before the election.

“We are ready, willing, and able to do something,” Trump said.

2. COVID-19 Vaccine and China 

Trump repeated his prediction that a COVID-19 vaccine will be approved by the end of this year. 

Trump said several companies–including Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and Feiser–are “doing very well” in developing a vaccine, adding that the U.S. also is working with European nations to produce a vaccine as quickly as possible. 

Welker questioned Trump about his vaccine timeline, noting that his own health officials have said it may be well into 2021 before a vaccine is generally available. 

“I think my timeline is going to be more accurate,” Trump said, adding:

I don’t know that they [health officials] are counting on the military the way I do, but we have our generals lined up. One in particular that’s the head of logistics, and this is a very easy distribution for him. He is ready to go. As soon as we have the vaccine–and we expect to have 100 million vials–as soon as we have the vaccine, he is ready to go.

Biden fired back at Trump, criticizing the president’s handling of the virus. 

“We are about to go into a dark winter,” Biden said. “And he has no clear plan and there is no prospect that there is going to be a vaccine available for the majority of the American people before the middle of next year.” 

Asked to respond, the president said he acted quickly in response to the spread of the virus and closed down flights from China in January, an action that he says Biden called him “xenophobic” for taking. 

Biden retorted that Trump had closed the border to China only after other countries already had done so. 

Trump said Biden’s handling of the H1N1 swine flu was “a total disaster.”

“Had that had this kind of numbers, 700,000 people would be dead right now, but [swine flu] was a far less lethal disease.” 

Trump denied saying that the virus is going to be “over soon,” but said Americans are “learning to live with it.” He added: “We can’t lock ourselves up in a basement like Joe does.” 

The president said 99% of those who contract the disease caused by the new coronavirus recover.

“People are learning to die with it,” the former vice president fired back, adding that the president has not taken responsibility for the virus. 

“I take full responsibility. It is not my fault that it came here. It’s China’s fault. And you know what? It’s not Joe’s fault that it came here, either. It is China’s fault,” Trump said.

Biden also said, referring to COVID-19, “Two hundred and twenty thousand Americans dead. If you hear nothing else I say tonight …anyone who is responsible for that many deaths should not remain as president of the United States.”

3. Fracking, Climate Change, and the Oil Industry

When it came to climate change and the energy industry, the two candidates had notable differences.

“I will not sacrifice tens of millions of jobs, thousands and thousands of companies, because of the Paris accord,” Trump said, referring to the international climate agreement the United States joined under President Barack Obama with Biden as vice president. 

Six months into his presidency, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the climate agreement.

“We have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, and the best carbon emissions standards that we’ve seen in many, many years. And we haven’t destroyed our industries,” Trump said.

He said the climate accord was too easy on nations such as China, Russia, and India that have “filthy” air.

 “Climate change, climate warming, global warming is an existential threat to humanity. We have a moral obligation to deal with it,” Biden said, adding that it was crucial to act in the next eight to 10 years.

Referring to his climate plan, which includes adding charging machines for electric cars to U.S. highways and retrofitting buildings to be more energy-efficient, Biden said:  “It will create millions of new, good-paying jobs.”

“We are energy independent for the first time,” Trump said.

Fracking was another topic of contention between the two candidates.

“I have never said I oppose fracking,” Biden said, accusing Trump of “lying.” 

“I do rule out banning fracking,” he said, although he later said he had called for banning fracking on federal lands.

Welker said “people of color” are more likely to live near chemical plants and oil refineries, and that Texans living in such areas are concerned the proximity is making them sick.

“The families that we’re talking about are employed heavily and they’re making a lot of money, more money than they’ve ever made,” Trump said, noting his administration’s record jobs numbers among Hispanic, Asian, and black Americans. 

He added, “I have not heard the numbers or the statistics that you’re saying, but they’re making a tremendous amount of money.”

“Those frontline communities, it doesn’t matter what you’re paying them, it matters how you keep them safe,” Biden said, talking about the need to regulate pollutants.

Trump asked BIden: “Would you close down the oil industry?” 

Biden responded:  “I would transition from the oil industry, yes … because the oil industry pollutes significantly. … It has to be replaced by renewable energy over time, over time. And I’d stop giving to the oil industry, I’d stop giving them federal subsidies.”

4. Improving Health Care

Trump said that the Affordable Care Act, passed in 2009-10 during the Obama administration, was “no good.” He said that’s why the law, popularly known as Obamacare, is still being challenged in court. 

The president said his administration ended the individual mandate requiring Americans to buy health insurance and is overseeing what remains of Obamacare

“We’re  running it as well as we can, but it’s no good,” he said.

Trump said Biden and the Democrats would push the country toward “socialized medicine” and government-run health care, as promoted by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt.

Biden said that, unlike all his competitors in the Democrats’ primary race—a list that included both Sanders and his running mate, Harris—he would not advocate a “Medicare for All” plan.

“He’s a very confused guy,” Biden said. “He thinks he’s running against somebody else. He’s running against Joe Biden. I beat all those other people because I disagreed with them.” 

Instead, Biden said, he wants “Bidencare,” which includes a “public option” for health insurance. A public option is when the government offers subsidized plans that are less expensive than those offered by insurance companies.

Biden said he supports private insurance and insisted that “not one single person with private insurance would lose their insurance under my plan, nor did they under Obamacare.”

Obama also promised that nobody would lose his or her health insurance under Obamacare, which didn’t turn out to be the case

“When he says ‘public option,’ he’s talking about socialized medicine and health care,” Trump said. “When he talks about a public option, he’s talking about destroying your Medicare and destroying your Social Security. This whole country will come down.”

Biden contended that Trump would not make sure that Americans with preexisting health conditions could get insurance coverage, but the president reiterated that he would. 

Trump also disputed Biden’s claim that he would not move  toward socialized medicine.

“It’s not that he wants it—his vice president, I mean, [Harris] is more liberal than Bernie Sanders and wants it even more,” Trump said. “Bernie Sanders wants it. The Democrats want it. You’re going to have socialized medicine.”

5. Who’s Tougher on Russia

Trump and Biden sparred over America’s relationship with Russia and their respective ability to deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin. 

On the subject of election integrity, Biden said it is clear that Russia has tried to influence the 2020 election, as it did in 2016. The former vice president warned that Russia “will pay a price if I am elected.” 

Biden said that Trump’s personal attorney, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, “is being used as a Russian pawn”:

He’s being fed information that is Russian, that is not true. And then what happens? Nothing happens. And then you find out that everything [that] is going on here about Russia is wanting to make sure that I do not get elected the next president of the United States, because they know I know them, and they know me.

The owner of a computer repair shop that believed he had an unclaimed laptop originally dropped off by Biden’s son, Hunter, eventually put it in the hands of the FBI and got a copy of the hard drive to Giuliani.  He turned it over to the New York Post.

The New York Post last week reported on some of the emails on the laptop, including one suggesting that the elder Biden met Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to Burisma, the Ukrainian energy company that at the time reportedly was paying Hunter Biden $50,000 a month. 

Biden said it is worth asking why Trump has not been tougher on Putin. 

“Joe got three and half million dollars from Russia,” the president responded. “And it came through Putin, because he was very friendly with the former mayor of Moscow…. Someday, you are going to have to explain why you got three and a half million dollars.” 

Trump’s comments appeared to be a reference to areport from Senate Republicans that states:  “On Feb. 14, 2014, [Elena] Baturina wired $3.5 million to a Rosemont Seneca Thornton LLC (Rosemont Seneca Thornton) bank account for a “Consultancy Agreement DD12.02.2014.” Rosemont Seneca Thornton is an investment firm co-founded by Hunter Biden that was incorporated on May 28, 2013 in Wilmington, Del.”

Baturina is married to Yury Luzkhkov, formerly mayor of Moscow.

But George Mesires, a lawyer for Hunter Biden, told PolitiFact in an email: “Hunter Biden had no interest in and was not a co-founder of Rosemont Seneca Thornton, so the claim that he was paid $3.5 million is false.” 

PolitiFact said Mesires “did not respond” to a request that he “share documents to show that Hunter Biden was not a co-founder.”  

One of the most dramatic moments of the debate came when Bided stated flatly: “I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life.”

The president drew a link between Biden and Putin, saying that John Ratcliffe, director of national intelligence, believes the Russian president wants Trump to lose the election because “there has been nobody tougher on Russia than Donald Trump.”   

Trump also criticized Biden for allowing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its seizing of the Crimea region during his time as Obama’s vice president. 

Trump said of Biden: ”While he was selling pillows and sheets, I sold tank-busters to Ukraine.”

6. Illegal Immigration and Border Enforcement 

Trump and Biden had a sharp disagreement about enforcing immigration law,  in particular the Trump administration’s early policy of separating children from adults when they come across the southern border and placing children in detention centers with “cages.”

“The children are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels, and they’re brought here and they used to use them to get into our country,” Trump said. “We now have as strong a border as we’ve ever had. We’re over 400 miles of brand new wall. You see the numbers. We let people in, but they have to come in legally,” 

Biden said that the policy of separating children from adults who crossed the border “violates every notion of who we are as a nation.”

He said the policy was used as a disincentive for more illegal immigration.

But Trump said  his administration actually inherited the Obama policy of putting children in cages.

“We changed the policy. They did it. We changed—they built the cages,” Trump said. “Who built the cages, Joe?”

According to The Associated Press, placing migrant children in cages began in 2014 under the Obama administration:

At the height of the controversy over Trump’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, photos that circulated online of children in the enclosures generated great anger. But those photos–by The Associated Press–were taken in 2014 and depicted some of the thousands of unaccompanied children held by President Barack Obama.

Biden admitted that the Obama administration got some things wrong on immigration enforcement, in particular on detaining children, but said his own administration would do better.

“We made a mistake. It took too long to get it right,” Biden said. “I’ll be president of the United States, not vice president of the United States.”

7. Black Lives Matter and Racism

When the issue of race came up in the debate, Trump defended his reputation, saying, “I am the least racist person in this room.”

Asked about some of his past comments, including on Black Lives Matter, Trump said:  “The first time I ever heard of Black Lives Matter, they were chanting, ‘Pigs in a blanket,’ talking about police …[chanting] ‘Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon.’ I said, that’s a horrible thing.”

He also referred several times to record low unemployment rates for blacks and Hispanics before the pandemic.

Asked again about his rhetoric on race, Trump said,  “I got criminal justice reform done, and prison reform, and opportunity zones. I took care of black colleges and universities. I don’t know what to say. They can say anything … It makes me sad.”

Trump signed the First Step Act, a major criminal justice reform bill, into law at the end of 2018. Opportunity zones are designated low-income areas where investors can get certain tax advantages in exchange for investing there.

In remarks in September, Trump noted what his administration had done for historically black colleges and universities, saying,  “Last year … I was proud to highlight an increase of more than 13%  in federal funding for HBCUs under my administration.  In addition, I signed into law the FUTURE Act, which reauthorized more than $85 million in funding for HBCUs.”

Biden called Trump “one of the most racist presidents we’ve had in modern history. He pours fuel on every single racist fire.”

“This guy is a dog whistle about as big as a foghorn,” Biden added.

8. Increasing the Minimum Wage

Amid a discussion of the economy and the impact of COVID-19, Biden argued that the federal minimum wage should be raised from $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour. 

“People are making six, seven, eight bucks an hour,” Biden said, adding:

These first responders we all clap for as they come down the street because they have allowed us to make it. What’s happening? They deserve a minimum wage of $15, and anything below that puts you below the poverty level. And there is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage businesses go out of business. That is simply not true.

Trump said he would consider raising the federal minimum wage, but “not to a level that’s going to put all these businesses out of business.” 

The president went on to argue that the minimum wage should be decided by state governments. 

“Some places, $15 is not so bad. In other places, other states, $15 would be ruinous,”  Trump said, referring to restaurants and other businesses.

Katrina Trinko and Ken McIntyre contributed to this report.

Biden Lies Again and Again

By KYLE SMITHOctober 23, 2020 12:30 AM

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks during the final 2020 presidential campaign debate in Nashville, Tenn., October 22, 2020. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Joe Biden is a career liar and he lied some more in the debate, for instance when he dismissed the now well-supported New York Post story about Hunter Biden’s business dealing as “a Russian plant.” There is zero evidence for this. He offered this line:

There are 50 former national intelligence folks who said what he’s accusing me of is a Russian plant. Five former heads of the CIA — both parties — say what he’s saying is a bunch of garbage. Nobody believes it except him and his good friend Rudy Giuliani.”

There were some headlines from Biden-friendly media to this effect, but this is a gross mischaracterization of the letter from ex-CIA chief John Brennan et al, which merely asserted that the Hunter Biden story sounded like a Russian disinformation op, not that there was any evidence for this. The relevant portion reads:

We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails, provided to the New York Post by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement” [But] there are a number of factors that make us suspicious of Russian involvement.

Biden’s lie about fracking — “I never said I opposed fracking” — was so egregious that even CNN’s Daniel Dale mentioned it in his after-action report. Biden has repeatedly suggested banning fracking, sometimes specifying new fracking, sometimes specifying on federal lands (where a lot of fracking takes place), and has even promised to “get rid of fossil fuels.”

Biden claimed, “There is no evidence that when you raise the minimum wage, businesses go out of business. That is simply not true.” Here’s a Washington Poststory citing exactly that evidence.

ELECTIONSPublished October 19, 2020Last Update 13 hrs ago

Ratcliffe says Hunter Biden laptop, emails ‘not part of some Russian disinformation campaign’

‘There is no intelligence that supports that,’ Director of National Intelligence Ratcliffe says

Brooke Singman

 By Brooke Singman | Fox News

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Monday said that Hunter Biden’s laptop “is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” amid claims from House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff suggesting otherwise.

Ratcliffe, during an exclusive interview on FOX Business’ “Mornings with Maria,” was asked about the allegations from Schiff, D-Calif., who over the weekend said that the Hunter Biden emails suggesting Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had knowledge of, and was allegedly involved in, his son’s foreign business dealings.

“It’s funny that some of the people who complain the most about intelligence being politicized are the ones politicizing the intelligence,” Ratcliffe said. “Unfortunately, it is Adam Schiff who said the intelligence community believes the Hunter Biden laptop and emails on it are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.”

He added: “Let me be clear: the intelligence community doesn’t believe that because there is no intelligence that supports that. And we have shared no intelligence with Adam Schiff, or any member of Congress.”

Ratcliffe went on to say that it is “simply not true.”

WFP USA Board Chair Hunter Biden introduces his father Vice President Joe Biden during the World Food Program USA's 2016 McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at the Organization of American States on April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Kris Connor/WireImage)

WFP USA Board Chair Hunter Biden introduces his father Vice President Joe Biden during the World Food Program USA’s 2016 McGovern-Dole Leadership Award Ceremony at the Organization of American States on April 12, 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Kris Connor/WireImage)

“Hunter Biden’s laptop is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign,” Ratcliffe said, adding again that “this is not part of some Russian disinformation campaign.”

Ratcliffe’s comments come after Schiff over the weekend described the emails as being part of a smear coming “from the Kremlin,” amid claims the revelations are part of a Russian disinformation campaign.

“We know that this whole smear on Joe Biden comes from the Kremlin,” Schiff said on CNN. “That’s been clear for well over a year now that they’ve been pushing this false narrative about this vice president and his son.”

A senior intelligence official backed up Ratcliffe’s assessment.

“Ratcliffe is 100% correct,” the senior intelligence official told Fox News. “There is no intelligence at this time to support Chairman Schiff’s statement that recent stories on Biden’s foreign business dealings are part of a smart campaign that ‘comes from the Kremlin.’ Numerous foreign adversaries are seeking to influence American politics, policies, and media narratives. They don’t need any help from politicians who spread false information under the guise of intelligence.”

Ratcliffe went on to say that the laptop is “in the jurisdiction of the FBI.”

“The FBI has had possession of this,” he said. “Without commenting on any investigation that they may or may not have, their investigation is not centered around Russian disinformation and the intelligence community is not playing any role with respect to that.”

He added: “The intelligence community has not been involved in Hunter Biden’s laptop.”

A senior Trump administration official, however, told Fox News that the FBI was not investigating the emails as Russian disinformation.

The FBI declined to confirm or deny the existence of an investigation, as is standard practice.

Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating Hunter Biden’s emails which reveal that he introduced his father, the former vice president, to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings in 2015.

Ratcliffe went on to say that his role as director of National Intelligence, which he assumed earlier this year, is “to not allow people to leverage the intelligence community for a political narrative that’s not true.”

“In this case, Adam Schiff saying this is part of a disinformation campaign and that the intelligence community has assessed and believes that — that is simply not true,” he said. “Whether its Republicans or Democrats, if they try to leverage the intelligence community for political gain, I won’t allow it.”

Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is investigating Hunter Biden’s emails. 

The emails in question were first obtained by the New York Post and, in part, revealed that Hunter Biden introduced the then-vice president to a top executive at Ukrainian natural gas firm Burisma Holdings less than a year before he pressured government officials in Ukraine to fire prosecutor Viktor Shokin, who was investigating the company.

“We regularly speak with individuals who email the committee’s whistleblower account to determine whether we can validate their claims,” Johnson told Fox News. “Although we consider those communications to be confidential, because the individual in this instance spoke with the media about his contact with the committee, we can confirm receipt of his email complaint, have been in contact with the whistleblower, and are in the process of validating the information he provided.”

The Post report revealed that Biden, at Hunter’s request, met with Vadym Pozharskyi in April 2015 in Washington, D.C.

The meeting was mentioned in an email of appreciation, according to the Post, that Pozharskyi sent to Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015 — a year after Hunter took on his lucrative position on the board of Burisma.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email read.

But Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates last week hit back against the New York Post story, saying: “Investigations by the press, during impeachment, and even by two Republican-led Senate committees whose work was decried as ‘not legitimate’ and political by a GOP colleague have all reached the same conclusion: that Joe Biden carried out official U.S. policy toward Ukraine and engaged in no wrongdoing. Trump administration officials have attested to these facts under oath.”

“The New York Post never asked the Biden campaign about the critical elements of this story. They certainly never raised that Rudy Giuliani—whose discredited conspiracy theories and alliance with figures connected to Russian intelligence have been widely reported—claimed to have such materials,” Bates continued. “Moreover, we have reviewed Joe Biden’s official schedules from the time and no meeting, as alleged by the New York Post, ever took place.”

The Biden campaign also told Fox News Sunday that the former vice president “never had a meeting” with Pozharskyi.

Biden, prior to the emails surfacing, repeatedly has claimed he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings.”

Hunter Biden’s business dealings, and role on the board of Burisma, emerged during the Trump impeachment inquiry in 2019.

Biden once famously boasted on camera that when he was vice president and spearheading the Obama administration’s Ukraine policy, he successfully pressured Ukraine to fire Shokin, who was the top prosecutor at the time. He had been investigating the founder of Burisma.

“I looked at them and said: I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,” Biden infamously said to the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

“Well, son of a b—,” he continued. “He got fired.”

Biden and Biden allies have maintained, though, that his intervention prompting the firing of Shokin had nothing to do with his son, but rather was tied to corruption concerns.

Meanwhile, the Post reported Wednesday the emails were part of a trove of data recovered from a laptop which was dropped off at a repair shop in Delaware in April 2019.

The Post reported that other material turned up on the laptop, including a video, which they described as showing Hunter smoking crack while engaged in a sexual act with an unidentified woman, as well as other sexually explicit images.

The FBI reportedly seized the computer and hard drive in December 2019. The shop owner, though, said he made a copy of the hard drive and later gave it to former Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s lawyer, Robert Costello.

The Post reported that the FBI referred questions about the hard drive and laptop to the Delaware U.S. Attorney’s Office, where a spokesperson told the outlet that the office “can neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”

A lawyer for Hunter Biden did not comment on specifics, but instead told the Post that Giuliani “has been pushing widely discredited conspiracy theories about the Biden family, openly relying on actors tied to Russian intelligence.”

Giuliani did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.

Another email, dated May 13, 2017, and obtained by Fox News, includes a discussion of “renumeration packages” for six people in a business deal with a Chinese energy firm. The email appeared to identify Hunter Biden as “Chair/ Vice Chair depending on an agreement with CEFC,” in an apparent reference to now-bankrupt CEFC China Energy Co.

The email includes a note that “Hunter has some office expectations he will elaborate.” A proposed equity split references “20” for “H” and “10 held by H for the big guy?” with no further details.

Fox News spoke to one of the people who was copied on the email, who confirmed its authenticity.

Sources also told Fox News that “the big guy” was a reference to the former vice president. The New York Post initially published the emails, and others, that Fox News has also obtained.

While Biden has not commented on that email, or his alleged involvement in any deals with the Chinese Energy firm, his campaign said it released the former vice president’s tax documents and returns, which do not reflect any involvement with Chinese investments.

Fox News also obtained an email last week that revealed an adviser of Burisma Holdings, Vadym Pozharskyi, wrote an email to Hunter Biden on May 12, 2014, requesting “advice” on how he could use his “influence to convey a message” to “stop” what the company considers to be “politically motivated actions.”

“We urgently need your advice on how you could use your influence to convey a message / signal, etc .to stop what we consider to be politically motivated actions,”  Pozharskyi wrote.

The email, part of a longer email chain obtained by Fox News, appeared to be referencing the firm’s founder, Mykola Zlochevsky, being under investigation.

Brooke Singman is a Politics Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter at @BrookeSingman.


Tucker Carlson: New emails reveal exactly what Burisma wanted from Joe Biden

Did Joe Biden subvert American foreign policy to enrich his own family?

Tucker Carlson

 By Tucker Carlson | Fox News

Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary on the Oct. 15, 2020 edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”

Tom Cotton said it best below:

We knew Joe Biden’s son Hunter pocketed $50,000 a month for a job with a Ukrainian gas company. Joe Biden allowed his son to make millions in Ukraine and China while Joe was Vice President. 

Now, the New York Post is reporting that Vice President Biden may have been introduced to some of the corrupt Ukrainian businessmen paying Hunter… at the same time Vice President Biden was supposed to be overseeing our policy towards Ukraine.

Not everything you hear is untrue and not every story is complex. At the heart of the growing Biden-Ukrainescandal, for example, is a very straightforward question: Did Joe Biden subvert American foreign policy in order to enrich his own family?

In 2015, Joe Biden was the sitting vice president of the United States. Included in his portfolio were U.S. relations with the nation of Ukraine. At that moment, Vice President Joe Biden had more influence over the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian economy than any other person on the globe outside of Eastern Europe.

Biden’s younger son, Hunter, knew that and hoped to get rich from his father’s influence. Emails published Wednesday by The New York Post, documents apparently taken directly from Hunter Biden’s own laptop, tell some of that story.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” have obtained another batch of emails, some exclusively. We believe they also came from Hunter Biden’s laptop. We can’t prove that they did, we haven’t examined that computer. But every detail that we could check, including Hunter Biden’s personal email address at the time, suggests they are authentic.


If these emails are fake, this is the most complex and sophisticated hoax in history. It almost seems beyond human capacity. The Biden campaign clearly believes these emails are real. They have not said otherwise. We sent the body of them to Hunter Biden’s attorney and never heard back. So with that in mind, here’s what we have learned.

On Nov. 2, 2015, at 4:36 p.m., a Burisma executive called Vadym Pozharskyi emailed Hunter Biden and his business partner, Devon Archer. The purpose of the email, Pozharskyi explains, is to “be on the same page re our final goals … including, but not limited to: a concrete course of actions.”

So what did Burisma want, exactly? Well, good PR, for starters. Pozharskyi wanted “high-ranking US [sic] officials” to express their “positive opinion” of Burisma, and then he wanted the administration to act on Burisma’s behalf.

“The scope of work should also include organization of a visit of a number of widely recognized and influential current and/or former US [sic] policy-makers to Ukraine in November, aiming to conduct meetings with and bring positive signal/message and support” to Burisma.

The goal, Pozharskyi explained, was to “close down for [sic] any cases/pursuits” against the head of Burisma in Ukraine.


It couldn’t be clearer what they wanted. Burisma wanted Huter Biden’s father to get their company out of legal trouble with the Ukrainian government. And that’s exactly what happened. One month later to the day, on Dec. 2, 2015, Hunter Biden received a notice from a Washington PR firm called Blue Star Strategies, which apparently had been hired to lobby the Obama administration on Ukraine. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” have exclusively obtained that email.

“Hello all …” it began. “This morning, the White House hosted a conference call regarding the Vice President’s upcoming trip to Ukraine. Attached is a memo from the Blue Star Strategies team with the minutes of the call, which outlined the trip’s agenda and addressed several questions regarding U.S. policy toward Ukraine.”

So here you have a PR firm involved in an official White House foreign policy call. How could that happen? Good question. But it worked.

Days later, Joe Biden flew to Ukraine and did exactly what his son wanted. The vice president gave a speech slamming the very Ukrainian law enforcement official who was tormenting Burisma. If the Ukrainian government didn’t fire its top prosecutor, a man called Viktor Shokin, Biden explained, the administration would withhold a billion dollars in American aid. Now, Ukraine is a poor country, so they had no choice but to obey. Biden’s bullying worked. He bragged about it later.

The obvious question: Why was the vice president of the United States threatening a tiny country like Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor? That doesn’t seem like a vice president’s role. Well, now we know why.

Viktor Shokin has signed an affidavit affirming that he was, in fact, investigating Burisma at the moment Joe Biden had him removed. Shokin said that before he was fired, administration officials pressured him to drop the case against Burisma. He would not do that, so Joe Biden canned him

That’s how things really work in Washington. Your son’s got a lucrative consulting deal with a Ukrainian energy company, you tailor American foreign policy — our foreign policy– to help make him rich.  Even at the State Department, possibly the most cynical agency in government, this seemed shockingly brazen.

During the impeachment proceedings last fall, a State Department official named George Kent said it was widely known in Washington that the Bidens were up to something sleazy in Ukraine. 

“I was on a call with somebody on the vice president’s staff and … I raised my concerns that I had heard that Hunter Biden was on the board” of Burisma, Kent recalled. This, he noted, could create a perception of a conflict of interest.

So how did the vice president’s office respond to this concern? According to George Kent, “The message that I recall hearing back was that the vice president’s son, Beau, was dying of cancer and there was no further bandwidth to deal with family-related issues at the time.”

Family-related issues? This was America’s foreign policy being tailored to Joe Biden’s son. Five years later, Joe Biden still has not been forced to explain why he fired Ukraine’s top prosecutor at precisely the moment his son was being paid to get him to fire Ukraine’s top prosecutor, nor has Joe Biden addressed whether or not he personally benefited from the Burisma contract.

But there are tantalizing hints. On Wednesday, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani published what he said was yet another email from Hunter Biden’s laptop. It’s a note to one of his children. At the end of the email, there’s this quote: “But dont [sic] worry unlike Pop I won’t make you give me half your salary.”


What does that mean, exactly? Well, we don’t know. There may be more detail on the laptop, but unfortunately, we don’t have access to that. But the question remains, how has Joe Biden lived in extravagance all these years on a government salary? No one has ever answered that question. And the tech monopolies are working hard to make certain no one ever does.

Thursday morning, the New York Post published another story based on the emails. This one describes a business venture Hunter Biden was working on in China. One email describes a “provisional agreement that the equity will be distributed as follows … 10 held by H for the big guy?” 

The big guy? Is the big guy Joe Biden? If so, how much did Joe Biden get and how much of that came from the Communist Chinese government? Those are real questions, this man could be elected president in three weeks. But Twitter doesn’t want you to wonder. It won’t allow you to ask those questions. Twitter restricted the New York Post story as “unsafe,” like it was a lawn dart or a defective circular saw. And that was enough for the Biden campaign.

All day Thursday, they deflected questions about Joe Biden’s subversion of our country’s foreign policy by invoking Twitter’s ban on the New York Post story. So the tech monopoly censors information to help their candidate, that candidate uses that censorship to dismiss the story. One hand washes the other. 

It doesn’t matter who you plan to vote for Nov. 3, you should be terrified. Democracies cannot exist and never will be able to exist without the free flow of information. That is a prerequisite and without it, we’re done. But companies like Facebook and Google and Twitter do not care because they don’t believe in democracy. They worship power and they don’t need to be consistent. Melania Trump’s private phone conversations, the president’s stolen tax returns, they were happy to publish all of that. But if you criticize the Democratic candidate, their candidate, you are banned.

“Facebook and Twitter have policies to not spread things that are utterly unreliable, that have been debunked, and where their origin is untrustworthy,” Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., said Thursday. “They’re practicing their own internal controls, as I wish they had over the past four years … An active Russian disinformation campaign in 2016 had an influence on that election. They are trying even harder in this election. I’m glad that they are managing the content on their own websites.” 

Chris Coons is a liar.

Not one word of this story has been debunked, not one word in those emails has been “debunked.” And if it is debunked, we’ll be the first to report it because we’re not liars. But did you catch the phrase he wanted you to hear: “Russian disinformation”? That’s what they’re claiming these emails are. And it’s all over the Internet, in fact-free, conspiracy-laden conjecture crazier than anything the QAnon people ever thought of.

But none of their garbage, their lunatic lies about Russia is ever censored by the tech monopolies. It’s not “unsafe” because it helps Joe Biden. Therefore, you can read it.

And where are the real journalists, now that we need them more than ever? They’re gone. They’re cowering. They’re afraid. They don’t want to upset power. Jake Sherman of Politico, who claims to be a news reporter, actually apologized on Twitter for asking the Biden campaign about Hunter Biden’s emails. These people are craven. They have no standards. They have no self-respect. Like their masters in Silicon Valley, they worship power alone.


Twitter, Facebook Suppress New York Post Report on Hunter Biden

Andrew Kerr4 hours ago

Twitter on Wednesday afternoon began blocking tweets from being posted that contained links to the New York Post’s report on alleged emails that purportedly show Hunter Biden offered to introduce then-Vice President Joe Biden to an executive of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma.

“We can’t complete this request because this link has been identified by Twitter or our partners as being potentially harmful,” Twitter told users who attempted to post a tweet containing a link to the Post’s story.dailycallerlogo

A Twitter spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation that the platform took action to limit the spread of the Post’s report because of the lack of authoritative reporting on the origins of the materials cited by the outlet.

“In line with our Hacked Materials Policy, as well as our approach to blocking URLs, we are taking action to block any links to or images of the material in question on Twitter,” the spokesperson said.

There’s no evidence at the moment the Post relied on hacked materials for its report.

According to the Post, the email was part of a “massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer” that was dropped off at a Delaware computer repair shop in April 2019. The owner of the repair shop said the customer never came back to pay for the service and retrieve the computer, the Post reported.

The Post uploaded an invoice signed by the customer that states that equipment left with the repair shop “after 90 days of notification of completed service will be treated as abandoned.”

The repair shop owner later alerted the FBI to the existence of the laptop and its hard drive after it went unclaimed, both of which were seized by federal authorities in December, according to a federal subpoena obtained by the Post.

Before the laptop was seized, however, the shop owner reportedly made a copy of its hard drive and turned it over to a lawyer for former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who in turn provided a copy of the hard drive’s contents to the Post.

The Daily Caller News Foundation has not confirmed the authenticity of the emails reported by the Post, and the Biden campaign issued a statement on Wednesday denying that Biden met with the Burisma executive in 2015 as alleged in the Post’s report.

Link to New York Post story blocked by Twitter. (Screenshot: Andrew Kerr)

Also on Wednesday afternoon, Twitter began blocking any tweet from being posted that contained links to one of the two documents the Post uploaded to document sharing platform Scribd.

One of the documents depicts an alleged email sent by Hunter Biden in April 2014 to his former business partner Devon Archer, and the other is an alleged email that Vadym Pozharsky, an advisor to Burisma’s board of directors, sent to Hunter Biden and Archer in May 2014.

Link to New York Post Scribd document titled, “Email from Vadim Pozharskyi to Devon Archer and Hunter Biden” blocked by Twitter. (Screenshot: Andrew Kerr)


Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of this original content, please contact

Link to New York Post Scribd document titled, “Email from Robert Biden to Devon Archer” blocked by Twitter. (Screenshot:Andrew Kerr)

Facebook spokesman Andy Stone, a former staffer for the Democratic House Majority PAC and former California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, announced earlier Wednesday it would reduce the distribution of the Post’s report despite the lack of any fact-checks against the story.

6 Highlights From the Pence-Harris Debate

Fred Lucas @FredLucasWH / Jarrett Stepman @JarrettStepman / October 08, 2020 / 182 Comments

During the vice presidential debate Wednesday night, Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence sparred over a variety of policies, revealing significant differences on several issues.

The debate, which was moderated by USA Today Washington bureau chief Susan Page, featured the two contenders discussing issues ranging from climate change and COVID-19 to abortion and the Supreme Court. 

Here are six highlights from the debate:

1) COVID-19

Harris aggressively attacked the Trump administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. After the opening question, she laid out what could be called a prosecutor’s case. How are socialists deluding a whole generation? Learn more now >>

“The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in the history of our country,” the California senator said. “And here are the facts: 210,000 dead people in our country in just the last several months, over 7 million people who have contracted this disease, 1 in 5 businesses closed. We are looking at frontline workers treated like sacrificial workers. We are looking at 30 million people who in the last several months had to file for unemployment.”

That was in response to a question from Page about what the Biden administration would have done differently than Trump to address the COVID-19 pandemic. Harris then went on to summarize the Biden-Harris plan. 

“Our plan is about what we need to do around a national strategy, for contact tracing, for testing, for administration of a vaccine, and make sure it’s free,” Harris said. 

Pence, who headed the White House coronavirus task force, defended the administration’s record. 

“I want the American people to know that from the very first day, President Donald Trump has put the health of America first,” the vice president said. “Before there were more than five cases in the United States—all people who had returned from China—President Donald Trump did what no other American had ever done. That was, he suspended all travel from China, the second-largest economy in the world.”

Pence added: “Joe Biden opposed that decision.”

“He said it was xenophobic and hysterical. I can tell you, having led the White House coronavirus task force that decision alone by President Trump gave us invaluable time to set up the greatest mobilization since World War II,” Pence said. “I believe it saved hundreds of thousands of American lives.” 

As for the Biden plan, Pence said, the Trump administration was already doing much of what it recommends. He also took a shot at a Biden scandal that effectively ended his 1988 presidential bid. 

“The reality is, when you look at the Biden plan, it looks an awful lot like what President Trump and I and our task force have been doing every step of the way,” he said. “ … It looks a little bit like plagiarism, something Joe Biden knows a little bit about.” 

In September 1987, Biden came in for withering criticism for borrowing lines from a speech by then-British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock without attribution, knocking him out of the race when it was subsequently revealed to be part of a larger pattern of borrowing lines from other politicians without credit.

Asked about the race to develop a vaccine, Harris said she wouldn’t trust a Trump-endorsed vaccine, but would take one approved by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

“If the public health professionals, if Dr. Fauci, if the doctors tell us that we should take it, I’ll be the first in line to take it. Absolutely,” Harris said. “But if Donald Trump tells us that we should take it, I’m not taking it.”

Pence fired back that the California senator was politicizing the vaccine. 

“The fact that you continue to undermine public confidence in a vaccine, if a vaccine emerges during the Trump administration, I think, is unconscionable,” the vice president said. “Senator, I just ask you, stop playing politics with people’s lives. The reality is, we will have a vaccine by the end of this year, and it will continue to save countless American lives.”

2) Taxes and the Economy

Harris and Pence sparred over the tax cuts passed by Congress in 2017 and debated Biden’s tax plan.

Harris said that the Biden administration would repeal the 2017 tax cuts “on Day One,” and that they were passed to benefit the “rich.”

“Joe Biden believes you measure the health and strength of America’s economy based on the health and strength of the American worker and the American family,” Harris said. “On the other hand, you have Donald Trump, who measures the strength of the economy based on how rich people are doing.”

Pence defended the tax cuts and said: “Joe Biden said twice in the debate last week that he’s going to repeal the Trump tax cuts,” Pence said. “That was tax cuts that gave the average working family $2,000 with a tax break.”

In 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which reduced federal income taxes and made various other changes to the U.S. tax code.

Following the tax cut, the American economy experienced record low unemployment, wage growth, and an overall increase in business investment, according to Adam Michel, a specialist on tax policy and the federal budget as a policy analyst in the Thomas A. Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation.

Harris said that Biden’s tax plan would end tax breaks for the wealthy but wouldn’t raise taxes on American making under $400,000.

“He has been very clear about that,” Harris said, adding, “Joe Biden is the one who, during the Great Recession, was responsible for the Recovery Act that brought America back, and now the Trump and Pence administration wants to take credit for Joe Biden’s success for the economy that they had at the beginning of their term.”

According to The Washington Post, “most Americans received a tax” cut in 2017, not just the rich.

Biden’s tax proposal would raise taxes about $3 trillion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Tax Foundation.

“… The Biden tax plan would reduce [gross domestic product] by 1.47 percent over the long term,” according to the Tax Foundation’s General Equilibrium Model. “On a conventional basis, the Biden tax plan by 2030 would lead to about 6.5 percent less after-tax income for the top 1 percent of taxpayers and about a 1.7 percent decline in after-tax income for all taxpayers on average.”

According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Biden’s proposal “would increase taxes on average on all income groups, but the highest-income households would see substantially larger increases, both in dollar amounts and as a share of their incomes.”

3) Climate Change and Fracking 

Harris said a Biden administration would grow the economy through green energy, but she also denied past support for banning fracking. 

“Joe Biden will not ban fracking. That is a fact. I will repeat that Joe Biden has been very clear that he thinks about growing jobs,” Harris said, adding, “Part of those jobs that will be created by Joe Biden are going to be about clean energy and renewable energy, because Joe understands that the West Coast of our country is burning, including my home state of California.”

Harris also spoke about climate-related problems in the Southeast and in the Midwest. 

“Joe sees what is happening in the Gulf states, which are being battered by storms. Joe has seen and talked with the farmers in Iowa, whose entire crops have been destroyed because of floods,” she said. “So, Joe believes again in science. … We have seen a pattern with this administration, which is, they don’t believe in science. Joe’s plan is about saying we are going to deal with it, but we are going to create jobs.” 

Pence addressed the issue of climate change, but also attacked the Biden campaign’s promises for the environment. 

“As I said, Susan, the climate is changing. We’ll follow the science,” he said. 

“With regard to banning fracking, I just recommend people look at the record. You yourself said repeatedly you would ban fracking,” Pence said of Harris. “You were the first Senate co-sponsor of the Green New Deal. 

“While Joe Biden denied support for the Green New Deal, Susan, thank you for pointing out the Green New Deal is on [the Biden-Harris] website. As USA Today said, it’s essentially the same plan as you co-sponsored with AOC.”

That was a reference to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., the main sponsor of the Green New Deal in the House. 

“You just heard the senator say she was going to resubmit America to the Paris Climate Accord. The American people have always cherished our environment, and we’ll continue to cherish it,” Pence said. “We’ve made great progress reducing [carbon dioxide] emissions through American innovation and the development of natural gas through fracking. 

“We don’t need a massive $2 trillion Green New Deal that would impose all new mandates on American businesses and American families. … It makes no sense. It will cost jobs.”

4) China

Pence and Harris sparred over U.S. relations with China, including its role in the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“China and the World Health Organization did not play straight with the American people,” Pence said. “They did not let our personnel into China … until the middle of February.”

The vice president defended the administration’s aggressive trade policy with Beijing. “But China has been taking advantage of the United States for decades, in the wake of Biden cheerleading for China,” he said.

Harris said that the Trump administration had “lost” the trade war with China. “What ended up happening because of a so-called “trade war” with China? America lost 300,000 manufacturing jobs,” she said.

Pence countered that a Biden administration would go soft on the communist country.

“Joe Biden has been a cheerleader for communist China over the last several decades,” he said. 

The vice president criticized the record of the administration of Biden’s boss, President Barack Obama, saying that it had dismissed the idea that manufacturing jobs could ever come back to America.

“In our first three years, this administration saw 500,000 manufacturing jobs created, and that’s the type of growth we’re going to see,” Pence said.

5) Supreme Court and Abortion

With the nomination of federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, Page asked both candidates what they would want their respective states of Indiana and California to do if the high court were to overturn the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide and sent the matter back to the states to decide for themselves.

Neither candidate directly addressed the question, but both spoke of the abortion issue in the context of the Supreme Court. 

“The issues before us couldn’t be more serious,” Harris said. “There is the issue of choice, and I will always fight for a woman’s right to make a decision about her own body. It should be her decision and not that of Donald Trump and the vice president, Michael Pence.”

Pence reiterated his pro-life stance, and called out the Biden-Harris ticket. 

“I couldn’t be more proud to serve as vice president to a president who stands unapologetically for the sanctity of human life. I will not apologize for it,” he said. “This is another one of those cases where there is such a dramatic contrast. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris support taxpayer funding of abortion all the way up to the moment of birth, late-term abortion.” 

Pence asked Harris at one point if she would support packing the courts, meaning increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to 10 or more, and then he accused her of not answering the question.

“Once again you gave a non-answer, Joe Biden gave a non-answer,” Pence said. “The American people deserve a straight answer.”

In his remarks, Pence noted the Supreme Court has had nine justices for the past 150 years.

6) Race Relations

The vice presidential candidates also had a heated exchange on race relations amid social unrest in major American cities. 

Harris called out Trump for what she claimed was his reluctance to condemn white supremacists, referring to last week’s presidential debate between Trump and Biden. 

“Last week, the president of the United States took a debate stage in front of 70 million Americans and refused to condemn white supremacists,” Harris said. “It wasn’t like he wasn’t given a chance. He didn’t do it, and then he doubled down. Then he said, when pressed, ‘Stand back, stand by.’ This is part of a pattern with Donald Trump.” 

She also cited the deadly 2017 Charlottesville, Va., Unite the Right rally. 

Pence countered by citing Trump’s comments regarding the Charlottesville violence. 

“This is one of the things that makes people dislike the media so much in this country, that you selectively edit so much,” Pence said, arguing that the media had distorted what Trump had said about there being “very fine people” on both sides in Charlottesville.

“After President Trump made comments about people on either side of the debate over monuments, he condemned the KKK, neo-Nazis and white supremacists,” the vice president said. 

“He has done so repeatedly. Your concern that he doesn’t condemn neo-Nazis, President Trump has Jewish grandchildren. His daughter and son-in-law are Jewish. This is a president who respects and cherishes all of the American people.”

Pence then went on offense about Harris’ prosecution record as a district attorney in San Francisco.  

“When you were D.A. in San Francisco, African Americans were 19 times more likely to be prosecuted for minor drug offenses than whites and Hispanics,” Pence said to Harris. “You increased the disproportionate incarceration. You did nothing on criminal justice reform in California. You didn’t lift a finger to pass the First Step Act on Capitol Hill.” 

The First Step Act is a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill signed into law by Trump in December 2018.

Harris didn’t directly defend her record as district attorney of San Francisco, but pivoted to her record as California attorney general. 

“Having served as the attorney general of California, the work I did is a model of what our nation needs to do and what we will be able to do,” she said, adding, “I was the first statewide officer to institute a requirement that my agents would wear body cameras and keep them on full time. We were the first to initiate that there would be training for law enforcement on implicit bias.”


I grew up and went to EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL in Memphis and ran some of our track meets at RHODES COLLEGE and I know that campus well and I even was contacted by a official at Rhodes with some recruiting material after a good performance in my sophomore year in my mile run there in 1978. Also during the late 1970’s I helped my friends Byron Tyler and David Rogers in a Christian Rock Saturday morning show on Rhodes’s radio station!!! My brother-in-law graduated from Rhodes but I graduated from University of Memphis in 1982.


Amy Coney Barrett: A View from Rhodes College

Tim H.

By Tim H.

Tim H.

 | September 23, 202027 COMMENTS

President Trump is going to announce his nomination for the Supreme Court later this week, and all the talk is about Amy Coney Barrett, currently a Notre Dame professor of law and a judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. As it happens, Amy was a classmate of mine at Rhodes College, a small (1,400 students at the time) liberal-arts school in Memphis. I didn’t know her well, but she was a friend of other friends, and we were acquainted a bit through being in a club together.

I can tell you a few things about her, though. For one thing, she did not have a wild reputation, so I think that if she’s nominated, the Senate hearings will have to find something else to complain about. She was an English major and served on the Honor Council, a student body that enforced our honor code against lying and cheating (a great feature of academics at Rhodes that allowed us take-home tests in many classes). We were both in Mortar Board, an honor society. She wasn’t a political activist and was never a member of the College Republicans (I was, and we had a much larger membership than the College Democrats).Amy at the homecoming game senior year

Popular, as far as I knew, and by our senior year, she shows up in the yearbook’s candid photos taken around campus.Candid photo in the social room (the ironing board refers to another picture)

I hadn’t thought about her for a long time, until three years ago when friends were pointing out she’d been nominated for the Seventh Circuit, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein grilled her over her religion, proclaiming that “the dogma lives loudly within you.” At the time, I thought that was a rough Senate hearing.

My daughter was a Notre Dame student, and two years ago, I stopped by to visit Amy at her home in South Bend and catch up. She had been listed as being on the president’s shortlist for a Supreme Court seat, and Kavanaugh was going through his own nomination process at that time.L to R: Me, Amy Barrett, and my daughter

My daughter had been treating the accusations against him as probably true by default and took an unconcerned view towards the behavior of the press. Amy knows Kavanaugh, spoke well of him, and described what it was like seeing the press contacting her and digging through rumors about him. That changed my daughter’s opinion of how these things go, she told me. I meant to ask her if she were named to the Supreme Court if she’d be willing to go through all of the hatred and attacks on her reputation that would surely be a part of it. But I can’t remember if I did. I reckon we’ll all find out soon enough, though.

As a footnote, if Amy is confirmed to the court, she would be the second Supreme Court justice to come from Rhodes. Our first was Abe Fortas (class of 1930), who was named by President Johnson in 1965. Fortas resigned in 1969 after a series of ethics scandals, but the college gives out the Abe Fortas Award for Excellence in Legal Studies each year. Quite understandable; we’re a small school, and we should still be proud one of our own was elevated to the Supreme Court. May Amy Barrett bring us more honor.Published in LawTags: SCOTUS; SUPREME COURT; Amy Coney Barrett

Amy Coney Barrett (born January 28, 1972)[1][2] is an American lawyer, jurist, and academic who serves as a circuit judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Barrett considers herself a public-meaning originalist; her judicial philosophy has been likened to that of her mentor and former boss, Antonin Scalia.[3] Barrett’s scholarship focuses on originalism.

Amy Coney Barrett
Barrett in 2018
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
Assumed office 
November 2, 2017
Appointed byDonald Trump
Preceded byJohn Daniel Tinder
Personal details
BornJanuary 28, 1972(age 48)
New OrleansLouisiana, U.S.
Spouse(s)Jesse Barrett
EducationRhodes College (BA)
University of Notre Dame(JD)
Academic background
Academic work
InstitutionsNotre Dame Law School
WebsiteNotre Dame Law Biography

Barrett was nominated to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals by President Donald Trump on May 8, 2017 and confirmed by the Senate on October 31, 2017. While serving on the federal bench, she was a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, where she has taught civil procedure, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation.[4][2][5][6] Shortly after her confirmation to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017, Barrett was added to President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees.[7]Trump reportedly intends to nominate her to succeed Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the United States Supreme Court.[8]

Early life and education

Barrett was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1972.[2] She is the eldest of seven children, with five sisters and a brother. Her father Michael Coney worked as an attorney for Shell Oil Company, and her mother Linda was a homemaker. Barrett grew up in Metairie, a suburb of New Orleans, and graduated from St. Mary’s Dominican High School in 1990.[9]

Barrett studied English literature at Rhodes College, graduating in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa membership.[10] She then studied law at Notre Dame Law School on a full-tuition scholarship. She served as an executive editor of the Notre Dame Law Review[11] and graduated first in her class in 1997 with a Juris Doctor summa cum laude.[12]


Clerkships and private practice

After law school Barrett spent two years as a judicial law clerk, first for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit from 1997 to 1998,[13] then for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1998 to 1999.[13]

From 1999 to 2002, she practiced law at Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin in Washington, D.C.[11][14]

Teaching and scholarship

Barrett served as a visiting associate professor and John M. Olin Fellow in Law at George Washington University Law School for a year before returning to her alma mater, Notre Dame Law School in 2002.[15]At Notre Dame she taught federal courts, constitutional law, and statutory interpretation. Barrett was named a Professor of Law in 2010, and from 2014 to 2017 held the Diane and M.O. Miller Research Chair of Law.[16] Her scholarship focuses on constitutional law, originalism, statutory interpretation, and stare decisis.[12] Her academic work has been published in journals such as the ColumbiaCornellVirginiaNotre Dame, and TexasLaw Reviews.[15] Some of her most significant publications are Suspension and Delegation, 99 Cornell L. Rev. 251 (2014), Precedent and Jurisprudential Disagreement, 91 Tex. L. Rev. 1711 (2013), The Supervisory Power of the Supreme Court, 106 Colum. L. Rev. 101 (2006), and Stare Decisis and Due Process, 74 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1011 (2003).

At Notre Dame, Barrett received the “Distinguished Professor of the Year” award three times.[15] She taught Constitutional Law, Civil Procedure, Evidence, Federal Courts, Constitutional Theory Seminar, and Statutory Interpretation Seminar.[15] Barrett has continued to teach seminars as a sitting judge.[17]

Federal judicial service

Nomination and confirmation

President Donald Trump nominated Barrett on May 8, 2017, to serve as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, to the seat vacated by Judge John Daniel Tinder, who took senior status on February 18, 2015.[18][19]Judge Laurence Silberman, for whom Barrett first clerked after law school, swearing her in at her investiture as a judge on the Seventh Circuit.

A hearing on Barrett’s nomination before the Senate Judiciary Committee was held on September 6, 2017.[20] During the hearing, Senator Dianne Feinstein questioned Barrett about a law review article Barrett co-wrote in 1998 with Professor John H. Garvey in which she argued that Catholic judges should in some cases recuse themselves from death penalty cases due to their moral objections to the death penalty. The article concluded that the trial judge should recuse herself instead of entering the order. Asked to “elaborate on the statements and discuss how you view the issue of faith versus fulfilling the responsibility as a judge today,” Barrett said that she had participated in many death-penalty appeals while serving as law clerk to Scalia, adding, “My personal church affiliation or my religious belief would not bear on the discharge of my duties as a judge”[21][22] and “It is never appropriate for a judge to impose that judge’s personal convictions, whether they arise from faith or anywhere else, on the law.”[23] Worried that Barrett would not uphold Roe v. Wade given her Catholic beliefs, Feinstein followed Barrett’s response by saying, “the dogma lives loudly within you, and that is a concern.”[24][25][26] The hearing made Barrett popular with religious conservatives,[11] and in response, the conservative Judicial Crisis Network began to sell mugs with Barrett’s photo and Feinstein’s “dogma” remark.[27]Feinstein’s and other senators’ questioning was criticized by some Republicans and other observers, such as university presidents John I. Jenkins and Christopher Eisgruber, as improper inquiry into a nominee’s religious belief that employed an unconstitutional “religious test” for office;[23][28][29]others, such as Nan Aron, defended Feinstein’s line of questioning.[29]

Lambda Legal, an LGBT civil rights organization, co-signed a letter with 26 other gay rights organizations opposing Barrett’s nomination. The letter expressed doubts about her ability to separate faith from her rulings on LGBT matters.[30][31] During her Senate confirmation hearing, Barrett was questioned about landmark LGBTQ legal precedents such as Obergefell v. HodgesUnited States v. Windsor, and Lawrence v. Texas. Barrett said these cases are “binding precedents” that she intended to “faithfully follow if confirmed” to the appeals court, as required by law.[30] The letter co-signed by Lambda Legal said “Simply repeating that she would be bound by Supreme Court precedent does not illuminate—indeed, it obfuscates—how Professor Barrett would interpret and apply precedent when faced with the sorts of dilemmas that, in her view, ‘put Catholic judges in a bind.'”[30] Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network later said that warnings from LGBT advocacy groups about shortlisted nominees to replace Justice Anthony Kennedy, including Barrett, were “very much overblown” and called them “mostly scare tactics.”[30]

In 2015, Barrett signed a letter in support of the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family that endorsed the Catholic Church’s teachings on human sexuality and its definition of marriage as between one man and one woman. When asked about the letter, she testified that the Church’s definition of marriage is legally irrelevant.[32][33]

Barrett’s nomination was supported by every law clerk she had worked with and all of her 49 faculty colleagues at Notre Dame Law school. 450 former students signed a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee supporting Barrett’s nomination.[34][35]

On October 5, 2017, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11–9 on party lines to recommend Barrett and report her nomination to the full Senate.[36][37] On October 30, the Senate invoked cloture by a vote of 54–42.[38] It confirmed her by a vote of 55–43 on October 31, with three Democrats—Joe DonnellyTim Kaine, and Joe Manchin—voting for her.[10] She received her commission two days later.[2] Barrett is the first and to date only woman to occupy an Indiana seat on the Seventh Circuit.[39]

Notable cases

Title IX

In Doe v. Purdue University, 928 F.3d 652 (7th Cir. 2019), the court, in a unanimous decision written by Barrett, reinstated a suit brought by a male Purdue University student (John Doe) who had been found guilty of sexual assault by Purdue University, which resulted in a one-year suspension, loss of his Navy ROTC scholarship, and expulsion from the ROTC affecting his ability to pursue his chosen career in the Navy.[40] Doe alleged the school’s Advisory Committee on Equity discriminated against him on the basis of his sex and violated his rights to due process by not interviewing the alleged victim, not allowing him to present evidence in his defense, including an erroneous statement that he confessed to some of the alleged assault, and appearing to believe the victim instead of the accused without hearing from either party or having even read the investigation report. The court found that Doe had adequately alleged that the university deprived him of his occupational liberty without due process in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment and had violated his Title IX rights “by imposing a punishment infected by sex bias,” and remanded to the District Court for further proceedings.[41][42][43]

Title VII

In EEOC v. AutoZone, the Seventh Circuit considered the federal government’s appeal from a ruling in a suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against AutoZone; the EEOC argued that the retailer’s assignment of employees to different stores based on race (e.g., “sending African American employees to stores in heavily African American neighborhoods”) violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The panel, which did not include Barrett, ruled in favor of AutoZone. An unsuccessful petition for rehearing en banc was filed. Three judges—Chief Judge Diane Wood and Judges Ilana Rovner and David Hamilton—voted to grant rehearing, and criticized the panel decision as upholding a “separate-but-equal arrangement”; Barrett and four other judges voted to deny rehearing.[11]


In Cook County v. Wolf, 962 F.3d 208 (7th Cir. 2020), Barrett wrote a 40-page dissent from the majority’s decision to uphold a preliminary injunction on the Trump administration’s controversial “public charge rule“, which heightened the standard for obtaining a green card. In her dissent, she argued that any noncitizens who disenrolled from government benefits because of the rule did so due to confusion about the rule itself rather than from its application, writing that the vast majority of the people subject to the rule are not eligible for government benefits in the first place. On the merits, Barrett departed from her colleagues Wood and Rovner, who held that DHS’s interpretation of that provision was unreasonable under Chevron Step Two. Barrett would have held that the new rule fell within the broad scope of discretion granted to the Executive by Congress through the Immigration and Nationality Act.[44][45][46] The public charge issue is the subject of a circuit split.[44][46][47]

In Yafai v. Pompeo, 924 F.3d 969 (7th Cir. 2019), the court considered a case brought by a Yemeni citizen, Ahmad, and her husband, a U.S. citizen, who challenged a consular officer’s decision to twice deny Ahmad’s visa application under the Immigration and Nationality Act. Yafai, the U.S. citizen, argued that the denial of his wife’s visa application violated his constitutional right to live in the United States with his spouse.[48] In an 2-1 majority opinion authored by Barrett, the court held that the plaintiff’s claim was properly dismissed under the doctrine of consular nonreviewability. She declined to address whether Yafai had been denied a constitutional right (or whether a constitutional right to live in the United States with his spouse existed) because even if a constitutional right was implicated, the court lacked authority to disturb the consular officer’s decision to deny Ahmad’s visa application because that decision was facially legitimate and bona fide. Following the panel’s decision, Yafai filed a petition for rehearing en banc; the petition was denied, with eight judges voting against rehearing and three in favor, Wood, Rovner and Hamilton. Barrett and Judge Joel Flaumconcurred in the denial of rehearing.[48][49]

Second Amendment

In Kanter v. Barr, 919 F.3d 437 (7th Cir. 2019), Barrett dissented when the court upheld a law prohibiting convicted nonviolent felons from possessing firearms. The plaintiffs had been convicted of mail fraud. The majority upheld the felony dispossession statutes as “substantially related to an important government interest in preventing gun violence.” In her dissent, Barrett argued that while the government has a legitimate interest in denying gun possession to felons convicted of violent crimes, there is no evidence that denying guns to nonviolent felons promotes this interest, and that the law violates the Second Amendment.[50][51]

Fourth Amendment

In Rainsberger v. Benner, 913 F.3d 640 (7th Cir. 2019), the panel, in an opinion by Barrett, affirmed the district court’s ruling denying the defendant’s motion for summary judgment and qualified immunity in a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 case. The defendant, Benner, was a police detective who knowingly provided false and misleading information in a probable cause affidavit that was used to obtain an arrest warrant against Rainsberger. (The charges were later dropped and Rainsberger was released.) The court found the defendant’s lies and omissions violated “clearly established law” and thus Benner was not shielded by qualified immunity.[52]

The case United States v. Watson, 900 F.3d 892 (7th Cir. 2018) involved police responding to an anonymous tip that people were “playing with guns” in a parking lot. The police arrived and searched the defendant’s vehicle, taking possession of two firearms; the defendant was later charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm. The district court denied the defendant’s motion to suppress. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit, in a decision by Barrett, vacated and remanded, determining that the police lacked probable cause to search the vehicle based solely upon the tip, when no crime was alleged. Barrett distinguished Navarette v. California and wrote, “the police were right to respond to the anonymous call by coming to the parking lot to determine what was happening. But determining what was happening and immediately seizing people upon arrival are two different things, and the latter was premature…Watson’s case presents a close call. But this one falls on the wrong side of the Fourth Amendment.”[53]

In a 2013 Texas Law Review article, Barrett included as one of only seven Supreme Court “superprecedents“, Mapp vs Ohio (1961); the seminal case where the court found through the doctrine of selective incorporation that the 4th Amendment’s protections against unreasonable searches and seizures was binding on state and local authorities in the same way it historically applied to the federal government.

Civil procedure and standing

In Casillas v. Madison Ave. Associates, Inc., 926 F.3d 329 (7th Cir. 2019), the plaintiff brought a class-action lawsuit against Madison Avenue, alleging that the company violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) when it sent her a debt-collection letter that described the FDCPA process for verifying a debt but failed to specify that she was required to respond in writing to trigger the FDCPA protections. Casillas did not allege that she had tried to verify her debt and trigger the statutory protections under the FDCPA, or that the amount owed was in any doubt. In a decision written by Barrett, the panel, citing the Supreme Court’s decision in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, found that the plaintiff’s allegation of receiving incorrect or incomplete information was a “bare procedural violation” that was insufficiently concrete to satisfy the Article III‘s injury-in-fact requirement. Wood dissented from the denial of rehearing en banc. The issue created a circuit split.[54][55][56]

Judicial philosophy and political views

Barrett considers herself an originalist. She is a constitutional scholar with expertise in statutory interpretation.[10] Reuters described Barrett as a “a favorite among religious conservatives,” and said that she has supported expansive gun rights and voted in favor of one of the Trump administration’s anti-immigration policies.[57]

Barrett was one of Justice Antonin Scalia‘s law clerks. She has spoken and written of her admiration of his close attention to the text of statutes. She has also praised his adherence to originalism.[58]

In 2013, Barrett wrote a Texas Law Review article on the doctrine of stare decisis wherein she listed seven cases that should be considered “superprecedents”—cases that the court would never consider overturning. The list included Brown v. Board of Education but specifically excluded Roe v. Wade. In explaining why it was not included, Barrett referenced scholarship agreeing that in order to qualify as “superprecedent” a decision must enjoy widespread support from not only jurists but politicians and the public at large to the extent of becoming immune to reversal or challenge. She argued the people must trust the validity of a ruling to such an extent the matter has been taken “off of the court’s agenda,” with lower courts no longer taking challenges to them seriously. Barrett pointed to Planned Parenthood v. Casey as specific evidence Roe had not yet attained this status.[59] The article did not include any pro-Second Amendment or pro-LGBT cases as “Super-Precedent”.[30][31] When asked during her confirmation hearings why she did not include any pro-LGBT cases as “superprecedent”, Barrett explained that the list contained in the article was collected from other scholars and not a product of her own independent analysis on the subject.[32][33]

Barrett has never ruled directly on a case pertaining to abortion rights, but she did vote to rehear a successful challenge to Indiana’s parental notification law in 2019. In 2018, Barrett voted against striking down another Indiana law requiring burial or cremation of fetal remains. In both cases, Barrett voted with the minority. The Supreme Court later reinstated the fetal remains law and in July 2020 it ordered a rehearing in the parental notification case.[57] At a 2013 event reflecting on the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, she described the decision—in Notre Dame Magazine‘s paraphrase—as “creating through judicial fiat a framework of abortion on demand.”[60][61] She also remarked that it was “very unlikely” the court would overturn the core of Roe v. Wade: “The fundamental element, that the woman has a right to choose abortion, will probably stand. The controversy right now is about funding. It’s a question of whether abortions will be publicly or privately funded.”[62][63] NPR said that those statements were made before the election of Donald Trump and the changing composition of the Supreme Court to the right subsequent to his election, which could make Barrett’s vote pivotal in overturning Roe v. Wade.[64]

Barrett was critical of Chief Justice John Roberts’opinion in the 5–4 decision that upheld the constitutionality of the central provision in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) in NFIB vs. Sebelius. Roberts’s opinion defended the constitutionality of the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act by characterizing it as a “tax.” Barrett disapproved of this approach, saying Roberts pushed the ACA “beyond it’s plausible limit to save it.”[64][65][66][67] She criticized the Obama administration for providing employees of religious institutions the option of obtaining birth controlwithout having the religious institutions pay for it.[65]

Potential Supreme Court nomination

Barrett has been on President Trump’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees since 2017, almost immediately after her court of appeals confirmation. In July 2018, after Anthony Kennedy‘s retirement announcement, she was reportedly one of three finalists Trump considered, along with Judge Raymond Kethledge and Judge Brett Kavanaugh.[16][68] Trump chose Kavanaugh.[69]Reportedly, although Trump liked Barrett, he was concerned about her lack of experience on the bench.[70] In the Republican Party, Barrett was favored by social conservatives.[70]

After Kavanaugh’s selection, Barrett was viewed as a possible Trump nominee for a future Supreme Court vacancy.[71] Trump was reportedly “saving” Ruth Bader Ginsburg‘s seat for Barrett if Ginsburg retired or died during his presidency.[72] Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020, and Barrett has been widely mentioned as the front-runner to succeed her.[73][74][75][76]

Personal life

Judge Barrett with her husband, Jesse

Since 1999, Barrett has been married to fellow Notre Dame Law graduate Jesse M. Barrett, a partner at SouthBank Legal in South BendIndiana. Previously, Jesse Barrett worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorneyfor the Northern District of Indiana for 13 years.[77][78][79] They live in South Bend and have seven children, ranging in age from 8-19.[80] Two of the Barrett children are adopted from Haiti. Their youngest biological child has special needs.[79][2][81]Barrett is a practicing Catholic.[82][83]

In September 2017, The New York Times reported that Barrett was an active member of a small, tightly knit Charismatic Christian group called People of Praise.[84][85] Founded in South Bend, the group is associated with the Catholic Charismatic Renewalmovement; it is ecumenical and not formally affiliated with the Catholic Church, but about 90% of its members are Catholic.[85][86]

Affiliations and recognition

From 2010 to 2016, Barrett served by appointment of the Chief Justice on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure.[15]

Barrett was a member of the Federalist Society from 2005 to 2006 and from 2014 to 2017.[25][10][11] She is a member of the American Law Institute.[87]

Selected publications

See also



​Amy Coney Barrett was appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in November 2017. She serves on the faculty of the Notre Dame Law School, teaching on constitutional law, federal courts, and statutory interpretation, and previously served on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Rhodes College in 1994 and her J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. Following law school, Barrett clerked for Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Associate Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court. She also practiced law with Washington, D.C. law firm Miller, Cassidy, Larroca & Lewin.



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