Jared Kushner says he can't for sure 'commit one way or the other' to the November 2020 election due to COVID-19 — 'but right now that's the plan'
Jared Kushner, a White House advisor and President Donald Trump's son-in-law, couldn't say for sure whether COVID-19 might lead to the 2020 election being postponed. "That's too far in the future to tell," he said in an interview with TIME on Tuesday. "It's not my decision to make, so I'm not sure I can commit one way or the other," he added. "But right now that's the plan." In a statement provided later to NBC News, Kushner said: "I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election." President Trump cannot unilaterally postpone the 2020 election, as Business Insider has previously reported. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
The US presidential election is on November 3, but when asked if it would still be held then, Jared Kushner, the US president's son-in-law and White House senior advisor, was not fully committal. As Business Insider has noted, it is not possible for the White House to unilaterally postpone an election — although Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, has worried it is something that President Donald Trump might well try. Trump could, however, publicly undermine the legitimacy of the vote, as he has done with baseless claims that casting ballots by mail will enable widespread fraud. Asked Tuesday if he could see pushing back the vote, Kushner told TIME that November was "too far in the future to tell." "It's not my decision to make, so I'm not sure I can commit one way or the other," he said. "But right now that's the plan." Kushner had been asked if another surge in coronavirus infections could delay the election. "Hopefully by the time we get to September, October, November, we've done enough work with testing and with all the different things we're trying to do to prevent a future outbreak of the magnitude that would make us shut down again," he said. "I really believe that once America opens up, it'll be very hard for America to lock down again." In a statement issued later in the day to NBC News, Kushner said: "I have not been involved in, nor am I aware of any discussions about trying to change the date of the presidential election." At least 81,600 people have died in the US due to COVID-19, with an additional 1,547 deaths reported on Tuesday, according to The Washington Post. Reported deaths peaked April 21, when there were 2,845 fatalities — compared to 2,416 deaths on May 5 — but public health experts have warned that the US is not conducting enough tests to safely restart the economy, raising the threat of a fierce resurgence. Have a news tip? Email this reporter: email@example.comJoin the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
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Summary List Placement The second day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapped...Summary List Placement The second day of Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation hearings wrapped up late Tuesday after nearly 12 hours of questioning. Barrett's confirmation fight comes fewer than three weeks before the November general election, and Republicans have been sharply criticized for trying to get Barrett confirmed to the high court before voters have a chance to weigh in via the ballot box. Tuesday's hearing was split between Republicans who praised the judge's judicial philosophy and Democrats who voiced concerns that she would slash the Affordable Care Act and vote to overturn key precedents on abortion rights and gay marriage. In all, Tuesday's event had several key takeaways that hint at how the rest of Barrett's confirmation could shape up. Barrett refused to weigh in on how she would rule in cases related to Roe v. Wade The judge, who considers the late Justice Antonin Scalia her mentor, was asked several times whether she would vote to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide. Some lawmakers also asked her for her opinion on Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 case whose ruling largely reaffirmed Roe v. Wade. But Barrett refused to answer, citing the "Ginsburg rule," which refers to the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's assertion during her 1993 confirmation that she would not preview how she would rule on future cases. "I don't have any agenda," said Barrett. "I have no agenda to try to overrule Casey. I have an agenda to stick to the rule of law and decide cases as they come." However, some legal scholars have pointed out that "Ginsburg rule" is a misnomer because contrary to popular belief, Ginsburg actually did weigh in on critical issues during her confirmation, including abortion rights. "The decision whether or not to bear a child is central to a woman's life, to her well-being and dignity. It is a decision she must make for herself. When Government controls that decision for her, she is being treated as less than a fully adult human responsible for her own choices," Ginsburg said at the time. She expressed support for both Roe v. Wade and Planned Parenthood v. Casey during the hearings. Barrett refused to say if the president can delay or postpone an election Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Barrett to weigh in on President Donald Trump's suggestion that the general election be delayed or postponed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. "With Universal Mail-In Voting (not Absentee Voting, which is good), 2020 will be the most INACCURATE & FRAUDULENT Election in history," Trump tweeted in July. "It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. Delay the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???" "Does the Constitution give the president of the United States the authority to unilaterally delay an election under any circumstances?" Feinstein asked. "Does federal law?" Barrett dodged the question, saying, "Well, senator, if that question ever came before me, I would need to hear arguments from the litigants and read briefs and consult with my law clerks and talk to my colleagues and go through the opinion-writing process. If I give off-the-cuff answers, then I would basically be a legal pundit, and I don't think we want judges to be legal pundits. I think we want judges to approach cases thoughtfully and with an open mind." The judge's answer raised some eyebrows given that federal law mandates that only Congress has the power to change the date of the general election, which takes place on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The process by which states appoint electors to the Electoral College is laid out in Article II of the Constitution. It is also outlined in Chapter 1 of Title 3 in the United States Code. As Insider previously reported, Congress would have to vote to change Section 1 of the code, which currently says, "The electors of President and Vice President shall be appointed, in each State, on the Tuesday next after the first Monday in November, in every fourth year succeeding every election of a President and Vice President." Barrett did not recuse herself from potential cases surrounding a contested election Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy asked Barrett several times whether she would recuse herself from weighing in on a case involving a disputed election result. She repeatedly refused to do so, saying at one point, "It involves not only reading the statute, looking at the precedent, consulting counsel if necessary. But the crucial last step is while it is always the decision of an individual justice, it always happens after consultation with the full court, so I can't offer an opinion on recusal without short-circuiting that entire process." "I will apply the other factors that other justices have before me in determining whether the circumstances require recusal or not, but I can't offer a legal conclusion right now about the outcome of the decision I would reach," Barrett said when Leahy pressed her again. Her refusal to commit to recusing herself drew immediate comparisons to previous cases in which judges and justices recused themselves from politically charged cases because of a potential conflict of interest. The presidential historian Michael Beschloss pointed out, for instance, that in 1974, Chief Justice William Rehnquist recused himself from the United States v. Nixon case because he served in the Justice Department under President Richard Nixon. In another example involving a lower court, US Circuit Judge Gregory Katsas, who was appointed by Trump to the Washington, DC Circuit Court of Appeals, has recused himself from all matters involving the Mueller investigation. Katsas worked in the White House counsel's office before he was confirmed to the appeals court. 'Sexual preference' Barrett ignited a firestorm when she used the term "sexual preference" to refer to LGBTQ people when asked about the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges case, which legalized gay marriage. "I have no agenda, and I do want to be clear that I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not ever discriminate on the basis of sexual preference. Like racism, I think discrimination is abhorrent," Barrett said. The judge's use of the term "sexual preference" drew sharp backlash for implying that sexual orientation is a choice. Sen. Mazie Hirono later called Barrett out for her comments, saying, "Sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not. Sexual orientation is a key part of a person's identity." Barrett then apologized for her comment, replying that she "didn't mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community." "If I did, I greatly apologize for that," she added. Barrett dodged questions about if the president can pardon himself "In keeping with my obligation not to give hints, previews or forecasts of how I would resolve the case, that's not one I can answer," Barrett said when Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey asked her if the president has the right to pardon himself. Trump has repeatedly suggested that he has the "absolute right" to pardon himself, especially during the special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Trump's power to grant pardons is broad, but the question of whether a president can pardon himself has not been tested before. Mueller's probe ultimately did not result in charges against Trump, but the president is currently facing at least nine lawsuits that he will have to contend with once he leaves office if he loses in November. Some of the lawsuits were brought in federal court, but many are on a state level, and the pardon power does not apply to state charges. Barrett said she is 'not hostile' to Obamacare but did not say how she'll rule on cases involving the law Perhaps the biggest focus for Democrats on Tuesday was gleaning Barrett's views on the Affordable Care Act, which she has criticized several times. Most notably, she wrote an essay in 2017 lambasting the Supreme Court for upholding the landmark healthcare law and said the majority opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts "pushed the Affordable Care Act beyond its plausible meaning to save the statute." On Tuesday, Barrett said that while she did "critique" Roberts' opinion, the case involving the ACA that's currently before the court — California v. Texas — relates to severability, a legal provision that allows the rest of a law to remain in effect even if one part of it is struck down. Barrett's statement was somewhat misleading because the president has made it clear that he wants Obamacare to be gutted in its entirety. "I am not hostile to the ACA," Barrett told the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday. "I am not here on a mission to destroy the Affordable Care Act. I'm just here to apply the law and adhere to the rule of law." Barrett struggled to answer whether the president should commit to a peaceful transfer of power "That seems to me to be pulling me into the question of whether the president has said he would not leave office," Barrett said when Booker asked her if the president would pledge a peaceful transition if he loses. "To the extent that this is a political controversy right now, as a judge I want to stay out of it, and I don't want to express a view." Later, when Booker doubled down on his question, Barrett praised the US's tradition of presidential transitions. "One of the beauties of America from the beginning of the republic is that we have had peaceful transfers of power and that disappointed voters have accepted the new leaders that come into office ... That's not true in every country," she said. "I think it is part of the genius of our Constitution and the good faith and goodwill of the American people that we haven't had the situations that have arisen in so many other countries where those issues have been present."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why Pikes Peak is the most dangerous racetrack in America
62% of Americans are worried that 'political pressure' from the Trump administration will rush a coronavirus vaccine, new poll shows
Summary List Placement 62% of adults in the US fear that President Donald Trump's politics will...Summary List Placement 62% of adults in the US fear that President Donald Trump's politics will lead to a rushed vaccine, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation. In KFF's telephone survey conducted between late August and early September, 62% of adults responded that they are "worried that the political pressure from the Trump administration will lead the FDA to rush to approve a coronavirus vaccine without making sure that it is safe and effective." Like the polarized views on national issues surrounding racial discrimination and immigration, Democrats and Republicans split on this matter as well, with 85% of Democrats and only 35% expressing concern for a rushed vaccine, according to the new poll. Trump has signaled that a new vaccine may be ready by early November, a few days ahead of the presidential election. In August, Trump claimed that a vaccine could be ready "right around" the time of the upcoming election. At a Monday White House news conference, Trump criticized Sen. Kamala Harris's who said she would not trust the president with a coronavirus vaccine as "reckless anti-vaccine rhetoric," and suggested once again that a vaccine could come as early as October. Earlier this month, CDC director Robert Redfield asked state governors to prepare to be able to distribute vaccines by November 1. Public health experts, however, have repeatedly stressed that Trump's timeline is unrealistic, and instead suggested that a vaccine is more likely to come at the end of this year or 2021. Earlier this month, CDC director Robert Redfield asked state governors to prepare to be able to distribute vaccines by November 1. Dr. Anthony Fauci said Tuesday that it was "unlikely" that a vaccine will be ready by the November election, and stated that a vaccine is more likely to be confirmed towards the end of the year. Still, around 40% of adults said that the FDA and CDC were "paying 'too much attention" to politics, according to the KFF poll. This sentiment comes amid, reports that Trump administration officials have sought to water down reports from the CDC, Politico reported Friday night, with one political appointee accusing career scientists of trying to undermine the president's campaign to reopen schools. To "ensure public confidence," CEOs of top drug companies have jointly pledged to establish the safety and efficacy of vaccines through Phase 3 clinical trials before seeking regulatory approval. Read more: Fauci says it's 'unlikely' there will be a coronavirus vaccine before the US election, despite the CDC asking states to be prepared by November Don't expect a coronavirus vaccine before the election — here's the likely timeline according to doctors, government officials, and analysts Top drugmakers made a rare joint pledge not to cut corners on the coronavirus vaccine amid fears shots are being rushed before the presidential election A look at Robert Redfield's history and experience, the former Army physician and researcher leading the CDC under Trump Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
2020 Election Live Updates: Republicans Reject Trump’s Suggestion to Delay Election, Something He Cannot Do
Trailing badly in the polls, President Trump baselessly suggested that the November election would be fraudulent....Trailing badly in the polls, President Trump baselessly suggested that the November election would be fraudulent. Former President Barack Obama called for sweeping changes to expand voting rights.