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Judge Amy Coney Barrett spoke at Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute in 2016 discussing what a Trump Supreme Court would look like.

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President Donald Trump has tested negative for COVID-19 on “consecutive days,” White House physician Sean Conley said in memo released Monday.

The document, posted to Twitter by White House staff, did not disclose which days Trump tested negative. In the past, aides have declined to answer specific questions about the timing of the president’s past test results.

Conley said the results demonstrate that “the president is not infectious to others.”

Trump was tested using the Abbott BinaxNOW antigen card, according to the memo.

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The Supreme Court is a vital component of our democracy. Here’s how the process works to nominate, confirm, and oppose a potential justice.

USA TODAY

The latest: 

  • Six states above all others have emerged as the top electoral prizes in the 2020 race for president. USA TODAY Network reporters explore those battlegrounds. 
  • The New York Times released another installment in its investigation into Trump’s tax returns, this time delving into how the Trump Organization has benefitted from his time in the White House. Here are the key takeaways. 
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told House Democrats Sunday, “we remain at an impasse” on stimulus negotiations while the White House sent mixed signals on whether a deal was possible. 

📊 What the polls are saying: Last week, Biden jumped to a 10-point lead in national polling average – and surged in the key states of Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. 

📆 22 days until Election Day, 10 days until the final presidential debate, 100 days until Inauguration Day, 82 days left in 2020.

🗳️ Voting: See USA TODAY’s Voter Guide for information on registering to vote, when your state begins voting and what the candidates think about the issues. 

We will update this article throughout the day. You can follow all of USA TODAY’s politics reporters on Twitter or subscribe to our daily On Politics newsletter. 

Donald Trump: “I don’t have to be locked up in my basement”

President Donald Trump took the long way Monday in returning to the campaign trail.

Trump, who spoke for only 18 minutes at a White House event on Saturday, went for a little more than an hour during a comeback rally at Orlando Sanford International Airport in Florida.

“I don’t have to be locked up in my basement and I wouldn’t allow that to happen anyway,” Trump told supporters. “When you’re the president you can’t lock yourself in the basement.”

While a traditional rally speech in many ways, Trump also addressed his illness and sought to struck a positive note.

While claiming himself cured of COVID, Trump also asserted he is “immune” from the virus moving forward, though some doctors said there is no guarantee of that.

The president also said he was willing to go into the crowd – many of them maskless, like Trump – to express his affection.

“I’ll kiss everyone in that audience,” he said. “I’ll kiss the guys and the beautiful women and the … I’ll just give you a big, fat kiss.”

David Jackson

Poll: Trump trails in Wis. and Mich., erodes support with white voters

President Donald Trump trails Democratic nominee Joe Biden in the battleground states of Michigan and Wisconsin – both of which Trump won in 2016 – according to a New York Times/Sienna College poll released Monday. 

The poll found Biden leading Trump among likely voters 48%-40% in Michigan and 51%-41% in Wisconsin. The Times said Trump “faces modest but significant defections among white and independent voters,” and “a groundswell of opposition from those who voted for a minor-party candidate or didn’t vote at all in 2016.” 

More likely voters said they support than oppose Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court nomination in both Michigan (45%-34%) and Wisconsin (44%-39%). In Michigan,  thought the Senate should hold Barrett’s confirmation vote before the election while thought they should only vote on Barrett if Trump wins. In Wisconsin, 44% said they thought the vote should be before the election and 42% said the Barrett shouldn’t get a vote if Trump is defeated. 

The margin of error was plus or minus 4.6 percentage points for the Michigan poll and 4 points for the Wisconsin poll. 

– William Cummings

First day of Barrett confirmation hearings ends

Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s opening statements ended the first of four confirmations hearings Monday. 

All 22 members of the Senate Judiciary Committee – the panel tasked with vetting Supreme Court nominees – gave opening statements Monday followed by Barrett, whom President Donald Trump chose as his Supreme Court nominee in September. 

In her opening statement, Barrett outlined her judicial philosophy, telling senators, “courts are not designed to solve every problem or right every wrong in our public life.”

The policy decisions and value judgments of government must be made by the political branches elected by, and accountable to, the people,” the U.S. Circuit judge said. “The public should not expect courts to do so, and courts should not try.”

Senators will get the chance to ask Barrett questions on Tuesday in what is expected to be a contentious day on Capitol Hill. 

– Sean Rossman

This week in the polls

The first week of polls conducted primarily after President Donald Trump contracted COVID-19, generally did not offer much to bolster the president’s reelection hopes. 

Biden continued to lead Trump in 10 of 11 swing states (though Georgia is a virtual tie) – and he expanded his lead in seven of those states, including big gains in Florida, Michigan, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. 

Nationally, Biden surged 2 percentage points to a more than 10-point lead, according to the USA TODAY average of averages, which is based on the polling averages calculated by RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight. By comparison, 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s lead between the two polling averages was 6.2 points at this point four years ago.

– William Cummings

The week in polls: Biden hits double-digit lead in national average, surges in Florida, Michigan

Democrats focus on future of Affordable Care Act at Barrett hearing

More than 10 years after its passage, the Affordable Care Act was front and center again in Congress.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee made the health care law signed by President Barack Obama in 2010 the centerpiece of their effort to defeat federal appeals court Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court.

Their effort reflects the politics of the moment: Rather than attacking Barrett over her devout Catholicism, which backfired on Democrats in 2017 when she was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, they focused on the popular health care law instead.

That’s because the Affordable Care Act will come back before the high court next month, when a challenge mounted by Texas and other states led by Republicans is heard by eight – or nine, if Barrett is confirmed by then – justices. The Trump administration backs the challenge.

The challenge stems from a $1.5 trillion tax cut passed by the Republican-dominated Congress in 2017, which repealed the health care law’s tax on people who refuse to buy insurance. That tax was intended to prod them into the health insurance marketplace rather than let them seek emergency care while uninsured.

Many health care law analysts expect the court to save most, if not all, of the law’s provisions, even with Barrett on the court.

– Richard Wolf

Senate confirmation hearings for Amy Coney Barrett to begin

The Senate will start confirmation hearings Monday for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett as Republicans aim to confirm her before Election Day.

Monday’s hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is the first of four days of confirmation hearings. All 22 senators on the panel will give opening 10-minute statements, including Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. Barrett will be introduced by Indiana’s two Republican senators Todd Young and Mike Braun, and former Notre Dame Professor Patricia O’Hara, one of Barrett’s mentors. The judge will also deliver her own opening statement. 

– Nicholas Wu

Amy Coney Barrett: Senate to begin confirmation hearings for Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett

Trump returns to campaign trail 

President Donald Trump returns to the campaign trail Monday with a rally planned in Florida less than two weeks after he announced he and first lady Melania Trump had tested positive for COVID-19. 

The White House has refused to say whether Trump has tested negative for the disease since contracting it, but the president told supporters Sunday he was “totally negative” for the virus, going beyond the public memos released from his doctors, who have said he is no longer a “transmission risk.” 

Trump has also claimed he is now immune from the virus, though medical experts say that is not guaranteed. 

– Michael Collins 

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US President Donald Trump on Saturday said he was “feeling great” as he made his first public appearance since returning to the White House after being treated for the coronavirus. (Oct. 10)

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