1/ Trump refused to condemn white supremacists during the first presidential debate and instead directed the nation’s biggest domestic terrorist groups to “stand back and stand by.” During the debate, moderator Chris Wallace repeatedly asked Trump if he would condemn white supremacists and militia groups. Trump instead sidestepped the question and responded that “Sure, I’m willing to do anything,” before claiming that the violence in cities like Kenosha and Portland is a “left-wing problem, not a right-wing problem.” Biden then pressed Trump to condemn white supremacists, prompting Trump to ask “Who would you like me to condemn?” Wallace repeated: “White supremacists, white supremacists and right-wing militia.” Trump responded, tell the Proud Boys to “stand back and stand by,” before pivoting to criticizing anti-fascists and “the left.” The Proud Boys, an alt-right self-described “western chauvinist” group, responded on social media by pledging allegiance to Trump and declaring that they are “standing by.” (Washington Post / CNN / Politico / NPR / Associated Press / New York Times / Daily Beast / New York Times / NBC News)

  • The first presidential debate in one sentence: Trump bullied his way through the debate for 98 minutes1; incessantly interrupted and insulted Biden nearly every time he spoke; Trump declined to condemn white supremacists, questioned the legitimacy of the November election, and refused to say whether he would concede should he lose2; Biden denounced Trump as a “clown” and told him to “shut up”3; Trump claimed that he’s unfamiliar with the Proud Boys4; and Biden called Trump “a racist” and “the worst president America has ever had”5.

  • Debate Recaps: New Yorker / CNBC / New York Times / New York Times / Washington Post / Associated Press / ABC News / Politico / NBC News / NBC News / Reuters / Wall Street Journal / Politico / CNN / Vox / Bloomberg

  • Analysis: Washington Post / NPR / New York Times / Associated Press / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / CNN

  • Takeaways: NBC News / New York Times / CNN / Washington Post

  • Fact checks: CNN / Washington Post / CBS News / NBC News / Associated Press / Reuters / Bloomberg / Politico

  • Undecided voters called Trump “unhinged” and “un-American” but are unswayed by debate. “Out of 15 undecided voters in a virtual focus group conducted by veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz, four said they were supporting Democratic nominee Joe Biden after watching the debate and two backed President Donald Trump. The rest remained on the fence.” (Politico)

  • The House adopted a resolution reaffirming lawmakers’ support for a peaceful transfer of power in the event that Trump loses the election. The measure passed with a 397-5 vote, with all five votes against coming from Republicans Matt Gaetz, Louie Gohmert, Clay Higgins, Steve King, and Thomas Massie. The Senate voted last week on a virtually identical measure, which lawmakers in that chamber passed unanimously. Neither the House nor the Senate version of the measure explicitly mentioned Trump’s comments last week that he would have to “see what happens” when asked if he would commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses to Biden. (The Hill)

2/ Biden called Trump’s behavior in the first presidential debate a “national embarrassment” and urged the debate commission to exert more control over their next two meetings. Republicans, meanwhile, distanced themselves from Trump over his failure to condemn white supremacists, as Senator Tim Scott, the chamber’s only Black Republican, said that “white supremacy should be denounced at every turn. I think he misspoke, I think he should correct it. If he doesn’t correct it I guess he didn’t misspeak.” Later, in an attempt to clarify his “stand by” remarks, Trump falsely claimed that he had “always denounced any form” of white supremacy and asserted that he’d never heard of the Proud Boys extremist group. (Bloomberg / Politico / New York Times / NBC News / CNN)

3/ The Commission on Presidential Debates will implement rule changes “to maintain order” for the remaining debates after host Chris Wallace failed to control Trump. “Last night’s debate made clear that additional structure should be added to the format of the remaining debates to ensure a more orderly discussion of the issues,” the CPD said in a statement. One possibility being discussed is cutting off the microphones if Trump or Biden break the rules. Trump repeatedly resisted Wallace’s requests to follow the rules and to allow Biden to speak uninterrupted. Wallace called the debate a “sad” and “terrible missed opportunity.” The next presidential debate is a town hall format scheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / Axios / CNN / Politico / Wall Street Journal / Bloomberg / ABC news / CNBC / CBS News)

  • Trump accused Chris Wallace of siding with Biden during the first presidential debate, tweeting an image of Trump on the left opposed by Wallace and Biden together on the right, in the style of an arcade game’s character-select screen. (New York Post / Mediaite)

4/ Trump will hold large campaign rallies in Wisconsin despite the White House Coronavirus Task Force recommending “maximal” social distancing in the state. The Trump campaign will hold a rally at the La Crosse Regional Airport Saturday afternoon, before flying to Green Bay for another rally. The task force has flagged both La Crosse and Green Bay as coronavirus “red zones” – the highest level of concern for community spread of the virus. (Washington Post)

  • 😷 Dept. of “We Have It Totally Under Control.”

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~33,803,000; deaths: ~1,011,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~7,222,000; deaths: ~207,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

  • 💻 COVID-19 Live Blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC

  • New York City’s coronavirus positivity rate is the highest it’s been since June. Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at a news conference that the city now has a 3.25% positivity rate, up from 1.93% on Monday. The jump came on the first day that public elementary schools across the city reopened. The city’s COVID-19 guidelines state that all public schools must shut down if the citywide seven-day positivity rate stays above 3%. Several of the spikes also occurred in Orthodox Jewish communities in South Brooklyn and Queens. City officials have threatened to introduce more severe localized lockdown measures, including restricting gatherings of more than 10 people, if outbreaks continue to occur. (New York Times / Axios)

  • [Study] Hydroxychloroquine is not effective at reducing coronavirus infection. (Reuters)

5/ The White House blocked a CDC order to keep cruise ships docked until mid-February. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield had recommended that a “no sail” order be extended until February over concerns that cruise ships could become coronavirus hot spots. The White House Coronavirus Task Force, however, overruled Redfield. The White House deputy press secretary, meanwhile, claimed that the move was not politically motivated. The cruise industry has a major economic presence in Florida — a key battleground state where the polls are statistically tied. Before the industry shut down in March, passenger cruises were the sites of some of the most severe early coronavirus outbreaks. The administration will instead allow ships to sail after Oct. 31. (Axios / New York Times)

6/ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin failed to reach a coronavirus stimulus deal. House Democrats planned to pass their roughly $2.2 trillion rescue legislation today, but called off the vote until tomorrow to allow more time for bipartisan talks. Both Pelosi and Mnuchin said that an agreement was possible despite Mitch McConnell saying the sides were “very, very far apart.” (Washington Post / CNBC / CNN)

✏️ Notables.

  1. The Trump administration is planning ICE raids and targeted arrests in “sanctuary cities” across the U.S. next month. The raids, known informally as the “sanctuary op,” could begin in California as early as this week, according to three U.S. officials. The raids would then expand to cities including Denver and Philadelphia. Two officials with knowledge of plans for the sanctuary op described it as more of a political messaging campaign than a major ICE operation. (Washington Post)

  2. Six senior officials at the U.S. Agency for Global Media have filed a whistleblower complaint, alleging that they were retaliated against for raising concerns about new political leadership installed earlier this year by Trump. (Politico)

  3. Trump offered Amy Coney Barrett the Supreme Court nomination the same day he met her, which was three days after Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. (Washington Post)

  4. Trump’s top intelligence official released unverified Russian intelligence about Hillary Clinton that was previously rejected by Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee as having no factual basis. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe declassified the summary of a Russian intelligence assessment, which claims that Clinton personally approved a plan “to stir up a scandal” against Trump “by tying him to Putin and the Russians’ hacking of the Democratic National Committee.” Ratcliffe, meanwhile, noted that the U.S. intelligence community “does not know the accuracy of this allegation or the extent to which the Russian intelligence analysis may reflect exaggeration or fabrication.” (Politico / New York Times / CNN)

  1. Washington Post

  2. CNN

  3. New York Times

  4. Bloomberg

  5. Washington Post