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10 things you need to know today: October 18, 2020

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slams Trump over 'lock her up' chant, Pelosi gives the White House a 48-hour deadline on stimulus talks, and more


Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer slams Trump for presiding over 'lock her up' chant at rally

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) slammed President Trump after he took aim at her during his rally in the state on Saturday, just weeks after the FBI thwarted an elaborate plot to kidnap the governor. "Be careful of her and her attorney general because you know they're like in charge of the ballot stuff," Trump had said, prompting his crowd to chant "lock her up." "Lock 'em all up," Trump told the crowd. "It's incredibly disturbing that the president of the United States, 10 days after a plot to kidnap, put me on trial, and execute me … is at it again … inciting this kind of domestic terrorism," Whitmer said Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press. Lara Trump, a campaign surrogate, claimed her father-in-law was just "having fun."


Pelosi gives the White House a 48-hour deadline to address 'differences' in stimulus talks

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has reportedly given the White House a deadline of 48 hours to address an "array of ... differences" in stimulus negotiations. Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin spoke for an hour and 15 minutes on Saturday night, with the agreement of speaking again on Monday about a package to help the economy through the COVID-19 crisis. "While there was some encouraging news on testing, there remains work to do to ensure ... additional measures to address the virus' disproportionate impact on communities of color," Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, said in a tweet. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), meanwhile, "has said he would not put a potential $1.8 trillion+ deal struck by Democrats and the Trump administration on the Senate floor," Axios reports.


COVID-19 cases are only improving in 2 states

Just two states in the country are seeing COVID-19 cases "trending in the right direction," CNN reports. Missouri and Vermont were alone in recording a more than 10 percent improvement in the average number of cases reported over the last week. Cases rose between 10 and 50 percent in 27 other states, and increased by more than 50 percent in Connecticut and Florida. The rest of the states saw their new cases remaining steady. On Friday, the United States reported its highest number of new COVID-19 cases since July, with more than 69,000 new cases on Oct. 16; the CDC's forecast predicts 3,400 to 7,100 new deaths from the disease will "likely" be reported during the week of the election.


Joe Biden massively outpaces Trump in TV spending

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is "vastly outspending" President Trump in television advertising two weeks out from the election, The New York Times reports. Biden's biggest edges are in the swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, where he outpaced Trump $53 million to $17 million in the past month; he ran 38 different campaign ads during a single week in October in Pennsylvania alone. Biden aides, however, have warned against their candidate getting too comfortable. "The very searing truth is that Donald Trump can still win this race, and every indication we have shows that this thing is going to come down to the wire," Biden's campaign manager, Jen O'Malley Dillon, wrote in a memo to supporters.


U.N weapons embargo on Iran lifts after 13 years

A 13-year-old United Nations embargo on Iran that blocked that nation from buying and selling weapons expired on Sunday, despite U.S. protests. Iran's foreign affairs minister, Javad Zarif, called the occasion a "momentous day for the international community … in defiance of the U.S. regime's effort." The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency claimed last year that if the embargo was allowed to expire, as was in keeping with the five-year timetable described by the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, then Iran would potentially attempt to purchase fighter jets, anti-aircraft missiles, and tanks from Russia, or other arms from China. Iran has insisted it has no plans for a "buying spree," and some experts say the country is "more likely to purchase small numbers of advanced weapons systems," The Guardian reports.


Thousands attend Women's March against Judge Amy Coney Barrett

Thousands of people participated in the Women's March in Washington, D.C., on Saturday to protest President Trump's nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. "His presidency began with women marching and now it's going to end with women voting. Period," said Rachel O'Leary Carmona, the executive director of Women's March. Protesters were required to wear masks, and some also wore handmaid's costumes or dressed like Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. "I am very, very fearful of our democracy," one protester told CNN. "I thought it was thriving and nothing could ever happen, but clearly it's a lot more fragile than we understood it to be." Barrett's confirmation hearings took place last week, with the Senate Judiciary Committee vote expected Oct. 22.


Early voting continues to break records

Early voting continues to break records, with more than 26 million people having cast their ballots in the presidential election as of Saturday, NPR reports. That is more than six times the number of votes that were cast at this same point in 2016, and represents more than 16 percent of all the votes cast that year as well. "Despite ... concerns, things are going at this point, reasonably well," said former Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman of voting by mail. Democrats make up the majority of the early votes, as was forecasted, representing about 53 percent of those who have returned their ballots. "The Republican numbers are going to pick up," GOP pollster John Couvillon, who is tracking early voting, told The Associated Press. "The question is at what velocity, and when?"


Right-wing free speech demonstrators clash with counterprotesters in San Francisco

Six people were injured, including three police officers, after a conservative free speech protest devolved in San Francisco on Saturday. Team Save America, a right-wing group, said it was protesting Twitter over the censorship of conservative speech. The rally was met by counterprotesters with signs that read "smash Fascism" and "Nazi Trump F--- Off." Philip Anderson, one of the event organizers, claimed counterprotesters attacked him "for no reason," posting photos of his bloody mouth with a front tooth missing. Anderson said people like the counterprotesters are why he's voting for President Trump in the election: "I love America, I love this country and I love free speech," he said.


Saturday Night Live slams host network NBC in cold open

Saturday Night Live managed to get in a few digs at its host network, NBC, over President Trump's controversial town hall last week. More than 100 Hollywood writers and stars had signed a letter asking NBCUniversal to reverse the decision to hold a dueling town hall debate with Trump at exactly the same time that ABC was set to host its own town hall with Joe Biden. The Oct. 17 episode of SNL used the snafu as comedic fodder: "One town hall was a thoughtful, cogent discussion of the issues facing our country. The other featured President Trump," the cold open began. SNL went on to recreate both town halls, and announced Trump's portion with a scroll that read "NBC laid a thirst trap for President Trump."


Tampa Bay Rays clinch World Series spot

The Tampa Bay Rays clinched the American League title and advanced to the World Series on Saturday night, overcoming the Houston Astros 4-2 in the seventh game of the series. It will be the Rays second-ever World Series in their 23-year history, and their first in 12 seasons. The team will play for what would be its first-ever title beginning Tuesday in Arlington, Texas, against the winner of the National League Championship Series between the Atlanta Braves and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The chance of another championship marks a big moment for the city of Tampa Bay, Florida, whose NHL team, the Tampa Bay Lightning, won the Stanley Cup in September.


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