5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • In fiery speech, Obama tells voters Biden stands 'with democracy, not dictators'

  • U.S. officials: Iran and Russia attempting election interference

  • Supreme Court reinstates Alabama ban on curbside voting

  • Senate Democrats reportedly plan to boycott Barrett vote

  • Pope Francis backs civil union laws for same-sex couples

Former President Barack Obama hit the campaign trail on Wednesday for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, telling supporters at a drive-up rally in Philadelphia that having Biden in the White House would mean a return to calm. President Trump goes "out of his way to insult anybody who doesn't support him and threatens them with jail," Obama said. "That's not normal presidential behavior." There have been no consequences for Trump's actions, Obama declared, and he has emboldened others to be "cruel and divisive and racist," which "affects the way our children see things. It affects the way that our families get along and it affects how the world looks at America. That behavior matters. Character matters." The United States' allies want to "follow a nation that stands with democracy, not dictators," Obama said, and with Biden, the U.S. will once again "mobilize and inspire others to overcome threats like climate change and terrorism and poverty and disease."

Source: CNN

Russia and Iran have obtained voter registration information and Iran is using it to send disinformation to voters across the United States, FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced during a Wednesday night news conference. Ratcliffe said these "actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries," while Wray stated Americans "should be confident that your vote counts. Early, unverified claims to the contrary should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism." Democratic voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, and at least two other battleground states have received emails claiming to be from the Proud Boys, a far-right group. The threatening emails tell recipients if they don't vote for President Trump, "we will come after you." Ratcliffe said Iran has been sending emails to voters, but did not specifically say if they were the messages allegedly sent by the Proud Boys.

Source: ABC News

The Supreme Court late Wednesday lifted an injunction put in place by a federal judge, allowing Alabama to ban curbside voting in counties that wanted to allow it this election. The court's five conservative justices did not give a reason for reinstating the ban, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor explained in a dissent she would have left the injunction in place to allow people with disabilities or other risk factors to vote from their cars during the COVID-19 pandemic. The court's two other liberal justices signed on to her dissent. The Supreme Court has stepped in to several election-related fights in recent weeks, including deadlocking Monday on a Pennsylvania case about counting mail-in ballots that arrive after Election Day; the 4-4 split meant the state can count ballots for three additional days.

Source: Politico, Reuters

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee plan to make one final stand against Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday. The committee will vote then to advance her nomination to the full Senate, but Democrats plan to boycott that vote, a Democratic aide tells HuffPost. They'll fill their chairs with photos of constituents who would be hurt if the Affordable Care Act was overturned — the same photos they brought to the first day of Barrett's hearings. Democrats have seemed frustrated with Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) after she failed to put up much of a fight against Barrett's hearings and even publicly thanked Republicans once it was over.

Source: HuffPost, CNN

Pope Francis in a documentary that premiered on Wednesday reportedly backed civil unions for same-sex couples. "Homosexuals have a right to be a part of the family," Francis reportedly says in the film Francesco. "They're children of God and have a right to a family. Nobody should be thrown out, or be made miserable because of it. What we have to create is a civil union law. That way they are legally covered." This was the first time Francis had expressed approval of same-sex civil unions as pope, and it was a departure from the stance of the Vatican. Jesuit priest James Martin praised the pope's comments as "a major step forward in the church's support for LGBTQ people."

Source: Catholic News Agency, The Associated Press