1/ The U.S. passed 8 million coronavirus cases – three weeks after passing the 7 million case mark. New daily cases topped 62,000 on Thursday, nearly reaching the 65,000-per-day peak in July. (Politico)

  • The Trump administration announced a deal to administer a future coronavirus vaccine to seniors and staff in long-term care facilities. The vaccine will be free of charge and available for residents in all long-term care settings, including skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, residential care homes, and adult family homes. (CNBC / Politico)

  • Pfizer will not apply for emergency authorization for its coronavirus vaccine before the third week of November at the earliest, ruling out Trump’s repeated assertion that a vaccine would be ready before Election Day on Nov. 3. Pfizer said the company may know whether its vaccine is effective by the end of October, but it won’t have the required FDA safety data until the end of November. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Remdesivir and three other potential drug treatments for the coronavirus had “little or no effect” on death rates among hospitalized patients, according to a World Health Organization study. (CNBC)

  • The budget deficit eclipsed $3.1 trillion in the 2020 fiscal year – the biggest one-year gap between government spending and tax revenue in U.S. history. The deficit last year was about $1 trillion. (Washington Post / New York Times)

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

  • Global: Total confirmed cases: ~39,127,000; deaths: ~1,096,000

  • U.S.: Total confirmed cases: ~8,028,000; deaths: ~219,000

  • Source: Johns Hopkins University

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

2/ U.S. intelligence agencies warned the White House – twice – last year that Rudy Giuliani was the target of a Russian influence operation. During a December 2019 trip to Ukraine to gather information he thought would expose corrupt acts by Hunter Biden, Giuliani was interacting with people tied to Russian intelligence. Earlier in 2019, U.S. intelligence also warned in written materials sent to the White House that Giuliani was communicating with Russian assets. Giuliani was seeking information similar to what is allegedly contained in emails and other correspondence published this week by the New York Post, which the paper said came from Hunter Biden’s laptop and provided to Giuliani and Stephen Bannon. National security adviser Robert O’Brien briefed Trump in a private conversation at the time that any information Giuliani brought back from Ukraine should be considered contaminated by Russia. Trump reportedly “shrugged his shoulders” at O’Brien, dismissed concern, and said: “That’s Rudy.” (Washington Post)

  • Social media accounts tied to a Chinese billionaire – and Stephen Bannon backer – promoted a leak of Hunter Biden’s “hard disks” weeks before those New York Post stories. (Daily Beast)

  • Giuliani’s daughter is urging Americans to “end this nightmare” by voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. Caroline Giuliani called on voters to end Trump’s “reign of terror” and “elect a compassionate and decent president.” (CNN)

3/ Federal investigators are examining whether the emails allegedly describing Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and China are linked to a foreign intelligence operation. The FBI seized the laptop and a hard drive through a grand jury subpoena. The New York Post claimed in a series of articles this week that it obtained “smoking-gun” emails about Hunter and his dealings in Ukraine, which were allegedly found on a laptop brought to a computer repair shop in Delaware in April 2019. The repair shop owner took it upon himself to access the private material when nobody claimed the laptop. (NBC News / CNN)

4/A federal judge asked the White House counsel’s office to confirm directly with Trump whether he stands by his public statements that he declassified all records relating to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton’s emails. The White House and Justice Department have argued in court that the tweets didn’t declassify the records, saying officials never received an order from Trump or Attorney General William Barr. News outlets, meanwhile, have pursued Freedom of Information Act lawsuits for the complete Mueller report and related documents following Trump’s statements. (Politico / CNN)

5/ Trump and Biden held simultaneous town halls on competing TV networks in instead of a second presidential debate, which cancelled after Trump contracted the coronavirus and refused to participate in a virtual debate. Biden answered questions from voters for 90-minutes, offering long, detailed answers and promised to follow the science in combating the pandemic. “The words of a president matter,” Biden said. “No matter whether they’re good, bad or indifferent, they matter. When a president doesn’t wear a mask, or makes fun of folks like me when I was wearing a mask for a long time, then people say it mustn’t be that important.” Trump, meanwhile, refused to distance himself from QAnon supporters, admitted he owes $400 million to someone, and refused to say whether he had tested negative for coronavirus on the day of his first debate, saying “I probably did. Possibly I did, possibly I didn’t.” Trump also committed to a peaceful transition of power if he isn’t re-elected. (Politico / New York Times / Washington Post / The Guardian / ABC News / NBC News / CNBC / BuzzFeed News)

  • Takeaways from the dueling town halls:

  • Trump denied owing money to foreign entities, but conceded that he’s more than $400 million in debt. Trump claimed that amount he owes is “peanuts” compared with his overall assets. When asked if he owed money to foreign banks in any other country, Trump replied: “Not that I know of, but I will probably.” (New York Times)

  • Trump refused to denounce QAnon, claiming he doesn’t know if there is a secret government cabal of satanic pedophiles as the conspiracy theory claims. Instead, Trump said praised QAnon’s followers for being “very much against pedophilia. They fight it very hard.” The FBI considers QAnon a potential source of domestic terrorism. (The Guardian / Daily Beast)

  • Biden admitted that the 1994 crime bill was a mistake, saying “things have changed drastically” in the quarter-century since his crime bill’s passage. (New York Times)

  • Trump wouldn’t say if he was tested for COVID-19 on day of first debate. “I don’t know, I don’t even remember,” Trump Savannah Guthrie. “I test all the time. I can tell you this.”

  • Biden said he is “not a fan” of “court packing” but he’s “open to considering what happens” following the likely confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett. (Washington Post)

  • Savannah Guthrie gets answers from Trump by setting a fast pace, following up, and challenging Trump’s evasions. When Trump said he wasn’t familiar with QAnon, Guthrie said “you do know,” to which he replied: “No, I don’t know. You tell me all about it. Let’s waste the whole show. Let’s go. Keep asking me these questions.” Guthrie also called out Trump for sharing false conspiracy theories relating to the death of Osama bin Laden. “You’re the president,” Guthrie told Trump. “You’re not someone’s crazy uncle who can retweet whatever.” (New York Times / Washington Post / BuzzFeed News / CNN / Politico)

6/ The Trump administration denied California’s request for a disaster relief aid related to six wildfires. FEMA said the request did not meet the threshold requirements for aid and the White House said the request for a presidential major disaster declaration was rejected because it was “not supported by the relevant data.” August and September account for five of the six biggest fires in nearly 90 years of recorded history in the state. (San Francisco Chronicle / New York Times / CNN)

7/ Ivanka Trump potentially violated the Hatch Act eight times in just over 48 hours on Twitter. Ivanka, who’s official position is Advisor to the President, sent eight tweets campaigning for her father despite the ethics law barring federal employees from using their official positions to push partisan politics. (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington)

8/ Trump earnestly shared a story from a satirical news site claiming that Twitter had “shut down its entire social network” to stop the spread of negative news about Biden. The Babylon Bee bills itself as “the world’s best satire site.” Trump, meanwhile, tweeted the story and added: “Wow, this has never been done in history. This includes his really bad interview last night. Why is Twitter doing this. Bringing more attention to Sleepy Joe & Big T.” Shortly after, Trump deleted the post and tweeted a clarification: “Big T was not a reference to me, but rather to Big Tech.” (Politico)