1/ Mitch McConnell warned the White House not to strike a coronavirus relief deal before Election Day, suggesting that a vote on a stimulus package could interfere with the Senate’s timetable for confirming Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by early next week. Earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she was “optimistic” a deal could be reached with the Trump administration in the coming days after the White House increased its offer to nearly $1.9 trillion – short of the $2.2 trillion legislation House Democrats passed earlier this month. McConnell, however, told reporters that if a deal were reached and passed by the House with Trump’s support, he would put it on the Senate floor “at some point.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNBC / Bloomberg)

2/ The coronavirus has caused about 299,000 more deaths in the U.S. than would be expected in a typical year – two-thirds of them from COVID-19 and the rest from other causes. COVID-19 will likely be the third-leading cause of mortality in the United States this year, behind heart disease and cancer. (Washington Post)

3/ The CDC issued new guidelines that all passengers and workers on planes, trains, buses, and other public transportation wear masks to control the spread of the coronavirus. The recommendations fall short of the CDC’s previously drafted order under the agency’s quarantine powers that would have required masks on all forms of public transportation, which transportation industry leaders and unions had wanted. The order was blocked by the White House. (Washington Post)

  • Melania Trump was scheduled to attend her first campaign appearance in more than a year, but canceled due to a “lingering cough” as she continues to recover from COVID-19. (NBC News / CNN)

4/ The Supreme Court allowed Pennsylvania to count mail-in ballots that arrive up to three days after Election Day, refusing a Republican request to stop a pandemic-related procedure approved by the state’s highest court. The court tied 4-4, leaving the lower court ruling in place and signaling how it could deal with similar election-related litigation in other states. (Politico / Axios / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post)

  • More than 34 million Americans have already voted with two weeks until Election Day – 24.5% of the more than 136 million total ballots cast in the 2016 election. (CNBC / Washington Post)

5/ The Commission on Presidential Debates will mute the microphones of both Trump and Biden, allowing each candidate to have two minutes of uninterrupted time at the beginning of each 15-minute segment during Thursday night’s debate. After two minutes, the mics will then be on for interruptions, which the commission called “open discussion.” The 90-minute debate is divided into six 15-minute segments. (USA Today / NPR / Axios / CBS News / New York Times)

6/ The Justice Department argued that Trump’s denial of a rape allegation was an official presidential act and he should not be sued personally because he “addressed matters relating to his fitness for office as part of an official White House response to press inquiries.” E. Jean Carroll sued Trump for defamation after he denied sexually assaulting her in the 1990s. On Sept. 8, however, the Justice Department and Attorney General William Barr intervened on Trump’s behalf to transfer the lawsuit from state court to a Federal District Court, substituting the federal government for Trump as the defendant. (New York Times)

7/ Trump told White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows that he didn’t mean it literally when he tweeted he had “fully authorized the total Declassification” of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton’s emails. “The president indicated to me that his statements on Twitter were not self-executing declassification orders and do not require the declassification or release of any particular documents,” Meadows said in a sworn court statement. The statement comes after a judge asked why the Trump tweets appeared to be in direct opposition to the White House’s position not to declassify the Russia records. (CNN / NBC News / Axios)

poll/ 49% of North Carolina likely voters support Biden, while 48% favor Trump – within the survey’s margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points. (ABC News)

poll/ 51% of Americans support Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, while 46% of adults do not want Barrett to be seated, and 3% do not have an opinion of her nomination. The Senate will vote to confirm Barrett on Monday, Oct. 26. (Gallup)