US election live updates: Biden, Trump campaign after RBG death

Trump heads to Ohio and Biden to Wisconsin as political fight over Supreme Court vacancy continues.

  • The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has dramatically changed the election as both candidates head to battleground states on Monday. 

  • President Donald Trump says he will pick a replacement after Ginsburg’s funeral, likely by Friday or Saturday.

  • Democratic candidate Joe Biden has appealed to Republican Senators to delay a vote on Trump’s pick.
  • Trump campaigns in Ohio on Monday, a state Biden’s campaign has been increasingly eyeing.

  • Biden makes his second trip to Wisconsin this month, underscoring the state’s electoral significance with 43 days until November 3.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, September 21

12:00 ET – Justice Dept. threatens to revoke federal funding from Dem lead cities

The Justice Department threatened to revoke federal funding from three Democrat-lead cities, New York City, Seattle and Portland, Oregon, saying they were allowing anarchy and violence on their streets following months of racial justice protests that have at times turned violent. 

“We cannot allow federal tax dollars to be wasted when the safety of the citizenry hangs in the balance,” Attorney General William Barr said in a statement on Monday. 

The federal government has mounted a campaign to disperse the racial justice protests, which have continued since the police-involved death of George Floyd in May. Federal efforts have included sending federal agents into Portland and Seattle and encouraging federal prosecutors to bring charges.

Last week, the Justice Department urged federal prosecutors to consider sedition charges against protesters who have burned buildings and engaged in other violent activity. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, has used the protests to suggest that cities and suburbs are under threat, as part of a larger “law and order” platform. 

11:30 ET – Justice Ginsburg to lie in repose at US Supreme Court, Capitol

The body of late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week at 87, will lie in repose outside the US Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday of this week so members of the public can pay their respects, the court said in a statement.

A private ceremony will take place at the court on Wednesday morning attended by Ginsburg’s family, friends and other Supreme Court justices, the statement said. Ginsburg will be interned at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony next week, the statement added.

House Speaker Nancy Pelsosi also announced that Ginsburg will lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall on Friday. That ceremony will be open only to invited guests, Pelosi said.

Ginsburg will be buried next week at Arlington National Cemetery in a private service, the court said. 

11:00 ET – Biden heads to Wisconsin for second time this month

Biden is headed to Wisconsin for the second time this month in a sign of the state’s importance to the upcoming election.

In his last visit, Biden went to Kenosha and spoke with Jacob Blake, the Black man whose shooting by police prompted widespread unrest.

This time, Biden will visit largely white Manitowoc County, which supported the former vice president and President Barack Obama when they ran as the Democratic ticket in 2008. The county backed Trump in 2016, helping deliver the state to a Republican presidential candidate for the first time since 1984.

Biden’s campaign has made targeting such “flip” voters a priority, and it also hopes Biden will deliver a larger share of white voters than Democrat Hillary Clinton did in 2016.

10:30 ET – Trump plans to emphasise jobs in Ohio

Trump will hold two events in Ohio on Monday, delivering remarks in Dayton before holding a rally at an airport in Swanton.

Trump is expected to speak about “fighting for the American worker,” with a focus on the economic themes that dominated his re-election pitch prior to Ginsburg’s death, according to his campaign. 

However, the events have the potential to take on dimensions of the Supreme Court confirmation battle, with supporters during a rally in North Carolina on Saturday adding a new chant to the election season: “Fill that seat”. 

10:00 ET – Biden campaign announces advertisement buys in Georgia and Iowa

The Biden campaign has expanded its advertising push in states seen as critical to winning the Electoral College to include Georgia and Iowa.

Advertisements in Georgia will target Black voters, as part of the “Shop Talk” series, which features roundtable discussions on issues affecting Black men.

In Iowa, the campaign will run previously released advertisements that highlight Biden’s message of unifying the country, his plan to respond to the coronavirus and rebuild the economy. 

The advertisements come as Biden’s campaign has looked to several states initially considered out of reach and following an August fundraising haul that outpaced Trump by a $140m cash-on-hand advantage.

09:30 ET – Trump says Supreme Court pick could come on Friday or Saturday

Trump has said he expects to announce his pick for the Supreme Court on Friday or Saturday, after funeral services for Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

He told the Fox & Friends programme on Monday he had a list of five finalists, “probably four”, and that he is pushing for a confirmation vote before Election Day. 

Trump also disparaged reports that Ginsburg had told her granddaughter it was her wish that a replacement justice not be confirmed until the inauguration of a new president, saying he thought his Democratic political foes were behind the report, including Representative Adam Schiff, who led the House impeachment probe, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer.

“I don’t know that she said that, or was that written out by Adam Schiff and Schumer and Pelosi,” Trump said. “I would be more inclined to the second … But that sounds like a Schumer deal or maybe a Pelosi or Shifty Schiff.”

09:00 ET – Weekend recap: Ginsburg vacancy shifts race dynamics

The death of Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has dramatically shifted the dynamics of the presidential race, which will play out over the appointment of her successor. 

Senate Republican leaders quickly promised to vote on a Trump nominee before the election as they jockey to get a 6-3 conservative majority in the state. Trump said they should act “without delay”.

Amid outrage from Democrats, Biden called on a “handful” of senators to break party ranks and wait until after the election to vote on a Trump nominee. 

To date, Senators Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins say they oppose moving forward with the nomination, while Senators Lyndsey Graham and Lamar Alexander, who were considered possible, if not likely, dissenters, have said they support moving ahead with the pre-election confirmation. 

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Read all the updates from Friday, September 18 here.

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