- Three days of tributes for late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg begin in US capital on Wednesday, as Republicans prepare to confirm a nominee. Biden heads to North Carolina, where polls show he and Trump neck and neck. Trump speaks at National Catholic Prayer Breakfast as religious conservatives become more relevant to election amid Supreme Court vacancy. Trump expected to urge Republican state Attorney Generals to do more about perceived social media election bias, with 40 days until November 3 Election Day.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the US elections. This is Joseph Stepansky.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, September 23: 12:00 ET – Pence’s jet returned to airport on Tuesday after hitting bird
Vice President Mike Pence’s airplane struck a bird Tuesday on takeoff in New Hampshire, causing the pilot to return to the airport out of caution, the White House said.
Pence was flying home to Washington from a campaign event at an airport hangar in nearby Gilford, New Hampshire.
When Air Force Two took off from Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, it struck a bird. A senior administration official, who wasn’t authorised to address the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press news agency the vice president and his entourage were in no danger.
Pence ended up flying home on a cargo aircraft that the Secret Service uses to transport his vehicles during his travel.
Pence returned to Washington in a cargo plane[Win McNamee/Getty Images] 11:30 ET – Democrats propose sweeping bill to curb presidential abuses
House Democrats are proposing sweeping bill to curb presidential abuses, a pitch to voters weeks ahead of Election Day as they try to defeat President Donald Trump, capture the Senate from Republicans and keep their House majority.
The legislation, a wide-ranging package of new and revised bills, will be announced Wednesday morning by the heads of seven House committees.
It would, among other measures, limit the president’s pardon power, strengthen laws to ban presidents from receiving gifts or payments from foreign governments, better protect independent agency watchdogs and whistleblowers from firing or retribution and require better reporting by campaigns of foreign election interference.
Each of the bill’s provisions is a response to actions by Trump or his administration that Democrats saw as abuses of presidential power. It builds on an election and ethics reform package from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the House passed soon after Democrats assumed the majority in 2019.
11:00 ET – Senate report on Biden son alleges conflict of interest
Two Republican-led Senate committees have issued a politically charged report alleging that the work Biden’s son did in Ukraine constituted a conflict of interest for the Obama administration at a time when Biden was engaged in Ukraine policy as vice president.
But the report said it was ultimately “unclear” what impact Hunter Biden’s position on the board of a Ukrainian gas company had on Obama administration policy with regard to Ukraine. And it offered no evidence to support one of President Donald Trump’s more incendiary allegations – that Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire its top prosecutor as a way to protect his son.
Biden’s campaign immediately panned the report, released six weeks before the election, as an effort by an ally of Trump to damage his election opponent.
Trump has repeatedly drawn attention to Hunter Biden’s work in Ukraine even as his own administration has warned of a concerted Russian effort to denigrate Joe Biden and asserted that a Ukrainian lawmaker who is involved in spreading anti-Biden claims is an “active Russian agent”.
Former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden [File: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters] 10:30 ET – Trump to pay respects to Ginsburg on Thursday
The White House says Trump will pay his respects to the late Justice Ginsburg on Thursday at the Supreme Court.
Trump has said Ginsburg was an “amazing woman” who led an “amazing life,” while supporting Republicans plans to more quickly to name her successor before the election. That goes against Ginsburg’s reported dying wish.
10:15 ET – John Roberts remembers Ginsburg
Chief Justice John Roberts remembers colleague Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as tough and brave, a fighter and a winner.
Roberts spoke during a private ceremony honouring Ginsburg in the court’s Great Hall. He said she was also careful, compassionate and honest. He spoke of her undying devotion to the law and to her family.
Roberts said Ginsburg’s opinions and her famous dissents will steer the court for decades. He says they are written with the “unaffected grace of precision”.
“The voice in court and in our conference room was soft. But when she spoke, people listened,” Roberts said.
10:00 ET – Trump to meet with state attorney generals over social media censorship issues
Trump is expected to urge Republican State attorney generals to investigate allegations social media sites censor content supportive of conservative causes, according to the Washington Post.
The issue is expected to be raised at a meeting of at least eight Republican state officials, according to the newspaper citing unnamed sources familiar with the situation.
The White House and Silicon Valley have been increasingly at odds since some companies began labelling content posted by the president that contain false or misleading information.
09:30 ET – Ginsburg’s coffin arrives at Supreme Court
The coffin of Justice Ginsburg has arrived at the Supreme Court for the start of two days of public viewing.
Clerks of the court wearing black masks filed down the steps as the coffin arrived, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Following a private ceremony in the court’s Great Hall, the coffin will be moved to the top of the court’s front steps so members of the public can pay their respects in line with public health guidance for the coronavirus pandemic.
Thousands are expected to pay their respects. Ginsburg will then lie in state at the Capitol on Friday.
Former law clerks walk out and stand for the coffin of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg at the Supreme Court [Patrick Semansky/AP] 09:00 ET – Polls shows close race in Florida and Arizona
New Washington Post-ABC News polls show a close race in two critical states Trump won in 2016.
In Florida, which is considered essential for an electoral college victory for Trump, he had 51 percent support compared with Biden’s 47 percent among likely voters. Among registered voters, that split was 47 percent for Trump and 48 percent support for Biden.
Meanwhile, in Arizona, Trump was ahead with 49 percent of likely voter support, compared with 48 percent support for Biden. Of registered voters, Trump had 47 percent support and Biden had 49 percent support.
Both campaigns have targeted Florida, as it is considered essential to any electoral college victory for Trump [File: Patrick Semansky/AP]
Read all the updates from yesterday (September 22) here.