One day to go: Trump threatens to fire Fauci, Biden leads by 10 points in national polls

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Good morning, NBC News readers.

With less than 24 hours to go before Election Day, President Donald Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are making their final pleas to voters today.

Here’s what we’re watching this Monday morning.


Chaos, anxiety and optimism: Inside the Trump campaign’s final mad dash

As the president crosses the country, hitting three to five states a day in the final push ahead of Election Day, his campaign has taken on much the same frenetic feel it had in 2016 — with one major difference, writes NBC News’ White House reporter Shannon Pettypiece.

Unlike last time, Trump campaigners and staffers say, they aren’t entering the final hours of the race mentally preparing for all-but-certain defeat.

But those involved in the campaign acknowledge that Trump has just as narrow a path as he did then, along with a new set of hurdles to overcome, thanks to his sagging support among groups key to his 2016 victory, such as seniors and women.

“It could be a big Biden landslide, and I wouldn’t be that shocked. Or it could be a big Trump victory, and I wouldn’t be shocked,” said a former 2016 staffer close to the campaign. “I would be mentally prepared for both scenarios. I think both scenarios are plausible.”

One way or the other, Trump was as pugilistic as ever on Sunday. The president lashed out at the FBI for announcing it was investigating reports that a caravan of his supporters harassed a bus belonging to Biden’s campaign.

“In my opinion, these patriots did nothing wrong,” Trump said in a tweet. “Instead, the FBI & Justice should be investigating the terrorists, anarchists, and agitators of ANTIFA, who run around burning down our Democrat run cities and hurting our people!”

He also said he plans to send in his lawyers as soon as the election ends to review swing state votes.

“We’re going to go in night of, as soon as that election is over, we’re going in with our lawyers,” he told reporters Sunday.

Get all the latest developments on the final day of the campaign in our live blog.

NBC News Decision Desk is poised and at the ready for Tuesday night. Here’s a primer on how the Decision Desk operates and its process for verifying results before making any calls.

Nov. 2, 202003:01


Biden ahead by 10 points in final NBC/ WSJ poll, but Democrats haunted by ghosts of 2016

Biden is still maintaining his double-digit national lead over Trump, according to the final national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll before the election.

Biden is ahead of Trump nationally by 10 points among registered voters, 52 percent to 42 percent, in what has been a remarkably stable race over the course of a tumultuous year in American politics.

With early voting setting records, over 85 million people have already cast their ballots. Polls show Biden with a lead among early voters, but Trump maintains a significant advantage among those who have yet to vote.

“This is the most competitive election I could imagine if you’re down 10 points nationally,” said Republican pollster Bill McInturff, who conducted this survey with Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

Many Democrats don’t believe the polls and are still haunted by the ghosts of 2016.

“I’m ping-ponging back and forth between utter dread and cautious optimism,” said Zac Petkanas, a Democratic strategist who worked as the director of rapid response on Hillary Clinon’s campaign.

With Pennsylvania emerging as one of the most pivotal battleground states, Trump won the state by just about 44,000 votes in 2016, Biden focused his attention there on Sunday.

“So every single vote matters,” Biden said in Philadelphia. “The power to change this country is literally in your hands.”

Biden criticized Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and race relations. “We’re tired of the tweets, the anger, the hate, the irresponsibility,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

With fears of a close race, two unique congressional districts— one in Maine and one in Nebraska — could decide the election if the Electoral College vote ends up in a tie. Biden appears to be up in both.

Nov. 2, 202002:27


White House blasts Fauci for saying the U.S. is ‘poorly’ prepared for the coming Covid-19 winter

The White House is strongly pushing back against an interview in which Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s leading infectious disease expert, said the U.S. is in a terrible position to face the coming months of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told The Washington Post on Friday.

Fauci said the country needs to make an “abrupt change” in its public health practices and behaviors as the holiday season nears. He also said Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective,” while President Trump is “looking at it from a different perspective,” which he said was “the economy and reopening the country.”

The White House slammed Fauci for speaking out, saying it was “unacceptable” for him “to choose three days before an election to play politics.”

Trump even went so far as to suggest he might fire Fauci after the election at his final campaign rally on Sunday.

New Covid-19 infections are on the rise in most states. Case counts have reached records highs in recent days — nearly hitting 100,000 in a single day just last week. More than 232,000 people have died in the U.S. from coronavirus, according to NBC News’ latest count.

“All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly,” Fauci told The Washington Post on Friday.Mandel Ngan / AFP via Getty Images file

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Plus


THINK about it

Here’s why Trump is probably going to win again — just like he did in 2016, Keith Koffler writes in an opinion piece.


Live BETTER

Are outdoor dining bubbles safe? Here’s what experts want you to know.


Shopping

Sunrise clocks simulate the rising and setting sun to help you learn better sleeping habits. We asked experts if they’re worth trying out.


One fun thing

With everything else going on, we could all use a little more of the chill vibe Matthew McConaughey personifies.

In this week’s Sunday Sitdown, McConaughey opened up to Willie Geist about the stories in his new candid memoir, “Greenlights.”

The actor also recalls his illustrious run through Hollywood, from rom-com heart throb to winning an Oscar, which all started with his iconic line, “All right, all right, all right.”

Nov. 1, 202008:09


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