The Hill's Campaign Report: Two weeks to the election l Biden leads in new polls as debate looms l Trump pressures DOJ on Hunter Biden

The Hill's Campaign Report: Two weeks to the election l Biden leads in new polls as debate looms l Trump pressures DOJ on Hunter Biden
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Welcome to The Hill’s Campaign Report, your daily rundown on all the latest news in the 2020 presidential, Senate and House races. Did someone forward this to you? Click here to subscribe.

We’re Julia Manchester, Max Greenwood and Jonathan Easley. Here’s what we’re watching today on the campaign trail:



We’re exactly two weeks out from Election Day 2020.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenAtlanta mayor won't run for reelection South Carolina governor to end pandemic unemployment benefits in June Airplane pollution set to soar with post-pandemic travel boom MORE leads President TrumpDonald TrumpVeteran accused in alleged border wall scheme faces new charges Arizona Republicans to brush off DOJ concern about election audit FEC drops investigation into Trump hush money payments MORE in a number of polls including a New York Times-Siena College survey released on Monday, showing Biden with a 9-point lead national over Trump, 50 percent to 41 percent.

The RealClearPolitics polling average shows Biden leading by 8.6 percentage points nationally. Biden also leads across most of the battleground states that will determine the outcome of the election.

These numbers should be seen as major red flags for the Trump campaign. The president faces a much wider polling gap against Biden now than he did against then-Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonMcConnell: Taliban could take over Afghanistan by 'the end of the year' Hillary Clinton: There must be a 'global reckoning' with disinformation Pelosi's archbishop calls for Communion to be withheld from public figures supporting abortion rights MORE in 2016. Additionally, Trump faces a global pandemic as a sitting president, with cases growing in the U.S. On top of that, Americans are grappling with the economic fallout of the pandemic, which does not bode well for Trump.

The same New York Times-Siena College poll showed Trump and Biden virtually tied on the issue of the economy, with the president ahead by just one point, 48 percent to 47 percent. These findings are striking because the president has led on the economy against Biden, for the most part. Economic strength and recovery has also been an integral part of Trump’s campaign messaging.

Voters are doubting Trump, according to polls, and he only has two weeks to turn it around. Trump is hitting the campaign trail hard, visiting a number of swing states. Tonight, he will be holding a rally in the critical swing state of Pennsylvania.


The Trump campaign is also banking on a strong performance from Trump at Thursday’s presidential debate. However, there are disagreements over the upcoming forum. The president’s campaign manager Bill StepienBill StepienTrump adds veteran organizer to help run political operations: report Trump likely to form new super PAC Trump ready to make McConnell's life miserable MORE sent a letter to the Commission on Presidential Debates demanding that they adjust the topics so they focus more on foreign policy.

The Biden campaign argues that the president’s reelection campaign is trying to alter the topics in order to avoid talking about his response to the coronavirus pandemic.

One thing is for certain, though: Trump and Biden’s microphones will be muted during the debate to allow the candidates to speak without being interrupted. And while the Trump campaign voiced objections to the move, they said the president would still be taking part in the forum.

Thursday will mark the second and last time Trump and Biden come face-to-face before Election Day.


Trump is calling on Attorney General William BarrBill BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Judge's decision on Barr memo puts spotlight on secretive DOJ office Trump allies launching nonprofit focused on voter fraud MORE to investigate Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son before Election Day.

In an interview with Fox & Friends this morning, Trump accused Hunter Biden of profiting off his father’s political connections and said the DOJ should investigate and release its findings before voters head to the polls.

“We have got to get the attorney general to act,” Trump said, pointing to a story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in the New York Post. “He’s got to act and he’s got to act fast.”

"This is major corruption and this has to be known about before the election,” Trump added.

The Post story, which other news outlets have been unable to confirm, alleged that Hunter Biden acted as an intermediary to arrange a meeting between his father, who was vice president at the time, and the Ukrainian gas firm Burisma Holdings.

The Biden campaign has said there was no meeting recorded on the former vice president’s official schedule. Other critics have suggested the story could be part of a Russian disinformation effort.

Regardless, some Republicans are mystified as to why the president and his campaign are focused on Hunter Biden in the final sprint to Election Day.

Polls show voters are most concerned about the economy and the coronavirus, not Hunter Biden.

In a presentation viewed by The Hill on Tuesday, prominent GOP pollster Frank Luntz blasted the Trump campaign for its focus on Hunter Biden.

“I’ve never seen a campaign more mis-calibrated than the Trump campaign. Frankly, his staff ought to be brought up on charges of political malpractice,” Luntz said. “It is the worst campaign I’ve ever seen and I’ve been watching them since 1980. They’re on the wrong issues. They’re on the wrong message. They’ve got their heads up their assess. … Your damn job is to get your candidate to talk about things that are relevant to the people you need to reach. And if you can’t do your damn job then get out.”