Biden, Trump commemorate 9/11: US elections news

Both Joe Biden and Donald Trump visit a Pennsylvania memorial site on the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Ground Zero 9/11 New York memorial
Flowers sit in names at the north reflecting pool at the National 9/11 Memorial in New York - Joe Biden and Donald Trump will both mark the 19th anniversary of attacks [Carlo Allegri/Reuters]
  • Joe Biden and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence started the day in New York City at the 9/11 memorial museum at Ground Zero.
  • Biden and President Donald Trump both visited the Shanksville, Pennsylvania memorial site.
  • Kamala Harris spoke at a 9/11 remembrance ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia.
  • Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi presided over a moment of silence at the US Capitol building.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, September 11

17:45 ET – Top US prosecutor in Trump-Russia investigation resigns amid concern about political pressure: Report

A top aide to US Attorney John Durham in his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia investigation, resigned from the probe – at least partly out of concern that the investigative team is being pressed for political reasons to produce a report before the election, the Hartford Courant newspaper reported.

Colleagues of Nora Dannehy, a respected former federal prosecutor, told the Connecticut newspaper she had been concerned for weeks about pressure from US Attorney General William Barr to produce results before the election. Trump has repeatedly claimed his 2016 campaign was illegally spied upon by the Obama administration.

Durham had recruited Dannehy from private practice to look into those allegations. As an assistant US attorney in Connecticut, Dannehy had successfully prosecuted the state’s former governor and treasurer for public corruption in 2003-2004.

17:30 ET – Trump awards medal of honour to US soldier

trump medal of honor
President Donald Trump presents the Medal of Honour to Army Sgt Maj Thomas Payne for conspicuous gallantry during a hostage rescue mission in Iraq in 2015 at the White House on September 11, 2020. [Kevin Lamarque/Reuters]

President Trump called Sgt Maj Thomas Payne “one of the bravest men anywhere in the world” for his actions under enemy gunfire to rescue dozens of hostages from a from a burning building who were set to be executed by Islamic State militants in Kirkuk, Iraq.

Payne, like many American service personnel in the US armed forces today, was in high school on 9/11, and learned his classmates about the attacks from a teacher who solemnly relayed what had happened.

“In that moment, Pat was called to action,” Trump said. “He knew that his country needed him.”

16:45 ET – Deal in US Congress on coronavirus relief ‘doesn’t look good’: Republican leader

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cast doubt on Congress reaching agreement on a fifth coronavirus relief package after a failed vote in the Senate on Thursday and weeks of stalemate in talks between Democrats and the Trump White House, The Hill newspaper reported.

“Regretfully, I can’t tell you today we’re going to get there. … I wish I could tell you we were going to get another package but it doesn’t look that good right now,” McConnell, the No. 1 Republican in the US Congress, said during an event in his home state of Kentucky.

16:15 ET – Kamala Harris pays tribute to first responders in Virginia

Kamala Harris Sept 11
Democratic vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, center, speaks with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Fire Chief John Butler, right, at a Fairfax 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony. [Jacquelyn Martin/AP Photo]

Democratic vice presidential candidate and US Senator Kamala Harris delivered a tribute to the victims of the September 11 attacks and first responders in Virginia, who responded to the American Airlines Flight 77 crash at the Pentagon.

Speaking at a memorial ceremony in Fairfax, Virginia, Harris said that the terrorist attacks served as a reminder of the country’s ability to unite in times of tragedy and crisis, The Hill newspaper reported.

“Let us also remember that honouring them is also about reminding us of who we are as Americans,” Harris said. “Because in times of tragedy, in times of despair, in times of suffering and pain, we, by our very nature as who we are, stand together. We stand together.”

15:30 ET – Kanye West will remain off Ohio’s fall presidential ballot after court ruling

In a unanimous ruling, the Ohio Supreme Court found that Secretary of State Frank LaRose acted lawfully when he rejected nearly 15,000 signatures and other paperwork Kanye West submitted, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The rapper is trying to run for US president. LaRose, a Republican, cited mismatched information on the signature-gathering documents.

Attorneys for West’s campaign in Ohio had sued, arguing that it was LaRose’s duty to accept any petition for an independent candidate as long as there is no protest filed against the petition and did not violate Ohio law.

15:15 ET – Judges: Florida felons can’t vote until they pay fines, fees

Florida felon vote
William Freeman, 51, right, poses for a photograph with Arlene Ustin, of the League of Women Voters in Palm Beach County, left. Freeman recently registered to vote after serving three years for grand theft, his fourth prison stint. [File: Lynne Sladky/AP Photo]

Florida felons must pay all fines, restitution and legal fees before they can regain their right to vote, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in a case that could have implications for the November elections, according to the AP.

Reversing a lower court judge’s decision that gave Florida felons the right to vote regardless of outstanding legal obligations, the order from the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals was a disappointment to voting rights activists and upheld the position of Republican Governor Ron DeSantis and Florida’s Republican-led state legislature.

Under a 2018 Florida ballot initiative, felons who have completed their sentences would have voting rights restored. But a legal dispute arose after Republican lawmakers stipulated that all legal financial obligations, including unpaid fines and restitution, would have to be settled effectively disqualifying many former convicts from being eligible to vote.

14:29 ET – Biden greets families of victims of Flight 93 at 9/11 memorial

Biden greets family at Shanksville, PA
Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden speaks with family members of victims of Flight 93 during a visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania [Patrick Semansky/AP Photo]

Biden laid a wreath of white flowers at the Shanksville, Pennsylvania, memorial marking the names of passengers and crew who died when hijacked Flight 93 crashed on September 11, 2001.

He met with three families and, joined by his wife, spoke about his own losses, though most of his private comments were not audible to media travelling with the candidate. The grief of losing a loved one to tragedy “never goes away”, he said.

A couple hundred spectators ringed the memorial and stood on the grass. There were a number of news reporters that stayed over from President Trump’s earlier visit. Before leaving the memorial site, Biden answered questions from the public about September 11.

14:10 ET – Trump threatens to put down any election night riots: TV interview

President Trump told Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a taped television interview set to air on Saturday night that he would direct federal law enforcement to “very quickly” put down protests in the streets should he win re-election.

“We’ll put them down very quickly if they do that,” Trump said in an advance audio clip of the interview aired on the show Fox and Friends.

“We have the right to do that. We have the power to do that if we want. Look, it’s called ‘insurrection’. We just send in and we do it very easy. I mean, it’s very easy. I’d rather not do that because there’s no reason for it. But if we had to do that, we’d put it down within minutes – within minutes,” Trump told Pirro.

13:30 ET – President Trump announces Bahrain to join UAE in recognising Israel

After returning from a September 11 memorial ceremony in Pennsylvnia, Trump met with top aides in the Oval Office and tweeted that Bahrain will join the UAE in normalising relations with Israel.

In a joint statement, the US, Bahrain and Israel said the agreement was reached after Trump spoke with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on Friday.

13:03 ET – Biden pays respects to 9/11 dead in NYC, Pennsylvania

Joe Biden visited the Flight 93 memorial park in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, to honour the lives of 33 passengers and seven crew members who died in the plane crash. At an earlier ceremony in New York City, Biden commented on the depth of grief and pain family members and survivors feel.

“It takes a lot of courage for someone that lost someone to come back today,” Biden told an Associated Press reporter travelling with him.

“I know from experience, losing my wife, my daughter, my son, you relive it, the moment as if it’s happening. It’s hard. It’s a wonderful memorial, but it’s hard. It just brings you back to the moment it happened, no matter how long, how much time passes. So I admire the families who come.”

Biden at NYC Sept 11 memorial
Joe Biden attends the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City  [Amr Alfiky/Pool via Reuters]

12:45 ET – Trump campaign botches Facebook ad about Nobel Prize

The Trump campaign misspelled “Nobel” in a Facebook advertisement about President Trump’s nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The ad, claiming: “President Trump achieved Peace in the Middle East!” started running online on Thursday but was pulled early Friday. It cost a few hundred dollars and had a potential reach of 1 million users, according to Facebook.

Trump was nominated on Wednesday by a far-right, anti-immigrant member of the Norwegian Parliament for his work to negotiate a recognition agreement between the UAE and Israel.

Trump Facebook ad misspells Nobel
Trump campaign ad on Facebook misspelling ‘Nobel’ was paid for by the Trump Make American Great Again Committee

12 ET – A rare moment of bipartisan warmth in politically polarised US

Biden Pence elbow bump Sept 11
Joe Biden and Vice President Mike Pence greet each other during the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City [Amr Alfiky/Pool via Reuters]

11:30 ET – Trump administration seeks sweeping DNA collection from immigrants, US sponsors

The Trump administration on Friday proposed an expansion of its collection of DNA and biometric data from immigrants to include US citizen sponsors, the Reuters news agency reported.

The proposal vastly expands the biometric information that the Department of Homeland Security would collect beyond genetic material to include eye scans, voice prints, and palm prints, according to a notice in the Federal Register by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services.

The plan is the latest move by President Trump, who won office with his anti-immigrant rhetoric, to make good on his campaign promises to remake the US’s immigration system as he seeks re-election in November.

10:50 ET – Moment of silence observed by lawmakers at the US Capitol

Members of the US House of Representatives observed a moment of silence on the steps of the US Capitol at 8:46am local time, the time the first hijacked airplane – American Airlines Flight 11 – crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi carried a small bouquet of red roses and stood physically distanced from other lawmakers, all wearing masks because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Today, and every September 11, we come together as a nation to remember the fallen and gain inspiration from the resilience and patriotism that Americans showed at one of our darkest hours,” Pelosi said in a statement issued by her office.

10:45 ET – Google adjusting election-related searches

As tech giants grapple with the spread of political disinformation, Google announced they will change what shows up as suggestions in election-related searches.

“We expanded our autocomplete policies related to elections, and we will remove predictions that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party,” Google’s Vice President of Search Pandu Nayak announced in a blog post.

10:25 ET – President Trump delivers memorial remarks at site of Flight 93 crash

President Donald Trump is speaking at the site of the crash for United Airlines Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. The president paid tribute to victims of the September 11 attacks.

“On that September morning when America was under attack, the battle turned in the skies above this field,” Trump said at a ceremony in which the names of 40 passengers and crew killed in the crash were solemnly read out loud.

“They took a vote. And then they acted together. They charged the cockpit, they confronted pure evil and in their last act on this earth they save our capitol,” Trump said.

Trump at Shanksvellie, PA
Donald Trump speaks during a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial, remembering those killed when the hijacked passenger jet crashed into an open field on September 11, 2001, near Shanksville, Pennsylvania [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

10:03 ET – Moment of silence observed at 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony for crash of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania

Participants in the national September 11 Remembrance Ceremony at Ground Zero in New York City observed a moment of silence at the approximate time of the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in nearby Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

President Donald Trump is in Pennsylvania and preparing to speak at the site of the crash, now a national park, to honour the 40 passengers and crew who lost their lives. The plane crashed after four hijackers flying toward Washington, DC, were overcome by passengers who tried to regain control.

09:30 ET – Biden backs Trump’s push to withdraw troops from Iraq and Afghanistan

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said he supports President Donald Trump’s push to withdraw US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, though not completely.

“These ‘forever wars’ have to end. I support drawing down the troops,” Biden told the newspaper Stars and Stripes. “But here’s the problem, we still have to worry about terrorism and [the Islamic State].”

“I think we need special ops capacity to coordinate with our allies,” Biden said, adding that a maximum of “1,500 to 2,000” should remain.

9/11 Pentagon memorial
Members of the US military salute during the 19th annual September 11 observance ceremony at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, on September 11, 2020 [Erin Scott/Reuters]

08:53 ET – Second ceremony, attended by Mike and Karen Pence, taking place

A second independent ceremony not affiliated with the official ceremony takes place at Zuccotti Park near the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, an event organized by the Tunnel to Towers Foundation attended by Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, and acting secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf.

Karen Pence read a passage from Ecclesiastes 3: “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

The vice president followed her with a brief reading from the Bible. “For the families and loved ones and friends they left behind, I pray these ancient words will comfort your hearts, and ours”, he said before reciting Psalm 23, which begins with “The Lord is my shepherd”.

08:45 ET – Ground Zero ceremony begins

A military guard carries the flag that flew at Ground Zero around the site, Vice President Mike Pence stood not far from Joe and Jill Biden, who were next to Governor Andrew Cuomo, for the moment of silence at the site. Soon after, recordings of the names of the dead were played and a bell rang out for each one.

Everyone in the crowd appears to be masked, some are holding bouquets of flowers, many police, military and firefighters stand at attention.

08:10 ET – Joe Biden has landed at Newark Liberty Airport en route to Ground Zero

Before leaving for New York, Biden said he did not plan to make news, or hold any press conferences calling it “a solemn day”.

“I’m not going to talk about anything other than 9/11. We took all our advertising down. It’s a solemn day. That’s how we’re going to keep it.”

The 9/11 commemoration ceremony Biden and his wife will attend will be different from previous years with the names of those killed not being read out live, but pre-recorded because of coronavirus restrictions.

Participants are required to wear face coverings and practice social distancing on the Memorial plaza where the World Trade Center towers once stood.

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

Read all the updates from yesterday (September 10) here.

Source: Al Jazeera