The Latest: Biden says Russia will pay for election meddling

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the 2020 presidential campaign (all times local):

9:20 p.m.

Joe Biden says Russia will pay a price for interfering in U.S. elections if he wins the White House.

The former vice president said Thursday during a CNN town hall staged near his birth city of Scranton, Pennsylvania, that Russia would face repercussions for attempting to influence November’s vote. When pressed by moderator Anderson Cooper, however, he refused to say exactly what that meant.

“It wouldn’t be prudent to be more specific,” Biden said. He instead said he thought Russian President Vladimir Putin was doing his best to divide Europe.

Biden also said he viewed Russia as an opponent but declined to be quite as critical of China. Instead, he said he viewed China as a “serious competitor.”

U.S. intelligence officials believe that Russia is using a variety of measures to denigrate Biden ahead of the November election and that individuals linked to the Kremlin are boosting President Donald Trump’s reelection bid. Russia also interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump beat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE PRESIDENTIAL RACE:

President Donald Trump spoke at the National Archives to commemorate Constitution Day and is holding a rally in central Wisconsin on Thursday night. His Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, joined Senate Democrats for an online lunch and is participating in a drive-in CNN town hall in Moosic, Pennsylvania, on Thursday night.

Read more:

— Trump aims to boost rural turnout in crucial Wisconsin

— AP-NORC poll: Trump faces deep pessimism as election nears

— ‘Fired up’ Biden discusses strategy with Senate Democrats

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

6:10 p.m.

A former adviser to Vice President Mike Pence has joined the chorus of former Trump administration officials urging voters to deny him a second term.

Olivia Troye was Pence’s former homeland security adviser and served as a member of the White House’s coronavirus task force.

She says in a new video released Thursday by the group Republican Voters Against Trump that Trump was more concerned about his reelection chances than the virus. She says if the president had taken the virus seriously, he would have saved lives.

She also claims Trump once suggested the coronavirus might be a good thing because it would stop him from having to shake hands with “disgusting people.” She says she is a lifelong Republican who plans to vote for Democrat Joe Biden for president.

The White House adamantly denies Troye’s allegations. Pence said her remarks read “to me like one more disgruntled employee that has decided to play politics during election year.”

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5:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is intensifying efforts to appeal to his core base of white voters by downplaying the historical legacy of slavery in the United States and blasting efforts to address systemic racism as divisive.

The president spoke Thursday at the National Archives to commemorate the 233rd anniversary of the signing of the Constitution. His speech amounted to a defense of white culture and a denunciation of Democrats, the media and others whom he accused of trying to indoctrinate schoolchildren and shame their parents’ “whiteness.”

He also argued that America’s founding “set in motion the unstoppable chain of events that abolished slavery, secured civil rights, defeated communism and fascism and built the most fair, equal and prosperous nation in human history.”

But he did not mention the 246 years of slavery in America, including the 89 years it was allowed to continue after the colonies declared independence from England. Nor did the president acknowledge the ongoing fight against racial injustice and police brutality, which has prompted months of protests this year.

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5:45 p.m.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is returning to Pennsylvania for a socially distanced town hall near his birthplace of Scranton.

For the first time since winning the nomination, Biden was to face live, unscripted questions from voters. Thursday’s CNN event will have an unusual format because of the coronavirus pandemic: It’s being held as a drive-in of 35 cars parked outside PNC Field.

Preparations were made to let audience members watch the candidate speak on a stage and listen on their radios from inside their cars.

President Donald Trump participated in an ABC town hall Tuesday in an auditorium in Philadelphia. Pennsylvania is considered a crucial battleground state.

The format of Biden’s event is a stark reminder of the issue that’s been a central focus of Biden’s campaign — that the pandemic rages on, affecting Americans’ lives in ways large and small, and that stronger leadership in White House could have eased the crisis.

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4:40 p.m.

Joe Biden has joined Senate Democrats for a conference call lunch and told them he is taking nothing for granted in the race for the White House and the down-ballot effort to wrest the Senate’s majority control from Republicans.

The Democratic presidential nominee fielded questions Thursday afternoon about his strategy win back the chamber and defeat President Donald Trump.

Michigan Sen. Gary Peters says, “You could tell he’s really fired up and he’s working hard and is going to be be out there and be much as he possibly can.”

On the private call, Biden did not take on Trump directly but outlined what’s at stake in the election.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow says, “He just said, ‘You know what we’re up against. You know why this is so important.’”

Biden’s message, said Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin, was clear: “They’re ready.”

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3:45 p.m.

President Donald Trump is aiming to boost enthusiasm among rural Wisconsin voters, looking to repeat his path to victory four years ago.

Making his fifth visit to the pivotal battleground state this year, Trump views success in the state’s less-populated counties as critical to another term.

He is set to hold a rally Thursday evening in Mosinee, in central Wisconsin, an area of the state that shifted dramatically toward Republicans in 2016, enabling Trump to overcome even greater deficits in urban and suburban parts of the state.

Trump, hinging his campaign on turning out his core supporters, has increasingly used his public appearances to elevate cultural issues important to his generally whiter and older base.

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3:35 p.m.

Joe Biden says his presidential campaign will focus on mobilizing people to vote early, especially in places where such ballots are counted quickly, to keep President Donald Trump from declaring victory before all the results are in.

Speaking on a virtual fundraiser with Colorado leaders on Thursday, Biden noted that more Trump supporters are likely to vote in person while his own supporters might cast absentee ballots because of fears about the coronavirus.

Referring to Trump, Biden said, “His hope is that, by the time the polls close, he’d have more votes than I would have had, even though only a relatively small percentage of votes (were) counted.”

The former vice president said so many states now have early voting and count ballots quickly that he doesn’t believe the scenario will happen. But he says his team has to stay prepared.

On Friday, both Trump and Biden will travel to Minnesota, which holds its first day of early voting.

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