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Live Reporting

Edited by Helier Cheung

All times stated are UK

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  1. That's it for now - thanks for joining us

    A child waits by a privacy booth as a ballot is filled at a polling station located in the Monsignor John D. Burke Memorial Gym at the Church of the Holy Child in Staten Island, during early voting in New York City, U.S., October 25, 2020.

    We're wrapping up today's live coverage of the election campaign. Our teams in the UK and the US will be back again on Thursday.

    In the meantime, here's a reminder of Wednesday's key developments:

    • President Donald Trump has held rallies in Arizona - a key state he won in 2016, but where his rival Joe Biden currently appears to have a small lead
    • Democratic vice-presidential candidate Kamala Harris also travelled to Arizona, while Joe Biden cast his vote in his home state of Delaware and held online campaign events
    • Wednesday saw the heads of Google, Facebook and Twitter grilled by senators over the way the social media platforms moderate content posted by users
    • There may still be six days until the election, but more than 70 million people have already cast early ballots - more than half of the entire 2016 turnout
    • Amid a fiercely fought election battle, one report suggests campaign spending could reach $14bn - which would make 2020 the most expensive election in history

    Today's live page was brought to you by our writers Georgina Rannard, Sophie Williams, Victoria Bisset and Max Matza, and the editors were Rebecca Seales, Paulin Kola and Helier Cheung.

  2. Today's campaign trail in pictures

    Trump speaking in Arizona
    Image caption: Trump encouraged attendees, who stood shoulder-to-shoulder, to dance along to the YMCA

    With less than a week to go until election day, take a look at what the campaign trail across the US looks like amid a pandemic.

    Trump spoke earlier today in an Arizona town on the border with Nevada at an airport where many people did not wear masks or space out to prevent infection. Trump reportedly wished to hold the rally in Nevada, but was banned from doing so due to Covid-19 measures put in place by the state's Democratic governor.

    At the event, he criticised his challenger Biden's stamina saying he did not think he "would be a good fighter". He continued: "One gentle little touch to the face and he's down. He's down and he wouldn't get up very quickly either, would he?"

    Biden speaks from a empty hall
    Image caption: Biden's address from Delaware was not open to the public, but was streamed online

    Biden's campaign said he chose to stay in his hometown of Wilmington, Delaware, so as not to risk catching or spreading coronavirus.

    He spoke from a largely empty hall for a virtual address about his plans to combat Covid-19, and then cast his vote at a local polling station.

    He criticised Trump's rally in Nebraska yesterday, where thousands of the president's supporters were stuck outside in the cold as midnight fell after the number of attendees overwhelmed shuttle buses set up by the Trump campaign. "He gets his photo-op and then he gets out," said Biden.

    Pence in Wisconsin
    Image caption: Pence spoke in Wisconsin, a state Trump won in 2016

    Meanwhile, Mike Pence spoke in central Wisconsin and has another rally in Michigan later tonight.

    Despite his top aide testing positive for the virus, he has refused to quarantine, saying that he is an essential worker. Pence tested negative for Covid-19 today, his office says.

    Kamala Harris
    Image caption: Like Trump, Kamala Harris has been in Arizona today

    Kamala Harris was in Tucson, Arizona, where she spoke at a drive-in rally that had a few attendees listening outside of their cars.

    She has another drive in voter mobilisation event in Phoenix today.

  3. Former Republican senator backs Biden in advert

    A former Republican senator from Arizona has appeared in an advert backing Joe Biden, as President Donald Trump doubles down in his campaign in the state.

    "I've been a conservative Republican my entire life. I've never before voted for a Democrat for president. But this year, principle and conscience require me to do just that - I'm voting for Joe Biden," Flake, who was senator for Arizona from 2013 to 2019, said in the advert.

    "And please, don't let anyone tell you that by casting your vote for Joe Biden you are somehow not being conservative. This year, the most conservative thing you can do is to put country over party."

    View more on twitter

    Both President Trump and Democratic vice-presidential nominee Kamala Harris are in Flake's home state of Arizona right now. Trump may have won the Arizona - a key battleground state - in 2016, but current polling gives Biden a very slim majority of 2%.

    Flake is not alone - he's one of several former Republican members of congress joined a campaign to back Biden in August.

    Trump's campaign hit back at Flake at the time, with a spokesman calling him a "swamp creature".

    A spokesman for the Republican party said Flake had "abandoned any set of principles he once professed to have in order to embrace Joe Biden, a far-left Democrat".

  4. Democrats 'nervous', but things are 'looking good'

    Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth tells the BBC that "it is looking pretty good all over the country" for Democrats, particularly in light of record early voting numbers.

    However, she adds that "all Democrats are pretty nervous because of 2016" - when, Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, despite being widely expected to win.

    You can watch more of the interview, including Duckworth being questioned on whether Democrats would try to pack the Supreme Court, below.

    Video content

    Video caption: Tammy Duckworth: 'Nothing is off the table' with Supreme Court packing

    And if you want to know more about Duckworth's background, we profiled the Iraq war veteran and senator earlier this year, when she was considered a possible contender for Biden's running mate.

  5. Who's ahead in the polls?

    Graphic showing Joe Biden and Donald Trump

    With six days until the election, Democratic candidate Joe Biden is currently leading in the polls, with 51% to President Donald Trump's 43%.

    But while national polls are a good guide as to how popular a candidate is across the country as a whole, things are closer in a number of key states which could ultimately decide the outcome of the election.

    Find out more in our guide to the polls here.

  6. Kushner said in April that Trump had taken US 'back from doctors'

    Jared Kushner (file photo)

    With the president facing scrutiny over his handling of the pandemic, new audio shows his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner justifying moves to reopen the country more than six months ago.

    In an interview with US journalist Bob Woodward recorded on 18 April, Kushner can be heard saying: "Trump's now back in charge. It's not the doctors. They've kind of - we have, like, a negotiated settlement."

    "There was the panic phase, the pain phase and then the comeback phase. I do believe that last night symbolised kind of the beginning of the comeback phase," he said in the recording, which was obtained by the BBC's US partner, CBS News.

    Kushner spoke to Woodward after the White House released guidelines for reopening the country. The interview was first reported by CNN earlier today.

    On the day the interview was recorded, the US death toll passed 37,000. That number has since risen to more than 227,000.

    Another of Woodward's interviews from the early stages of the pandemic, this time with Donald Trump and first reported last month, indicated that the president knew more about the severity of coronavirus than he had admitted publicly.

    A Reuters/Ipsos poll taken after Trump was hospitalised with Covid-19 in early October showed that his approval ratings over his response to the pandemic had hit a record low.

    Chart showing number of daily cases and deaths in the US
  7. Your Questions Answered: Will Biden make moves on climate change?

    Ritu Prasad

    BBC News writer, Florida

    your questions answered

    We’ve been asking our readers for their most pressing questions about the US election. Now it’s our turn to respond.

    Janice Irene Gunn, 63, from Los Angeles asks: Will Joe Biden actually be able to make any strides toward eliminating climate change, given that the Senate leans toward Republican, and the House has a slim Democratic majority?

    There’s actually a real chance he could. Let’s take a look at the situation on Capitol Hill going into the election.

    As things stand, Republicans hold a three-seat majority in the 100-seat Senate. In the House of Representatives, which has 435 seats, Democrats hold 232 to Republicans’ 197.

    And analysts say it’s unlikely Democrats will lose their majority there - even among the more “vulnerable” seats, many still favour Democrats. Meanwhile, in the Senate, there are a number of possible states that could flip from Republican red to Democratic blue, including Arizona, Colorado - and maybe even Texas.

    If Democrats win three seats in the upper chamber and the White House, they’ll still get the Senate majority, as the vice-president would become the tie-breaker.

    According to a 19 October forecast from FiveThirtyEight, Democrats have a 72% chance of winning the presidency, Senate and House this election.

    Action on climate change is high on the Democratic agenda, so control of the executive and legislative branches would make it likely for bills to be pushed through.

    Do you have a question about the US presidential election that you would like our team to answer? If so, submit your question here.

  8. A really simple guide to the US election

    Election graphic

    For anyone wondering what the electoral college is, when we'll find out who won and what else the election will decide, we've explained everything you need to know here.

  9. Where are US-China relations headed after the election?

    Zhaoyin Feng

    BBC Chinese, Washington DC

    In recent years, the US and China have gone head-to-head over trade, technology and accusations of espionage.

    Today, the US Department of Justice charged eight people for allegedly conspiring as spies for China.

    China has become a key foreign policy issue in this US presidential election, with both Trump and Biden vowing to be tough on the country.

    “Decoupling” is now a buzzword in US-China relations. It means reducing interdependence between the two countries, in order to mitigate risks for US national security.

    But disentangling the world’s two largest economies is very complicated and potentially devastating for not only China and America, but also the rest of the world.

    Regardless of whether Trump or Biden wins the White House, the US-China rivalry is here to stay. Washington faces the challenge of figuring out how to work with China, while trying to protect its national security and tech competitiveness.

    China economic analyst Scott Kennedy told me that Washington needs to find a strategy to reach a “stable equilibrium” with Beijing, even if the bilateral relationship becomes largely competitive.

    Video content

    Video caption: How US and China's break-up could affect the world
  10. WATCH: Why you can be US president without winning the most votes

    The electoral college is a mystifying idea to many outside the US - and to some Americans too.

    Want to know how it works, and why it means you can become US president without winning the most votes? Sit back and watch this video...

    Video content

    Video caption: The Electoral College: Which voters really decide the US election?
  11. An Anonymous Author Takes a Public Stance

    Tara McKelvey

    BBC News, Washington

    His name is now public: Miles Taylor, the former chief of staff at the Department of Homeland Security, wrote an unsigned op-ed in 2018 that said the president was “petty and ineffective”, among other things.

    Now Taylor is writing under his own name, calling on people to demand a change in leadership.

    Taylor’s public stance is unlikely to change the minds of the president’s diehard supporters. But his statement may have an impact on those who are still working for the president and are considering leaving their jobs.

    In the meantime, he has made a splash in the media. Journalists have long wondered who Anonymous was, and his unveiling is making headlines with less than a week before the election.

    White House officials say he was a low-level official and that he was not only anonymous but unimportant.

    It is true that he may not have been high on an organisational chart. Yet he had an insider’s knowledge of the president’s activities, style, policies and temperament and seemed well-placed to write the kind of expose that he did.

    So far Taylor’s former boss, the president, has not said anything about him or his latest work. But as the president himself would say, stay tuned.

  12. Philadelphia braces for a third night of protests

    Larry Madowo

    BBC News, Philadelphia

    Boarded up shop windows in Philadelphia

    Some businesses in Philadelphia are boarding up, expecting a third night of protests after the city announced a curfew. Police clashed with protesters for the last two nights after the tragic shooting of a black man, Walter Wallace, Jr.

    His family said the 27-year-old had mental health problems and they had called an ambulance but the police got there first. Police say they opened fire when he refused to drop a knife he was holding.

    A city-wide curfew has been announced from Wednesday 9pm to 6am on Thursday and businesses have been urged to close.

    Police say they have arrested 172 people on felony or misdemeanour grounds. Fifty-three officers have also been injured in the protests.

    Several big-box stores and other businesses were looted and at least nine ATMs were blown up over the last two days.The Pennsylvania National Guard has been deployed to the city.

    In Nevada, President Trump called what was happening in the city "terrible" and offered to send federal help. Joe Biden also condemned the violence and looting but said the protests were "legitimate".

    It reflects a difference in the two campaigns: President Trump has centred his campaign on a "law and order" message and criticised Democratic-run cities for allowing looters and rioters to take over their streets.

    Joe Biden meanwhile is walking a tightrope between acknowledging the grievances of Black Lives Matter protesters, while condemning rioting and not committing to defund the police.

  13. Have you heard Americast yet?

    Americast graphic

    Seasoned US politics geeks, Jon Sopel, Emily Maitlis and Anthony Zurcher bring you the latest news and analysis from the campaign trail.

    On this episode of the podcast, the gang consider Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s final pitches to the American voters, with just six days to go until voting begins! They also catch up with Heather, a voter from Ohio, who reveals which way she’s going to cast her ballot after months of agonising.

    You can listen and subscribe to Americast on the free BBC Sounds app, which is free and available worldwide.

  14. Your Questions Answered: What about local environmental issues?

    Ritu Prasad

    BBC News writer, Florida

    your questions answered

    We've been asking our readers for their most pressing questions about the US election. Now it's our turn to respond.

    Joseph Main, 27, from Auckland, New Zealand, asks: Everyone is aware of President Trump's disdain for the Paris Climate Agreement. However, what could the outcome be, after this election, for more local environmental issues?

    The answer to this, like many things in the US, goes back to the states.

    Trump has certainly managed to rollback dozens of environmental protections that have local impacts, like opening up more federal lands for drilling, approving the construction of pipelines, and ending protections for migratory birds and other threatened species.

    But a lot of these have also been held up in the courts due to challenges by states or other groups.

    Twenty-five governors have joined a US climate alliance to reduce emissions, promote clean energy, improve public health and report progress on the global stage. Ten states have committed to 100% clean electricity and pollution-reduction policies, according to the Center for American Progress. A coalition of thousands of cities, states and other institutions have also pledged to uphold America’s part of the Paris accord.

    If Biden wins the election, he’s promised to move the US towards a clean energy future and recommit to the Paris agreement.

    We may see a more national environmental approach in a Democrat-held Congress and White House, but regional leadership and grassroots efforts in the states will still be the key forces for local change.

    Read more about this issue:

  15. Biden: 'I will do the right things to end the pandemic'

    Biden puts his mask back on after speaking

    In a virtual speech from Delaware, Joe Biden has pledged not to campaign “on the false promises of being able to end this pandemic by flipping a switch”.

    “Even if I win, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to end this pandemic,” he said from his hometown of Wilmington. “I do promise this: We will start on day one doing the right things.”

    He also called Trump's pandemic response an "insult" to the victims.

    The live broadcast speech came after he received a briefing from health experts. The US is currently seeing an average of 71,000 new Covid-19 cases per day. Hospital admissions are rapidly climbing and so is the death toll.

    While Trump is holding a series of rallies in battleground states across the country, Biden has held far fewer in-person events, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

  16. Diplomacy and social distancing

    Tara McKelvey

    BBC News, Washington

    Peter Berkowitz, the US state department’s director of policy planning, met British officials in London earlier this month. Upon his return, he acknowledged he was infected with coronavirus.

    A state department official said that he had followed safety guidelines, but others, according to the Washington Post, said he was cavalier about wearing a mask.

    Now UK officials say they will be more selective about approving visits of US officials.

    The incident underscores the perils of international relations: President Trump has generally been dismissive of masks - he took his mask off after being treated at hospital - and his aides have scorned wearing them during some public events.

    US President Donald Trump takes off his mask after returning to the White House from hospital, 5 October

    The president has said the US is “rounding a corner” in its efforts to fight the virus despite a spike in infections, and this attitude towards masks reinforces this political message.

    Some UK officials appear now to be concerned about their meetings with US officials, however, and they are trying to maintain some distance.

  17. Your Questions Answered: Trump and Biden on climate change

    Ritu Prasad

    BBC News writer, Florida

    your questions answered

    We’ve been asking our readers for their most pressing questions about the US election. Now it’s our turn to respond.

    Alan R, 74, from Plymouth, UK, asks: Can you contrast each candidate's policies on climate change?

    With this, Trump's record is clear: since taking office, he's made dozens of changes and rollbacks to environmental protections, let alone his go-to call that climate change is a "hoax".

    Trump's bullet-pointed second-term agenda ignored the wider issue altogether in favour of promising the cleanest water and air. Our reporter Helier Cheung took a detailed look at Trump's record here, but (spoiler alert) these are the big policies to know:

    • Withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement, which committed the US and 187 other countries to keep rising global temperatures below 2C
    • Replacing Obama-era clean power rules that limited carbon emissions from coal and gas power plants with the weaker Affordable Clean Energy rule
    • Attempting to freeze the fuel efficiency standards on new vehicles, and prevent California from setting its own emissions rules
    • Changes to the National Environmental Policy Act including limiting 2 years for environmental infrastructure reviews, and ending a requirement for the government to look at the overall environmental impact of projects

    With four more years, it'll likely be more of the same.

    But if voters put Biden in the Oval Office, we're looking at rollbacks of the rollbacks.

    Biden has promised to recommit to the Paris accord, reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and turn the US into a 100% clean energy economy.

    He's even gone further than the official Democratic National Committee platform by saying he'll end subsidies to fossil fuel companies. This green vision will cost a cool couple trillion over four years.

    Do you have a question about the US presidential election that you would like our team to answer? If so,submit your question here.

  18. Trump slams 'fake poll' in Arizona rally

    Anthony Zurcher

    BBC North America reporter

    President Donald Trump raises a fist as he arrives for a campaign rally at Laughlin/Bullhead International Airport, Arizona

    For a candidate who says he doesn’t believe presidential preference polls, Donald Trump certainly talks about them a lot.

    In his first rally of the day, in Bullhead City, Arizona, the president started by mentioning a just-released survey of showing him trailing in Wisconsin, a key mid-west swing state, by 17 points.

    It was a “fake poll”, he said, adding that his data on a state that helped deliver the White House to him in 2016 showed that he was up by one point.

    Surveys indicating he’s only up one point in traditionally conservative Texas?

    “I don’t think so,” he said to cheers in this desert town on the border of Nevada. “In 2016, I heard this all the time.”

    Over the course of four rallies in four states in the past 24 hours, the president has claimed he’s ahead and surging in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona – battleground states, all.

    “We’re going to have a great, great red wave,” he said in Arizona, predicting that his supporters – many of whom he believes are not being accurately reflected in the public polls – will cast ballots on election day, once again carrying him to victory despite predictions he may be on the verge of defeat.

  19. Harris: 'Don't let anyone take your power from you'

    Kamala Harris spoke at a socially distanced rally in Tucson
    Image caption: Kamala Harris spoke at a socially distanced rally in Tucson

    At a socially distanced drive-in rally in Tucson, Arizona, Kamala Harris claims Republicans are employing dirty tricks to try to suppress Democratic votes.

    "Why is the president messing with the post office," she asked, referring to recent changes at the postal service that have slowed mail. Critics charge it was a Trump administration attempt to sabotage mail-in voting.

    "Because they know we have power," she says, answering her question.

    "Let's not ever let anyone take our power from us. Ours is the power to use our voices. And at election time that means our vote, and let's not let anyone take it from us."

    As she wraps up her event, car horns blared in approval.

    Earlier in her speech, she brushed off Republicans attempting to label her a "radical socialist" and condemned Trump's tone as president.

    "We know that real strength is not based on who you beat down, it is based on who you lift up," she said.

    Earlier today, Harris met with Latina businesswomen in Tucson.

  20. Climate change is 'existential threat to my generation'

    chris

    Chris Badillo is a progressive first-time voter who is extremely concerned by the lack of action on climate change. Angered by President Trump’s actions on immigration and the environment, he supports Joe Biden.

    How does the issue of climate change impact your vote?

    President Trump believes that man-made climate change is a hoax. He has cut funding to the Environmental Protection Agency and has utilised his administration to deregulate industries, putting the profits of fossil fuel CEOs above our country’s future.

    Living in Miami, I know that my community will be the first to feel the effects of climate change. Joe Biden has committed to signing executive orders that will help move us to net-zero emissions and make an unprecedented federal investment in combating climate change, which Donald Trump actively opposes.

    Climate change is an existential threat to the future of my generation, and Joe Biden's policies take some of the necessary steps to mitigate its effects.

    Tell us about your plan to vote.

    I voted by mail in Miami, Florida, and the online system from my local election department confirmed that my vote has already been counted.

    closing line

    These are members of our US election voter panel. You'll hear more from them throughout the week.

    Join the conversation: