Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who announced Wednesday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a potential third-party presidential run, dismissed concerns on MSNBC that his candidacy could help re-elect President Trump.

What he's saying: Amash said that denying more candidates on the 2020 ballot is essentially "voter suppression" and "frankly un-American," adding, "If people want to vote for someone, they should vote for that person."

  • Amash, who has been critical of Trump and was the lone House Republican to support impeachment after the Mueller report came out, also said "it cuts both ways," and that some Trump supporters believe he is helping Biden.
  • "We don't know who people will vote for. It's impossible to say whether more people will vote for Biden or Trump if I'm in the race or not in the race, so I think there's a bit of a factual issue there. But more important, we want to give the American people more choices. This is about democracy."

The big picture: Amash, a libertarian who did not vote for the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, criticized the idea of the federal government controlling the entire country's coronavirus response, arguing that it should mostly be left to the states and people at home.

  • Amash has advocated for direct payments from the government, which he said would streamline the relief process by eliminating bureaucracy and transaction costs.

Go deeper

Rand Paul: Republicans should apologize to Obama for complaining about spending

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tore into his fellow Republicans on Fox News Wednesday for considering a coronavirus relief package that could cost more than $1 trillion, calling on them to apologize to President Obama "for complaining that he was spending and borrowing too much" during his time in office.

Why it matters: Paul's comments, while tongue-in-cheek, underscore the divisions within the Senate Republican conference, where as many as 20 GOP senators are likely to vote against any coronavirus relief bill — even if a deal is reached between Democrats and Trump administration.

Microphones will be muted during parts of Thursday's presidential debate

Photos: Jim Watson and Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Commission on Presidential Debates adopted new rules on Monday to mute microphones to allow President Trump and Joe Biden two minutes of uninterrupted time per segment during Thursday night's debate, AP reports.

Why it matters: In the September debate, Trump interrupted Biden 71 times, compared with Biden's 22 interruptions of Trump.

Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  6. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  7. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.

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