Reuters US Domestic News Summary

27 Oct 2020 / 07:54 H.

    Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

    Trump, Biden in final full week of campaigning as virus looms large

    President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Monday are down to the final full week of campaigning before the Nov. 3 election, as surging coronavirus cases and a COVID-19 outbreak within Vice President Mike Pence's staff keep the focus of the race on the pandemic. Trump claimed progress in combating the disease even as the United States set records in recent days for daily infections, while Pence forged ahead with campaigning on Sunday despite close aides testing positive.

    Power cuts and evacuations ordered across California as wildfire threats flare anew

    A fast-burning wildfire triggered evacuation orders for 60,000 Southern California residents on Monday as hundreds of thousands elsewhere across the state endured a second straight day of power shutoffs due to heightened fire risks from high winds. The latest threats came amid California's worst wildfire season on record in terms of landscape burned, with more than 4 million acres (1.6 million hectares) scorched since the start of the year, along with thousands of homes destroyed and 31 lives lost.

    Special Report: U.S. jails are outsourcing medical care — and the death toll is rising

    Matthew Loflin was coughing up blood, struggling to breathe and losing consciousness in his cell while awaiting trial on drug-possession charges in this historic Southern city. "I need to go to the hospital," he told his mother in a jailhouse phone call. "I'm gonna die in here."

    Head of Virginia military academy resigns amid report of racist culture

    The head of the Virginia Military Institute resigned under pressure from top state officials on Monday following a published report that the 181-year-old military college was steeped in a culture of racism. J. H. Binford Peay III, who had been the institute's superintendent for 17 years, told its board he was stepping down after learning on Friday that Virginia Governor Ralph Northam and "certain legislative leaders had lost confidence in my leadership ... and desired my resignation."

    Veterans answer call to staff U.S. voting stations amid COVID-19

    A decade after Dan Berschinski deployed to Afghanistan to fight for freedom and lost his legs in battle, the former Army infantry officer is training for a key role in U.S. democracy: manning a voting station in place of elderly poll workers at risk of COVID-19. The retired Army captain, now 36, said a "perfect storm" is driving him and other former military members to volunteer at voting centers on Election Day, Nov. 3., where they will check IDs and bring people to voting booths.

    Pelosi optimistic of COVID-19 relief deal before Nov. 3 U.S. elections-aide

    U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi is hopeful that congressional Democrats and the Trump administration can reach agreement on a coronavirus relief bill before the Nov. 3 elections, her spokesman said on Monday, adding that major issues still must be ironed out. "The speaker remains optimistic that an agreement can be reached before the election," Pelosi Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill said in a tweet following a 52-minute conversation she held with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

    Biden has solid lead in Wisconsin, narrower edge in Pennsylvania: Reuters/Ipsos poll

    Democratic presidential challenger Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by a solid margin in Wisconsin and maintains a narrower advantage in Pennsylvania with just over a week until Election Day, Reuters/Ipsos opinion polls showed on Monday. Reuters/Ipsos is polling likely voters in six states - Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Florida and Arizona - that will play critical roles in deciding whether Trump wins a second term in office or if Biden ousts him.

    U.S. lawmakers: Special Counsel probing possible Pompeo campaign law violation

    The Democratic leaders of two U.S. House of Representatives Committees said on Monday the Office of Special Counsel had launched an investigation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's speech to the Republican National Convention in August. Pompeo, who was appointed to his position by President Donald Trump, praised the Republican president's foreign policy record in a speech recorded in Jerusalem in August during a trip to Israel. The speech was aired at the convention, which nominated Trump for re-election. Critics say the speech violated the Hatch Act, which limits political activities of federal employees

    Weekly U.S. COVID-19 deaths up 15%, new cases rise 24%

    The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States last week rose 24% to more than 485,000 while the number of tests performed rose 5.5%, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county reports. Nationally, over 5,600 people died of the virus in the seven days ended Oct. 25, up 15% from the prior week. Deaths have risen for at least two weeks straight in 16 states, compared with nine states previously.

    Trump plans second White House event for Barrett as Senate vote looms

    The White House planned a Monday night celebration of the Republican Senate's expected confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, a month after a similar event was linked to a COVID-19 outbreak that preceded President Donald Trump's own infection. While Democrats have fiercely opposed the conservative jurist's nomination, Trump's fellow Republicans hold a 53-47 Senate majority and her confirmation to a lifetime post on the court seems assured.

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