Reuters US Domestic News Summary

31 Jul 2020 / 20:59 H.

    Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

    Trump floats election delay, lawmakers in both parties reject idea

    President Donald Trump on Thursday raised the idea of delaying the Nov. 3 U.S. elections, an idea immediately rejected by both Democrats and his fellow Republicans in Congress - the sole branch of government with the authority to make such a change. Critics and even Trump's allies dismissed the notion as an unserious attempt to distract from devastating economic news, but some legal experts warned that his repeated attacks could undermine his supporters' faith in the election process.

    Ghislaine Maxwell documents are released, including Jeffrey Epstein emails

    Documents about dealings between Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein were publicly released on Thursday by a U.S. court, where the British socialite faces criminal charges she aided the late financier's sexual abuse of girls. Among the materials released were email correspondence between the pair in early 2015, including an email in which Epstein told Maxwell she had "done nothing wrong."

    Talks on U.S. COVID-19 aid bill continue, No. 2 House Democrat says

    Negotiations over another coronavirus relief bill continue, the No. 2 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives said as a federal jobless benefit was set to expire on Friday with no sign of a deal between the White House and Democrats. "We're going to be negotiating every minute that is possible," U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer, the House majority leader, told MSNBC in an interview.

    Massive search under way off California for 8 missing U.S. Marines; one dead

    A massive sea and air search was under way on Friday for eight missing U.S. Marines off the Southern California coast after a training mishap on Thursday also resulted in one Marine dead and two others injured, the Marine Corps said in a statement. Fifteen Marines and one Navy sailor were aboard an assault amphibious vehicle that began taking on water around 5:45 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday (0045 GMT Friday), the statement said.

    U.S. records nearly 25,000 coronavirus deaths in July

    U.S. coronavirus deaths rose by almost 25,000 in July and cases doubled in at least 18 states during the month, according to a Reuters tally, dealing a crushing blow to hopes of quickly reopening the economy. The United States has recorded nearly 1.8 million new cases in July out of its total 4.5 million infections, an increase of 66% with many states yet to report on Friday. Deaths in July rose at least 19% to over 152,000 total.

    Large U.S. COVID-19 vaccine trials will exclude pregnant women for now

    The first two COVID-19 vaccines to enter large-scale U.S. trials will not be tested in pregnant women this year, raising questions about how this vulnerable population will be protected from the coronavirus, researchers told Reuters. Moderna and Pfizer, which has partnered with Germany's BioNTech , this week separately launched clinical trials that use a new and unproven gene-based technology. Both companies are requiring proof of a negative pregnancy test and a commitment to using birth control from women of childbearing age who enroll.

    Morning glories and mustard: U.S. investigates unsolicited seed mystery

    The U.S. Agriculture Department has identified more than a dozen plant species ranging from morning glories to mustard in bags of unsolicited seeds arriving in the mailboxes of thousands of Americans, mostly postmarked from China. While most species identified seem to be innocuous herbs, flowering plants, vegetables or grasses, plant experts warn that seeds from other parts of the world could be non-native varieties that harm commodity crops.

    U.S. federal troops staying in Portland for now, Wolf says

    Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told Fox News on Friday that federal troops would remain in Portland until he was assured that the Oregon governor's plan to handle daily protests was working, and said sending in the National Guard was still an option if the state did not handle the situation. He said all the Department of Homeland Security "law enforcement officers that have been there over the past 60 days will remain there in Portland until we are assured that the plan that has been put in place by the governor and Oregon State Police will be effective night after night."

    Fauci to testify before U.S. House COVID-19 panel after being blocked by White House

    Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, will testify on Friday before a coronavirus subcommittee in Congress, weeks after President Donald Trump's administration first refused to let him address the panel. Fauci's testimony comes at the end of a week when the pandemic's tragic toll on the country has become far clearer. The United States on Wednesday experienced its 150,000th death from the disease -- more than any other country -- and data on Thursday showing a deep economic plunge.

    Trump planning for U.S. rollout of coronavirus vaccine falling short, officials warn

    As scientists and pharmaceutical companies work at breakneck speed to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, public health officials and senior U.S. lawmakers are sounding alarms about the Trump administration's lack of planning for its nationwide distribution. The federal government traditionally plays a principal role in funding and overseeing the manufacturing and distribution of new vaccines, which often draw on scarce ingredients and need to be made, stored and transported carefully.

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