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Reuters US Domestic News Summary

18 Sep 2020 / 07:57 H.

    Following is a summary of current US domestic news briefs.

    Hurricane Sally's rains wreak havoc on southeastern U.S. states

    The remnants of Hurricane Sally dumped more than a foot of rain over the U.S. Southeast on Thursday, killed at least one person, washed out bridges and roads and left hundreds of thousands without power and others with ruined homes. Sally brought torrential rains and flash flooding to Alabama and Georgia as it sped toward the Carolinas. At 5 p.m. CDT (2200 GMT), it was about 70 miles (115 km) northeast of Augusta, Georgia, moving northeast toward the Atlantic Ocean at 24 miles (39 km) per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

    Pennsylvania court extends presidential mail ballot deadline in pandemic

    Pennsylvania's top court ruled on Thursday that state officials dealing with a surge in mail-in ballots due to the coronavirus pandemic can accept them up to three days after the Nov. 3 election, as long as they were mailed by Election Day. The ruling granted a request by the state Democratic Party that arose in part from concerns that postal delivery delays could disenfranchise voters in the contest between President Donald Trump, a Republican, and Democratic challenger Joe Biden. Pennsylvania is one of a handful of important swing states that both parties consider crucial to winning this year's election.

    U.S. Senator Johnson quarantined after COVID-19 contact

    Republican Senator Ron Johnson, who was due to join President Donald Trump in Wisconsin on Thursday, has instead entered quarantine after being exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said in a statement. Johnson, 65, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee, has tested negative for COVID-19 and is experiencing no symptoms but will remain in quarantine until Sept. 29, the statement said. He was due to travel with Trump and join the president at a campaign rally in Mosinee, Wisconsin.

    Trump's son agrees to sit for questioning in New York probe, after the election

    President Donald Trump's son Eric is willing to be questioned in connection with a probe by New York's attorney general into whether his father and the Trump Organization overstated the value of assets to obtain loans and tax benefits - if it can wait until after the Nov. 3 election. In a Thursday court filing, Eric Trump's lawyers said his "extreme travel schedule and related unavailability" and "the importance of avoiding any appearance of politicizing the investigatory process" justified the delay.

    Nearly 1 million same-sex couple households in 2019, U.S. Census Bureau says

    The number of same-sex married and unmarried couple households in the United States reached nearly 1 million in 2019, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey that broke out the statistic for the first time. Married couples made up most (58%) of the 980,000 same-sex couple households, while 42% were identified as unmarried partner households, according to the Census Bureau's American Community Survey, released on Thursday.

    Former Pence aide who helped organize White House coronavirus response backs Biden

    A former White House aide who helped coordinate the Trump administration's response to the coronavirus pandemic sharply criticized President Donald Trump in a video released on Thursday and said she planned to vote for Democrat Joe Biden. Olivia Troye, who was an aide to Vice President Mike Pence, served as a top organizer for the White House Coronavirus Task Force that Pence leads.

    Trump campaign denies Guardian report the president assaulted a woman in 1997

    U.S. President Donald Trump's re-election campaign on Thursday denied a Guardian newspaper report in which a former model accused the New York real estate developer of sexually assaulting and groping her at the U.S. Open tennis tournament in 1997. The Guardian reported that Amy Dorris told the paper in an interview that Trump assaulted her outside a bathroom in his VIP box at the tournament that year. She was 24 at the time, the newspaper said.

    Judge blocks 'politically motivated' changes to U.S. Postal Service ahead of election

    A federal judge on Thursday blocked controversial changes to the United States postal service, saying they were "a politically motivated attack" that had slowed the nation's mail and likely would slow the delivery of ballots in the upcoming presidential election. U.S. District Judge Stanley Bastian in Yakima, Washington, said he was issuing a nationwide injunction sought by 14 states in a case against U.S. President Donald Trump, Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, and the U.S. Postal Service over July changes to the service.

    Federal prosecutors file new charges against associate of Trump backer Rudy Giuliani

    Federal prosecutors said on Thursday they had filed additional charges against Lev Parnas, a one-time associate of President Donald Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who was already facing campaign finance-related charges. Prosecutors said they had charged Parnas and an associate, David Correia, with conspiring to defraud investors in an insurance company they operated. Prosecutors said a superseding indictment also includes fresh campaign finance law violations.

    Thousands of firefighters battle U.S. West Coast blazes amid 'overwhelming' ruin

    With resources stretched to the limit, weary crews on Thursday fought from the air and on the ground against deadly wildfires sweeping the western United States, with a U.S. senator saying parts of Oregon now resemble the aftermath of World War Two firebombings. Scores of fires have burned some 3.2 million acres (1.3 million hectares) in California since mid-August and another 1.6 million acres (647,500 hectares) in Oregon and Washington state since Labor Day on Sept. 7, laying waste to several small towns, destroying thousands of homes and claiming at least 34 lives.

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