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News Wrap: NASA launches rover Perseverance to Mars

In our news wrap Thursday, NASA has launched Perseverance, the largest and most advanced rover ever sent to Mars. It blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, with a mission to drill for rock samples that could indicate whether life once existed on that planet. Also, businessman and former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain died in Atlanta of coronavirus. He was 74 years old.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A stalemate in the U.S. Senate again sidelined a pandemic relief bill. Instead, senators left for the weekend, with federal jobless benefits and eviction protection set to expire after tomorrow.

    Republicans asked for a short-term extension just for the unemployment benefits, but they needed unanimous consent. And Democrats rejected a temporary piecemeal approach.

  • Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz.:

    What I'm offering today is a simple seven-day extension of the extra $600 a week for unemployed Americans, while we work through our differences on how to move forward.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    This U.C. request is clearly a stunt. A one-week fix can't be implemented in time in, and the senator knows that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In turn, Republicans blocked Democrats' request to bring up their own relief bill.

    On Wall Street, today's economic reports and the impasse in Congress ed push stocks mostly lower. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 226 points, to close at 26313. The Nasdaq was the only bright spot, rising about 45 points, but the S&P 500 slipped 12.

    President Trump stirred a new storm today with a tweet suggesting the November 3 presidential election might be postponed. He claimed again, without evidence, that mail-in voting would mean widespread fraud.

    Then he asked if officials should — quote — "delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote."

    That drew bipartisan disapproval, including from the top Senate and House Republicans.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    Never in the history of the country, through wars, depressions and the Civil War, have we ever not had a federally scheduled election on time. And we will find a way to do that again. That's November 3.

  • Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.:

    I understand the president's concern about mail-in voting, which is different than absentee voting. But never in the history of the federal elections have we ever not held an election, and we should go forward with our election.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pointed out that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the sole power to set election dates.

    This evening, just moments ago, the president said he does not want a delay, but he insisted again that mail-in voting would be prone to fraud and greatly delayed results.

    A federal appeals court says that it will review an order to dismiss criminal charges against Michael Flynn. The former national security adviser pled guilty to lying to the FBI in the Russia investigation. Later, the Justice Department moved to dismiss the case. Last month, a panel of the appeals court ordered the trial judge to grant the motion.

    State lawmakers in Ohio ousted their House speaker, Republican Larry Householder. He is accused in a $60 million federal bribery scheme aimed at passing a financial bailout for two nuclear power plants. A federal grand jury today formally indicted Householder and four of his associates on racketeering charges.

    Tropical Storm Isaias spent this day dumping heavy rain on Puerto Rico, touching off landslides and flooding, and knocking out power and water service. From there, it headed toward the Dominican Republic and on a track that takes it near the Bahamas by early tomorrow.

    NASA has launched Perseverance. That's the largest and most advanced rover ever sent to Mars. The car-sized rover blasted off today from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Its mission is to drill for rock samples that will be brought back to Earth and analyzed for signs that life once existed on Mars.

  • Jim Bridenstine:

    If this little rover were to discover bio signatures of ancient life on Mars, I think it would transform how we think about space exploration and discovery. I think you would see a lot of people wanting to do a lot more science and make discoveries as to what is out there, even in our own solar system.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The mission also includes a mini-helicopter that will try to take the first powered flight on another planet.

    U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is said to be resting comfortably at a New York hospital after a procedure Wednesday on a bile duct stent. Ginsburg is 87. Earlier this month, she announced that she is undergoing chemotherapy for a recurrence of cancer.

    And former Republican presidential candidate and businessman Herman Cain has died in Atlanta of COVID-19. He'd been diagnosed after attending President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last month. Herman Cain was 74 years old.

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