In our news wrap Monday, top Democrats slammed the Trump administration’s national COVID-19 testing strategy. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, with other colleagues, blasted the effort as intending to “reject responsibility.” Also, the British prime minister’s closest aide defied calls to quit over accusations he violated coronavirus lockdown rules in March.
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In the day's other news: Top Democrats slammed the Trump administration's national COVID-19 testing strategy, a day after it was sent to Congress.
In a statement, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and others said the president's strategy is to — quote — "deny the truth that there aren't enough tests and supplies, reject responsibility and dump the burden onto the states."
The British prime minister's closest aide defied calls to quit today over accusations that he ignored coronavirus lockdown measures. Dominic Cummings drove 250 miles from London to Northern England in March with his wife, who was symptomatic, so that his parents could care for his young son.
Cummings said that he was in an exceptional situation and acted reasonably.
I don't regret what I did. I think that the way that I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned, if my wife and I had both been unable to look after our 4-year-old.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson also defended Cummings' decision, saying that he acted both legally and responsibly.
Back in this country, the Republican National Committee and two other Republican groups filed a lawsuit to block California's move to voting by mail this November. Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom issued the order over concerns about the spread of COVID-19. But Republicans argued in Sunday's filing that mail-in ballots would invite fraud.
A federal judge ruled Sunday night that a Florida law requiring felons to pay legal fees before they can vote is unconstitutional. That clears the way for hundreds of thousands of people to potentially regain the right to vote. Floridians voted to restore voter rights for felons in 2018. But Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill limiting it to only those who had paid their court-related debts.
Officials in China today defended proposed national security legislation that would crack down on opposition activity in Hong Kong. That comes a day after more than 180 pro-democracy activists were arrested in the semiautonomous territory, in the largest protests there since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Beijing's proposed laws would ban the demonstrations and classify them as terrorism.
Wang Yi (through translator):
The bill is targeted at a small number of behaviors that seriously harm the national security. It does not affect the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents.
Protests began in Hong Kong last June, after Beijing introduced a now-tabled bill that would have caused the semiautonomous territory to lose its special status.
And former CBS Washington bureau chief William Small has died, after a brief illness not related to the coronavirus. Under his leadership, "The CBS Evening News" with Walter Cronkite maintained its number one slot for 20 years. The veteran newsman also helped to mold CBS News coverage during the Vietnam War and Watergate.
William Small was 93 years old.