Pence’s chief of staff tests positive for Covid-19, VP isn’t infected – spokesman

Marc Short, who is known as VP Mike Pence’s closest aide, has been infected with the coronavirus, Pence’s spokesman has confirmed, adding that VP’s own test came back negative and that he was not planning to halt his campaign.

“Vice President Pence and Mrs. Pence both tested negative for COVID-19 today, and remain in good health,” Pence’s spokesman Devin O’Malley reported Saturday evening as he confirmed that VP’s right hand, Short, contracted the virus.

Pence is not expected to cancel any of his scheduled events in light of his top aide’s illness, O’Malley noted, adding that his boss “will maintain his schedule in accordance with the CDC guidelines for essential personnel.”

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The decision for Pence to continue his public engagements was made “in consultation with the White House Medical Unit,” the spokesman said.

Short, who served as Director for Legislative Affairs in the Trump administration from 2017 to 2018 and, since March 2019, has been Pence’s chief of staff, is considered to be a “close contact” to the Vice President.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s guidelines for “critical infrastructure workers” who have been potentially exposed to the coronavirus, state that such workers might go on with their duties as long as they don’t display any symptoms, are under regular monitoring and “wear a mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after last exposure.”

Short has become yet another high-profile White House official to have contracted the virus. US President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump and their teenage son Baron all tested positive for the virus early October. Shortly after his diagnosis, Trump was transported to Walter Reed, where he spent four days being treated with an experimental drug cocktail and oxygen.

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After his discharge from hospital on October 5, Trump immediately resumed his public engagements, and has been busy campaigning ever since.

Apart from Trump, an array of White House officials were treated for coronavirus, including his senior advisors Stephen Miller and Hope Hicks, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and a number of GOP officials and lawmakers.


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Businessman father of Russia’s first F1 driver Vitaly Petrov killed in apparent assassination

Aleksandr Petrov, an influential local businessman and politician has reportedly been gunned down by a sniper outside his home in the Leningrad Region. He was the father of Russia’s first Formula One driver, Vitaly Petrov.

Petrov was shot dead near his cottage outside Vyborg, a historic city some 130 km northwest of St. Petersburg, local media reported, citing police sources. A guard allegedly found Petrov lying on the ground and called an ambulance, but the businessman succumbed to his injuries on the spot.

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Some reports claim a killer with a sniper rifle was involved in the murder. The shooter is now on the run, his identity unknown. Police have launched an investigation into the high-profile murder, with the chief regional investigator personally involved.

Petrov had been regarded as Vyborg’s most prominent businessman. He reportedly had a stake in almost all of the city’s major industries and owned some local shipbuilding and fuel companies. He was also a member of the local council.

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Local journalists have repeatedly insinuated links between Petrov and the shadowy underworld, even dubbing him “the master of Vyborg,” but some of those stories ended up with public retractions from the media. The murder reignited the claims of Petrov’s involvement in criminal circles in the 1990s. No evidence of the allegations being relevant to Saturday’s killing have yet been presented, however.

Outside of business and politics, Aleksandr was also known as the father of Vitaly Petrov – the F1 racing driver who competed for Renault, Lotus Renault GP and Caterham between 2010 and 2013. Vitaly was the first Russian to ever compete in the F1 World Championship, the world’s most prestigious car race. 

Following the news of his father’s death, Vitaly Petrov stepped down from his position as the Driver Steward at the Sunday’s F1 Portuguese Grand Prix “due to personal bereavement,” the International Automobile Federation said.

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‘Rigged Election?’ Trump seizes on Biden’s latest gaffe, boasting about ‘most extensive and inclusive VOTER FRAUD’ organization

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s remark that his party has created “the most extensive voter fraud organization” has reinforced the former VP’s “gaffe machine” status, giving the Republicans a free ‘gotcha moment’.

“We’re in a situation where we have put together – and you guys did it for our admi . . ., the president, Obama’s administration before this – we have put together, I think, the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics,” Biden says in the video, which began circulating on social media on Saturday.  

The apparent verbal flub, made just 10 days out from the Nov. 3 election, has caught the attention of the former VP’s detractors, including that of US President Donald Trump.

“What a terrible thing for Biden to say! Rigged Election?,” Trump tweeted, reposting the viral clip.

While Democrats and much of the mainstream media have brushed off concerns over a potential voter and election fraud in a year when mail-in voting will be used on a far larger scale than usual, Trump has repeatedly taken aim at universal mail-in voting, deeming it highly vulnerable to abuse and errors. The president even went as far as to allege that the system could tip the scales in the 2020 election – a notion, which the Democrats have vehemently rejected.

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Biden’s blunder provided comic relief for conservatives on Twitter, many portraying the lapse a “Freudian slip.” 

“Seems that Joe Biden has some explaining to do,” Mike Kelly, Republican Representative for Pennsylvania’s 16the congressional district, tweeted.

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