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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A woman named Meredith Watson came forward Friday to accuse Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of raping her while they were students at Duke University in 2000, just days after Dr. Vanessa Tyson alleged Fairfax sexually assaulted her in 2004.

Between the lines, via UVA Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato: "Just think—almost one week ago, Lt Gov Justin Fairfax seemed to be hours away from being sworn in as Virginia Governor, with just about everyone calling for Gov. Northam to resign. Now Northam says he’s staying, and Fairfax may well be on the way out."

What they're saying:

  • Fairfax: "I deny this latest unsubstantiated allegation. It is demonstrably false. I have never forced myself on anyone ever...It is obvious that a vicious and coordinated smear campaign is being orchestrated against me. I will not resign."
  • Virginia House and Senate Democrats: "Due to the serious nature of these allegations, we believe Lieutenant Governor Fairfax can no longer fulfill his duties to the Commonwealth. He needs to address this as a private citizen. The time has come for him to step down."
  • Virginia Legislative Black Caucus: "While we believe that anyone accused of such a grievous and harmful act must receive the due process prescribed by the Constitution, we can't see it in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Virginia for the Lieutenant Governor to remain in his role."
  • Virginia Democratic Delegate Patrick Hope: “On Monday, I will be introducing articles of impeachment for Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax if he has not resigned before then.”
  • Former Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe: "The allegations against Justin Fairfax are serious and credible. It is clear to me that he can no longer effectively serve the people of Virginia as Lieutenant Governor. I call for his immediate resignation."
  • Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.): "The multiple detailed allegations against the Lt. Gov. of Virginia are deeply troubling. They are serious, credible, and corroborated by others. It is no longer appropriate for him to serve. He should resign."
  • Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “With this second serious and credible allegation of sexual assault, Justin Fairfax should resign. This is not a partisan issue.”
  • 2020 Democratic candidate John Delaney: “If I was a Virginian, I’d want some special elections.”
  • Rep. Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.): “I believe Dr. Vanessa Tyson. I believe Meredith Watson. And I believe Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax must resign.”
  • Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.): "Like so many Virginians, I am deeply pained by these revelations. But my pain pales in comparison to that experienced by these women, and so many countless other women who are victims of rape and sexual assault. Ly. Governor Fairfax must resign."
  • 2020 Democratic candidate Julián Castro: "Last Friday I called on Gov. Northam to resign immediately. Two days ago I stated that I believe the claim regarding Lt. Governor Fairfax. Tonight, I call on both of them to step aside and allow the great state of Virginia to heal and move forward."
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.): "This new allegation from Meredith Watson that Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax raped her, corroborated by at least two named individuals in interviews and emails, is sickening and horrendous. I believe Meredith Watson and Dr. Tyson, and it was extremely brave for them to come forward. Mr. Fairfax should resign and no longer serve the Commonwealth of Virginia."
  • Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.): "The recent allegations against Lt Governor Fairfax are disturbing and extremely serious. Both allegations must be investigated immediately. If either is found to be true – and there appears to be significant corroborating evidence – then the Lt Governor should resign immediately."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.): "The allegations by Dr. Vanessa Tyson and Meredith Watson are corroborated, painful stories of sexual assault and rape. It’s clear Virginia Lieutenant Governor Justin Fairfax should resign his office."

Go deeper: Meredith Watson accuses Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax of rape

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Health

First North American Omicron cases identified in Canada

COVID-19 testing personnel at Toronto Pearson International Airport in September. Photo: Steve Russell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

The first two cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in North America, the Canadian government announced Sunday evening.

Driving the news: The World Health Organization has named Omicron a "variant of concern," but cautioned earlier on Sunday that it is not yet clear whether it's more transmissible than other strains of COVID-19.

Former Defense Secretary Esper sues Pentagon over book

Former President Trump and former Defense Secretary Mark Esper at the White House in 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper filed a lawsuit Sunday against the Defense Department, accusing the Pentagon of "censoring" his First Amendment rights by redacting parts of his upcoming book on the Trump administration.

The big picture: Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until he was fired by then-President Trump in November last year, alleges in the suit that "significant text" is "being improperly withheld from publication" of the manuscript "under the guise of classification."

WHO warns against travel bans on southern African countries

Matshidiso Moeti, World Health Organization regional director for Africa. Photo: Sylvain Gaboury/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

The World Health Organization called on countries Sunday to not impose travel bans on southern African nations amid concerns over the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The U.S. and countries in Europe and the Asia-Pacific announced travel restrictions in response to Omicron, which was first detected in South Africa. It's since spread to several European countries, Canada, Israel, Australia and Hong Kong. The WHO noted in a statement that only two southern African nations have detected the new variant.