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Graham talks with reporters in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) refused to take a COVID-19 test as demanded by his Democratic challenger, Jaime Harrison, forcing organizers of Friday's U.S. Senate debate to change the format at the last minute.

Why it matters: If Graham were to test positive for the virus it could delay confirmation hearings on Trump's Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.

  • Graham, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has set an Oct. 12 start date for the hearings.
  • Sens. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah), who also serve on the committee, recently tested positive for the coronavirus.
  • If Graham tested positive, his ability to campaign in person could also be limited, in a race that has become increasingly heated.
  • The Cook Political Report on Wednesday updated its forecast for South Carolina's Senate race, moving it from "lean Republican" to "toss up."

Background: Graham and Harrison argued on Twitter Thursday night and Friday after the Democrat said he would not participate in the debate unless the senator took a COVID-19 test.

  • Graham accused Harrison of "ducking the debate because the more we know about his radical policies, the less likely he is to win. It's not about medicine, its politics."
  • Graham added that the rules of the debate did not require a COVID-19 test, and he cited a note from his doctor that said he did not meet the criteria for needing a COVID-19 test after possible exposure. Last week, Graham said he had tested negative for the coronavirus.
  • Harrison questioned why Graham would not take a test when he and the debate moderators agreed to do so.
  • Harrison later thanked the event organizers for changing the format.

Of note: The pair faced off behind a plexiglass barrier in their first debate last Saturday.

Go deeper

L.A. becomes first county to surpass 1 million coronavirus cases

COVID-19 mass-vaccination of healthcare workers takes place at Dodger Stadium. Photo: Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Los Angeles County officials said Saturday they had detected the county's first case of the highly transmissible coronavirus variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Why it matters: The announcement came as L.A. became the first county to surpass 1 million COVID-19 cases, straining the area's already overwhelmed health care system.

Reports: Trump DOJ subpoenaed Apple for records of WH counsel Don McGahn

Former White House counsel Don McGahn leaves Capitol Hill after a closed-door meeting with the House Judiciary Committee on June 4, 2021 in Washington, DC. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Apple told former Trump administration White House counsel Don McGahn last month that the Department of Justice subpoenaed information about accounts of his in 2018, the New York Times first reported Sunday.

Why it matters: Although it's unclear why the DOJ took the action, such a move against a senior lawyer representing the presidency is highly unusual.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Victim dies after downtown Austin mass shooting

Police barricades near the scene of a shooting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A 25-year-old man died Sunday of injuries sustained in a mass shooting that wounded 13 other people in downtown Austin, Texas, the previous day, police confirmed.

Driving the news: Austin police named the victim as Douglas John Kantor, as they continued to search for one of two suspects. One suspect was taken into custody on Saturday following the shooting on 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants.

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