Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah taking questions from reporters. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Monday that responsibility for the dozens of Palestinian protestors killed in Gaza "rests squarely with Hamas" and that "Israel has the right to defend itself."

The big picture: The White House said it still hopes to help foster a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian territories and believes that the protests — sparked by the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem — and deaths don't change that.

Other highlights from the briefing:

  • On Kelly Sadler's McCain comments: Shah said Sadler called and apologized to the McCain family privately. He added that she “came to work” on Monday and the matter is “being handled internally.” 
  • On ZTE: Per Shah, President Trump asked Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to examine ZTE and as it was an “concern of the Chinese government" and part of the “give and take” between China and the United States.
  • 1 fun thing: Trump also spoke with the Waffle House shooting hero James Shaw Jr. by phone this morning to “commend his heroic actions and quick thinking” when he wrestled a gun from the shooter last month.

Update: the second paragraph has been corrected to say Palestinian territories instead of Palestine.

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In photos: Virginians line up for hours on first day of early voting

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In some parts of Virginia, people waited in line up to four hours to cast their ballots on the first day of early voting, according to the Washington Post.

The big picture: The COVID-19 pandemic seems to already have an impact on how people cast their votes this election season. As many as 80 million Americans are expected to vote early, by mail or in person, Tom Bonier, CEO of TargetSmart, a Democratic political data firm, told Axios in August.

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Court battles shift mail-in voting deadlines in battleground states

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Michigan joins Pennsylvania in extending mail-in ballot deadlines by several days after the election, due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected delays in U.S. Postal Service.

The latest: Michigan Court of Claims Judge Cynthia Stephens ruled that all ballots postmarked before Nov. 2 must be counted, so long as they arrive in the mail before election results are certified. Michigan will certify its general election results on Nov. 23.