The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 10 Minutes

6/4

Protest News

  • Breaking with President Trump, Defense Secretary Esper says he doesn’t support using the military to quell protests triggered by the death of George Floyd. “The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations,” Esper said.
  • Trump went ballistic in the White House today when he heard Defense Secretary Esper went publicly against his plan to invade states with U.S. military.
  • In an abrupt reversal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, amid growing tensions with the White House over the military response to the protests.
  • Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that he was told about the reversal after Esper attended a meeting at the White House
  • Florida Governor RonDeSantis said he is sending 500 members of the Florida National Guard to Washington to assist with the protests there.
  • A Denver police officer Thomas McClay, who posted a picture of himself and two colleagues in full riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot,” has been fired, officials said.
  • President Trump denied reports that he retreated to the underground bunker beneath the White House last Friday night as protests escalated, insisting he only visited the secure facility for a brief time during the day for the purposes of “inspection”
  • Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder on Wednesday in the death of George Floyd, and three other former officers who were present during the killing were charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the upgraded charge against Chauvin

  • U.S. Park Police said Wednesday they are investigating two officers who allegedly attacked Australian reporters during Monday night’s protest near the White House. 

“As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two U.S. Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press,” the park police tweeted Wednesday.

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday compared President Trump’s photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s examination of World War II bombing damage in 1941.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday joined a crowd of demonstrators outside the Capitol protesting police brutality toward black Americans following the death of George Floyd.
  • Military personnel in Washington, D.C., some of whom were not wearing identifiers, extended the perimeter around the White House on Wednesday, blocking off access to LaFayette Square, where police clashed with protesters earlier this week. They were dressed in mixed riot gear, with helmets and face masks, shields and guns loaded with crowd control agents.
  • Asheville, NC Police surrounded a medic station created by protesters and stabbed water bottles with knives and tipped over tables of medical supplies and food. The medic team, made of EMTs and doctors, said the medical station was approved by the city.
  • Three Nevada men with ties to a right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.

Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the coronavirus and later sought to capitalize on protests over George Floyd.

Administration News

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel “was so uncomfortable” with the thought of being with President Trump at the G-7 this summer, she told French President Emmanuel Macron, “I don’t want to be in the room with the guy.” According to sources, Merkel believed that proper diplomatic preparations had not been made; she did not want to be part of an anti-China display; and, she opposed Mr. Trump’s idea of inviting the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

Merkel “knows that any event, Trump will spin as if the others are implicitly endorsing him, and that’s the last thing she wants to do.”

  • France’s attitude “toward Trump is a mix of sadness and anger,” said Thomas Gomart, director of the French Institute of International Relations.

“Our main ally refused to exercise leadership during the corona crisis,” he said, “and is every day more provocative toward its allies and is creating divisions that are very actively exploited by China.”

“Mr. Trump has no diplomatic accomplishments,” Gomart said, listing failures on North Korea, the Middle East, a deterioration of relations with China and no improvement of relations with Russia. Instead, French President Macron believes that Mr. Trump has damaged European security through his unilateral abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal as well as nearly every arms control agreement with Russia.

  • President Trump returned to talk of an unfounded conspiracy theory about MSNBC “Morning Joe” host, Joe Scarborough.

“I’ve always felt that he got away with murder. That was my feeling, a very strong feeling, and I do feel it,” Trump said during a radio interview with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday morning.

Trump also said that he spends time criticizing Scarborough and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo because he feels compelled to “hit back” at his critics.

“I just do it. People hit me, I hit back. I fight. I’ve always felt that about Scarborough,” Trump said.

Trump was widely criticized, including by some in his own party, for promoting this  baseless theory.

  • During the same interview, President Trump suggested that there are good Christians and bad Christians. The good ones support Donald Trump; the bad ones, like those who criticized his photo stunt, are the opposition.
  • Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump’s account. The president’s account will still be live on the app, and people can still search and subscribe to it. But it won’t show up in the tab that suggests new stories to watch or new people to follow.

“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” Snap spokesperson Rachel Racusen said. “Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America.”

  • Florida elections records show President Trump first tried to register to vote in Florida while claiming Washington, D.C., as his legal residence.

The first application, submitted in September, listed the White House as his legal residence despite a Florida law requiring voters to legally reside in the state, the Post reported. The president resubmitted his application with a Florida address the next month and voted by mail in the Sunshine State’s Republican primary in March.

The original application listing the Washington address is dated Sept. 27, the same day the president publicly announced he would change his legal residence from Manhattan to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump, on two separate forms, listed both the White House as his legal residence and said that he was a “bona fide resident” of Palm Beach.

  • President Trump’s health is largely unchanged over the past year, according to a memo released by the White House physician on Wednesday that found he “remains healthy” after two separate exams in November and April.

Trump underwent a portion of his physical — the third of his presidency — at Walter Reed in November during an unannounced trip that prompted speculation about his health. He completed his physical during an April examination at the White House, according to the memo from Sean Conley.

  • President Trump on Wednesday defended his plans to invite Russia to the Group of Seven (G-7) summit this year despite its expulsion from the group in 2014, arguing that it’s “common sense” to do so.

“It’s not a question of what he’s done, it’s a question of common sense,” Trump said. “We have a G-7, he’s not there. Half of the meeting is devoted to Russia and he’s not there.”

  • A federal judge indicated late Tuesday he believes the EPA must update its plans for responding to offshore oil spills. 

Federal judge William Orrick said in a court decision that the law “strongly suggests that the duty to update and revise the [plan] ‘as advisable’  is not discretionary, but required.”

  • Trump’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday castigated the president as “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people,”  Mattis said in a statement.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

  • State Department IG Steve Linick, who Trump fired, confirmed in an interview with members of Congress at the time of his firing:
    • there was an ongoing investigation into allegations of misuse of government resources by Secretary Pompeo and his wife. 
    • that his office sought documents related to this matter from the Secretary’s office through Executive Secretary Lisa Kenna, and that he had personally discussed this investigation with Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao and Deputy Secretary of State Biegun.
    • there was an ongoing investigation into Secretary Pompeo’s 2019 “emergency” declaration under the Arms Export Control Act, which was used to push through roughly $8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • New COVID-19 cases jumped by 25% in one day. June 1 saw 16,070 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. June 2 that number grew to 20,073.
  • Two weeks after Israel fully reopened schools, officials are again closing dozens of them after a COVID-19 outbreak. A new policy orders any school where a case emerges to close.
  • Senior officials at the World Health Organization said there is no evidence that the coronavirus circulating around the globe has mutated in ways that would make it more virulent or more easily transmissible.
  • Italy, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, became the first European nation to fully reopen its borders on Wednesday.

The nation ended the closure of regional and international borders and the end of a 14-day quarantine required for anyone entering the country, part of the final phase of its coronavirus lockdown.

  • Bipartisan members of Congress on Tuesday urged the Trump administration to distribute emergency COVID-19 funding to Medicaid providers as soon as possible, noting their “serious concerns” with the delay. 

While Congress appropriated funding more than two months ago to help health care providers weather the COVID-19 crisis, little of that assistance has gone to those who serve low-income patients, children, and people with disabilities.

  • The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not prevent Covid-19 in a rigorous study of 821 people who had been exposed to patients infected with the virus, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Canada reported on Wednesday.

The study was the first controlled clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that President Trump has repeatedly promoted and recently taken himself.

  • On Wednesday, Florida saw its largest number of new cases of the coronavirus since mid-April. 

The Florida Department of Health announced the state has a total of 58,764 confirmed cases of the disease, a jump of 1,317 from the day before. Wednesday’s total is Florida’s largest since April 17, when it had a daily total of 1,413 cases.

  • Norway PM Erna Solberg rejected Donald Trump’s claim that the WHO is controlled by China and criticized the president’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the organization, calling it “the wrong answer.” Solberg is the first world leader to publicly rebuke Trump on the move.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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