The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 10 Minutes

Protest News

  • More new fencing and barriers were erected around the White House.
  • President Trump and some of his supporters are claiming authorities did not use tear gas against people in a crackdown outside the White House. Police canisters gathered by WUSA9 crews Monday night show federal police did use CS tear gas in addition to natural OC gas on Washington, D.C. protesters. 
  • Five senators knelt during a moment of silence for George Floyd during their caucus meeting on Thursday. Senators. Michael Bennet (CO), Sherrod Brown (OH), Martin Heinrich (NM), Tim Kaine (VA) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) all knelt as the caucus offered a moment of silence for Floyd.

The moment lasted for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the bystander video footage showed former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and then became unresponsive.

  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized fencing around White House: “That’s the People’s House. It’s a sad commentary that the house & its inhabitants have to be walled off… We should want the White House to be opened up for people to be able to access it from all sides.”
  • Attorney general Barr said there was “no correlation” between his decision to clear Lafayette Square and the president’s walk through the park a few minutes later. Barr defended his decision to use force to clear peaceful protesters from streets near the White House on Monday, claiming it was a necessary move to gain control following “very serious rioting” over the weekend.
  • NYC Mayor de Blasio appeared at a huge George Floyd rally in Cadman Park, Brooklyn—his first time in front of the protesters—and hundreds boo him & chant “Resign!” and “Fuck your curfew!” 
  • The leader of the Bexar County TX Republican Party Cynthia Brehm, in a since deleted Facebook post, said that the death of George Floyd was fabricated to create “racial tensions and drive a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from common people, that have already been psychologically traumatized by Covid-19 fears.”

Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey is calling for her resignation. 

  • New York State Judge James Burke ruled the NYPD can keep anyone (peaceful protestors arrested for curfew and criminal looters) detained for over 24 hours given these are extraordinary times. “It’s a crisis within a crisis”, he said. “All writs are denied, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan”
  • The New York Police Department has launched an internal review after a video went viral of a uniformed officer appearing to make a white power symbol during a protest over the death of George Floyd.
  • Twitter removed a video tribute to George Floyd from President Trump’s reelection campaign this week, claiming that it violated the social media platform’s copyright policy. The nearly four-minute video features Trump calling Floyd’s death a “grave tragedy” and calling out “violence and anarchy” from “radical leftwing groups.”
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered home several hundred active-duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division who were brought to the national capital region to respond to protests if needed. This is the second time this week Esper has ordered the troops to head home.
  • Two Buffalo police officers have been suspended without pay following an incident in Niagara Square following a protest. Officers were filmed pushing a 75 year old man to the ground. The man struck his head and began bleeding from his ear. He is in stable but serious condition at Erie County Medical Center.
  • Just before New York’s 8 p.m. curfew Thursday, heavily armored New York Police Department officers on bicycles rushed a group of non-violent protesters in the Bronx who were demonstrating against police brutality. The officers charged with their batons out, Jake Offenhartz, a Gothamist reporter, tweeted. “Multiple people hit. Someone bleeding from the head,” he reported. Offenhartz jumped over a car and was able to escape because of his press badge, he said. “This wasn’t even a confrontation, it was a trap.” 

NYPD officers blocked exits on both sides of a block, New Yorker staff writer Emily Witt tweeted. “They are arresting literally everyone at this protest,” Witt reported, including medics and legal observers. 

“We are peaceful,” protesters chanted at the cops. “What the fuck are you?”

  • At least 10 protesters were also arrested on Manhattan’s Upper East Side around 8:30 p.m., as they attempted to attend a peaceful demonstration at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Los Angeles Police Department officers were seen Thursday hitting peaceful demonstrators with batons and firing rubber bullets at them in the city’s Fairfax district as they protested the death of George Floyd. 
  • Law enforcement agents have seized hundreds of cloth masks that read “Stop killing Black people” and “Defund police” that a Black Lives Matter-affiliated organization sent to cities around the country to protect demonstrators against the spread of COVID-19, a disease that has had a disparate impact on Black communities.

It’s not clear which law enforcement entity seized the masks or why. The U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers for the packages indicate they were “Seized by Law Enforcement” and urge the mailer to “contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for further information.”

  • A federal plan to contain continuing protests in Washington, D.C., currently allocates about 7,600 civilian law enforcement, National Guard and active-duty Army personnel, according to an internal document compiled for the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday obtained by Bloomberg News.

The forces are reportedly stationed just outside the city, at Andrews Air Force Base, Fort Belvoir and Fort Myer.

Administration News

  • The RNC is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host. The cities under consideration include Jacksonville, Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta and possibly New Orleans and Savannah.
  • Unemployment claims for the last week of May totaled 1.9 million, a painfully high number, but the lowest since the novel coronavirus started spreading widely back in March, a sign the economy may no longer be in free fall.

The Department of Labor, which released the data, also noted gig and self-employed workers filed fewer initial claims last week — 620,000 compared with 1.2 million the previous week — under the expanded federal program that grants them benefits.

  • Iran has freed Michael R. White, a Navy veteran held in that country for nearly two years, and he was on his way home, his mother announced on Thursday in the United States.

White, a cancer patient who had been infected with the coronavirus while incarcerated in Iran, came a day after an Iranian scientist held in the United States was returned to Iran.

American officials had insisted the two cases were not linked. But Iranian officials had suggested last month that once the scientist, Sirous Asgari, was back in Iran,  they would look favorably at permitting Mr. White to go home.

  • Senator Lisa Murkwoski (R AK) praised Jim Mattis’s scathing rebuke of Trump as “true and honest and necessary” and admitted she’s “struggling” over whether to vote for Trump.

“I thought General Mattis’s words were true and honest and necessary and overdue.” She continued,  “When I saw Gen. Mattis’s comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we’re getting to the point where we can be more honest with the concerns we might hold internally and have the courage of our convictions and speak up.”

  • In a response to Murkowski’s comments, Thursday evening Trump Tweeted: “Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else…Unrelated, I gave Alaska ANWR, major highways, and more. Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!”
  • John Kelly, President Trump’s former chief of staff, defended former Defense Secretary James Mattis after the president said that he had the “honor” of firing “world’s most overrated general.”

“The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, told The Washington Post on Thursday.

When Mattis resigned in 2018, he alluded to his disagreement with Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria. 

“Because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.

  • In another Tweet Thursday evening, Trump responded to Kelly’s comments. “John Kelly didn’t know I was going to fire James Mattis, nor did he have any knowledge of my asking for a letter of resignation. Why would I tell him, he was not…in my inner-circle, was totally exhausted by the job, and in the end just slinked away into obscurity. They all want to come back for a piece of the limelight!”
  • President Trump’s reelection efforts will switch back into live action next week for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown forced the campaign to go virtual in mid-March. Trump has said he misses his rallies and wants to get back to in-person events.
  • President Trump on Thursday tapped two staunch allies and former campaign advisers to serve on the Commission of Presidential Scholars.

The White House announced that Trump would appoint Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign chairman during the 2016 campaign before he was ousted, and David Bossie, a deputy campaign manager for Trump during the 2016 race, to serve among the commissioners who select the annual Presidential Scholars.

  • Trump claimed again in May that private equity CEO Steven Schwarzman told him it’s impossible for Hunter Biden to have secured Chinese investments without improper influence.

A Schwarzman spokesperson says, as she did in 2019, that he has never talked about any Biden with Trump.

  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Thursday he is putting a hold on two presidential nominees until Donald Trump explains his recent firings of two inspectors general.
  • President Trump won’t make an expected trip to his resort in Bedminster, N.J., this weekend, as nationwide protests demanding justice for George Floyd are expected to continue.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • After 78 days of being shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, casinos in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada were allowed to reopen at 12:01 am on Thursday.
  • Dr. Angela Dunn, Utah’s state epidemiologist known for measuring her words carefully, was blunt Wednesday: “We have increased the spread of COVID-19 in Utah.”

The continuing “sharp spike” — as the state reported another 295 confirmed coronavirus cases — is “not explained easily by a single outbreak or increase in testing,” Dunn said. “This is a statewide trend.”

Wednesday’s case count was the second largest one-day rise in cases since the pandemic began. The record, 343 cases, was set on Friday. The state has seen jumps of at least 200 cases each day for the last seven days — an increase of 1,791 cases statewide in a week.

  • Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield apologized for his agency’s “inadequate” reporting on racial disparities in coronavirus patients, addressing criticism that the lack of data has hampered the public health response in communities of color disproportionately affected by the virus.
  • The medical journal Lancet published a statement from the authors of a study showing that hydroxychloroquine was dangerous for hospitalized covid-19 patients, saying they were unable to complete an independent audit of the hospital data underpinning their analysis. As a result, they concluded they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”
  • Ten weeks after President Trump invoked wartime production powers to address deep medical supply shortages, only 15 percent of that funding has been placed under contract. The Pentagon also received $10.5 billion in Cares Act funding to address the crisis, and had spent about $2.65 billion as of Wednesday afternoon, a department spokesman said.

A document obtained by The Post shows that Pentagon plans for the Cares Act money include spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects seemingly unrelated to the pandemic, including submarine missile tubes, space launch facilities, and golf course staffing.

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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