The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Protest News

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf argued that the U.S. doesn’t have a “systemic racism problem” with its police.
  • Congressional Democrats are expected to roll out sweeping police reform legislation Monday, following nearly two weeks of sustained protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing in police custody.

The legislation, called the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, includes an array of measures aimed at boosting law enforcement accountability, changing police practices and curbing racial profiling, according to an outline circulated on Capitol Hill.

  • Ben Carson says Colin Kaepernick and black NFL players who protest police brutality would not be criticized for kneeling if they just said they love America.

NOTE: “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better.” Colin Kaepernick Sept. 2, 2016

  • Attorney General Bill Barr defended his decision to forcibly remove protesters from outside of the White House last week, claiming on CBS that the media is lying about the protesters being peaceful.

Barr used painstaking distinctions to defend the use of force against protesters

“Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.”

  • In a break from other GOP lawmakers who have largely aligned behind President Donald Trump’s militarized response to nationwide unrest, Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday marched in a Washington, DC.

Romney told a Washington Post reporter that he was participating in the demonstration “to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.” The Utah senator later tweeted a photo of himself at the protest with the caption “Black Lives Matter,” becoming one of the most prominent GOP figures to do so.

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists and the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker are currently investigating at least 280 reports of anti-press violence since May 26, a number never before seen in the United States. The majority of those reports involve police officers acting against journalists, who describe being shot with rubber bullets or other projectiles, sprayed or gassed with chemical irritants, or smacked, shoved, or pushed to the ground.

This is not a question of a few isolated missteps. These reports have come from 53 different communities across 33 states.

  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she’s “grateful” to protesters: “As somebody who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, Jim Crow Alabama, when if a black man was shot by a policeman, it wouldn’t have even been a footnote in the newspaper”

Rice said she’d “absolutely advise against” Trump’s call to send active duty military into U.S. streets saying the military “isn’t trained” to handle such issues. “This isn’t a battlefield.”

  • The president has tried to portray the protesters and looters with a broad brush as “radical-left, bad people,” ominously invoking the name “antifa,” an umbrella term for leftist militants bound more by belief than organizational structure.

The Associated Press analyzed court records, employment histories, social media posts and other sources of information for 217 people arrested last weekend in Minneapolis and the District of Columbia, two cities at the epicenter of the protests across the United States.

85% of those arrested were local residents. Of those charged with such offenses as curfew violations, rioting and failure to obey law enforcement, only a handful appeared to have any affiliation with organized groups.

Those charged with more serious offenses related to looting and property destruction – such as arson, burglary and theft – often had past criminal records. But they, too, were overwhelmingly local residents taking advantage of the chaos.

  • The AP obtained copies of daily confidential “Intelligence Notes” distributed to local enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security that repeat, without citing evidence, that “organized violent opportunists — including suspected anarchist extremists — could increasingly perpetrate nationwide targeting of law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”

“We lack detailed reporting indicating the level of organization and planning by some violent opportunists and assess that most of the violence to date has been loosely organized on a level seen with previous widespread outbreaks of violence at lawful protests,” the assessment for Monday says.

The following day, the assessment noted “several uncorroborated reports of bricks being pre-staged at planned protest venues nationwide.”

“Although we have been unable to verify the reporting through official channels, the staging of improvised weapons at planned events is a common tactic used by violent opportunists,” the Tuesday assessment says.

But social media posts warning that stacks of bricks have been left at protest sites in Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles have been debunked by local officials who have explained that the masonry was out in the open before the protests or was for use in construction projects.

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted New York’s citywide curfew he had ordered last week after a spree of looting and other violence. And he pledged for the first time to cut the city’s police funding and redirect some of the money to social services.
  • White House officials are deliberating a plan for President Trump “to address the nation this week on issues related to race and national unity.
  • President Trump on Sunday sounded off on the resignation of the editorial page editor of The New York Times following the publication of an incendiary op ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calling for a military assault against anti-racist protesters.

Editor James Bennett admitted Friday that he had not read Cotton’s piece before it was published last Wednesday.

Trump hailed Cotton’s op-ed, which characterized protests over George Floyd’s death during a brutal arrest as an “orgy of violence” by “insurrectionists.”

Trump tweeted: “Opinion Editor at @nytimes just walked out. That’s right, he quit over the excellent Op-Ed penned by our great Senator @TomCottonAR. TRANSPARENCY! The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom. The New York Times is Fake News!!!”

Administration News

  • Former secretary of State Colin Powell joined the list of high-profile Republicans, including George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, who are not voting for Donald Trump in 2020 as the president’s own party is turning against him in the midst of nationwide turmoil.

Powell told CNN on Sunday morning: “I cannot in any way support President Trump this year.” Powell explained his reasoning had to do with the way the president treats people and has reacted to the coronavirus pandemic race riots.

‘We have a Constitution and we have to follow that Constitution and the President has drifted away from it,’ Powell said regarding the treatment of protesters who took to the streets after George Floyd’s death.

“I have worked with [Joe Biden] for 35, 40 years. And he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him.”

  • Donald Trump blasted Colin Powell as ‘overrated’ and a ‘stiff’ on Sunday after the former national security adviser and secretary of State said he would not be supporting the president’s reelection in November.

“Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump charged in a Sunday morning tweet. “Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!”

  • Trump clapped back on Twitter shortly after the interview aired and asserted that electing Biden or any other Democrat would lead to the defunding of police and military in the U.S.

“Not only will Sleepy Joe Biden DEFUND THE POLICE, but he will DEFUND OUR MILITARY! He has no choice, the Dems are controlled by the Radical Left.”

“Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!” Trump continued in another tweet.

  • Former national security adviser John Bolton is planning to publish his tell-all memoir about his tenure in the Trump administration later this month, despite the White House’s efforts to block its publication.

Sources familiar with Bolton’s plans told The Washington Post that the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” will be published on June 23, while the former Trump administration official will give interviews promoting it the weekend before.

“As of now, the White House has not formally signed off” on John Bolton’s book, a source told Kylie Atwood. But he is coming out with it on June 23 regardless.

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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