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- GOP Sen. John Cornyn will introduce legislation making Juneteenth, a commemoration of the emancipation of formerly enslaved African Americans, a federal holiday. The Texas lawmaker called the day “an opportunity to reflect on our history, the mistakes we have made, but yet how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and a reminder of just how far we still have to go.”
- The watchdog for the Air Force is launching an investigation into whether the military improperly used reconnaissance aircraft to conduct surveillance on the protests over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis.
- Mary Elizabeth Taylor, a top State Department official who has served since the beginning of President Trump’s administration, quit Thursday over Trump’s handling of the nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality.
“The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions. I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs,” Taylor wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
- Seattle’s largest labor group has expelled the city’s police union, citing unaddressed racism within the police force’s ranks.
- Legislatures in 19 states and the District of Columbia have introduced more than 160 bills to address police violence in the three and a half weeks since the killing of George Floyd.
- Little Rock, AK is the latest city to ban its police force from using neck restraints as a method to subdue and restrain individuals in custody. The police department will also institute a new “duty to intervene” policy that requires officers to stop fellow officers from using excessive force.
- President Trump said he struggled to watch the entire video of George Floyd’s arrest and death at the hands of Minneapolis police, panning the officer now charged with his murder: “I couldn’t really watch it for that long a period of time, it was over eight minutes. Who could watch that? But it doesn’t get any more obvious or it doesn’t get any worse than that.”
- A Richmond, Va., judge has indefinitely extended a hold on the removal of the city’s statue of Robert E. Lee two weeks after Gov. Ralph Northam announced it would be removed from public property.
- Sen. Roy Blunt blocked the Senate from passing a bill to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol.
- Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the removal of four portraits in the Capitol of previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy.
- The city council in Norman, OK has voted to cut $865,000 from the local police department budget and redirect most of the funds to community outreach efforts.
- A Texas man is facing federal charges after authorities said he made racist and threatening comments against black people and Black Lives Matter protesters.
Manuel Flores, 42, of El Paso, was arrested on Monday and charged with transmitting threatening communications.
- The Southeastern Conference demanded that Mississippi remove the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag. Without change, the commissioner warned, the conference might not hold future championship events in Mississippi.
- In a 5-4 ruling. the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from ending an Obama-era program that shields nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, upending a key feature of President Trump’s immigration agenda. The justices ruled that the administration failed to give an adequate justification for terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, keeping it intact.
- President Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he made “Juneteenth,” the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery that has been celebrated for more than a century, “very famous” by originally scheduling a campaign rally on the date.
“I did something good. I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
- President Trump escalated his criticism of the Supreme Court after a pair of rulings this week went against his administration, calling for new justices to be appointed and pledging to release a new list of potential nominees ahead of November’s election.
Trump tweeted: “The recent Supreme Court decisions, not only on DACA, Sanctuary Cities, Census, and others, tell you only one thing, we need NEW JUSTICES of the Supreme Court. If the Radical Left Democrats assume power, your Second Amendment, Right to Life, Secure Borders, and…Religious Liberty, among many other things, are OVER and GONE!”
- Facebook said it had taken action against ads run by President Trump’s re-election campaign for breaching its policies on hate. The ads, which attacked what the Trump campaign described as “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups,” featured an upside-down triangle.
The Anti-Defamation League the triangle “is practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps.”
“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate. Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol
- The Environmental Protection Agency ended an Obama-era drive to regulate a widespread contaminant in drinking water linked to brain damage in infants. The agency rejected warnings that the move will mean lower IQs for an unknown number of American newborns.
Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s Wheeler said the decision to drop the introduction of federal limits for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, ammunition and explosives, “fulfills President Trump’s promise to pare back burdensome ‘one-size-fits-all’ overregulation.
- More than 1.5 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment insurance in the second week of June, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday. Roughly 760,526 Americans also filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, an extension of jobless benefits to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic but do not qualify for standard unemployment insurance.
- The National Park Service is awarding $1.9 million in grants to 12 Indian tribes and 18 museums in order to recover ancestral remains and cultural items from across the United States.
- Twitter took the rare step of appending a warning label to one of President Trump’s tweets after the company determined it violated its policies on manipulated media.
- The US is sitting on a pile of 66 million anti-malaria pills after they were scrapped as a treatment for COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The FDA approved chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for use on hospitalized COVID-19 patients on March 28 but revoked less than three months later, following debate over their efficacy and safety.
- Mark Lamb, an Arizona sheriff who in May said that he wouldn’t enforce a stay-at-home order during the pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Trump at the White House.
- A church in rural northeastern Oregon that was holding services in defiance of a stay-at-home order is now the epicenter of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak, as 236 people tested positive for the disease.
- Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said the lockdowns meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus saved “millions of lives.”
“But if you look at the data … the fact that we shut down when we did and the rest of the world did, has saved hundreds of millions of infections and millions of lives,” he said.
- The Monroe County Commission in Florida has voted to require all visitors and residents of the Florida Keys to wear face masks at any business or establishment until June 2021.
- Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida is asking local county officials to defer some of its $88,338 monthly rent as it has lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic and federally passed aid specifically blocks the president’s companies from benefitting.
- COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas jumped 11 percent on Wednesday. The state now has 2,793 patients hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infections.
- Pro-Trump activist Brandon Straka was removed from an American Airlines flight from New York to Dallas after refusing to wear a mask in an incident caught on video by a New York Times reporter. Passengers applauded when he left the plane.
- Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning confirmed 2,783 additional cases of COVID-19, setting another daily total record high since the start of the pandemic. The state now has a total of 80,109 confirmed cases. The state now has less than 25% of its ICU beds available.
Sources: ABC News, Axios, Bloomberg, 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