The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations News

  • NYC Mayor de Blasio said “Black Lives Matter” will be painted on Manhattan’s 5th Ave. in “a matter of days.” 

Whenever President Trump comes back to New York, “he’ll get a message that he still doesn’t understand. Maybe seeing it outside his doorstep will help him get the point.”

  • “NYC is cutting Police $’s by ONE BILLION DOLLARS, and yet the @NYCMayor is going to paint a big, expensive, yellow Black Lives Matter sign on Fifth Avenue, denigrating this luxury Avenue. This will further antagonize New York’s Finest, who LOVE New York & vividly remember the….

….horrible BLM chant, “Pigs In A Blanket, Fry ‘Em Like Bacon”. Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won’t let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York’s greatest street. Spend this money fighting crime instead!”

  • President Trump has told people in recent days that he regrets following some of son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner’s political advice — including supporting criminal justice reform — and will stick closer to his own instincts, three people with direct knowledge of the president’s thinking tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: One person who spoke with the president interpreted his thinking this way: “No more of Jared’s woke shit.” Another said Trump has indicated that following Kushner’s advice has harmed him politically.

  • In response to this Axios report, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement, “President Trump is very proud of the historic work that he’s done to benefit all communities. The First Step Act made historic strides toward rectifying racial disparities in sentencing while his executive order to secure America’s streets works with our nation’s heroic police officers to ensure we have safe policing and safe communities.”
  • A vehicle carrying Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) on Tuesday hit a Des Moines Black Lives Matter protester who officials say intentionally stepped in front of its path.
  • Police in Seattle arrested thirteen people Wednesday as officers returned to a police precinct and an area of downtown that demonstrators had taken control of during protests last month following the police killing of George Floyd.

The arrests came after the mayor’s executive order directing all residents to vacate the area of downtown now known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.

  • Selwyn Jones, one of George Floyd’s uncles, is pushing officials in Gettysburg, South Dakota, to remove the Confederate battle flag from the local police department’s logo, and has inspired a petition with over 4,000 petitions calling for its removal.

The mayor has pushed back, however, saying it won’t be removed because “the liberals and the press telling us we have to change it. People here do not feel it’s racism.”

  • The House Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment to ban the display of the Confederate battle flag at all Pentagon property, which includes bases, workspaces and front porches of military housing.
  • Dozens of investment firms and shareholders are calling on Nike, FedEx and PepsiCo to end their business relationships with the Washington Redskins unless the team changes its name.
  • Several students protested outside a Montclair, NJ woman’s home after footage went viral of her accusing her Black neighbors of building a stone patio without a permit and eventually calling the police.
  • The Los Angeles City Council voted to reduce their police department budget by $150 million amid local and nationwide activists’ calls to defund the police, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The council voted 12 to 2 to bring the Los Angeles Police Department workforce down to 9,757 officers by next summer. The last time that level of police staffing was seen in the city was 2008.

  • The Los Angeles Board of Education on Tuesday approved an immediate 35% cut to its school police force, a reduction of $25 million, in response to weeks of protests by student activists and community groups who had called for the elimination of the department.

In the wake of the decision, the department’s police chief, Todd Chamberlain, who has been in the job less than a year, resigned from his post Wednesday.

  • A whipping post was removed from the grounds of a historic Delaware courthouse on Wednesday after calls from activists to address its troubled, racist history. The removal was carried out by the state’s Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs.
  • Virginia’s capital city began taking down its statue of Stonewall Jackson after Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of multiple Confederate statues in Richmond.
  • A construction crew removed the massive Christopher Columbus statue from outside Columbus, Ohio’s City Hall on Wednesday morning, in one of the most dramatic cases yet of a city reshaping how its monuments reflect its sense of history and community identity.
  • The Dept. of Homeland Security says it will deploy personnel across the U.S. to carry out President Trump’s order to protect statues and monuments from vandalism amid ongoing protests for racial justice.
  • Clay County, Florida Sheriff Darryl Daniels says he will deputize every gun owner in his county to put down violent protests his deputies can’t handle alone.

Trump Administration News

  • The USMCA trade pact, which replaces NAFTA, went into effect Wednesday.
  • As Sen. Elizabeth Warren exited the Senate SCIF after what appeared to be a briefing on Russian bounties, she said, “There was no one there who had any information about what information was given to the president or when it was given to him.”She added: “That was NOT a briefing.”
  • Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is accusing journalists of spreading misinformation related to reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-backed fighters to kill U.S. service members in Afghanistan, alleging reporters don’t have enough intelligence information but refusing to discuss what he knows of the issue.
  • Three NATO officials say they had been briefed on intelligence that Russian operatives were secretly offering cash bounties to Taliban-linked militants for US casualties in Afghanistan — as President Donald Trump claimed he was not, and dismissed news reports on the intelligence as a “possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax.”

The revelation that US intelligence had briefed the White House on the Taliban bounties had been a closely-held secret for several months, until US officials began briefing UK and other European allies last week.

  • “The Taliban have been paid by Russian intelligence for attacks on U.S. forces—and on ISIS forces—in Afghanistan from 2014 up to the present,” says Mullah Manan Niazai, who was formerly a senior figure in the Taliban.
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Wednesday that after reading classified intelligence he believes the Trump administration should brief the Senate on reports that Russians offered bounties to Taliban-linked fighters to target U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
  • Senate Democrats are requesting a briefing on wire transfers intercepted by U.S. intelligence connected to reports of bounties being offered by Russian forces to incentivize Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan.
  • Afghan contractor Rahmatullah Azizi was named in a U.S. intelligence report as one of the key middlemen who delivered cash from Russia’s GRU to the Taliban to target American troops, The New York Times reported Wednesday.

American and Afghan officials reported that Azizi spent several years transferring money to reward Taliban-linked fighters for targeting American troops in Afghanistan.

  • CIA Director Gina Haspel and National Security Agency Director Paul Nakasone will brief congressional leaders known as the Gang of Eight on intelligence related to suspected Russian bounties on U.S. forces on Thursday.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed at a press briefing that the classified briefing would take place on Thursday. The Gang of Eight includes the top Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate as well as the chairs and ranking members of the House and Senate Intelligence committees.

Sources:  ABC News, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, NBC News, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post

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