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- Open Society Foundation, the philanthropic organization founded by billionaire George Soros, is investing $220 million in efforts to promote racial equality, including grants to Black-led organizations working to expand voting rights and advocate for police reform.
- Residents in Norman, Oklahoma launched a petition this week to recall the city’s mayor and several members of its city council as they express outrage over its decision to vote to cut the police budget by over $800,000 in the wake of nationwide protests, accusing the city council of having “succumbed to an angry mob.”
- In 1828, North Carolina Supreme Court Judge Thomas Ruffin wrote that a slave owner must have “uncontrolled authority over the body” of a slave to “render the submission … perfect.” Today Thomas Ruffin’s statue was removed from the NC Court of Appeals.
- A man was recorded on video throwing red paint onto the Black Lives Matter mural that was recently painted on the street in front of Trump Tower, and which President Trump has sharply criticized as a “symbol of hate.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio later clapped back, tweeting: “To whoever vandalized our mural on 5th Avenue: nice try. [NYC Department of Transportation] has already fixed it. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is more than words, and it can’t be undone.”
- The Trump administration is moving forward with the end of a long-standing ban on the sale of gun silencers, also known as suppressors, to foreign buyers, handing a victory to firearm manufacturers after President Trump’s former deputy assistant and White House lawyer launched a campaign as a lobbyist for a gun silencer trade group.
- President Donald Trump’s executive clemency to his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone not only commuted the veteran Republican operative’s prison term but it also spared him a fine and two years of supervised release.
“I commute the entirety of the prison sentence imposed upon the said Roger Stone, Jr. to expire immediately,” according to Trump’s order.
“I also commute the entirety of the two-year term of supervised release with all its conditions, and finally, I remit any unpaid balance of the $20,000 fine imposed.”
- A federal judge in Washington, D.C., again blocked the Trump administration from resuming executions just hours before the first federal death sentence since 2003 was scheduled to be carried out.
- A private company that President Trump criticized over its efforts to construct a wall near the U.S.-Mexico border received $1.7 billion in federal contracts from the administration after lobbying the president personally on cable news, according to a new report.
- More than 350 facilities nationwide have taken advantage of a temporary Environmental Protection Agency rule that lets companies forgo monitoring their water pollution during the coronavirus pandemic. The move is causing great concern among environmentalists: “Where facilities don’t monitor their own discharges and emissions, that can present significant environmental problems depending on what wasn’t reported that got into the environment.”
- President Trump says the federal government may “take over cities” to combat rising crime: “Numbers are going to be coming down even if we have to go and take over cities.”
- The United States budget deficit grew to a record $864 billion in June as the federal government continued pumping money into the economy to prop up workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic
- The Chinese government announced that it would impose sanctions on three American lawmakers and a diplomat in retaliation for similar moves last week by the Trump administration against four officials in China.
The sanctions targeted Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, all of whom are Republicans. Also named was Trump’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.
The Trump administration banned four Chinese officials and a Chinese government agency last Thursday from accessing American banks and other financial institutions. It also restricted them from obtaining visas to the United States.
The sanctions are mostly symbolic on both sides, as neither the Chinese officials nor the Americans are known to have assets in each other’s financial systems.
- A federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities, affirming previous rulings in the state.
Sources: ABC News, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post