The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Protest/Race Relations News

  • North Carolina’s governor called for the removal of Confederate monuments from State Capitol grounds on Saturday, citing public safety after anti-racism protesters in Raleigh pulled two statues down with ropes Friday night.
  • ▪NASCAR launched an investigation after noose was found in Black driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall. at the race in Alabama. It comes less than two weeks after Wallace successfully campaigned to ban the displaying of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events. Wallace, who is the circuit’s only full-time Black driver, released a statement of his own, saying “This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down.”
  • South Africa’s last apartheid president, F.W. de Klerk, has withdrawn from a U.S. seminar about minority rights because he did not want to embarrass himself or his hosts in the current charged racial climate.

De Klerk was scheduled to speak at an American Bar Association virtual event on issues such as minority rights, racism and the rule of law.

  • Eight minority corrections officers in Minnesota have filed discrimination charges with the state’s Department of Human Rights after they were barred from guarding Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis cop charged in George Floyd’s death.

As Chauvin was brought to the lockup, all officers of color were ordered to another floor, according to the Star Tribune, which obtained a copy of the racial discrimination charges.

A supervisor told one of the minority officers that, because of their race, they would be a possible “liability” around Chauvin. 

“I understood that the decision to segregate us had been made because we could not be trusted to carry out our work responsibilities professionally around the high-profile inmate — solely because of the color of our skin,” wrote one acting sergeant, who is black, the Star Tribune reported.

“I am not aware of a similar situation where white officers were segregated from an inmate,” the officer added.

  • At least one person is dead and another is in critical condition after a reported shooting early Saturday morning in Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). 

The Seattle Police Department, which was driven out of the CHAZ by Black Lives Matter protesters last week, tweeted that it was investigating a shooting in the area.

  • The New York Police Department said on Sunday that it was investigating the use of force during an arrest of a black man in Queens, after cellphone video of the encounter that was posted online showed an officer appearing to use a chokehold on the man until he became limp.
  • Three Thousand Oaks, CA men — including two who worked as civilian employees for local law enforcement agencies — were recently arrested on suspicion of vandalizing a Black Lives Matter sign in Westlake Village, authorities said.

The sign, described as a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it, has been displayed on a fence on Westlake Boulevard for the past three weeks, officials said, and has been damaged or removed on several occasions.

The sign’s owner installed a surveillance camera which documented the damage, officials said. When video of one of the crimes was posted on social media, detectives with the sheriff’s office recognized the employee.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • In a CNN interview, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said the coronavirus was a “product of the Chinese Communist party” and suggested without evidence that the potentially fatal virus may have been purposefully created by the Chinese government.
  • Navarro also defended the president’s statement that he directed officials to “slow the [coronavirus] testing down.” “Come on now, Jake. You know it was tongue in cheek. Come on now. That was tongue in cheek,” cutting off Tapper as he repeatedly asked about the president’s remarks.

“I don’t know that it was tongue in cheek at all,” Tapper retorted.

  • Navarro said that the White House was working to prepare for the possibility of a second wave of the coronavirus in the fall, though he said it wouldn’t necessarily come.

“We are filling the stockpile in anticipation of a possible problem in the fall,” “We’re doing everything we can.”

  • Nationwide, cases have risen 15 percent over the last two weeks. Cases are rising in 18 states across the South, West and Midwest. Seven states hit single-day case records Saturday, and five others hit a record earlier in the week.
  • Spain opened its borders to most European countries and ended a state of emergency imposed to contain the coronavirus.
  • Chinese researchers have started phase 2 tests on humans of a possible vaccine against the new coronavirus.
  • Authorities in Germany’s Goettingen and North Rhine Westphalia regions have called on police to enforce quarantine measures following a rise in local coronavirus infections, which caused the country’s virus reproduction rate to spike.
  • The Trump administration is doing “a great job” reopening the country after lockdowns to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said on Sunday, as infections continued to spike in several states.
  • Beijing is capable of screening almost 1 million people a day for the coronavirus, an official said on Sunday, as testing continued across the city to try to contain the spread of a fresh outbreak.
  • The drastic reduction in pollution during coronavirus lockdowns around the world should lead to greater concern for the environment as restrictions are lifted, Pope Francis said.
  • India’s drug regulator has given Hetero Labs the green light to manufacture and market its generic version of Gilead Science’s experimental COVID-19 treatment remdesivir.
  • Britain will outline its plans to ease the coronavirus lockdown this week, health minister Matt Hancock said on Sunday, potentially relaxing the two-metre rule on social distancing, allowing many businesses to reopen in early July.

Administration News

  • The Tulsa Fire Department said just under 6,200 people attended President Trump’s campaign rally at the BOK Center in Oklahoma, a figure far short of the arena’s full capacity of 19,000 and well below the campaign’s expectations.
  • Trump was “furious about the unused outdoor stage and the comparatively thin crowd in the stadium,” according to two people familiar with his reaction. News broadcasts carried video of the partially empty stadium.
  • The family of Tom Petty sent a cease and desist notice to the Trump campaign after it played one of the rock legend’s songs, “I Won’t Back Down,” at a rally in Tulsa,OK: “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”
  • At least 135 former U.S. attorneys and assistant U.S. attorneys signed an open letter condemning the firing of former Southern District of New York U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, saying that they “deplore” President Trump and Attorney General William Barr’s actions: “The actions of the President and the Attorney General are an attack on the concept that investigations should be conducted in a nonpartisan manner.”
  • President Trump’s former national security adviser John Bolton said in an interview published Sunday that he intends to vote against Trump in November.

“In 2016 I voted for Trump over Hillary Clinton. Now, having seen this president up close, I cannot do this again. My concern is for the country, and he does not represent the Republican cause that I want to back.”

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protest/Race Relations News

  • The Minnesota Twins announced that it would remove a statue of the baseball team’s former owner Calvin Griffith over his history of making racist comments.

“While we acknowledge the prominent role Calvin Griffith played in our history, we cannot remain silent and continue ignoring the racist comments he made in Waseca in 1978,” the team announced. Griffith moved the team from Washington, D.C. to Minnesota in 1961.

In 1978, Griffith went on a racist tirade at the Waseca Lions Club.

“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when I found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don’t go to ballgames, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. It’s unbelievable,” Griffith said. “We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking, white people here.”

The speech was widely condemned at the time and the Minneapolis Star wrote a front page editorial demanding Griffith sell the team, The Star Tribune reported.

  • Authorities are investigating allegations claiming that the mayor of Phoenix, Oregon hit a Black Lives Matter protester while steadily moving through a crowd of demonstrators.
  • Georgia’s state House on Friday passed a bill that would shutter the Glynn County Police Department after its handling of the killing of Ahmaud Arbery. The bill, which passed by a 152-3 vote, would allow Georgia voters to decide whether or not to eliminate their county police departments.
  • In an interview with Philadelphia outlet 6ABCAction News, Vice President Mike Pence repeatedly refused to say the words “Black lives matter,” instead saying that, “all lives matter in a very real sense.” 

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The National Institutes of Health has halted its clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, citing that while there are no serious side effects, the anti-Malaria drug touted by President Trump provides no benefit to COVID-19 patients.
  • Six of Trump’s staffers, who were part of the campaign’s advance team for the president’s rally in Tulsa, OK have tested positive for the coronavirus, the campaign announced. The campaign says that group will not be in attendance at Trump’s rally.
  • At least thirty LSU football players have been in quarantine. Some have tested positive; others found to have been in contact with positives. A portion got infected at the Baton Rouge nightclub outbreak. No hospitalizations or serious illness.
  • In a reversal of position, the Trump administration announced that it would publicize the names of large Paycheck Protection Program loan recipients.

The Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department said they had “agreed with bipartisan” leaders in Congress to enhance the transparency of the program by releasing additional data about borrowers.

That information will include business names, addresses, NAIC codes, business type, demographic data, nonprofit information, jobs supported and loan amount ranges for people who received more than $150,000.

  • At least two Buccaneers’ players have now tested positive for COVID-19, per sources. Earlier this week one Buccaneers’ coach tested positive and two other assistants were quarantined.
  • Florida health officials announced that 4,049 people tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday, setting a single-day record as the state continues to see a spike in numbers.
  • At his Tulsa, OK rally, President Trump quipped that he encouraged administration officials to slow down testing capacity for the coronavirus because the increased identification of cases made the country look bad.

“Here’s the bad part,” he said. “When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people. You’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, ‘slow the testing down, please!’”

Administration News

  • A federal judge has denied a Trump administration request to block former national security adviser John Bolton’s book from being published.
  • Following the ruling, the president Tweeted: “BIG COURT WIN against Bolton. Obviously, with the book already given out and leaked to many people and the media, nothing the highly respected Judge could have done about stopping it…BUT, strong & powerful statements & rulings on MONEY & on BREAKING CLASSIFICATION were made,” Trump tweeted.
  • Attorney General Barr said in a letter to Manhattan US Attorney Geoffrey Berman that Trump has now officially fired him, rejecting any argument by Berman that a judicial appointment means he can’t be removed.

In a letter to Berman, Barr wrote, “Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so.  By operation of law, the Deputy United States Attorney, Audrey Strauss, will become the Acting” US attorney. 

  • President Trump told reporters at the White House that he’s “not involved” with the firing of US Attorney Berman. Trump said it’s up to Attorney General Bill Barr.
  • Manhattan’s top federal prosecutor Geoffrey Berman agreed to resign from his post on Saturday, after Attorney General William Barr said he would allow Berman’s deputy to take over the job until a permanent replacement can be installed.
  • House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) announced Saturday that the committee will immediately open an investigation into the Trump administration’s decision to fire Manhattan U.S. attorney Geoff Berman. 

“The House Judiciary Committee will immediately open an investigation into this incident, as part of our broader investigation into Barr’s unacceptable politicization of the Department of Justice,” Nadler said in a statement.

  • President Trump’s nominee to head the Pentagon’s policy shop, retired Army Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, is denouncing Islamophobic remarks and controversial comments he made about Democratic lawmakers and former President Obama on Twitter in the past.

In several tweets from 2018, Tata said that Islam was the “most oppressive violent religion I know of” and claimed Obama was a “terrorist leader” who did more to harm the US “and help Islamic countries than any president in history.” Tata, in one radio appearance, speculated the Iran deal was born out of Obama’s “Islamic roots” in an attempt “to help Iranians and the greater Islamic state crush Israel.”

  • President Trump scrapped a planned address to supporters outside the BOK Center in Tulsa, OK., on Saturday as attendance appeared to fall short of expectations.

The Trump campaign said in a statement the president and Vice President Pence would not give speeches at a separate stage outside the arena as originally planned.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Protest/Race Relations News

  • President Trump warned individuals against protesting in Tulsa ahead of his Saturday campaign rally there, suggesting any demonstrators would be treated harshly.

“Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!”

  • Brett Hankison has been fired by the Louisville Metro Police Department after he was accused of “blindly” shooting 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor after her boyfriend opened fire, believing that the officers executing a no-knock warrant were intruders.

“I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” the police chief wrote in the termination letter. “I am alarmed and stunned you used deadly force in this fashion.”

  • Colorado has become one of the first states in the country to end qualified immunity as part of a historic comprehensive police accountability bill. Colorado Governor Jared Polis signed the sweeping police reform bill into law on Friday.

The bill ends the legal doctrine that protects police officers from civil lawsuits. The bill also requires all state and local police to wear body cameras by 2023 — with footage being made public; bans chokeholds, shooting fleeing suspects and using deadly force unless a life is in immediate danger. It also requires officers to report every time they stop someone they suspect of a crime and record that person’s ethnicity, race and gender.

The bill also asks cops to report their colleagues for wrongdoing, and will make officers personally liable for up to $25,000 in damages if they violate someone’s civil rights.

  • The Associated Press and numerous other newsrooms are adopting a style change going forward to capitalize the B in the word “black” when used “in a racial, ethnic or cultural sense.”
  • The NCAA’s board of governors announced that it is expanding its policy on the Confederate flag to bar any collegiate championship events from being played in states where the symbol is prominently displayed.
  • The Seattle Police Department has just announced that it is banning neck holds and “carotid restraints,” or chokeholds, as part of an updated use-of-force policy.
  • “Below Deck Mediterranean” star Peter Hunziker has been terminated by Bravo after sharing a racist and misogynistic Instagram post.
  • A veteran police officer in Pennsylvania has been fired after he sent a “racist and derogatory” email to several local reporters. The chief traffic investigator accused African Americans of being unable to “take care of their own or anyone else without playing the race card” and suggested without evidence that the Clinton Foundation and billionaire George Soros are funding Black Lives Matter and anti-racist movements.
  • Homeland Security officials used planes, helicopters and drones to record recent Black Lives Matter protests in 15 American cities. They logged at least 270 hours of surveillance — far more than previously known.
  • Intelligence analysts warned law enforcement this week that far-right extremist “boogaloo” members live in—and may be setting sights on—D.C. A separate DHS memo sent to LE today is focused entirely on the threat of boogaloo violence.
  • President Trump late Friday called for the arrest of individuals in Washington, D.C., who took part in toppling the statue of Confederate general Albert Pike in Judiciary Square.

“The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn,” Trump tweeted. “These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country!”

Administration News

  • Undeterred by this week’s Supreme Court ruling, Trump says he will renew his effort to end legal protections for hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the United States as children.
  • The Navy is reportedly not expected to reinstate the fired commander of the USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier following an investigation of leadership’s handling of a coronavirus outbreak onboard in March. The move is an about-face after a preliminary probe recommended that Capt. Brett Crozier get his job back.
  • Special Counsel Robert Mueller probed whether President Trump misled him in his Russia investigation, according to newly unredacted portions of the Mueller report that were re-released on Friday. The development could mean Mueller believed Trump may have tried to obstruct justice in his probe, after Trump’s written answer on WikiLeaks contradicted testimony from others.
  • Facebook and Twitter have taken down a video posted to President Trump’s account that doctored a video of two toddlers. Their removal of the video comes in response to a copyright complaint from a parent of one of the children in the video.
  • President Trump will visit Arizona and Wisconsin next week, a pair of swing states where recent polls show him trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. In Arizona he is set to visit a portion of border wall and attend a “Students for Trump” event. In Wisconsin, he will visit a shipyard in Marinette that the Trump administration selected to build 10 new ships for a multi-billion dollar contract.
  • The internal watchdog for the Homeland Security Department released a new report that documents how Customs and Border Protection was overwhelmed by the influx of migrants in 2019, which led to a myriad of problems like overcrowding and the spread of contagious illnesses.

It also noted that CBP was not often “offering children access to telephones, giving children hot meals and a change of clothing, providing access to showers, and safeguarding detainee property.”

  • In July 2016, political consultant Roger Stone told Trump as well as several campaign advisors that he had spoken with Julian Assange and that WikiLeaks would be publishing the documents in a matter of days. Stone told the then-candidate via speakerphone that he “did not know what the content of the materials was,” according to the newly unveiled portions of the Mueller report, and Trump responded “oh good, alright” upon hearing the news. WikiLeaks published a trove of some 20,000 emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee on July 22 of that year.

Former Trump attorney Michael Cohen told federal investigators that he overheard the phone call between Stone and Trump. Agents were also told by former campaign officials Paul Manafort and Rick Gates that Stone had spoken several times in early June of something “big” coming from WikiLeaks.

  • President Trump will host a 4th of July event despite pleas from lawmakers to cancel over concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic. The event will feature music, military demonstrations and flyovers, as well as an address from the president.
  • The Trump administration announced Friday night that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, whose office has handled a number of investigations involving the president or his campaign, will be “stepping down.”

Attorney General William Barr announced the change, saying the president plans to nominate the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, for the job.

Berman’s office has been conducting a criminal investigation of President Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in a campaign finance case that has already led to charges against two of Giuliani’s associates.

While the Senate considers Clayton’s nomination, Barr said, the job will be filled by Craig Carpenito, who currently serves as the U.S. attorney in New Jersey. Carpenito will take over the job on July 3, Barr said.

  • U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman released a statement saying, “I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney. I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning my position..I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate. Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.”

Coronavirus/COVID-19 

  • President Trump pushed back on comments made by infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci, who warned that it would be “very hard” for the NFL to return this fall during the coronavirus pandemic unless players are in a “bubble.”

“Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL Football,” Trump tweeted. “They are planning a very safe and controlled opening. However, if they don’t stand for our National Anthem and our Great American Flag, I won’t be watching!!!”

  • In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump, in an effort to discredit John Bolton, falsely said Bolton was his National Security Advisor in 2020 and made the wrong call on the coronavirus. “I acted very early. I closed our country to China. By the way, Bolton disagreed. He thought we shouldn’t do it. OK?”

NOTE: Bolton left the White House in mid-2019.

  • As coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. South and West, health experts in countries with falling case numbers are watching with a growing sense of alarm and disbelief, with many wondering why virus-stricken U.S. states continue to reopen and why the advice of scientists is often ignored.

“It really does feel like the U.S. has given up,” said Siouxsie Wiles, an infectious-diseases specialist at the University of Auckland in New Zealand

  • Florida added 3822 new COVID-19 cases overnight Thursday.  Another new record.
  • The Tampa Bay Lightning have temporarily closed their training facilities after several players and staffers test positive for COVID-19.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies spring training complex in Clearwater, Florida has been closed after a corona-virus outbreak.

5 players and 3 staff members working at the club’s Clearwater facility have tested positive for Covid-19.

  • More than 21% of Arizona’s COVID tests (3,246/15,031) reported Friday came back positive.
  • New York state tested a record 79,303 people for COVID Thursday. Only 796 tests — 1.0% of total — came back positive.
  • The Oklahoma Supreme Court has denied a request for an order directing the BOK Center in Tulsa to enforce coronavirus CDC recommendations at Trump’s campaign rally.
  • Houston Judge Lina Hidalgo issued an order mandating that businesses in the county must require customers wear masks to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The order goes into effect Monday, June 22.
  • Washington, D.C. will reopen under phase two Monday, which will relax restrictions affecting many public places and private businesses alike, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced.
  • Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has told local government officials that they won’t get federal coronavirus relief funding if they require individuals to wear face masks in government buildings.
  • Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, two of the most prominent members of the White House coronavirus task force, reportedly advised Trump against holding an in-person rally in Tulsa this weekend.

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