The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Racial & Social Justice, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Protests/Racial and Social Justice

  • Juneteenth, the day celebrating Black freedom from slavery, is now an official holiday in Massachusetts.
  • The Trump administration is sending more federal agents to Portland, Oregon in response to further protests and demonstrations in front of a federal courthouse that have been labeled by police as “riots” though the agents being sent reportedly rarely have any riot training. Clashes between federal officials and protesters have become violent with both protesters and law enforcement injured. 
  • The mayors of six U.S. cities appealed to Congress to make it illegal for the federal government to deploy militarized federal agents to cities that don’t want them.

“This administration’s egregious use of federal force on cities over the objections of local authorities should never happen,” the mayors of Portland, Seattle, Chicago, Kansas City Albuquerque and Washington D.C. wrote to leaders of the U.S. House and Senate.

  • Riots in downtown Richmond over the weekend were instigated by white supremacists under the guise of Black Lives Matter, according to law enforcement officials.

Protesters tore down police tape and pushed forward toward Richmond police headquarters, where they set a city dump truck on fire.

  • An Army National Guard officer who witnessed protesters forcibly removed from Lafayette Square last month is contradicting claims by the attorney general and the Trump administration that they did not speed up the clearing to make way for the president’s photo opportunity minutes later.

A new statement by Adam D. DeMarco, an Iraq veteran who now serves as a major in the D.C. National Guard, also casts doubt on the claims by acting Park Police Chief Gregory Monahan that violence by protesters spurred Park Police to clear the area at that time with unusually aggressive tactics. DeMarco said that “demonstrators were behaving peacefully” and that tear gas was deployed in an “excessive use of force.”

  • New York City police have arrested at least eight people for vandalizing the city’s Black Lives Matter mural since it was painted on the street in front of Trump Tower just a few weeks ago.

Trump Administration

  • First lady Melania Trump announced plans to renovate the White House Rose Garden.

The plans call for renewing the space to more closely resemble the original 1962 design of the garden during the Kennedy administration.

  • Trump said he won’t pay his respects to the late civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis as he lies in state at the US Capitol.
  • Trump blasted Twitter’s trending section. In a Tweet, he wrote: “So disgusting to watch Twitter’s so-called “Trending”, where sooo many trends are about me, and never a good one. They look for anything they can find, make it as bad as possible, and blow it up, trying to make it trend. Really ridiculous, illegal, and, of course, very unfair!”
  • President Trump’s lawyers told a federal court that a New York City prosecutor’s subpoena for his tax returns “amounts to harassment of the President.” 

Trump’s lawyers argued in an amended lawsuit filed that the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office overstepped its authority by seeking eight years’ worth of tax returns and financial records from the president’s accounting firm.

Presidential Campaign

  • 360 democratic delegates, mainly Bernie Sanders supporters, say they’ll oppose a party platform that does not include Medicare for All. 
  • Trump’s Campaign announced its all-star line-up of speakers for the new scaled down Republican Convention. Ted Nugent, Scott Baio, Antonio Sabato Jr, and Diamond and Silk will all appear virtually in Zoom boxes before Trump’s acceptance speech. 

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Protests/Social Justice, and Trump Administration Updates

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID-19 Update

  • The U.S. recorded 61,173 new cases and 558 new deaths. 
  • White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the federal government will extend a moratorium on evictions as part of the next round of coronavirus relief, which will also include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks.
  • White House negotiators want to scale back the next coronavirus relief legislation.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows both mentioned the possibility of moving forward on a less ambitious proposal.

  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reiterated that the Trump administration and Senate Republicans won’t extend a $600 boost in unemployment benefits in a forthcoming coronavirus relief package.

Meadows argued the original unemployment insurance measure, which has begun expiring, shouldn’t be extended because it “paid people to stay home” and disincentivized unemployed people from finding work.

  • Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had a stark prediction for the vote on any new coronavirus stimulus bill. “Half the Republicans are going to vote no to any phase 4 package, that’s just a fact,” Graham said.
  • CDC director Robert Redfield said that he would “absolutely” send his grandchildren back to school in the fall despite concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, with the exception of one grandchild who has a medical condition.
  • President Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, has tested positive for coronavirus. 
  • Google will extend its work-from-home policy until at least July 2021.
  • The Miami Marlins, who had four players test positive during their opening series against the Philadelphia Phillies, had an additional eight players and two coaches test positive on Monday. The team has cancelled its home opener versus the Baltimore Orioles.
  • New York reported 536 new cases. 
  • Pennsylvania reported 800 new cases and four new deaths.
  • South Carolina reported 1,170 new coronavirus cases and 25 new deaths. The state is now at a 15.6% test positivity rate, over triple the desired rate.
  • After setting a record for Covid-19 cases reported in a single day on Friday, Georgia reported 2,765 new cases, 1,022 fewer than Saturday. Three new deaths were, down from 53 on Saturday.
  • Florida reported 9,259 new cases and 77 deaths.
  • At least 46 Florida hospitals have reached ICU capacity and show zero ICU beds available. 
  • Miami Dade County reported a daily coronavirus positivity rate today of 18%. 5% is the desired maximum. 
  • Thus far, the Florida Department of Health has not seen any Covid-19 outbreaks associated with the reopening of theme parks in the area. 
  • The Lauderhill (FL) Police Department in Florida tweeted Sunday: “It is with a heavy heart that the Lauderhill Police Department announce the passing of our Brother, Officer Corey Pendergrass, who died this morning of complications related to Covid-19. Corey has honorably served with us since 1997. We will miss you tremendously.”
  • Louisiana recorded 3,840 new coronavirus cases, 94% are tied to community spread, and 48 new deaths. 

Protests/Racial and Social Justice 

  • A group of about 30 protesters gathered outside the Virginia home of acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to voice their opposition to the tactics federal authorities are using in Portland, OR. 
  • Oakland, CA police declared a Saturday protest an unlawful assembly after “agitators” set fire to a courthouse and vandalized a police station.
  • Philadelphia area NAACP Chairman Rodney Muhammad’s posting of an anti-Semitic meme to his Facebook page on Saturday was met boisterous opposition.
  • After calling slavery a “necessary evil” as part of the country’s founding, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) faced criticism. Cotton was discussing his bill that would reduce federal funding for any school that includes The New York Times’s 1619 Project in its curriculum.

In an interview, the senator accused the 1619 Project, a series of pieces by writers for the Times that examines the history of slavery in the U.S. and its role in the country’s founding, of being “left-wing propaganda.”

  • Police have detained a suspect after a man was shot and killed during a protest in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night.
  • Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka criticized athletes who protest police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. 

“If you can’t respect our national anthem, get the hell out of the country.” Ditka continued, “You don’t protest against the flag, and you don’t protest against this country who’s given you the opportunities to make a living playing a sport that you never thought would happen. So, I don’t want to hear all the crap.”

Trump Administration

  • In a racially charged Tweet, the president said scheduling conflicts will prevent him from throwing out the first pitch at a NY Yankees’ game in August.

“Because of my strong focus on the China Virus, including scheduled meetings on Vaccines, our economy and much else, I won’t be able to be in New York to throw out the opening pitch for the @Yankees on August 15th. We will make it later in the season!”

  • Germany has rejected a proposal by. President Donald Trump to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin back into the G7. 

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • Protesters faced tear gas and federal agents outside the central police precinct in Portland as Black Lives Matter demonstrations continued for a 56th consecutive day.
  • President Trump took a dig at Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D), mocking him for getting tear-gassed at protests in Oregon the previous night. 

“He made a fool out of himself,” Trump said. “He wanted to be among the people, so he went into the crowd. And so they knocked the hell out of him, so that was the end of him.”

  • A federal judge denied a request from Oregon’s attorney general to stop federal agents from arresting people in Portland as daily protests and demonstrations over systemic racism and police brutality roil the city.
  • The Air Force denied that a surveillance plane flew secret missions from an airport in Portland, amid ongoing protests in the city, gathered information about the demonstrations.
  • The U.S. Justice Department said it has arrested 18 people and charged them for alleged crimes committed during recent anti-racism protests in Portland.

Charges included assaulting a federal officer, trespassing, and creating a disturbance. 

  • Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) expressed agreement with President Trump’s plan to deploy federal police to the city during a Wednesday evening phone call with the president, according to the mayor’s office.
  • North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R) slammed an anti-LGBT resolution that was passed by a majority of the state’s Republican Party delegates earlier this year, calling it “hurtful and divisive” after a top GOP official also apologized for the language.

“LGBT practices are unhealthy and dangerous, sometimes endangering or shortening life and sometimes infecting society at large,” reads part of the resolution, one of many policy statements that were passed in April.

  • A 900-pound bronze statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee and busts of seven other Confederates that had occupied places of honor in Virginia’s Old House Chamber for decades, including those of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, were removed.
  • Cops shouldn’t fear accidentally breaking the city’s new law restricting their use of chokeholds on criminal suspects because no city district attorney will prosecute them, the NYPD’s Chief of Department told a closed-door meeting of police brass.

“We can’t be afraid. We’ve got every D.A. come out and say they’re not going to charge that,” Chief Terence Monahan said

  • The official account of MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays tweeted: “Today is Opening Day, which means it’s a great day to arrest the killers of Breonna Taylor” Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment by Louisville plain-clothed police executing a “no knock” warrant. 
  • President Trump erupted last week after Defense Secretary Mark Esper issued a new military-wide directive that was a de facto ban on the display of the Confederate flag.

According to people familiar with his reaction, Trump was fuming over Esper’s carefully worded memo that did not mention the flag by name, but effectively banned it from being flown on military installations.

A senior White House official who declined to be named said, the “story is inaccurate. When the matter was raised to the President, he was not angry.”

Trump Administration

  • In a follow up to an earlier story about the president asking his Ambassador to the United Kingdom Woody Johnson to ask British officials to steer The British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland, career diplomat Lewis Lukens, Johnson’s deputy in London, confirmed that he warned the ambassador that pressing British officials to boost Trump’s private business would be unethical. Lukens was later fired for making complimentary references about former president Obama.

A reporter asked the president whether he asked Johnson to do this. Trump replied:

“No, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about that, about Turnberry. Turnberry is a highly respected course, as you know, one of the best in the world. And I read a story about it today and I had never, I never spoke to Woody Johnson about doing that. No.”

The New York Times initially reported that complaints were raised with the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. “The findings were submitted in February, and the complaints are expected to be included, according to one of the investigators. It is not clear why the review has not been made public.”

NBC News added that an IG report “was completed and marked classified as of May; an unclassified version has yet to be released.”

  • Tang Juan, a Chinese scientist who had been hiding in the country’s San Francisco consulate after accusations of visa fraud, is now in U.S. custody.  Government officials  also accused Beijing of using its diplomatic outposts to run an espionage network to steal intellectual property from US businesses, universities and research centers.
  • “PAW Patrol,” a cartoon about rescue dogs who protect their community, clarified on Friday that it had not been canceled after White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany claimed it had been as a result of “cancel culture.”
  • President Trump this week signed a measure to allow U.S. defense contractors to bypass a 33-year-old arms treaty and sell more large armed drones to foreign militaries, a State Department official told reporters. 
  • President Trump signed four executive orders aimed at lowering drug prices. It is unclear when the moves can be finalized and take effect.
  • President Trump awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former congressman and decorated runner Jim Ryun during a White House ceremony. Ryun was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1966 and set records in the mile and 1,500 meters in 1967. He won a silver medal in the 1968 Olympics.
  • Trump told Barstool a detailed story about getting booed with Melania at the Robin Hood Foundation charity dinner around the night he announced his campaign in 2015.

They haven’t gone to that dinner since 2011. And the 2015 event was a month before he announced.

  • The president is spending the weekend at his golf club at Bedminster, NJ.

Presidential Campaign

  • William Evanina, Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said China, Russia and Iran are all working to influence the 2020 election.

They spread disinformation on social media to “undermine U.S. democratic institutions and divide the country in advance of the elections,” Evanina warned. 

“At the most basic level, we encourage Americans to consume information with a critical eye, check out sources before reposting or spreading messages, practice good cyber hygiene and media literacy, and report suspicious election-related activity to authorities,” Evanina said.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • The Fairfax County (VA) School Board voted to rename a high school named for Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. Effective this fall, the school will be renamed to honor the late U.S. Rep. John Lewis.
  • Washington’s NFL team announced Thursday that it would call itself the “Washington Football Team” until it adopts a new, permanent name for the football franchise. The team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, said in a statement that new team uniforms reflecting the change will be unveiled in the coming weeks.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) signed a police accountability bill into law today that includes a ban on neck restraints like the one that was used on George Floyd before his death in Minneapolis.
  • After being tear gassed in a crowd, Portland’s mayor and police commissioner Ted Wheeler denounced federal officers for “urban warfare.”

Some protesters, recalling the city police’s past use of tear gas, chided him: “You better be here every night, Ted!”

  • A federal judge in Oregon has temporarily blocked federal agents deployed in Portland, Oregon from threatening to arrest, arresting, or using force against journalists and legal observers who are at the ongoing protests sparked by the police killing of George Floyd.
  • Chicago advocacy groups are filing a lawsuit to block the Trump administration from allowing federal agents to oversee peaceful protests in the city.
  • The Trump administration is sending a tactical border patrol team to Seattle, making good on President Trump’s pledge to use the full force of the federal government to protect property amid ongoing protests, The New York Times reports.

Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) had spoken with Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf who told her that the administration didn’t have plans to deploy a large force of agents to the city and wouldn’t do so without communicating with her first. Durkan said that she hadn’t been made aware of the incoming federal team.

The mayor made it clear to Wolf that Seattle did not need the assistance of federal officers. “Any deployment here would, in my view, undermine public safety.” 

  • Kansas City, MO Mayor Quinton Lucas (D) says he found out about President Trump’s plan to send federal law enforcement officers to his city over social media.

“I learned about Operation Legend from actually someone on Twitter who had notified me that it was occurring,” the Democratic mayor said in an interview Thursday. “Then I looked at a White House press briefing that had announced that it was, I guess, already in the works.”

  • The House and Senate passed the defense policy bill that sparked a veto threat from President Trump over its inclusion of a plan to rename bases named after Confederate figures, setting up a showdown with the president. 

Both chambers cleared the two-thirds threshold for a veto-proof majority on the legislation that sets policy for the military and has been signed into law 59 straight years.

  • President Trump joined republicans who criticized Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY).

Trump tweeted: “Liz Cheney is only upset because I have been actively getting our great and beautiful Country out of the ridiculous and costly Endless Wars. I am also making our so-called allies pay tens of billions of dollars in delinquent military costs. They must, at least, treat us fairly!!!” 

  • DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced his office is investigating the actions of DOJ law enforcement at protests in Portland and Washington, D.C., in recent months.
  • Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner has announced assault charges against a police officer Richard Paul Nicoletti who pepper sprayed Black Lives Matter protesters in June.

According to Krasner’s statement, Nicoletti sprayed the faces of two of the kneeling protestors “without provocation.” He pulled down the goggles one was wearing for protection to spray her again.  Nicoletti then approached a third seated protester, “reached down, grabbed and violently threw the protester onto his back, continually spraying him” with pepper spray.  “Unable to see,” that protestor swung at the officer, making no contact.

  • Prior to the playing of the national anthem, every player and coach on the Yankees & Nationals took a knee. The same occurred later at the Dodgers & Giants game.

Trump Administration

  • A federal judge on Thursday ordered President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen to be released from prison and into home confinement, ruling that the Justice Department retaliated against him over his planned tell-all book about the president.
  • Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said he will vote against President Trump’s controversial nomination of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board. Romney is the first Republican senator to announce his opposition to Shelton, who will also likely be opposed by all 47 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, so the opposition of three more Republicans would effectively doom her nomination.
  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany argued President Trump’s well wishes for Ghislaine Maxwell were intended to convey that he wants to see justice served in the courtroom for the associate of Jeffrey Epstein facing sex crime and perjury charges.
  • President Trump once again defended his cognitive abilities in an interview by pointing – unprompted – to a test he took in 2018 that is designed to rule out cognitive impairment.

“Person. Woman. Man. Camera. TV,” Trump said four times in an interview with Fox News, explaining that he was asked to recall and repeat a sequence of words at the beginning and end of the test. “If you get it in order, you get extra points.”

  • President Trump spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin by phone, discussing the novel coronavirus, arms control negotiations and other matters. Not discussed was the report of Russia paying bounties to Taliban members for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. 
  • In Retaliation for the Trump administration’s order to close China’s consulate in Houston, China announced on Friday that it had ordered the United States to shut its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
  • The Trump administration is lifting its rule blocking New Yorkers from enrolling in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs. State residents were previously banned over New York’s law allowing undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses.
  • President Trump announced that he will throw out a ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium next month.
  • President Trump said he would consider granting pardons for individuals implicated in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

“I’ve looked at a lot of different people. They’ve been treated extremely unfairly, and I think I probably would, yes,” Trump told Sean Hannity.

Presidential Campaign

  • In a Facebook ad this week, President Trump’s campaign used a picture from a 2014 protest in Ukraine to depict what it claimed was “chaos & violence” unfolding around the U.S.
  • In a surprising turnaround, President Trump announced that republicans have scrapped plans to hold convention activities in Jacksonville, Florida.

Trump had moved the convention to Jacksonville after North Carolina’s governor raised public health concerns about having massive gatherings in Charlotte, as the GOP had planned.

A scaled down convention in Charlotte will still be held, Trump said.

  • A convention official described chaos inside the Republican National Committee after President Trump pulled the plug on convention activities in Jacksonville.

The official described the situation as “a multimillion dollar debacle.” 

  • Jacksonville Sheriff Mike Williams and Mayor Lenny Curry (R) said in a joint statement they appreciate President Trump considering public health and canceling the convention.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations and Trump Administration Update

Read TIme: 6 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • The city council of Aurora, Colo., unanimously passed a resolution that approved an “independent, unbiased” investigation into the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died while in police custody in August of 2019.

McClain’s last words were documented on police body camera footage: “I’m an introvert. I’m just different. That’s all. I’m so sorry. I have no gun. I don’t do that stuff. I don’t do any fighting. Why are you attacking me? I don’t even kill flies! I don’t eat meat! But I don’t judge people, I don’t judge people who do eat meat. Forgive me … I’m so sorry.”

  • Activists who led an effort to paint “Black Lives Matter” on a Redwood City, CA street say that the words were removed after a conservative resident emailed officials demanding the right to paint a mural in support of President Trump on the same street.
  • Current and former employees at Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire described a culture of sexism and bullying that stemmed from the leader of Hearst Magazines, Troy Young. Some former employees also said that Cosmopolitan discriminated against women of color under its top editor, Jessica Pels.
  • Tom Ridge, a former GOP governor and the country’s first Secretary of Homeland Security, insisted that the department was not created “to be the president’s personal militia” after the Trump administration deployed federal officers to Portland.

“Had I been governor even now, I would welcome the opportunity to work with any federal agency to reduce crime or lawlessness in any of the cities. But … it would be a cold day in hell before I would consent to an unilateral uninvited intervention into one of my cities.”

  • A group of 14 mayors called on the Trump administration to stop deploying federal officers to major cities that have seen large protests in recent months.

In a letter to Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf Tuesday, the mayors voiced their “deep concern and objection to the deployment of federal forces in U.S. cities.”

“The unilateral deployment of these forces into American cities is unprecedented and violates fundamental constitutional protections and tenets of federalism,” the mayors wrote. “Deployment of federal forces in the streets of our communities has not been requested nor is it acceptable.”

  • Attorneys for Oregon argued for a restraining order against federal agents deployed to quell protests in Portland, in a standoff that some legal experts have warned could lead to a constitutional crisis in an election year.

A federal judge heard the state’s and the U.S. government’s arguments in a lawsuit filed by Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who accuses federal agents of arresting protesters without probable cause, whisking them away in unmarked cars and using excessive force to quell the unrest.

  • Portland will immediately ban all police bureau members from cooperating with federal law enforcement or intentionally using force on or arresting journalists and legal observers, under new policies the City Council passed Wednesday.
  • Protesters in at least 22 cities and states across the U.S. have organized their own Wall of Moms chapters in the wake of the movement’s success in Portland, Oregon.
  • Demonstrators took to the streets of downtown Portland Wednesday night to demand change in policing and racial injustice.

More than a thousand people gathered downtown outside the Justice Center and Federal Courthouse. Protests in Portland have been ongoing since late May following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

  • Just after 12:30 a.m., Portland police declared a riot “due to the violent conduct of the large group creating a grave risk of public alarm.” According to police, after the riot was declared, people remained outside the Federal Courthouse for several hours.

Police said Molotov Cocktails were thrown at the federal building, along with hundreds of projectiles. Meanwhile, multiple fires were lit in the area surrounding the courthouse, which included heavily wooded areas in the parks and trash receptacles on neighboring blocks.

  • Demonstrators’ defense tactics were recorded in a video. It shows a group gathered outside of Portland’s barricaded federal courthouse. When authorities toss tear gas canisters over a recently constructed fence surrounding the building, one protester uses the lacrosse stick to launch them back over the barrier.

The video shows additional protesters approaching the fence with masks and leaf blowers to disperse tear gas already released from the canisters.

  • A pile of debris burned outside the federal courthouse late Wednesday night as Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler (D) attended a nearby protest.

Tear gas was deployed at around that time and fireworks exploded near the courthouse and the Justice Center.

  • Wheeler was affected by the tear gas, according to video and posts on Twitter from a New York Times journalist.

The video shows Wheeler, wearing goggles and a face mask amid a crowd of people, hold his nose and close his eyes in distress as a cloud of tear gas drifts by him.

  • NY Gov. Cuomo (D) said Trump agreed that no federal action will be taken to address rising crime rates in NYC. The move comes after the president threatened to send federal agents to NYC.
  • Retired Four-Star Gen. Wesley Clark tweeted: “Now America has secret police? Deployed against the wishes of local government! No names, no badges, look like military! One of the worst offenses against our democracy in American history. Please, America, turn this back.”
  • President Trump and Attorney General Barr announced that federal agents will surge into Chicago and Albuquerque to help combat rising crime

“The Department of Justice will immediately surge federal law enforcement to the city of Chicago. The FBI, ATF, DEA, US Marshals Service, and Homeland Security will together be sending hundreds of skilled law enforcement officers to Chicago to help drive down violent crime.” Trump continued, “We must remember that the job of policing a neighborhood falls on the shoulders of local elected leadership. When they abdicate their duty, the results are catastrophic.”

  • Robert Wood “Woody” Johnson, the billionaire NFL owner of the NY Jets who serves as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to the UK, was investigated by the State Department watchdog after allegations that he made racist and sexist comments to staff and sought to use his government position to benefit the President’s personal business in the UK, multiple sources told CNN.

Johnson made racist generalizations about Black men and questioned why the Black community celebrates Black History Month, according to three sources and a diplomat familiar with the complaints.

His comments about women’s looks have been “cringeworthy,” a source with knowledge of the situation said, and two sources said it was a struggle to get him on board for an event for International Women’s Day.

“He’s said some pretty sexist, racist [things],”the diplomat with knowledge of the complaints said. 

  • The House voted to approve legislation to remove statues in the Capitol of people who served the Confederacy or otherwise worked to defend slavery.
  • The Boston Red Sox are showing their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

The phrase “Black Lives Matter” — written in the baseball team’s font — has been placed on the massive billboard that runs alongside the Massachusetts Turnpike by Fenway Park.

  • A bipartisan effort to make Juneteenth a federal holiday failed in the Senate on Wednesday after Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) blocked it from advancing. Johnson objected to giving “federal workers a paid day off that the rest of America has to pay for.”

Trump Administration

  • The US military conducted an airstrike in Somalia on Tuesday targeting ISIS fighters that had attacked US-backed local forces that were being advised by US troops. The “airstrike killed seven (7) ISIS-Somalia terrorists,” the statement from Africa Command said. 
  • The Trump administration told China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed. Chinese media reported that the consulate had been given 72 hours to close.
  • A Canadian court ruled a pact that compels asylum seekers trying to enter Canada via the American border to seek sanctuary first in the United States invalid, saying their detention in the US violates their human rights.

Under the Safe Third Country Agreement between the two neighbors, asylum seekers at a formal border crossing traveling in either direction are turned back and told to apply for asylum in the country in which they first arrived.

  • The Sierra Club and other petitioners asked the Supreme Court to halt the Trump administration’s construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall after a federal appeals court ruled last month that its use of Pentagon funding for the project is illegal.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Protest/Race Relations, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Protest/Race Relations

  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has expressed concern within the administration about federal agents dressing up like active-duty troops in U.S. cities, a Pentagon spokesperson said.
  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said federal agents in Portland “will not retreat” as law enforcement grapples with demonstrations and violent protests in Oregon’s biggest city.
  • Planned Parenthood of Greater New York announced it will remove the name of Margaret Sanger, who founded the national organization, because of her racist legacy and her connections to the eugenics movement — which pushed a discredited, racist theory that states that the human race can be “improved” through selective breeding of those with “desirable” traits.

Trump Administration

  • President Trump signed a memo that aims to omit undocumented immigrants from 2020 census count. The move is likely to prompt legal challenges.
  • President Trump is planning to send federal agents to Chicago and Mayor Lori Lightfoot pushed back against the plan in a letter to the president.

Officials with The Department of Justice said the plan to send federal agents there would not involve engaging with protesters. It would mainly be in response to shootings and street violence.

  • The American ambassador to Britain, Robert “Woody” Johnson IV, told multiple colleagues that President Trump had asked him to see if the British government could help steer the world-famous and lucrative British Open golf tournament to the Trump Turnberry resort in Scotland.
  • President Trump offered sympathetic words to Ghislaine Maxwell, who has been accused of child sex trafficking in connection to her late friend Jeffrey Epstein.

“I just wish her well, frankly,” Trump said

  • Top business groups representing multiple industries filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over newly issued limits on work visas.
  • White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told reporters that President Trump is committed to including a payroll-tax cut in the next coronavirus relief bill despite firm opposition from Senate Republicans.
  • The Commerce Department has unveiled sanctions against 11 Chinese companies over concerns that the firms were assisting China’s government with the oppression of Uighur minorities in the northwestern Xinjiang province.
  • The White House threatened to veto annual defense policy legislation in part because it includes a provision that would direct the Pentagon to rename military bases currently named after Confederate leaders.

Presidential Campaign

  • President Trump, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Sen. Lindsey Graham were seen in video footage at a Washington, DC fundraiser on Monday night without wearing masks — just hours after Trump tweeted that it’s “patriotic” to wear one.
  • Joe Biden said four Black women were in consideration to be his running mate, and he has been receiving extensive vetting briefings about each potential candidate.

“I am not committed to naming any (of the potential candidates), but the people I’ve named, and among them there are four Black women,” Biden told MSNBC’s Joy Reid.

  • Joe Biden on Tuesday proposed new tax credits for those who care for children, seniors and disabled people and said he would build tens of thousands of new child-care facilities as part of a plan to bolster what his campaign called the “caregiving economy.”
  • President Trump’s reelection campaign on Tuesday raked in $20 million in its first virtual fundraiser.
  • The mayor of Jacksonville, FL, on Tuesday backed up Duval County Sheriff Mike Williams’s assessment that the security plans for the Republican National Convention are inadequate, saying that he needed reassurance that law enforcement would have the necessary resources to secure the convention.
  • Joe Biden is preparing to ramp up his ad spending in the coming weeks, taking advantage of a recent fundraising surge that has helped him nearly close the financial gap between himself and President Trump. 

The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is poised to drop more than $15 million on paid media in the coming week alone, Biden’s campaign announced.

  • Joe Biden pledged to overturn President Trump’s travel ban that targeted majority Muslim countries on his first day in office if elected president.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations, Trump Administration, and Presidential Campaign Updates

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • In a Fox News interview, Mr. Trump refused to back down from supporting people who were against abolishing the Confederate flag, even as Chris Wallace pointed out that they had used it in defense of slavery. The president equated the movement to pull down the flags and Confederate monuments to “cancel culture,” a term more commonly used to describe a boycott against a person, often a celebrity, who says or does something culturally offensive.

“And you know, the whole thing with cancel culture, we can’t cancel our whole history,” Mr. Trump said. “We can’t forget that the North and the South fought. We have to remember that. Otherwise we’ll end up fighting again.”

  • Top Homeland Security officials said on Monday they had no intention of pulling back in Portland, Oregon, and defended the federal crackdown on anti-racism protests, including the use of unmarked cars and unidentified officers in camouflage.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf reacted to the pushback on their crackdown in Portland, Oregon, “I don’t need invitations by the state, state mayors, or state governors to do our job. We’re going to do that, whether they like us there or not.” 

  • Trader Joe’s will remove ‘racist branding and packaging’ from some of its international food items.

The grocery store chain said it will change product branding on some of its international food products, following an online petition that called for the elimination of the labels “Trader Ming’s,” “Trader José,” and “Trader Giotto’s.”

  • Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple that drew national attention earlier this month after footage of them pointing guns at protesters outside their home went viral, have been charged with felony unlawful use of a weapon.
  • The Department of Homeland Security expanded the authority of personnel to collect information on people they say are threatening to harm or destroy public monuments
  • Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a four-star general who served under former President George W. Bush, said Sunday he supports the push to rename Army bases named after Confederate leaders.

Trump Administration

  • A whistleblower complaint from a State Department employee about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s conduct, made public for the first time through a lawsuit, reveals that eyewitnesses made repeated attempts to inform executive leadership and legal advisers about his “questionable activities.”

The whistleblower said they had additional evidence to back up their allegations against Pompeo, according to a redacted complaint to the State Department inspector general’s hotline. The complainant said concerned parties were “blocked” from reporting the activity to the department’s Office of Legal Affairs.

  • White house Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said the Trump administration is readying a new executive order to expand the federal takeover of cities based on alleged lawlessness: “Attorney General Barr is weighing in on that with Secretary Wolf, and you’ll see something rolled out on that this week.”
  • Homeland Security officials said they are making preparations to deploy federal agents to Chicago, while President Trump threatened to send U.S. law enforcement personnel to other Democratic-led cities experiencing spates of crime.

Trump made the pronouncement as he defended his administration’s use of force in Portland, where agents have clashed nightly with protesters and made arrests from unmarked cars. Calling the unrest in Portland “worse than Afghanistan.” 

Trump’s rhetoric escalated tensions with Democratic mayors and governors who have criticized the presence of federal agents on U.S. streets, telling reporters at the White House that he would send forces into jurisdictions with or without the cooperation of their elected leaders.

“We’re looking at Chicago too. We’re looking at New York,” he said. “All run by very liberal Democrats. All run, really, by the radical left.”

“This is worse than anything anyone’s ever seen,” Trump continued. “And you know what? If Biden got in, that would be true for the country. The whole country would go to hell.”

  • A coalition of 20 states, several cities and a county are suing the EPA over a regulation that undermines the justification for certain clean air standards. 

The states sued over changes to the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (MATS) rule, which regulates pollution from power plants.

Presidential Campaign

  • “I understand you still have more than 100 days to this election, but at this point you’re losing,” Mr. Wallace told Mr. Trump after detailing a new Fox News poll that showed Mr. Biden leading the president by eight points, 49 percent to 41 percent, among registered voters.

“First of all, I’m not losing,” Mr. Trump replied, “because those are fake polls. They were fake in 2016, and now they’re even more fake. The polls were much worse in 2016.”

  • In an interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, President Trump wouldn’t commit to honoring the results of the November election. 

TRUMP: “I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election.”

WALLACE: “Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results?”

TRUMP: “I have to see.”

WALLACE: “Can you give a direct answer that you will accept the election?

TRUMP: “I have to see.”

  • Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) is expected to speak on behalf of former Vice President Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention next month. Kasich has been fiercely critical of President Trump, going as far as to call for his impeachment last year. Kasich’s expected speech on Biden’s behalf could also give the former vice president a boost in Ohio, a longtime swing state that has increasingly moved in Republicans’ favor in recent years.
  • With the Republican National Convention just over one month away, Jacksonville, Florida, Sheriff Mike Williams issued a statement Monday questioning whether the event can still be held safely in his city.

“I am compelled to express my significant concerns with the viability of this event,” Williams said in the statement. “It is my sole responsibility to provide safety and security for our city and more importantly, for the citizens who I serve. With a growing list of challenges — be it finances, communication and timeline, I cannot say with confidence that this event and our community will not be at risk.”

  • Democratic leaders in the House and Senate wrote to FBI Director Chris Wray requesting a “defensive counterintelligence briefing” for all members about Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2020 presidential election, according to a copy of the letter released Monday.

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID 19 Update

  • The CDC reported 74,710 cases, and 918 new deaths on Saturday.
  • The number of new coronavirus cases in the U.S. is up 19.7% from last week and the national death count is up 19%.
  • National fatality rate is now 3.8% and the test-positivity rate saw a slight increase to 10.1% from 9.8% the previous week.
  • 13% of COVID-19 inpatients are on a ventilator.
  • 32% of in-use ventilators across the U.S. are occupied by COVID-19 patients. At the coronavirus peak in April, it was 45%. In early June, it was down to 17%.
  • There were 259,848 new Covid-19 cases reported worldwide to the World Health Organization in the last 24 hours. 
  • The FDA announced it has issued an emergency use authorization that allows Quest Diagnostics to pool samples from up to four individuals to test for Covid-19.

Pooling allows multiple people to be tested at once. The samples are collected and then tested in a pool or “batch” using just one test. If the pool tests positive, this means one of or more of the people tested in that pool may be infected with the virus. Each of the samples would then have to be tested again individually.

  • The Trump administration is reportedly attempting to block billions of dollars for contact tracing, funding for the CDC and other nationwide coronavirus efforts that could be included in Congress’ next coronavirus relief package.
  • The Brazilian Society of Infectious Diseases urged medical professionals to stop using hydroxychloroquine on patients to treat coronavirus, emphasizing that clinicians should focus on effective therapies.
  • Speaking at his first “Tele-Rally,” President Trump acknowledged to supporters in Wisconsin that the telephonic town hall will be replacing his large, in-person campaign rallies.

“Until [the coronavirus pandemic] gets solved it’s going to be tough to have those big massive rallies, so I’m doing telephonic rallies, and we’ll call them the Trump Rallies, but we’ll do it by telephone.”

  • Canada will not allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play in Toronto due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • West Virginia University announced 28 football players have tested positive for Covid-19.
  • Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont are the only states that meet the basic criteria to reopen and stay safe.
  • Nineteen states set single-day records for the cases this week.

The states that set records this week were Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

  • New Jersey reported 309 new cases of Covid-19 and 16 additional deaths.
  • New York state added 754 Covid-19 cases and 11 new fatalities.
  • Florida’s health officials reported 10,328 new cases of Covid-19 and 90 new deaths on Saturday.
  • More than 9,100 Covid-19 patients are hospitalized in Florida, up over 2,000 in eight days. 
  • Florida has obtained more remdesivir and added self-swab tests as Covid-19 cases continue to climb in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) announced.
  • Intensive care units in Miami-Dade County are at 122% capacity. Ventilator use increased by 64%.
  • Indiana recorded 854 new Covid-19 cases on Friday, its second highest daily increase.
  • Indianapolis Public Schools will push back the start date for public schools another two weeks to August 17.
  • Kentucky reported 583 new cases, the state’s second-highest single-day total. The state reported nine deaths.
  • For a fifth day in a row, Texas has reported more than 10,000 new cases, with 10,158 new cases registered on Saturday. 130 more deaths were reported.
  • Hospitalizations reached a new high for the state of Texas with 10,658.
  • Arizona teachers are pushing for Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to postpone in-person classes until at least October as coronavirus cases continue to spike in the state.

Protests/Race Relations

  • Federal officers, clad in unmarked military fatigues and driving unmarked vans, have reportedly been abruptly grabbing and detaining protesters in Portland, as the tension between the forces sent to protect federal property and demonstrators continues.
  • The mayor of Portland demanded Friday that President Donald Trump remove militarized federal agents he deployed to the city after some detained people on streets far from federal property they were sent to protect.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for deploying federal law enforcement to Portland, OR.
  • The US Attorney for the Oregon District on Friday requested an investigation into masked, camouflaged federal authorities without identification badges who are arresting protesters in Portland.

The request is aimed specifically at the Department of Homeland Security personnel who have been captured on various videos arresting protesters and putting them in unmarked SUVs.

  • Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar (D) is calling for the resignation of acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf after federal authorities reportedly used unmarked vehicles to detain protesters and deployed tear gas in Portland, Oregon.
  • The federal agents deployed to Portland amid nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd reportedly did not have riot and mass crowd control training.
  • The Pentagon released a new policy that would ban the display of the Confederate battle flag without explicitly mentioning it.
  • The three white men charged with the murder of a Black jogger in the U.S. state of Georgia pleaded not guilty on Friday in a case that led to a national outcry after a cellphone video of the shooting surfaced on the internet.
  • Two white men were charged with battery on Friday after an alleged attempted lynching that was caught on video at a southern Indiana lake over Independence Day weekend.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection has fired four employees and suspended dozens of others as part of an investigation into their participation in Facebook groups full of racist and sexist content.
  • Eighty-seven protesters who were arrested earlier this week while calling for justice for Breonna Taylor have had felony charges against them dismissed, the Louisville Courier Journal reported on Friday. They do still, however, face misdemeanor charges.

The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department had arrested the protesters on Tuesday outside the home of Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron (R), where they were calling for charges against the police officers who fatally shot Taylor. They were charged with intimidating a participant in the legal process, a felony that could result in up to five years in prison, as well as two misdemeanors.

  • In the wake of Rep. John Lewis’s death, social media users are renewing a call to rename the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., after the civil rights icon instead of the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader.

Trump Administration News

  • A watchdog group filed a complaint against White House adviser Ivanka Trump for a photo pushing products from Goya Foods, accusing the president’s eldest daughter of violating ethics laws that prohibit government employees from using their positions to endorse products.
  • Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson on Friday sued the Trump administration for its recent rollback of Obama-era health protections given to the LGBTQ community under the Affordable Care Act.
  • A federal judge on Friday upheld a California program that caps carbon emissions from the transportation sector after the Trump administration sued the state over it.

Presidential Campaign

  • Priorities USA, one of the most prominent Democratic groups supporting Joe Biden, raised $36.6 million from April through June and had its biggest fundraising quarter of the cycle.
  • President Trump’s reelection campaign is conducting an internal review of spending irregularities overseen by Brad Parscale, its recently demoted 2020 campaign manager.
  • The St. Louis couple who brandished an assault rifle and pistol as protesters marched through the streets of their neighborhood appeared as guest stars during a virtual Trump campaign event. 

Sources:  ABC News, Associated Press, 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