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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Protest News

  • GOP Sen. John Cornyn will introduce legislation making Juneteenth, a commemoration of the emancipation of formerly enslaved African Americans, a federal holiday. The Texas lawmaker called the day “an opportunity to reflect on our history, the mistakes we have made, but yet how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and a reminder of just how far we still have to go.”
  • The watchdog for the Air Force is launching an investigation into whether the military improperly used reconnaissance aircraft to conduct surveillance on the protests over the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis.
  • Mary Elizabeth Taylor, a top State Department official who has served since the beginning of President Trump’s administration, quit Thursday over Trump’s handling of the nationwide protests over the police killing of George Floyd and police brutality.

“The President’s comments and actions surrounding racial injustice and Black Americans cut sharply against my core values and convictions. I must follow the dictates of my conscience and resign as Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs,” Taylor wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

  • Seattle’s largest labor group has expelled the city’s police union, citing unaddressed racism within the police force’s ranks.
  • Legislatures in 19 states and the District of Columbia have introduced more than 160 bills to address police violence in the three and a half weeks since the killing of George Floyd.
  • Little Rock, AK is the latest city to ban its police force from using neck restraints as a method to subdue and restrain individuals in custody. The police department will also institute a new “duty to intervene” policy that requires officers to stop fellow officers from using excessive force.
  • President Trump said he struggled to watch the entire video of George Floyd’s arrest and death at the hands of Minneapolis police, panning the officer now charged with his murder: “I couldn’t really watch it for that long a period of time, it was over eight minutes. Who could watch that? But it doesn’t get any more obvious or it doesn’t get any worse than that.”
  • A Richmond, Va., judge has indefinitely extended a hold on the removal of the city’s statue of Robert E. Lee two weeks after Gov. Ralph Northam announced it would be removed from public property.
  • Sen. Roy Blunt blocked the Senate from passing a bill to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi has ordered the removal of four portraits in the Capitol of previous House Speakers who served in the Confederacy.
  • The city council in Norman, OK has voted to cut $865,000 from the local police department budget and redirect most of the funds to community outreach efforts.
  • A Texas man is facing federal charges after authorities said he made racist and threatening comments against black people and Black Lives Matter protesters.

Manuel Flores, 42, of El Paso, was arrested on Monday and charged with transmitting threatening communications.

  • The Southeastern Conference demanded that Mississippi remove the Confederate battle emblem from its state flag. Without change, the commissioner warned, the conference might not hold future championship events in Mississippi.

Administration News

  • In a 5-4 ruling. the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from ending an Obama-era program that shields nearly 700,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation, upending a key feature of President Trump’s immigration agenda. The justices ruled that the administration failed to give an adequate justification for terminating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, keeping it intact.
  • President Trump said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that he made “Juneteenth,” the annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery that has been celebrated for more than a century, “very famous” by originally scheduling a campaign rally on the date.

“I did something good. I made Juneteenth very famous. It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”

  • President Trump escalated his criticism of the Supreme Court after a pair of rulings this week went against his administration, calling for new justices to be appointed and pledging to release a new list of potential nominees ahead of November’s election.

Trump tweeted: “The recent Supreme Court decisions, not only on DACA, Sanctuary Cities, Census, and others, tell you only one thing, we need NEW JUSTICES of the Supreme Court. If the Radical Left Democrats assume power, your Second Amendment, Right to Life, Secure Borders, and…Religious Liberty, among many other things, are OVER and GONE!”

  • Facebook said it had taken action against ads run by President Trump’s re-election campaign for breaching its policies on hate. The ads, which attacked what the Trump campaign described as “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups,” featured an upside-down triangle.

The Anti-Defamation League the triangle “is practically identical to that used by the Nazi regime to classify political prisoners in concentration camps.”

“We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate. Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group’s symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol

  • The Environmental Protection Agency ended an Obama-era drive to regulate a widespread contaminant in drinking water linked to brain damage in infants. The agency rejected warnings that the move will mean lower IQs for an unknown number of American newborns.

Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s Wheeler said the decision to drop the introduction of federal limits for perchlorate, a component of rocket fuel, ammunition and explosives, “fulfills President Trump’s promise to pare back burdensome ‘one-size-fits-all’ overregulation.

  • More than 1.5 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment insurance in the second week of June, according to data released by the Labor Department on Thursday. Roughly 760,526 Americans also filed new claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, an extension of jobless benefits to workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic but do not qualify for standard unemployment insurance.
  • The National Park Service is awarding $1.9 million in grants to 12 Indian tribes and 18 museums in order to recover ancestral remains and cultural items from across the United States.
  • Twitter took the rare step of appending a warning label to one of President Trump’s tweets after the company determined it violated its policies on manipulated media.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The US is sitting on a pile of 66 million anti-malaria pills after they were scrapped as a treatment for COVID-19 by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The FDA approved chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for use on hospitalized COVID-19 patients on March 28 but revoked less than three months later, following debate over their efficacy and safety.

  • Mark Lamb, an Arizona sheriff who in May said that he wouldn’t enforce a stay-at-home order during the pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a scheduled meeting with President Trump at the White House.
  • A church in rural northeastern Oregon that was holding services in defiance of a stay-at-home order is now the epicenter of the state’s largest coronavirus outbreak, as 236 people tested positive for the disease.
  • Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said the lockdowns meant to stem the spread of the coronavirus saved “millions of lives.”

“But if you look at the data … the fact that we shut down when we did and the rest of the world did, has saved hundreds of millions of infections and millions of lives,” he said.

  • The Monroe County Commission in Florida has voted to require all visitors and residents of the Florida Keys to wear face masks at any business or establishment until June 2021.
  • Trump International Golf Club in Palm Beach, Florida is asking local county officials to defer some of its $88,338 monthly rent as it has lost revenue during the coronavirus pandemic and federally passed aid specifically blocks the president’s companies from benefitting.
  • COVID-19 hospitalizations in Texas jumped 11 percent on Wednesday. The state now has 2,793 patients hospitalized with confirmed coronavirus infections.
  • Pro-Trump activist Brandon Straka was removed from an American Airlines flight from New York to Dallas after refusing to wear a mask in an incident caught on video by a New York Times reporter. Passengers applauded when he left the plane.
  • Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning confirmed 2,783 additional cases of COVID-19, setting another daily total record high since the start of the pandemic. The state now has a total of 80,109 confirmed cases. The state now has less than 25% of its ICU beds available.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 5 Minutes

Protest/Racial Inequality News

  • Two men inspired by the militant anti-government “boogaloo” movement have been charged in the drive-by killing of a federal courthouse guard in Oakland, California, last month during a night of nearby protests against police brutality.

Court papers filed in the case linked both men with the far-right boogaloo ideology whose followers see the U.S. government as an enemy bent on confiscating the guns they need in the event of civil war, a violent uprising or collapse of society.

  • Senate Republicans unveiled a police reform proposal. The bill would block state and local law enforcement departments from getting COPS and Byrne grants if they do not have a ban on chokeholds in place.

In addition to trying to incentivize police departments to ban chokeholds, the GOP bill also includes new requirements on reporting the use of force by police and the use of no-knock warrants, penalties for not using body cameras, requirements on law enforcement records retention, and would include a separate bill that makes lynching a federal hate crime.

  • The city council in Norman, Okla., has voted to cut $865,000 from the local police department budget and redirect most of the funds to community outreach efforts in the region.
  • An arrest warrant has been issued for former Atlanta police officer Garrett Rolfe, 27, who has been charged with 11 criminal counts including felony murder for shooting and killing Rayshard Brooks, a 27-year-old Black man, in a Wendy’s parking lot Friday.

A felony murder conviction carries with it a possible sentence of life in prison, life in prison without parole or the death penalty.

  • One protester said an officer used a baton to pin him by his neck against a squad car. Another said she was tackled by an officer who then drove his knee into her back so hard she could not breathe. These and other troubling accounts emerged at the first public hearing held by state officials investigating the New York Police Department’s handling of protests.
  • Mayor Bill de Blasio announced changes to the way the New York City police force handles complaints against its officers, including the creation of a database that will track the roughly 1,100 pending cases involving allegations of police abuse.
  • A New Mexico prosecutor dropped a shooting charge against an Albuquerque man suspected of shooting a protester and called for further investigations after allegations the protester was armed at the time he was shot. The district attorney dropped an initial aggravated battery with a deadly weapon charge against Steven Baca after images emerged online showing protester Scott Williams holding what was rumored to be a knife before he was allegedly shot by Baca.

Administration News

  • Michael Pack, President Trump’s pick to run the US Agency for Global Media has yet to show up for his job, sources tell CNN, leaving work “piling up” as a top Democratic lawmaker warns of an impending rash of firings at the agency.

Pack has not been seen at work since his Senate confirmation in early June.

Trump’s harshly critical comments about one of the agency’s divisions, Voice of America,have heightened concerns that Pack will try to turn VOA into a propaganda machine.

  • President Trump’s election-year push for a $1 trillion infrastructure spending bill to boost the struggling economy faces strong opposition from Senate Republicans. GOP senators are warning that Trump’s expected proposal is too “rich” and would be a “heavy lift” in Congress.
  • President Donald Trump signed legislation calling for sanctions over the repression of China’s Uighur Muslims, as excerpts from a book by his former national security adviser alleged he had approved of their mass detention.
  • U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Hawaii on Wednesday, the State Department said, amid a deep deterioration of relations between strategic rivals that are the world’s two top economies.
  • The Justice Department on Wednesday night sought an emergency order from a judge blocking the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s forthcoming White House memoir.
  • The U.S. imposed its toughest sanctions ever targeting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to choke off revenue for his government in a bid to force it back to United Nations-led negotiations and broker an end to the country’s nearly decade-long war.
  • The Trump administration has withdrawn from global talks to strike a deal on digital services taxes that would hit U.S. tech giants like Google and Facebook, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer confirmed.
  • Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley says he will introduce legislation this week to strengthen the laws governing the firing of government watchdogs and put new restrictions on who a president can appoint as an acting inspector general.
  • President Trump has reportedly been furious that news outlets reported on his visit to the White House bunker as protests against racism and police brutality raged nearby recently, and sources allege he has ordered his staff to find and prosecute those responsible for leaking details of the visit to journalists.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Nine states — Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas — reported either new single-day highs or set a record for seven-day new coronavirus case averages on Tuesday, according to a Washington Post analysis.
  • A federal judge is once again ordering Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to release the full amount of stimulus funding Congress set aside for Native American tribes which have waged a months-long battle to gain access to the funds set aside by Congress as indigenous peoples face some of the worst rates of COVID-19.
  • Airlines for America, which represents the major U.S. airlines, said customers could be put on a carriers’ do not fly list if they refuse to wear a face mask on planes.

The industry announced new face covering policies this week, including increased preflight communications, onboard announcements and consequences for noncompliance.

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany dismissed health concerns surrounding President Trump’s upcoming rally, saying the campaign had taken measures to ensure safety during the coronavirus pandemic and that attendees in Tulsa, Oklahoma would assume a “personal risk” in choosing to attend and whether they will wear provided face masks.
  • As Tulsa reported its largest single-day increase in cases since March, its top health official said he was “absolutely” worried that President Trump’s rally on Saturday could become a “super spreader” event.
  • Masks are no longer required of West Wing employees, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday, a loosening of a policy encouraged by administration health officials as a way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

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: 6 Minutes

Protest News

  • The New York City Police Department has reportedly removed officers out of district attorneys offices in several boroughs after some prosecutors decided to not file charges against some protesters arrested during recent demonstrations.
  • Martin Gugino, the 75-year-old activist who Buffalo, N.Y., police knocked to the ground and hospitalized, is unable to walk after his injury, his attorney said Tuesday.

“I am not at liberty to elaborate at this time other than to confirm that his skull was fractured. While he is not able to walk yet, we were able to have a short conversation before he became too tired.”

  • Steven Ray Baca, a former city council candidate, has been arrested and charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon with a firearm enhancement after police say he shot and critically injured a protester during a demonstration calling for the removal of the “La Jornada” sculpture in front of the Albuquerque Museum Monday night.
  • Columbus, Ohio police will no longer be allowed to use tear gas for crowd control, joining a growing number of cities across the country cracking down on chemical irritants as viral videos and reports show peaceful protesters being targeted with the weapons.

“Tear gas will no longer be used to break up peaceful protests. Period,” Mayor Andrew Ginther said.

Administration News

  • Leaders at the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) violated the agency’s scientific integrity policy by issuing a statement in September contradicting the National Weather Service shortly after President Trump said Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama.

“The development of the statement was not based on science but appears to be largely driven by external influence from senior Commerce [Department] officials who drafted the Sept. 6 statement,” the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) concluded in its report.

  • Interviews with nine current and former Chinese officials point to a shift in sentiment in favor of the sitting president, even though he has spent much of the past four years blaming Beijing for everything from U.S. trade imbalances to Covid-19. There is a belief that the benefit of the erosion of America’s postwar alliance network would outweigh any damage to China from continued trade disputes and geopolitical instability.

“If Biden is elected, I think this could be more dangerous for China, because he will work with allies to target China, whereas Trump is destroying U.S. alliances,” said Zhou Xiaoming, a former Chinese trade negotiator and former deputy representative in Geneva. Four current officials echoed that sentiment, saying many in the Chinese government believed a Trump victory could help Beijing by weakening what they saw as Washington’s greatest asset for checking China’s widening influence.

  • More than two weeks after President Trump said the U.S. would withdraw from the WHO, his government remains a member of the U.N. agency and continues to coordinate with it, raising hopes among agency officials the U.S. may not follow through.
  • President Trump signed an executive order that he says will deploy grants to help police departments meet certification standards on use of force, create a database on excessive force complaints, and encourage involvement of mental health professionals in nonviolent cases.
  • President Trump says chokeholds will be banned “except if an officer’s life is at risk” under a new credentialing process for police under the new executive order.
  • “President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their 8 year period. The reason they didn’t try is because they had no idea how to do it and it is a complex situation.”

NOTE: Under Obama, 14 consent decrees were enforced upon troubled and discriminatory police agencies. The Trump administration removed these tools for imposing accountability on police forces engaging in systemic racial discrimination and abuse.

  • In the middle of his Rose Garden speech about the signing of an executive order addressing police brutality, President Trump described the issue of school choice as the civil rights issue of the decade “and probably beyond.”
  • The president said, “These are the people, the best, the smartest … And, they’ve come up with the AIDS vaccine”

NOTE: There is no AIDS vaccine.

  • The Trump administration sued John Bolton on Tuesday to stop the publication of his memoir about his time in the White House, saying it contains classified information that would compromise national security if it became public.
  • Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon budget chief who questioned the Trump’s administration for its holding on aid to Ukraine last year, will leave her post at the end of the month, Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Tuesday. 
  • Vice President Pence said Tuesday that President Trump’s campaign is considering “outside activities” and a different venue for his upcoming Tulsa rally

“It’s all a work in progress. We have had such an overwhelming response that we’re also looking at another venue, we’re also looking at outside activities and I know the campaign team will keep the public informed as that goes forward,” Pence said on “Fox & Friends”

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • United Airlines announced that passengers who refuse to wear masks will be put on an internal travel restriction list and not be allowed on future flights.
  • New Zealand has reported its first new cases of coronavirus in more than a week after two women who traveled abroad tested positive after being released from their quarantine early. The pair of cases break the country’s eight-day streak of being COVID-19 free.
  • Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democratic congresswoman from Minnesota, said that her father had died from complications of Covid-19.
  • A clinical trial in Great Britain has found that a cheap, widely available drug reduces deaths from coronavirus in severely ill patients on ventilators by one-third, which researchers hailed as a significant breakthrough.

The drug, a steroid called dexamethasone, was found to reduce deaths among coronavirus patients on ventilators by one-third and by one-fifth among patients receiving oxygen only. There was no benefit among patients not on ventilators or receiving oxygen.

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that a full recovery from the pandemic-driven recession is “unlikely” until Americans no longer fear contracting COVID-19, despite recent strong economic data.
  • Florida’s Department of Health on Tuesday morning confirmed 2,783 additional cases of COVID-19, setting another daily total record high since the start of the pandemic. The state now has a total of 80,109 confirmed cases.

Florida, Texas and Arizona hit daily records for virus cases, each identifying well over 2,000 new infections as they have moved swiftly to reopen.

  • Beijing’s city government on Tuesday raised its COVID-19 emergency response level to II from III, according to state media.

The Chinese capital has been battling with a fresh outbreak of the new coronavirus, with more than a 100 new cases confirmed in recent days.

  • Woodbridge Township NJ police department paid a local barber to set up shop and give haircuts to police officers inside the station — as well as paying members of the public, despite an executive order from Gov. Phil Murphy that has banned similar personal care services for the past three months.

Police Director Robert Hubner told NJ Advance Media on Tuesday that the department paid the local barber for the first round of haircuts, totaling $1,605 for time and supplies, using funding from the federal Cares Act and that he was hired so the officers could comply with the department’s personal grooming standards.

  • Vice President Pence on Tuesday blamed the media for stoking concerns of a “second wave” of coronavirus in the United States, insisting in an op-ed that the Trump administration’s response has been successful even as infections are climbing in several states.
  • The U.S. coronavirus death toll on Tuesday surpassed the number of U.S. service members who died in World War I.

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: 9 Minutes

Protest News

  •  Amid growing calls for action in the wake of George Floyd’s death, President Trump plans to announce an executive order addressing police reform on Tuesday. It’s unclear what changes will be called for in the order.
  • Paris police are investigating after French white supremacists of “Generation Identitaire” chanted “Dirty Jews” during an anti-racism demonstration in Paris. 
  • Asked about what he’ll do if his team has some form of protest, Atlanta Falcons coach Dan Quinn says, “I’ll be with them” in whatever they choose to do. 
  • Top defense officials and members of local law enforcement are casting doubt on official statements made by the White House defending a decision for the U.S. Park Police to remove protesters from Lafayette Park prior to the president’s walk to St. John’s Episcopal Church for a photo op.

In interviews with The Washington Post, numerous named and unnamed officials contended that a decision to move a police perimeter by one block, which resulted in law enforcement deploying tear gas and physically chasing protesters from the park, was not made long in advance, as the White House previously contended.

Washington, D.C., Police Chief Peter Newsham told the Post that his agency only learned of the decision to clear protesters from the park “minutes” before the confrontation occurred and publicly questioned the legality of the operation.

The head of the U.S. National Guard, Gen. Joseph Lengyel, added that he “never” heard plans that National Guard service members would be used to remove protesters from the park, adding that he was shocked to see the images on TV.

“I never heard any plan, ever, that police or National Guard were going to push people out of Lafayette Square,” said the general.

  • NJ Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a  statewide order requiring law enforcement agencies to identify officers who commit serious disciplinary violations. Every state, county and local law enforcement agency in New Jersey will be required to publish a list of officers who were fired, demoted or suspended for more than five days due to a disciplinary violation.
  • Baseball players at a high school in Des Moines, Iowa, took a knee during the national anthem on Monday as protests against police brutality and racism continue across the country over the police killings of African Americans.

According to a local NBC affiliate, the whole baseball team at the Roosevelt High School kneeled in Principal Park prior to a game on Monday.

  • A 911 dispatcher watching real-time footage of George Floyd’s arrest in south Minneapolis last month became concerned about the officers’ behavior and told a police supervisor she didn’t want to “snitch” but thought he should be made aware of the situation, according to an audio recording.

The supervisor promised to “find out” what was happening, but didn’t immediately respond to the scene.

  • A man was shot Monday night as protesters and armed individuals in Albuquerque, NM, clashed over a bronze statue of a Spanish conquistador.

A group of protesters tried to tear down the statue of Juan de Oñate. Protesters wrapped a chain around the statue and chanted “tear it down.”

The demonstrators reportedly faced members of an armed militia that calls itself the New Mexico Civil Guard. The group carried semiautomatic rifles.

Gunshots were fired, and one of the protesters was shot. He was listed in critical but stable condition late Monday.

Local authorities later confirmed that the FBI is assisting investigators “as they interview people who were involved in the shooting.”

“We are receiving reports about vigilante groups possibly instigating this violence. If this is true will be holding them accountable to the fullest extent of the law, including federal hate group designation and prosecution,” Albuquerque Police Department Chief Michael Geier said in a Tuesday statement on Twitter.

Administration News

  • The United Sates Supreme Court ruled that discriminating against LGBTQ employees violates federal anti-discrimination law.

The Court ruled that a landmark civil rights law protects LGBT people from discrimination in employment, a resounding victory for LGBT rights from a conservative court.

The court decided by a 6-3 vote that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against LGBT workers.

  • A US Air Force F-15 fighter jet pilot died after the aircraft crashed in the North Sea off England.
  • President Trump accused the news media of attempting to “shame” his reelection campaign over plans to hold a rally during the coronavirus pandemic, accusing them of having “no Covid problem” in their coverage of nationwide protests against police brutality.

“The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!” Trump tweeted, suggesting the coverage of the protests had not pointed out risks of the demonstrations possibly leading to a spread of the coronavirus.

  • President Trump will hold a rally for Jeff Sessions’ primary opponent Tommy Tuberville next month in Sessions’ hometown.
  • President Trump’s niece has reportedly revealed herself as the source of an explosive New York Times investigation on her uncle’s taxes published last year in a new tell-all book she plans to release in August. Mary Trump, daughter of the president’s deceased older brother, Fred Trump Jr., plans to release the book titled “Too Much And Never Enough” just weeks ahead of the Republican National Convention.
  • All major cell phone carriers and Internet Service Providers (ISP)  in the U.S. suffered a large scale Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. A DDoS attack involves millions of fake users creating strain on servers and overloading them, causing services to be unreachable by real users.

NOTE: President Trump eliminated the cybersecurity coordinator position at the NSC in 2018. And in 2019 at least a dozen high-level officials resigned from the cybersecurity mission established under Obama.

  • The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request by the Trump administration to review California’s so-called sanctuary laws. With the denial, the Supreme Court let stand the lower court’s resolution in favor of three California sanctuary laws, which limited law enforcement cooperation on immigration and banned state and local authorities from using their resources to enforce federal immigration laws.
  • President Trump and Attorney General William Barr did not deny on Monday that the administration would sue to block the impending release of John Bolton’s memoir, with Barr insisting that the former national security adviser had yet to finish the required pre-publication clearance process.
  • President Trump today said he wants to pull thousands of U.S. troops from Germany in response to what he characterized as German delinquency on military spending. “We’re at 52,000 soldiers in Germany, that’s a tremendous amount of soldiers, that’s a tremendous cost to the United States,” Trump said. “Germany, as you know, is very delinquent in their payments to NATO.”

“They are delinquent of billions of dollars, this is for years delinquent,” Trump said. “So we are putting the number down to 25,000 soldiers.”

NOTE: Contrary to Trump’s comments, Germany does not owe that money to NATO.

  • Two top editors at the U.S. government-funded Voice of America (VOA) resigned Monday following the Senate’s approval of President Trump’s appointee for the federal agency that oversees the news outlet.

Director Amanda Bennett and Deputy Director Sandy Sugawara submitted their resignations ahead of Michael Pack’s arrival to run the independent news organization, which began broadcasting in 1942.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The president Tweeted: “Our testing is so much bigger and more advanced than any other country (we have done a great job on this!) that it shows more cases. Without testing, or weak testing, we would be showing almost no cases. Testing is a double edged sword – Makes us look bad, but good to have!!!”

NOTE: The United States ranks eleventh in per capita testing worldwide.

  • The Food and Drug Administration has withdrawn emergency use authorizations for two controversial coronavirus treatments promoted by President Donald Trump, amid concerns about their safety and effectiveness.

The drugs, hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, have failed in several recent clinical trials and doctors say they can cause serious heart problems. The FDA had allowed their use in hospitalized Covid-19 patients and in clinical trials.

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci said in an interview the reason the public was advised not to wear masks at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic was that they were in short supply.

When asked why people weren’t told to wear masks in the beginning, Fauci replied, 

“Well, the reason for that is that we were concerned the public health community, and many people were saying this, were concerned that it was at a time when personal protective equipment, including the N95 masks and the surgical masks, were in very short supply. And we wanted to make sure that the people namely, the health care workers, who were brave enough to put themselves in a harm way, to take care of people who you know were infected with the coronavirus and the danger of them getting infected.”

Fauci went on to say, “Masks are not 100% protective. However, they certainly are better than not wearing a mask. Both to prevent you [and others]. [A mask] can protect you a certain degree from getting infected from someone who, either is breathing, or coughing, or sneezing, or singing or whatever it is in which the droplets or the aerosols go out. So masks work.”

  • Nashville mayor John Cooper announced the city will stay in Phase 2 of reopening “for at least a few days longer” while “we await more data.” The 14-day case trend remains elevated, the mayor said.
  • GOP Rep. Tom Rice announced Monday that he and his family had tested positive for the coronavirus, becoming the eighth member of Congress to have a confirmed or presumed case of the disease. Rice and other Republicans, including President Trump, have been referring to the coronavirus as the “Wuhan virus” or “Chinese virus.”
  • The Academy Awards will be delayed for the first time in 40 years, extending eligibility for films after Covid-19 shut down productions and theaters. The event has been rescheduled for April 25, 2021.
  • Director of the United States National Economic Council Larry Kudlow said the record number of coronavirus cases in some states is something we’re going to have to get “used to,” and added that Trump is “disinclined” to recommend the re-closing of state economies even if cases spike.
  • The New York Stock Exchange will allow a limited number of market makers to return to its trading floor on Wednesday, nearly three months after closing it due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The president predicted schools would fully reopen in the fall. “The schools hopefully are gonna be back in the fall. They’re gonna be back in full blast. But the young people have very strong immune systems. I imagine that’s the reason.”
  • President Trump on Monday downplayed concerns of a rising number of coronavirus cases in states across the country, indicating that the increase was due to more testing.

“If we stop testing right now, we’d have very few cases, if any,” Trump said during a White House event.

  • The American Red Cross will now test all blood, plasma and platelet donations for Covid-19 antibodies, the organization said.
  • Vice President Mike Pence encouraged governors to adopt the administration’s explanation that a rise in testing was a reason behind new coronavirus outbreaks, even though testing data has shown that such a claim is misleading.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, 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 News

  • Amid ongoing demonstrations against racism, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson said America needs to stop being offended about everything and “grow up.”
  • House Majority Whip James Clyburn, the highest ranking African-American in Congress, said that he didn’t fear the police even when he grew up in a segregated environment in the South, but that that has changed recently: “All of a sudden, now I do fear the police. Young blacks fear the police.”
  • Lawmakers in Colorado have passed a bill that would introduce a sweeping set of reforms for law enforcement in the state, including a ban on chokeholds and a provision requiring officers to intervene if they see excessive force being used.
  • Seattle police are trying to reopen their East Precinct after officers had vacated the building while protesters set up a self-determined “Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone” in the surrounding streets. “We’re trying to get a dialogue going so we can figure out a way to resolve this without unduly impacting the citizens and the businesses that are operating in that area,” Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nollette said in a news conference
  • Police in Montpelier, Vermont have launched an investigation after a Black Lives Matter mural was recently vandalized with mud, dirt and oil.

Police said eyewitness accounts described the person as a white man around 50-years-old, and are asking the public for assistance in identifying the suspect.

  • Demonstrators painted “All Black Lives Matter” along a stretch of Hollywood Boulevard in a rainbow of colors across from the Dolby Theatre to honor black LGBTQ community members during the 50th anniversary of the first Pride celebration.
  • Buffalo officials have asked the state to investigate the 2008 firing of black police officer Cariol Horne, who stopped a white colleague from choking a suspect while making an arrest.
  • Disturbing new video footage from the killing of George Floyd by police officer Derek Chauvin shows fellow officer Tou Thao standing between Floyd and a crowd of horrified bystanders, who plead with Thao to intervene and save Floyd’s life.
  • Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates voiced support for renaming military bases named after Confederate leaders in a recent interview, citing the killing of George Floyd.

“The events since the killing of George Floyd present us with an opportunity where we can move forward to change those bases,” he told The New York Times in an interview published on Sunday. “It’s always puzzled me that we don’t have a Fort George Washington or a Fort Ulysses S. Grant or a Fort Patton or a facility named for an African-American Medal of Honor recipient. I think the time has come, and we have a real opportunity here.”

  • Oklahoma GOP Senator James Lankford said Sunday that it’s time to stop naming military bases after Confederate generals.

The senator said on ABC’s “This Week” that he thinks there are “lots of great” modern leaders to honor instead of Confederate generals.

  • Thousands of protesters joined in a Sunday prayer near the White House as part of a demonstration organized by Alfred Street Baptist Church and the NAACP amid protests in D.C. and across the country over racial inequality and police brutality.
  • Thousands of demonstrators, most wearing masks due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, gathered in New York City today to support black transgender Americans in a “Black Trans Lives Matter” march in front of the Brooklyn Museum.
  • President Trump said he will not watch NFL games or U.S. soccer matches if players do not stand for the national anthem.
  • The police shooting of Rayshard Brooks, an unarmed black man who was killed by local police after being found asleep in a drive-thru at a Wendy’s in Atlanta, has been ruled a homicide.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, claimed that the $600 checks being sent to Americans on unemployment as part of coronavirus relief efforts are a “disincentive” for people to return to work: “I mean we’re paying people not to work, it’s better than their salaries would get… That might have worked for the first couple months, it will end in late July.”
  • South Carolina reported its highest number of new cases for a fourth consecutive day on Saturday, as Alabama and Florida documented their highest numbers for a third day in a row.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that his country has handled the coronavirus pandemic better than the U.S., saying partisanship has hampered the American response.

“We are working rather smoothly and emerging from this situation with the coronavirus confidently and, with minimal losses… But in the [United] States that is not happening,” Putin told state TV

  • Tulsa’s health director voiced concerns about President Trump’s upcoming rally in the city, saying the novel coronavirus is still a serious health threat and that a large indoor event produces a “huge risk.”

“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Tulsa City-County Health Department’s director Bruce Dart told The Tulsa World. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”

“COVID is here in Tulsa, it is transmitting very efficiently,” Dart added. “I wish we could postpone this to a time when the virus isn’t as large a concern as it is today.”

  • Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., said that the ban on British travelers entering the U.S. is likely to last months based on “what’s going with the infection rate.”
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he would reverse the reopening process for individual parts of the state if they do not abide by social distancing practices, citing thousands of complaints in Manhattan and the Hamptons.

“I am warning today in a nice way: consequences of your actions,” Cuomo said at a press conference Sunday. “We have 25,000 complaints statewide. I’m not going to turn a blind eye to them. They are rampant and there’s not enough enforcement.”

“I am not going to allow situations to exist that we know have a high likelihood of causing an increase in the spread of the virus,” the governor added.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, 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: 4 Minutes

Protest News

  • Atlanta police chief Erika Shields has resigned after a video of another fatal police shooting went viral Friday night, prompting more protests against racism and police violence.
  • Almost a dozen South Florida police officers resigned from their city’s SWAT unit this week, claiming that they did not feel safe and that current “politicalization of our tactics” limited them in doing their jobs.
  • The Secret Service is walking back a statement it made last week claiming its agents did not use tear gas or pepper spray on protesters to “secure the area” near Lafayette Square last Monday.

In an amended statement released Saturday afternoon, the Secret Service said after further review, it determined that “an agency employee used pepper spray on June 1st during efforts to secure the area near Lafayette Park.”

  • Photojournalist experts lashed out at Fox News for publishing alleged photoshopped pictures of a man armed with a military-style rifle in front of a smashed storefront and in other areas of the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone in Seattle.
  • “That could be me, pulled over for speeding five miles over the speed limit. That could be me with a busted tail light,” Surgeon General Jerome Adams said regarding the death of George Floyd. “That could be me who is just seen as a black man and not as the surgeon general of the United States — especially if I’m not wearing a uniform, but I’m casually dressed in my hoodie and tennis shoes and athletic apparel — and that could be me on the side of a road with a knee in my neck.”
  •  South Brunswick Police said three protesters were injured on Friday afternoon when a deer ran into the crowd marching along a highway in New Jersey.

Two people were treated for their injuries on scene. A 69-year-old woman with a serious head injury was taken to the hospital and was in intensive care late Friday.

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed into law a sweeping police reform bill that bans law enforcement officers from using chokeholds following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. It also repeals a section of the state’s civil rights law that allows prior disciplinary records of law enforcement officers to become transparent.

“And we made it clear: No reform – no funding,” Cuomo tweeted.

  • An officer has been fired following a review of the fatal police shooting of Rayshard Brooks on Friday night during an incident at a Wendy’s drive-thru. The 27-year-old was sleeping in his car before the confrontation with the police. The Georgia Bureau of Investigation says Brooks obtained a police taser and pointed it an officer. The Wendy’s in question has been set alight and is engulfed in flames.

Administration News

  • President Trump’s commencement speech to West Point’s graduating class highlighted the diversity of America’s newest officers defending the nation’s core principles. Trump emphasized unity at a time when his relationship with military leaders is strained.
  • The Trump administration may pursue oil and gas drilling off the coast of Florida after the presidential election this November, according to administration sources who say Trump is waiting because of how unpopular offshore drilling is in the state.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • The Beijing authorities shut down a major seafood and produce market and locked down several residential complexes on Saturday after 53 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the city.
  • Face masks appear to be most effective when supplemented with hand-washing and physical distancing, researchers have found.
  • The CDC released new pandemic guidelines that include a recommendation saying cloth face coverings were “strongly encouraged” at events that involve shouting, chanting or singing.
  • Brazil’s coronavirus death toll is now the second-highest in the world, surpassing the United Kingdom and trailing only the United States.
  • White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro said the next coronavirus relief package could provide up to $2 trillion in funding, as lawmakers spar over what should be included in the next round of legislation.
  • Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has indicated that he will not require residents to wear face masks in public spaces in the state, despite a sharp increase in coronavirus cases.
  • States may need to reimplement the strict social distancing measures that were put in place earlier this year if U.S. coronavirus cases rise “dramatically,” a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official said.

“Right now, communities are experiencing different levels of transmission occurring, as they gradually ease up onto the community mitigation efforts and gradually reopen,” the CDC’s deputy director for infectious diseases, Jay Butler, told reporters during a press briefing.

  • Health officials in Washington are warning that the coronavirus is spreading more widely throughout the state, an increase likely driven by transmissions that took place over Memorial Day weekend.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, 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

ThePast 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Protest News

  • Protesters left a trail of red paint behind them to symbolize blood on the New York City streets as they marched to oppose police brutality and racism in the criminal justice system.
  • One of the six police officers in Atlanta charged over an incident caught on video, in which two college students were pulled from their car at gunpoint and tased, has previously been named in a lawsuit over a 2016 shooting during a raid that killed a mentally ill man.
  • President Trump said that he didn’t believe it was significant that the top US general apologized for his role in the president’s photo opportunity outside St John’s Church last week: “If that’s the way they feel, I think that’s fine.”
  • Starbucks on Friday reversed its stance barring employees from wearing clothing that supports the Black Lives Matter movement.

“We see you. We hear you. Black Lives Matter. That is a fact and will never change,” Starbucks said in a statement.

The coffee chain giant made its initial stance against wearing Black Lives Matters shirts and pins known to employees in a memo earlier in the week

  • Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged with second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd, could receive more than $1 million in pension benefits even if he is convicted, the Minnesota Public Employees Retirement Association confirmed.
  • Denver schools voted Thursday night to take police out of its schools, one of a handful of major districts to do so in recent days, fueled by protests over police brutality.
  • Both chambers of the Iowa Legislature unanimously passed a police reform bill to ban most chokeholds and address officer misconduct. The bill was introduced simultaneously and flew through both the Senate and House within hours.
  • “Breonna’s Law” will ban no-knock search warrants in Louisville, Kentucky, after police officers shot and killed Breonna Taylor in her home in March. The city council voted unanimously on the ban and the mayor pledged to sign it.
  • New York City council leaders came out in support of a plan to cut $1 billion from the city’s police budget as protests across the country continue against systemic racism and police use of force.
  • President Trump’s advisers are reportedly offering competing advice on how to address nationwide protests against racism and police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd, with sources familiar with White House conversations claiming Trump has privately said, “these aren’t my voters” on more than one occasion when discussing protesters and how to respond.
  • In a Fox NewsPresident Trump described the concept of chokeholds as “so innocent” in an interview that aired Friday, though he acknowledged that the practice in policing should be ended in most cases.

Trump, who said he hoped to see “strong but compassionate policing” moving forward, said he doesn’t like chokeholds before going on to defend the practice in certain situations against “tough” and “bad” people.

“I think the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent, so perfect,” Trump said, explaining that it’s often a matter of physical strength and a case-by-case basis.

“So you have to be careful,” Trump added. “With that being said, it would be, I think, a very good thing that generally speaking it should be ended.”

  • President Donald Trump claimed in a Fox News interview with Harris Faulkner that he’s done more for the Black community than any other president in history, including Abraham Lincoln.

“So I think I’ve done more for the Black community than any other president, and let’s take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although it’s always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result…” Trump said

Administration News

  • Former White House national security adviser John Bolton will claim in his forthcoming book that President Trump engaged in “misconduct with other countries,” beyond his contacts with Ukraine, the subject of the president’s impeachment last year.
  • The International Criminal Court condemned President Trump’s executive order sanctioning court officials investigating alleged war crimes by American troops in Afghanistan, saying Trump’s “attacks constitute an escalation and an unacceptable attempt to interfere with the rule of law and the Court’s judicial proceedings.”
  • President Trump’s former casino in Atlantic City, which has remained empty since 2014, is set to be demolished. Debris and panels have been falling off the crumbling facade and crashing down to the boardwalk.
  • North Korean leaders say they see little reason to maintain ties with President Trump two years after the leaders’ first summit, accusing Trump of touting his relationship with leader Kim Jong Un to gain political clout instead of actually reaching a mutual agreement.

“Never again will we provide the U.S. chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns,” the country’s foreign minister said. “Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.”

  • A top aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will appear before a House committee probing the ousting of the State Department’s independent watchdog, according to a letter sent to Congress and obtained by The Hill.

Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao can appear before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on June 22 or June 23, Pompeo informed Rep. Eliot Engel, the chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

  • The Trump administration finalized a rule to erase Obama-era protections for transgender patients facing discrimination in health care. The administration announced the move on the 4-year anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting and during Pride Month.

A rule finalized on Friday by the Department of Health and Human Services means that the federal government no longer recognizes gender identity as an avenue for sex discrimination in health care.

  • The FBI on Wednesday warned that malicious cyber actors were targeting mobile banking apps in an attempt to steal money as more Americans have moved to online banking during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a public service announcement, the FBI noted it expects to see hackers “exploit” mobile banking platforms, which have seen a 50 percent surge in use since the beginning of the pandemic.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert and member of the White House coronavirus task force, said that attending a protest is “risky,” and suggests those attending to wear face masks and wash their hands often.
  • White House economic officials on Friday downplayed concerns about recent spikes in cases of the novel coronavirus in several U.S. states amid fears on Wall Street about a new wave of COVID-19.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on “Fox & Friends” that the developments did not signify a “second spike” nationally of COVID-19, citing conversations with White House health experts the evening prior.

Speaking later on Fox News, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett described some “embers flaring up” in various states, pointing to troubling data in South Carolina and Arizona, but he insisted that cases nationally continue to decline.

  • The State Department will resume passport services for American citizens after a three-month pause in applications spurred by coronavirus-related closures and travel advisories.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, 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 News

  • Gen. Mark Milley apologized for appearing in photo-op with Trump after forceful removal of protesters, “I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics. As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from.”

Milley discussed resigning after his participation in President Trump’s photo opportunity outside St. John’s Episcopal Church last week, according to three senior defense officials.

  • Trump tweeted: “Our great National Guard Troops who took care of the area around the White House could hardly believe how easy it was. “A walk in the park”, one said. The protesters, agitators, anarchists (ANTIFA), and others, were handled VERY easily by the Guard, D.C. Police, & S.S. GREAT JOB!”

NOTE: By all reported accounts the protesters were peaceful.

  • In a tweet, Trump appeared to threaten to send troops to Seattle to quell civil unrest. “Radical Left Governor @JayInslee and the Mayor of Seattle are being taunted and played at a level that our great Country has never seen before. Take back your city NOW. If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game. These ugly Anarchists must be stooped (sic) IMMEDIATELY. MOVE FAST!”
  • Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan mocked President Trump on Wednesday, calling on him to “go back to your bunker” after he criticized her response to demonstrations.  

“Make us all safe. Go back to your bunker,” Durkan tweeted.

  • An internal memo sent to Starbucks employees last week specifically warned staffers against wearing accessories or clothes bearing messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The memo, obtained by BuzzFeed News, reminds staffers that such messages are prohibited under the company’s policy against accessories that “advocated a political, religious or personal issue.”

  • The country band Lady Antebellum announced on Thursday that it changed its name to Lady A. 

In a statement announcing the change, the band said, “we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued.”

  • The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved an amendment aimed at blocking President Trump from deploying active-duty troops against protesters.
  • Minnesota governor Tim Walz endorsed a package of sweeping police reforms. Walz urged the legislature to adopt proposals that would put investigations of officer-involved deaths in the hands of the attorney general, revamp oversight and disciplinary procedures and fund community groups that could act as alternatives to the police.

  • San Francisco Mayor London Breed has just announced that the city’s police force would undergo sweeping reform, outlawing tear gas and ending police responding to non-criminal calls, such as calls about homeless people, school discipline or disputes among neighbors.
  • President Trump says that his administration is working on an executive order that will encourage police to meet “professional standards” for the use of force in the line of duty.

“[It] means force, but force with compassion. But if you’re going to have to really do a job, if somebody’s really bad, you’re going to have to do it with real strength, real power,” Trump said.“I said we have to dominate the streets. And I was criticized for that statement. … Well, guess what, you know who dominated the streets? People who you don’t want to dominate the streets.”

  • The Los Angeles Police Department has opened 58 investigations of officer misconduct related to recent protests in the city. Most protests in the city were peaceful.
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced a review of the National Guard’s controversial role in nationwide protests over the death of George Floyd, as lawmakers press for answers on the use of military forces at demonstrations.
  • John Catanzara, the new president of Chicago’s powerful police union, has issued a stern warning to officers. He says any officers showing sympathy to police protesters while in uniform could be thrown out of the union.

“If you kneel, you’ll be risking being brought up on charges and thrown out of the lodge,” Catanzara said.

  • The NFL pledged Thursday to contribute $250 million over 10 years to programs that address racial injustice, bolstering the league’s social justice initiatives first established in cooperation with a group of players amid the national controversy in late 2017 over players’ protests during the national anthem.
  • Hundreds of West Point graduates slammed top Pentagon leaders in a letter, accusing officials of failing to uphold the Constitution and participating “in politically charged events” amid protests over the death of George Floyd: “We are concerned that fellow graduates serving in senior-level, public positions are failing to uphold their oath of office and their commitment to Duty, Honor, Country.”
  • Officer Rubin Rhodes, a five-year San Francisco police veteran who took a knee with protesters was sent home the next day by his supervisors for insubordination.

Rhodes was accused of being insubordinate after coming to work with his earrings on. Rhodes had worn earrings to work nearly every day prior without issue.

Administration News

  • President Trump signed an executive order Thursday authorizing economic sanctions and travel restrictions against workers from the International Criminal Court (ICC) who are investigating American troops and intelligence officials for alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor, requested that the court open investigations into U.S. forces in 2017, arguing that it had enough evidence to prove that they had “committed acts of torture, cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape and sexual violence” in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004.

  • The Federal Reserve projects the U.S. economy will contract by 6.5 percent this year, and Fed Chair Powell is signaling that lawmakers can do more to ease the pain, “If there were more fiscal support, you’d see better results sooner.”
  • The GOP-led Senate Armed Services Committee has adopted an amendment behind closed doors for the Pentagon to remove the names of Confederate generals from military assets within three years.
  • People requesting tickets for Trump’s Iowa rally must agree to this waiver, “By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree not to hold Donald J. Trump for President, Inc.; BOK Center; ASM Global; or any of their affiliates, directors, officers, employees, agents, contractors, or volunteers liable for any illness or injury.”
  • The Republican National Committee announced Thursday that President Trump’s renomination speech and other convention festivities will move to Jacksonville, Fla., from Charlotte, after the original site refused to go along with Trump’s demands for a crowded large-scale event amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Customs and Border Protection spent some of the $112 million appropriated to the agency for food and medical care for migrants on ATVs, dirt bikes and boats, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 

  • Vice President Pence deleted a tweet showing staff crowded together at the Trump campaign office in Virginia while not socially distancing or wearing face coverings. Under phase one of Virginia’s reopening plan, the state calls for employers to discourage large gatherings and temporarily move or stagger workstations to ensure six feet of separation.
  • In a stunning move, the Trump administration is signaling that it won’t disclose the recipients of more than $500 billion in bailout money delivered to 4.5 million businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin says it’s “proprietary” and “confidential” information. The General Accounting Office told POLITICO that the Small Business Administration is also withholding PPP loan data the agency requested as part of its oversight efforts.
  • A top Harvard doctor said Thursday that the U.S. could see its death toll from the coronavirus pandemic hit 200,000 by September, as several states have seen spikes in the number of COVID-19 cases.

“The numbers are concerning particularly in states like Arizona, North and South Carolina, Florida and Texas — places where we’re seeing pretty consistent increases,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute told NBC’s “Today.” 

  • He added, “It is about two weeks after Memorial Day that we’re seeing this, and this is what we were worried about. I had hoped that the fact that people are spending more time outside, it’s summer, we would not see such a big increase so fast.”
  • Mnuchin is dismissing any doubt that the economy needs another shot of federal funds, after the Trump administration took a wait-and-see attitude the last several weeks.
  • Mnuchin also said, “We can’t shut down the economy again. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage and not just economic damage.”
  • Another 1.5 million people applied for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, adding to the tens of millions of people who have applied for the benefits since the pandemic began.
  • 1,698 new reported COVID-19 cases in Florida. The single highest daily rate yet.
  • Alabama set a record for the number of new coronavirus cases recorded in a single day as many states across the country are also seeing spikes in cases. The Alabama Department of Public Health reported 848 cases Thursday with 11 deaths.
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago announced Thursday that doctors there performed a double lung transplant on a young woman infected with coronavirus, in what could be a model used for some other seriously ill patients. The dramatic story of the young woman in her 20s is boggling doctors, who had to put her on life support for weeks after she contracted the virus even though she was previously very healthy.
  • Ohio State Sen. Steve Huffman has been fired from his position as an emergency room doctor after using racist language to question whether people of color are disproportionately affected by the coronavirus because of poor hygiene.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, 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: 7 Minutes

Protest News

  • Despite repeated Trump administration assertions that the antifa movement has hijacked the ongoing protests around the country, a new federal intelligence bulletin points to white supremacists and other would-be domestic terrorists as the main problem lurking behind potentially lethal violence.

“Based upon current information, we assess the greatest threat of lethal violence continues to emanate from lone offenders with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremist ideologies and [domestic violent extremists] with personalized ideologies,” according to the bulletin, which was obtained by ABC News.

It says would-be domestic terrorists “including militia extremists and [groups] who advocate a belief in the superiority of the white race have sought to bring about a second civil war, often referred to as a ‘Boogaloo’ by intentionally instigating violence at First Amendment-protected activities. Racially charged events, coupled with the accompanying widespread media attention, and the rapid dissemination of violent online rhetoric by [extremists], are likely to remain contributing factors to potentially ideologically motivated violence.”

  • Andre Lamar, a Gannett staff reporter-photographer was arrested Tuesday night in Delaware while covering a protest over the police killing of George Floyd near the state’s capital, Dover.

Lamar asked officers why the protesters were being detained. Lamar was tackled by police despite his repeated explanation that he was a member of the press. He was still taken into custody, with the officers confiscating his press badge and camera bag.

Delaware State Police confirmed the arrest in a statement, but said that “[a]s a result of the investigation, the media reporter was released with no charges filed.”

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that President Trump could take action on police reform through an executive order.
  • More than a thousand Department of Justice alumni are calling on the department’s internal watchdog to investigate Attorney General William Barr’s role in the aggressive dispersal last week of protesters gathered near the White House so that President Trump could walk down the street for a photo op, saying if he “deprived Americans of their constitutional rights or that physically injured Americans lawfully exercising their rights, that would be misconduct of the utmost seriousness.”
  • National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told reporters on Tuesday that he didn’t believe systemic racism existed in the US, adding that “law and order is good for growth.”
  • Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, testified before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday. Floyd made an impassioned plea to Congress to enact sweeping changes to law enforcement in America to address police brutality and systemic racism.
  • NASCAR said that it would ban the Confederate flag from its events and properties.
  • US Soccer’s board of directors voted to end the league’s ban on kneeling during the national anthem.
  • Prosecutors in Hennepin County, MN, said they were negotiating a plea deal with Derek Chauvin, a former officer charged in the death of George Floyd, before the deal fell through, ABC News reported.

The arrangement under discussion would have reportedly allowed Chauvin to plead guilty to local murder charges and federal civil rights violation charges, the prosecutor’s office told ABC.

Administration News

  • Slightly more than one-quarter of all Americans questioned in a new Politico-Morning Consult Poll said they see President Trump as a man of faith.

The poll found that 27 percent of respondents somewhat or strongly agree that Trump is religious, compared to 55 percent who somewhat or strongly disagree. Forty percent of evangelicals also agreed that Trump was a man of faith,

  • Louis DeJoy, a top donor to President Trump and the Republican National Committee will be named the new head of the Postal Service, putting a top ally of the president in charge of an agency where Trump has long pressed for major changes in how it handles its business.

The Postal Service’s board of governors confirmed late Wednesday that DeJoy, a North Carolina businessman who is currently in charge of fundraising for the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, will serve as the new postmaster general.

  • White House tells Bolton lawyer that the book still has classified information. But the book has already shipped to warehouses, per publisher.
  • A former federal judge on Wednesday blasted the U.S. Justice Department for what he called “a gross abuse of prosecutorial power” in seeking to drop its criminal case against Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s first national security advisor.

“The Government has engaged in highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President,” the ex-judge, John Gleeson, wrote in a scathing legal filing opposing the proposed dismissal.

Gleeson, who was assigned by the judge in Flynn’s case to advise him on several questions, also wrote that the retired Army lieutenant general “has indeed committed perjury” in his statements to the case judge during proceedings in the case, “for which he deserves punishment.”

  • President Donald Trump is expected to arrive at his Bedminster golf club Thursday evening for a busy weekend that includes a political fundraiser at the Lamington Road property and an address to the graduating class at West Point.

Trump had been scheduled to visit his Bedminster club last weekend, but the trip was canceled because of the ongoing protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on Memorial Day.

  • President Trump says he will “not even consider” renaming Army bases that were named after Confederate military leaders even as reports emerge that his top military leaders are open to the idea.

“These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump tweeted.

  • President Trump’s campaign is demanding CNN retract and apologize for a recent poll that showed him well behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The demand, coming in the form of a cease and desist letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker that contained numerous incorrect and misleading claims, was immediately rejected by the network. “We stand by our poll,” said Matt Dornic, a CNN spokesman.

  • President Trump said his first rally since March 2nd will be in Tulsa, Oklahoma next Friday.
  • A federal court in New York City determined that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent may no longer arrest immigrants at U.S. courthouses. U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff declared the policy “illegal” in a huge blow to the Trump administration.
  • The Federal Reserve on Wednesday kept interest rates close to zero amid the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic, and officials expect them to remain there until at least 2022.
  • The deficit in the first eight months of the 2020 fiscal year hit a record $1.9 trillion, surpassing the largest annual deficit on record, $1.4 trillion in 2009.

Treasury Department data released Wednesday found that the deficit for May hit $399 billion, the second highest monthly level after April’s record-shattering $738 billion figure.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Dr. Anthony Fauci reacted to news that the DC National Guard says some of its troops contracted coronavirus while responding to protests, calling the development “disturbing,” but “not surprising,” given the lack of social distancing amid protests last week.
  • Starbucks expects the coronavirus pandemic to reduce sales this quarter by as much as $3.2 billion, dragging down the coffee chain’s performance as it sees a recovery stretching into next year. 

Starbucks will close up to 400 company-owned locations over the next 18 months while also speeding up the expansion of “convenience-led formats” such as curbside pickup, Drive-Thru and mobile-only pickup locations.

  • Though AstraZeneca has said it is laying plans to be able to ship 2 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, once it is created and approved, “The challenge is not so much to make the vaccine itself, it’s to fill vials,” said Pascal Soriot, CEO of AstraZeneca, on a conference call hosted by an industry trade group last week. “There’s not enough vials in the world.”
  • The US has now seen 2,000,000 coronavirus cases.

As of June 10 at 4:40 p.m. ET, there have been 2,002,229 COVID-19 cases and 113,344 reported deaths in the US.

  • A month into its reopening, Florida reported the most new cases of any 7-day period.
  • In Texas, hospitalizations jumped to the highest yet and the third consecutive daily increase.
  • California’s hospitalizations have risen in nine of the past 10 days.
  • The Trump administration opposes a Democratic proposal to extend a $600 per week federal unemployment benefit approved in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia said Tuesday.
  • After Arizona lifted its stay at home restrictions in the middle of May, coronavirus cases have spiked 115 percent. On Saturday, Arizona’s health director told hospitals to activate coronavirus emergency plans
  • During a hearing on whether to declare racism a public health crisis, state Sen. Steve Huffman (R-Tipp City, OH)  asked if “the colored population” is hit harder by the coronavirus because perhaps they don’t wash their hands as well as other groups.

Sources:  ABC News, Axios, 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