The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 7 Minutes

Protest News

  • President Trump on Tuesday shared a conspiracy theory that the 75-year-old man pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, New York could be an “ANTIFA provocateur,” claiming without evidence that Martin Gugino was “pushed away after appearing to scan police communications in order to black out equipment.”

“I watched, he fell harder than was pushed,” the president tweeted. “Was aiming scanner. Could be a set up?”

  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo went off on President Trump for his tweet voicing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the 75-year-old man who was violently pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo during a protest could be part of a “set up.”

“It’s all made up, it’s all fabricated. There’s no fact to any of it,” Cuomo said. “He accuses this man of being associated with antifa, no proof whatsoever, no fact, just an assertion.”

  • Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer said President Trump should “go back to hiding in the bunker” after the president tweeted an unfounded conspiracy theory suggesting a 75-year-old protester who was violently pushed by police in Buffalo, N.Y., could be part of a “set up.”
  • A New York City police officer surrendered to face criminal charges on Tuesday, over a week after cellphone showed him shoving a woman to the ground and calling her a “bitch” during a protest against police brutality.

The Brooklyn district attorney’s office plans to charge the officer, Vincent D’Andraia, with misdemeanor assault, harassment and menacing over the May 29 incident

  • Alison Hirsh, a senior official in the de Blasio administration, has left the mayor’s office over his handling of recent protests across the city. The senior adviser  was so troubled by de Blasio’s near-unconditional defense of the NYPD amid incidents of violence against protesters, she decided to step down from the job she was hired for last fall.
  • Authorities are investigating after a family camping in Washington state was harassed and confronted by people who accused them of being part of Antifa. 

The family went to a local store to get camping supplies, where they were confronted by “seven or eight car-loads of people” in the parking lot.

“The people in the parking lot repeatedly asked them if they were ‘ANTIFA’ protesters,” according to a release from the sheriff’s office. “The family told the people they weren’t associated with any such group and were just camping.”

Officials say at least four vehicles followed the family and two of the vehicles had people in them carrying what appeared to be semi-automatic rifles. 

The family eventually made it to their campsite. But officials say the family became concerned for their safety after hearing gunshots and power saws down the road from where they were camping, so they decided to pack up and leave. 

As they drove down the road, the family discovered someone had fell trees across the road, preventing them from leaving. They called 911 for help. 

The sheriff’s office says as deputies were responding, they were contacted by four high school students, who used their own chainsaws to clear the roadway for the family. 

Deputies escorted the family, consisting of a husband and wife, their 16-year-old daughter, and the husband’s mother, to the sheriff’s department for their safety

  • Hundreds of mourners packed a Houston church Tuesday for the funeral of George Floyd, capping six days of mourning for the black man whose death has led to a global reckoning over police brutality and racial injustice.

Floyd, 46, was to be laid to rest next to his mother in the suburb of Pearland. He called out for her as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee on his neck May 25.

  • The Phoenix Police Department will no longer train officers to use chokeholds effective immediately, according to a statement from police chief Jeri Williams.
  • The Washington, D.C. City Council on Tuesday passed a sweeping slate of measures to reform police conduct in the city, as calls grow for reforming law enforcement agencies after the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

The legislative package, which passed unanimously, included a ban on hiring officers with a history of serious misconduct on other police forces and requires the city to quickly disclose the names of officers who are in situations where they use force against citizens, The Washington Post reported. The city would also be required to disseminate their body-camera footage. 

The package also includes a measure that bans the Metropolitan Police Department from using chemical irritants or rubber bullets to disperse peaceful demonstrations. It also makes it a felony for officers to use a neck restraint against citizens.

  • A police chief in Tennessee who went viral last month for saying officers who “don’t have an issue” with the arrest and death of George Floyd should turn in their badges has issued new guidelines requiring officers to stop others from committing acts of police brutality and abuse of authority, and officers who fail to comply could face disciplinary action.

“Each department member has the individual responsibility to intervene and stop any other member from committing an unlawful or improper act,” the new policy reads.

  • Fencing around Lafayette Park across the street from the White House will remain up until further notice even as barriers south of the White House start to come down, officials said Tuesday.

Administration News

  • The Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump conservative super PAC, has launched an ad in battleground states highlighting former President Eisenhower’s leadership during the D-Day invasion of World War II and contrasting that with President Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic and the nationwide protests that have erupted since the police killing of George Floyd.
  • The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Tuesday voted unanimously to propose a record-setting $225 million fine against Texas-based health insurance telemarketers for allegedly making approximately 1 billion illegally spoofed robocalls.

The order names two individuals using business names including Rising Eagle and JSquared Telecom. The FCC said robocalls falsely claimed to offer health insurance plans from major health insurance companies such as Aetna, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and UnitedHealth Group.

  • The Navy is planning to ban Confederate flags from being displayed on any of its installations.
  • President Trump reportedly wanted to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper last week after Esper broke with Trump and opposed the use of active-duty troops to quell nationwide protests, but Trump was talked out of it by advisers and lawmakers.
  • In a unanimous 98-0 vote presided over by Vice President Pence, a rare occasion, the Senate voted to confirm Gen. Charles “C.Q.” Brown as the Air Force’s next chief of staff, the U.S. military’s first African American service chief.
  • The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group,said it will sue the White House if President Trump doesn’t walk back an executive order that waives endangered species protections along with a host of other environmental laws.

The order from Trump relies on emergency authority to waive the requirements of a number of environmental laws, arguing the U.S. needs to fast-track construction projects to fight the economic fallout tied to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • A top expert at the World Health Organization on Tuesday walked back her earlier assertion that transmission of the coronavirus by people who do not have symptoms is “very rare.”  

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, who made the original comment at a W.H.O. briefing on Monday, said that it was based on just two or three studies and that it was a “misunderstanding” to say asymptomatic transmission is rare globally.

“I was just responding to a question, I wasn’t stating a policy of W.H.O. or anything like that,” she said.

  • Gilead’s remdesivir slows disease progression in monkeys with COVID-19. The drug has been cleared for emergency use in severely-ill patients in the U.S., India and South Korea. Some European nations are also using it under compassionate programs
  • Members of the D.C. National Guard that responded to protests against the death of George Floyd have tested positive for coronavirus.
  • The country’s top infectious disease doctor, Anthony Fauci, said the novel coronavirus is his “worst nightmare” and warned that it is far from over.
  • Sun Belt states have seen some of the biggest week-over-week increases — such as California (+18,883), Texas (+10,974) and Florida (+7,775). Arizona and North Carolina are emerging hot spots, while the number of new cases in the Northeast ebbs.
  • Arizona added nearly 7,000 new cases last week, and models maintained by the PolicyLab at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia show cases exploding in Maricopa County over the next few weeks.

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: 9 Minutes

Protest News

  • Mourners gathered for a final public memorial to George Floyd in his hometown of Houston for a six-hour viewing at The Fountain of Praise Church. His killing has sparked global protests over police mistreatment of communities of color.
  • Bail has been set at $1.25 million for Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer accused of murdering George Floyd.
  • Democrats unveiled a broad police reform bill, pledging to transform law enforcement. The Justice in Policing Act of 2020 would ban chokeholds, limit qualified immunity, establish a national database to track police misconduct, require body cams, and prohibit certain no-knock warrants.
  • The Minnesota Department of Public Safety has confirmed reports and viral video showing law enforcement officers in Minneapolis slashing the tires of parked cars during recent protests over the death of George Floyd. The department claimed this was done to stop vehicles “driving dangerously at high speeds in and around protesters and law enforcement.

One video from a journalist covering the protesters shows all four tires of his rental vehicle were slashed along with tires on cars surrounding his in the parking lot.

  • President Trump and his allies on Monday lashed out at activists and some Democrats for their support of the “defund the police” movement, seeking to draw a contrast with the administration’s embrace of law enforcement amid nationwide protests.

“There won’t be defunding. There won’t be dismantling of our police, and there’s not going to be any disbanding of our police. Our police have been letting us live in peace, and we want to make sure we don’t have any bad actors in there,” Trump said during a meeting with law enforcement officers and police chiefs at the White House, adding that he believes “99 percent” of officers are “great people.”

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Monday that the White House has no regrets about how federal law enforcement forcibly cleared protesters from Lafayette Square the week prior.

“There’s no regrets on the part of this White House,” McEnany said at a briefing Monday afternoon. “I’d note that many of those decisions were not made here within the White House. It was [Attorney General William] Barr who made the decision to move the perimeter. Monday night Park Police had also made that decision independently when they saw all the violence in Lafayette Square.”

NOTE: According to all reports, the protest Monday night was peaceful.

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer are demanding President Trump reopen Lafayette Square to the public, saying it currently resembles a “militarized zone.”

The two Democratic leaders sent Trump a letter on Monday, insisting he “tear down these walls, reopen Lafayette Square,” which is located across the street from the White House, so that the public can “gather there for you and all the world to hear their voices.”

  • A Virginia man who allegedly drove his truck into a crowd of peaceful protesters over the weekend is an “admitted leader” of the Ku Klux Klan, officials said Monday. 

Henrico Commonwealth Attorney Shannon Taylor described the man, Harry Rogers, 36, as “a propagandist of Confederate ideology.” A “cursory glance” at his social media and his own admissions to authorities revealed that he was a leader of the white supremacist group.

  • Contradicting the president’s claim that he only went to inspect the bunker earlier in the day, Attorney General Barr told Bret Baier that President Trump went to the bunker that Friday evening because of the protests outside the White House. “Things were so bad that the Secret Service recommended the president go down to the bunker. We can’t have that in our country.”

Administration News

  • The U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February, according to The National Bureau of Economic Research, which announced that a 128-month expansion officially ended then. The expansion, which had begun in June 2009 after a recession, was the longest on record.
  • U.S. plans to withdraw troops from Germany “shake the pillars of the transatlantic relationship”, Peter Beyer, the German coordinator for transatlantic ties, told Reuters on Monday.
  • Freddy Ford, a spokesman for former president G.W. Bush, told The Texas Tribune that Bush would steer clear of speaking publicly on his presidential vote and called The New York Times assertion false.

“This is completely made up,” Ford said in an email. “He is retired from presidential politics and has not indicated how he will vote.”

It is unclear whether Bush will instead be voting for Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic rival. Both of the Bush brothers — and their parents, former President George H.W. Bush and First Lady Barbara Bush — said in 2016 they didn’t vote for Trump.

  • The President plans to resume campaign rallies within the next two weeks. The Trump team expects to face criticism for large crowds, but says the support of packed protests will make them easier to defend.
  • President Trump released an analysis from McLaughlin & Associates, a pollster allied with his campaign, seeking to knock down recent surveys showing him trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in the race for the White House. 

“I have retained highly respected pollster, McLaughlin & Associates, to analyze todays CNN Poll (and others), which I felt were FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving,” Trump tweeted. “Read analysis for yourself.”

“This is the same thing they and others did when we defeated Crooked Hillary Clinton in 2016. They are called SUPPRESSION POLLS, and are put out to dampen enthusiasm. Despite 3 ½ years of phony Witch Hunts, we are winning, and will close it out on November 3rd!”

  • Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy is now “open” to renaming the service’s 10 bases and facilities that are named after Confederate leaders, an Army official told POLITICO, in a reversal of his previous position.

“The Secretary of the Army is open to a bipartisan discussion on the topic,” said Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky Monday.

As recently as February, the Army said the service had no plans to rename the facilities

  • The Netflix original comedy “Space Force,” which is based on the new branch of the military launched by President Trump, reportedly obtained trademark rights for the name before the government.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show secured trademark rights to “Space Force” in multiple places, including Europe, Australia and Mexico, while the Air Force owns only a pending application for registration in the United States. That means the show has more confirmed trademark rights than the U.S. military.

  • Over the past month, the Trump campaign has spent slightly more than $400,000 on cable news ads in the Washington, D.C., area. The Trump campaign said the ad buys were an attempt to reinvigorate and reassure the president’s supporters in the nation’s capital. However, two knowledgeable sources – one a Trump campaign adviser, the other an individual close to the president – said the ads had another purpose as well: to put the president himself at ease.

These sources also said the campaign is hoping to counter-program recent ads by the Lincoln Project, a super PAC run by a group of dissident conservatives, that have driven the president to public outbursts.

  • In an interview, retired Admiral Bill McRaven, the former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command, best known as the Navy SEAL who oversaw the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said, “This fall, it’s time for new leadership in this country — Republican, Democrat or independent.” He continued,  “President Trump has shown he doesn’t have the qualities necessary to be a good commander in chief.”

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Shutdown orders prevented about 60 million novel coronavirus infections in the United States and 285 million in China, according to a research study published Monday that examined how stay-at-home orders and other restrictions limited the spread of the contagion.

A separate study from epidemiologists at Imperial College London estimated the shutdowns saved about 3.1 million lives in 11 European countries, including 500,000 in the United Kingdom, and dropped infection rates by an average of 82 percent, sufficient to drive the contagion well below epidemic levels.

  • New research from the University of California, Berkeley finds that shutdowns and other interventions prevented 60 million coronavirus infections in the United States and that the policies had “large health benefits.”

The eye-popping numbers illustrate that the shutdowns, while controversial and onerous, were effective at slowing the spread of the virus, the study says.

  • The Trump administration has not disbursed over 75% of the $1.6 billion in Covid humanitarian aid approved by Congress back in March. 

In March, lawmakers approved $1.6 billion in pandemic assistance to be sent abroad through the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development.

As of last week, $386 million had been released to nations in need. Of that, only a meager $11.5 million in international disaster aid had been delivered to private relief groups, even though those funds are specifically meant to be rushed to distress zones.

  • A top World Health Organization official on Monday said that it appears “very rare,” for an asymptomatic person with coronavirus to transmit the virus to another person, a potential bit of good news in the fight against the virus. It marks a major turn from past warnings that suggested asymptomatic people were spreading the virus.
  • More than 136,000 people tested positive for the coronavirus across the globe on Sunday, a new apex that has officials at the World Health Organization (WHO) warning that the worst of the pandemic is still ahead.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of confirmed cases is rising rapidly in South America and South Asia, which accounted for three-quarters of Sunday’s new cases.

  • Exactly 100 days since its first case of coronavirus was confirmed, New York City, which weathered extensive hardship as an epicenter of the worldwide outbreak, is set to take the first tentative steps toward reopening its doors on Monday. As many as 400,000 workers could begin returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites and retail stores in the city’s first phase of reopening.
  • Russia is partially reopening its borders for several kinds of trips, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced in a Monday meeting with the country’s coronavirus response council. Russians will be able to travel abroad to care for relatives, undergo medical treatment, to work or study. Foreigners will also be able to enter Russia for medical purposes.
  • Researchers at Harvard Medical School say that satellite data and internet search traffic indicate that the coronavirus pandemic may have begun in Wuhan, China, months before authorities alerted the World Health Organization.

Study authors told ABC News that analysis of data from as far back as October of last year indicated a surge in vehicle traffic around hospitals in the city, a spike that coincided with a rise in internet search traffic for “certain symptoms that would later be determined as closely associated with the novel coronavirus” from residents of the city.

“Something was happening in October,” Dr. John Brownstein, the study’s leader, told ABC. “Clearly, there was some level of social disruption taking place well before what was previously identified as the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic.”

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

  • Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf argued that the U.S. doesn’t have a “systemic racism problem” with its police.
  • Congressional Democrats are expected to roll out sweeping police reform legislation Monday, following nearly two weeks of sustained protests sparked by George Floyd’s killing in police custody.

The legislation, called the Justice in Policing Act of 2020, includes an array of measures aimed at boosting law enforcement accountability, changing police practices and curbing racial profiling, according to an outline circulated on Capitol Hill.

  • Ben Carson says Colin Kaepernick and black NFL players who protest police brutality would not be criticized for kneeling if they just said they love America.

NOTE: “I love America. I love people. That’s why I’m doing this. I want to help make America better.” Colin Kaepernick Sept. 2, 2016

  • Attorney General Bill Barr defended his decision to forcibly remove protesters from outside of the White House last week, claiming on CBS that the media is lying about the protesters being peaceful.

Barr used painstaking distinctions to defend the use of force against protesters

“Pepper spray is not a chemical irritant. It’s not chemical.”

  • In a break from other GOP lawmakers who have largely aligned behind President Donald Trump’s militarized response to nationwide unrest, Sen. Mitt Romney on Sunday marched in a Washington, DC.

Romney told a Washington Post reporter that he was participating in the demonstration “to make sure that people understand that black lives matter.” The Utah senator later tweeted a photo of himself at the protest with the caption “Black Lives Matter,” becoming one of the most prominent GOP figures to do so.

  • The Committee to Protect Journalists and the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker are currently investigating at least 280 reports of anti-press violence since May 26, a number never before seen in the United States. The majority of those reports involve police officers acting against journalists, who describe being shot with rubber bullets or other projectiles, sprayed or gassed with chemical irritants, or smacked, shoved, or pushed to the ground.

This is not a question of a few isolated missteps. These reports have come from 53 different communities across 33 states.

  • Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said she’s “grateful” to protesters: “As somebody who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, Jim Crow Alabama, when if a black man was shot by a policeman, it wouldn’t have even been a footnote in the newspaper”

Rice said she’d “absolutely advise against” Trump’s call to send active duty military into U.S. streets saying the military “isn’t trained” to handle such issues. “This isn’t a battlefield.”

  • The president has tried to portray the protesters and looters with a broad brush as “radical-left, bad people,” ominously invoking the name “antifa,” an umbrella term for leftist militants bound more by belief than organizational structure.

The Associated Press analyzed court records, employment histories, social media posts and other sources of information for 217 people arrested last weekend in Minneapolis and the District of Columbia, two cities at the epicenter of the protests across the United States.

85% of those arrested were local residents. Of those charged with such offenses as curfew violations, rioting and failure to obey law enforcement, only a handful appeared to have any affiliation with organized groups.

Those charged with more serious offenses related to looting and property destruction – such as arson, burglary and theft – often had past criminal records. But they, too, were overwhelmingly local residents taking advantage of the chaos.

  • The AP obtained copies of daily confidential “Intelligence Notes” distributed to local enforcement by the Department of Homeland Security that repeat, without citing evidence, that “organized violent opportunists — including suspected anarchist extremists — could increasingly perpetrate nationwide targeting of law enforcement and critical infrastructure.”

“We lack detailed reporting indicating the level of organization and planning by some violent opportunists and assess that most of the violence to date has been loosely organized on a level seen with previous widespread outbreaks of violence at lawful protests,” the assessment for Monday says.

The following day, the assessment noted “several uncorroborated reports of bricks being pre-staged at planned protest venues nationwide.”

“Although we have been unable to verify the reporting through official channels, the staging of improvised weapons at planned events is a common tactic used by violent opportunists,” the Tuesday assessment says.

But social media posts warning that stacks of bricks have been left at protest sites in Atlanta, Boston and Los Angeles have been debunked by local officials who have explained that the masonry was out in the open before the protests or was for use in construction projects.

  • Mayor Bill de Blasio lifted New York’s citywide curfew he had ordered last week after a spree of looting and other violence. And he pledged for the first time to cut the city’s police funding and redirect some of the money to social services.
  • White House officials are deliberating a plan for President Trump “to address the nation this week on issues related to race and national unity.
  • President Trump on Sunday sounded off on the resignation of the editorial page editor of The New York Times following the publication of an incendiary op ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) calling for a military assault against anti-racist protesters.

Editor James Bennett admitted Friday that he had not read Cotton’s piece before it was published last Wednesday.

Trump hailed Cotton’s op-ed, which characterized protests over George Floyd’s death during a brutal arrest as an “orgy of violence” by “insurrectionists.”

Trump tweeted: “Opinion Editor at @nytimes just walked out. That’s right, he quit over the excellent Op-Ed penned by our great Senator @TomCottonAR. TRANSPARENCY! The State of Arkansas is very proud of Tom. The New York Times is Fake News!!!”

Administration News

  • Former secretary of State Colin Powell joined the list of high-profile Republicans, including George W. Bush and Mitt Romney, who are not voting for Donald Trump in 2020 as the president’s own party is turning against him in the midst of nationwide turmoil.

Powell told CNN on Sunday morning: “I cannot in any way support President Trump this year.” Powell explained his reasoning had to do with the way the president treats people and has reacted to the coronavirus pandemic race riots.

‘We have a Constitution and we have to follow that Constitution and the President has drifted away from it,’ Powell said regarding the treatment of protesters who took to the streets after George Floyd’s death.

“I have worked with [Joe Biden] for 35, 40 years. And he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him.”

  • Donald Trump blasted Colin Powell as ‘overrated’ and a ‘stiff’ on Sunday after the former national security adviser and secretary of State said he would not be supporting the president’s reelection in November.

“Colin Powell, a real stiff who was very responsible for getting us into the disastrous Middle East Wars, just announced he will be voting for another stiff, Sleepy Joe Biden,” Trump charged in a Sunday morning tweet. “Didn’t Powell say that Iraq had ‘weapons of mass destruction?’ They didn’t, but off we went to WAR!”

  • Trump clapped back on Twitter shortly after the interview aired and asserted that electing Biden or any other Democrat would lead to the defunding of police and military in the U.S.

“Not only will Sleepy Joe Biden DEFUND THE POLICE, but he will DEFUND OUR MILITARY! He has no choice, the Dems are controlled by the Radical Left.”

“Sleepy Joe Biden and the Radical Left Democrats want to ‘DEFUND THE POLICE’. I want great and well paid LAW ENFORCEMENT. I want LAW & ORDER!” Trump continued in another tweet.

  • Former national security adviser John Bolton is planning to publish his tell-all memoir about his tenure in the Trump administration later this month, despite the White House’s efforts to block its publication.

Sources familiar with Bolton’s plans told The Washington Post that the book, “The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir,” will be published on June 23, while the former Trump administration official will give interviews promoting it the weekend before.

“As of now, the White House has not formally signed off” on John Bolton’s book, a source told Kylie Atwood. But he is coming out with it on June 23 regardless.

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

  • Buffalo police officers Robert McCabe and Aaron Torgalski were charged with second-degree assault after they were seen in a viral video shoving and seriously injuring an elderly man during a protest this week. Martin Gugino, 75, fell backwards after being shoved and hit his head as the officers appeared to walk past him.
  • Top Pentagon officials ordered National Guard helicopters to use what they called “persistent presence” to disperse protests in the capital this week, according to military officials. The loosely worded order prompted a series of low-altitude maneuvers that human rights organizations quickly criticized as a show of force usually reserved for combat zones.

Military officials said that the National Guard’s aggressive approach to crowd control was prompted by a pointed threat from the Pentagon: If the Guard was unable to handle the situation, then active-duty military units, such as a rapid-reaction unit of the 82nd Airborne Division, would be sent into the city.

Senior Pentagon officials, including Gen. Mark A. Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were trying to persuade President Trump that active-duty troops should not be sent into the streets to impose order.

  • As nationwide protests for justice-system reform enter the 12th day, anti-racism rallies and protests against police brutality are continuing on Saturday in cities across the US and around the world. 
  • The House Oversight Committee launched an investigation into the Trump administration’s surveillance of protesters.
  • The New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced in a statement two officers seen on video assaulting protesters have been suspended without pay. 

“These incidents … are disturbing and run counter to the principles of NYPD training, as well as our mission of public safety,” Shea said in the statement.

  • As of 5pm, DC Police reported there had been zero arrests related to Saturday’s  demonstrations with no major incidents to report. The largest protests seen so far in the nation’s capital have been remarkably calm.
  • A federal judge ordered police in Denver to temporarily stop using tear gas, rubber bullets and other “less-than-lethal” forces like flash grenades during protests. The order comes following a class-action lawsuit against the city of Denver and the Denver Police Department. 

The plaintiffs in the suit alleged the Denver police used excessive force against activists protesting police brutality in the city.

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer’s top editor, Stan Wischnowski, has resigned days after an article headlined “Buildings Matter, Too” led dozens of staff members to walk out.
  • President Trump reportedly called for deploying 10,000 troops to quell protests in Washington, DC this week, but Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint of Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley pushed back at the use of any active duty troops.

Administration News

  • Wichita State University and WSU Tech canceled plans for Ivanka Trump to give a virtual commencement speech to graduates because of criticism of President Trump’s response to protests over the death of George Floyd.

Administrators announced the decision late Thursday, just hours after they had said the president’s daughter would be speaking to WSU Tech graduates. 

Administrators of both universities, which are affiliated, said Saturday’s graduation for the technical university would be ‘refocused’ on students, with a nursing graduate as the only speaker.

  • Trump campaign senior adviser Mercedes Schlapp, boosted a tweet that lauded a man in Texas in a viral video as he yelled the n-word and wielded a chainsaw to chase away anti-racism demonstrators.
  • The U.S. Marine Corps on Friday issued detailed directives about removing and banning public displays of the Confederate battle flag at Marine installations, including on items such as mugs, posters and bumper stickers.
  • The Trump administration is rejecting requests from US embassies in Germany, Israel, Brazil, Latvia and others to fly the rainbow pride flag on embassy flagpoles during June, LGBTQ Pride Month.
  • President George W. Bush and Senator Mitt Romney will not support Mr. Trump’s re-election, and other GOP officials are considering a vote for Biden.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Trump traveled to Maine Friday to tour a facility that makes medical swabs used for coronavirus testing, but the swabs manufactured in the background during his visit will ultimately be thrown in the trash because Trump refused to wear a mask.
  • Friday, Florida’s Department of Health reported a new single day record for coronavirus cases since the state began reopening.

According to the department, there were at least 1,495 new cases reported as of Friday, surpassing Wednesday’s record high of 1,317. Florida’s total number of cases is over 61,000. There were also at least 53 new deaths reported, increasing the state’s total number to at least 2,660.

  • The 50 wealthiest people in America have publicly donated about $1 billion for coronavirus relief — that’s a big number, but it adds up to a very small fraction of their combined net worth: less than 0.1%, according to a new survey from the Washington Post. 

The survey also found that nearly a third of these billionaires haven’t announced any donations, though some who haven’t contributed personally point to donations given through their corporations.

The median net worth of an American household, which registers at $97,300

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

In The Know About Joe

Read TIme: 3 Minutes

  • Joe Biden, Trump’s presumptive challenger in the presidential election in November, spoke to the family of George Floyd and issued a video address in which he called for calm.

“I asked Vice-President Biden – I never had to beg a man before – but I asked him, could he please, please get justice for my brother,” Philonise Floyd said. 

“I need it. I do not want to see him on a shirt just like the other guys. Nobody deserved that. Black folk don’t deserve that. We’re all dying.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday visited a site in Wilmington, Del., that has seen protests over the George Floyd killing.

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. We are a nation exhausted, but we will not allow our exhaustion to defeat us,” Biden wrote Sunday on social media posts across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

His posts showed a picture of him wearing a mask and kneeling across from a black man and a child. Videos on his Instagram story show the presumptive Democratic nominee taking photos and chatting with other masked men.

  • Stan Greenberg, who served as President Clinton’s lead pollster, called progressive Sen. Elizabeth Warren the “obvious solution” to be presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s running mate.

“The biggest threat to Democrats in 2020 is the lack of support and disengagement of millennials and the fragmentation of non-Biden primary voters.”

  • Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden promised black community leaders in Delaware on Monday he would earn their support amid nationwide police brutality protests, saying he would create a police oversight board within his first 100 days in the White House.

Biden, who met with more than a dozen black leaders in a church in Wilmington, also said he would soon unveil an economic plan to deal with the disproportionate toll on the black and Latino communities from the coronavirus outbreak.

  • Joe Biden’s campaign is launching a digital ad in key swing states that features the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s speech on civil unrest and protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

The minute-long ad, titled “Build The Future,” overlays footage of Biden’s speech with video and pictures from protests across the country. It also includes clips from the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., that left one counter protester dead.

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden clinched the Democratic presidential nomination on Friday, officially setting the stage for a contentious general election fight with President Trump this November.

The former vice president hit the delegate threshold Friday, most recently winning a series of primaries Tuesday night across the country.

  • Speaking during a virtual town hall with young Americans, Biden discussed the importance of a president setting an example for the country.

Biden accused President Trump of dividing the nation, saying “The words a president says matter, so when a president stands up and divides people all the time, you’re going to get the worst of us to come out.” 

“Do we really think this is as good as we can be as a nation? I don’t think the vast majority of people think that,” the former vice president added. “There are probably anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of the people out there that are just not very good people, but that’s not who we are. The vast majority of the people are decent, and we have to appeal to that and we have to unite people — bring them together. Bring them together.”

  • Former Vice President Joe Biden tore into President Trump for saying economic gains reported Friday marked a “great day for equality” and a “great day” for George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed in police custody in Minneapolis.

“George Floyd’s last words — ‘I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe’ — have echoed across our nation,” Biden said in a speech Friday, referring to bystander video that went viral showing Floyd being pinned down by his neck before he died. “For the president to try to put any other words in the mouth of George Floyd — is frankly despicable.

“And, the fact that he did so on a day when black unemployment rose and black youth unemployment skyrocketed — tells you everything you need to know about who this man is and what he cares about.”

The Past 24 Hours or So

Read Time: 8 Minutes

Protest News

  • Former Defense Secretary William Perry became the latest ex-defense chief to rip into President Trump, accusing the president of politicizing the country’s military.

“I support the right of protesters to demonstrate peacefully, and deplore the suggestion that our military should be used to suppress them,” Perry told Politico in a statement.

“The U.S. military is a powerful force that has served our nation well, in war and in peace. But it was never intended to be used against American citizens, and it was never intended to be used for partisan political purposes.”

  • “The idea that the president would take charge of the situation using the military was troubling to me,” former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey. “The idea that the military would be called in to dominate and to suppress what, for the most part, were peaceful protests — admittedly, where some had opportunistically turned them violent — and that the military would somehow come in and calm that situation was very dangerous to me.”
  • The White House is now surrounded by nearly two miles of fencing and barricades.
  • Minneapolis agreed Friday to ban chokeholds by police and to require officers to try to stop any other officers they see using improper force, in the first concrete steps to remake the city’s police department since George Floyd’s death.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a knee during a rally in Ottawa over the death of George Floyd.
  • President Trump said News Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees should not have apologized for statements he made hammering players who kneel during the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality in the United States. 

“I am a big fan of Drew Brees. I think he’s truly one of the greatest quarterbacks, but he should not have taken back his original stance on honoring our magnificent American Flag. OLD GLORY is to be revered, cherished, and flown high,” Trump tweeted.

“We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!” he continued.

  • Sen. Kamala Harris clapped back at President Trump invoked George Floyd while giving a speech praising a minor upturn in the economy which has slumped amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting Floyd was “looking down” from heaven on this “good day.”

“Keep George Floyd’s name out of your mouth until you can say Black Lives Matter,” Harris responded.

  • The entire Buffalo Police Department Emergency Response Team has resigned from the unit after the department suspended two officers without pay after a viral video surfaced showing them pushing over a 75-year-old protester to the ground and then passing him to arrest a peaceful protester while he laid on the ground bleeding from the ear.
  • The U.S. Park Police is suddenly hedging its earlier claims it did not use tear gas to clear crowds near the White House on Monday ahead of President Trump’s visit to a nearby historic church, saying in a new statement that it was a “mistake” to say no tear gas was used given that the chemical agents they did use cause similar eye and lung irritation.

“I’m not saying it’s not a tear gas, but I’m just saying we use a pepper ball that shoots a powder,” Park Police spokesman Sgt. Eduardo Delgado.

  • Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said she wanted to honor peaceful demonstrators who were forcibly removed from Lafayette Square by law enforcement officers so the city commissioned painters to spell out the words “Black Lives Matter” along the major road leading to the White House.
  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has requested that President Trump “withdraw all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence,” from the nation’s capital after the president mobilized the forces to deal with protests over the police killing of George Floyd.

“The deployment of federal law enforcement personnel and equipment are inflaming demonstrators and adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting for change and reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing Black Americans.”

  • President Trump continued his attacks on Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, calling her “incompetent” after she demanded he withdraw military personnel and federal law enforcement from the city amid ongoing protests against the police killing of George Floyd.

“If she doesn’t treat these men and women well, then we’ll bring in a different group of men and women!”

  • Several members of the Minneapolis City Council have vowed to “dismantle” the city’s police department following the death of George Floyd. They have called for drastic overhauls into the handling of law enforcement — ranging from defunding the department to sending social workers, medics or mental health professionals to some calls currently handled by police.
  • William McRaven, the retired Navy admiral who oversaw the team that killed terror leader Osama bin Laden in 2011, condemned federal law enforcement officials for forcefully clearing peaceful protesters out of a DC square before President Trump visited the local church.

“You’re not gonna use, whether it’s the military or the National Guard or law enforcement, to clear peaceful American citizens for the president of the U.S. to do a photo-op. There is nothing morally right about that.”

  • Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon condemned President Trump’s treatment of protesters demonstrating against police brutality, saying it is “hard to not conclude” that the US leader is racist.

“If you don’t want to be accused of racism, then don’t use racist language.”

  • NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called for peaceful protests against police brutality in a new video, reversing past opposition to protests and saying the NFL admits “we were wrong for not listening” to players earlier. The move comes after the league implemented and repealed a policy against kneeling protests after Trump and conservatives took issue with the demonstrations by Colin Kaepernick and others.
  • The CEO of the company behind fashion brands Coach, Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman dismissed stores being vandalized and looted during ongoing protests, saying the focus should be “on the cause.”

“We can replace our windows and handbags, but we cannot bring back George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Emmett Till, and too many others. Each of these black lives matter.”

  • An Ohio National Guardsman was removed from policing protests in Washington D.C. after the FBI found he expressed white supremacist ideology online. He’ll likely be ousted from the National Guard.
  • Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has ordered a 30-day ban on the use of tear gas during protests, Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a news conference Friday.

Administration News

  • The Trump campaign removed an ad that violated NASA guidelines by featuring images of astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley.
  • The U.S added 2.5 million jobs in May and unemployment dropped to 13.3 percent as businesses begin to reopen after coronavirus-related closures, according to data released by the Labor Department on Friday.

The numbers shattered economist expectations that there would be another steep rise in joblessness.

  • Black unemployment hit its highest rate in a decade in May, despite a better-than-expected jobs report across the economy following the coronavirus closures.

For black workers, last month’s unemployment rate ticked up to 16.8 percent. For white workers, May’s unemployment rate dropped to 12.4 percent from a record high of 14.2 percent in April.

  • The unemployment rate is likely about 16.3 percent — about 3 percent higher than listed in the May jobs report that came out today. The numbers weren’t rigged, say experts; the Bureau of Labor Statistics report itself included reference to a major misclassification error.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, the agency that puts out the monthly jobs reports, said it was working to fix the problem.

  • President Trump on Friday declared it a “great day” for George Floyd after the monthly jobs report that showed unemployment falling — except for African Americans — and days of unrest sparked by Floyd’s killing.

“Hopefully George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. This is a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

  • President Trump has directed the Pentagon to remove thousands of U.S. troops from Germany by September.
  • President Trump issued an order which would remove protections from the Northeast Canyon and Seamounts — the only marine monument in the U.S. Atlantic Ocean. This move that would jeopardize hundreds of species is likely to be contested in court.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • New York on Thursday reported the lowest number of COVID-19 deaths in the state since the pandemic began. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced 42 deaths were counted, an “amazing” improvement compared to 800 daily deaths two months ago.
  • President Trump signed legislation to extend the window for businesses to spend loans granted under coronavirus relief legislation, thanking Democrats for helping the measure pass almost unanimously through Congress: “I hope we can get along with the Democrats because it’s been a disaster for our relationship.”
  • The daily average for new coronavirus cases in the U.S. has been increasing slightly in recent days, with counts rising in the South and West.
  • Anders Tegnell, the epidemiologist who managed Sweden’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, said he should have implemented more restrictions to avoid the nation’s high coronavirus death toll. Sweden’s no-lockdown policy resulted in higher death tolls than neighboring countries like Denmark and Norway.

“If we were to encounter the same illness with the same knowledge that we have today, I think our response would land somewhere in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Tegnell said in an interview with Swedish Radio.

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: 10 Minutes

Protest News

  • More new fencing and barriers were erected around the White House.
  • President Trump and some of his supporters are claiming authorities did not use tear gas against people in a crackdown outside the White House. Police canisters gathered by WUSA9 crews Monday night show federal police did use CS tear gas in addition to natural OC gas on Washington, D.C. protesters. 
  • Five senators knelt during a moment of silence for George Floyd during their caucus meeting on Thursday. Senators. Michael Bennet (CO), Sherrod Brown (OH), Martin Heinrich (NM), Tim Kaine (VA) and Chris Van Hollen (MD) all knelt as the caucus offered a moment of silence for Floyd.

The moment lasted for eight minutes and 46 seconds, the amount of time the bystander video footage showed former Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck as Floyd said he couldn’t breathe and then became unresponsive.

  • Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser criticized fencing around White House: “That’s the People’s House. It’s a sad commentary that the house & its inhabitants have to be walled off… We should want the White House to be opened up for people to be able to access it from all sides.”
  • Attorney general Barr said there was “no correlation” between his decision to clear Lafayette Square and the president’s walk through the park a few minutes later. Barr defended his decision to use force to clear peaceful protesters from streets near the White House on Monday, claiming it was a necessary move to gain control following “very serious rioting” over the weekend.
  • NYC Mayor de Blasio appeared at a huge George Floyd rally in Cadman Park, Brooklyn—his first time in front of the protesters—and hundreds boo him & chant “Resign!” and “Fuck your curfew!” 
  • The leader of the Bexar County TX Republican Party Cynthia Brehm, in a since deleted Facebook post, said that the death of George Floyd was fabricated to create “racial tensions and drive a wedge in the growing group of anti deep state sentiment from common people, that have already been psychologically traumatized by Covid-19 fears.”

Texas GOP Chairman James Dickey is calling for her resignation. 

  • New York State Judge James Burke ruled the NYPD can keep anyone (peaceful protestors arrested for curfew and criminal looters) detained for over 24 hours given these are extraordinary times. “It’s a crisis within a crisis”, he said. “All writs are denied, Brooklyn, Bronx, and Manhattan”
  • The New York Police Department has launched an internal review after a video went viral of a uniformed officer appearing to make a white power symbol during a protest over the death of George Floyd.
  • Twitter removed a video tribute to George Floyd from President Trump’s reelection campaign this week, claiming that it violated the social media platform’s copyright policy. The nearly four-minute video features Trump calling Floyd’s death a “grave tragedy” and calling out “violence and anarchy” from “radical leftwing groups.”
  • Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered home several hundred active-duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division who were brought to the national capital region to respond to protests if needed. This is the second time this week Esper has ordered the troops to head home.
  • Two Buffalo police officers have been suspended without pay following an incident in Niagara Square following a protest. Officers were filmed pushing a 75 year old man to the ground. The man struck his head and began bleeding from his ear. He is in stable but serious condition at Erie County Medical Center.
  • Just before New York’s 8 p.m. curfew Thursday, heavily armored New York Police Department officers on bicycles rushed a group of non-violent protesters in the Bronx who were demonstrating against police brutality. The officers charged with their batons out, Jake Offenhartz, a Gothamist reporter, tweeted. “Multiple people hit. Someone bleeding from the head,” he reported. Offenhartz jumped over a car and was able to escape because of his press badge, he said. “This wasn’t even a confrontation, it was a trap.” 

NYPD officers blocked exits on both sides of a block, New Yorker staff writer Emily Witt tweeted. “They are arresting literally everyone at this protest,” Witt reported, including medics and legal observers. 

“We are peaceful,” protesters chanted at the cops. “What the fuck are you?”

  • At least 10 protesters were also arrested on Manhattan’s Upper East Side around 8:30 p.m., as they attempted to attend a peaceful demonstration at Gracie Mansion, the official residence of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
  • Los Angeles Police Department officers were seen Thursday hitting peaceful demonstrators with batons and firing rubber bullets at them in the city’s Fairfax district as they protested the death of George Floyd. 
  • Law enforcement agents have seized hundreds of cloth masks that read “Stop killing Black people” and “Defund police” that a Black Lives Matter-affiliated organization sent to cities around the country to protect demonstrators against the spread of COVID-19, a disease that has had a disparate impact on Black communities.

It’s not clear which law enforcement entity seized the masks or why. The U.S. Postal Service tracking numbers for the packages indicate they were “Seized by Law Enforcement” and urge the mailer to “contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for further information.”

  • A federal plan to contain continuing protests in Washington, D.C., currently allocates about 7,600 civilian law enforcement, National Guard and active-duty Army personnel, according to an internal document compiled for the Joint Chiefs of Staff on Thursday obtained by Bloomberg News.

The forces are reportedly stationed just outside the city, at Andrews Air Force Base, Fort Belvoir and Fort Myer.

Administration News

  • The RNC is planning site visits over the next 10 days to more than a half-dozen cities — across the South and into Texas and Arizona — as it scrambles for a new convention host. The cities under consideration include Jacksonville, Phoenix, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta and possibly New Orleans and Savannah.
  • Unemployment claims for the last week of May totaled 1.9 million, a painfully high number, but the lowest since the novel coronavirus started spreading widely back in March, a sign the economy may no longer be in free fall.

The Department of Labor, which released the data, also noted gig and self-employed workers filed fewer initial claims last week — 620,000 compared with 1.2 million the previous week — under the expanded federal program that grants them benefits.

  • Iran has freed Michael R. White, a Navy veteran held in that country for nearly two years, and he was on his way home, his mother announced on Thursday in the United States.

White, a cancer patient who had been infected with the coronavirus while incarcerated in Iran, came a day after an Iranian scientist held in the United States was returned to Iran.

American officials had insisted the two cases were not linked. But Iranian officials had suggested last month that once the scientist, Sirous Asgari, was back in Iran,  they would look favorably at permitting Mr. White to go home.

  • Senator Lisa Murkwoski (R AK) praised Jim Mattis’s scathing rebuke of Trump as “true and honest and necessary” and admitted she’s “struggling” over whether to vote for Trump.

“I thought General Mattis’s words were true and honest and necessary and overdue.” She continued,  “When I saw Gen. Mattis’s comments yesterday I felt like perhaps we’re getting to the point where we can be more honest with the concerns we might hold internally and have the courage of our convictions and speak up.”

  • In a response to Murkowski’s comments, Thursday evening Trump Tweeted: “Few people know where they’ll be in two years from now, but I do, in the Great State of Alaska (which I love) campaigning against Senator Lisa Murkowski. She voted against HealthCare, Justice Kavanaugh, and much else…Unrelated, I gave Alaska ANWR, major highways, and more. Get any candidate ready, good or bad, I don’t care, I’m endorsing. If you have a pulse, I’m with you!”
  • John Kelly, President Trump’s former chief of staff, defended former Defense Secretary James Mattis after the president said that he had the “honor” of firing “world’s most overrated general.”

“The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, told The Washington Post on Thursday.

When Mattis resigned in 2018, he alluded to his disagreement with Trump’s decision to pull U.S. forces out of Syria. 

“Because you have a right to have a Secretary of Defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, I believe it is right for me to step down from my position,” Mattis wrote.

  • In another Tweet Thursday evening, Trump responded to Kelly’s comments. “John Kelly didn’t know I was going to fire James Mattis, nor did he have any knowledge of my asking for a letter of resignation. Why would I tell him, he was not…in my inner-circle, was totally exhausted by the job, and in the end just slinked away into obscurity. They all want to come back for a piece of the limelight!”
  • President Trump’s reelection efforts will switch back into live action next week for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown forced the campaign to go virtual in mid-March. Trump has said he misses his rallies and wants to get back to in-person events.
  • President Trump on Thursday tapped two staunch allies and former campaign advisers to serve on the Commission of Presidential Scholars.

The White House announced that Trump would appoint Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first campaign chairman during the 2016 campaign before he was ousted, and David Bossie, a deputy campaign manager for Trump during the 2016 race, to serve among the commissioners who select the annual Presidential Scholars.

  • Trump claimed again in May that private equity CEO Steven Schwarzman told him it’s impossible for Hunter Biden to have secured Chinese investments without improper influence.

A Schwarzman spokesperson says, as she did in 2019, that he has never talked about any Biden with Trump.

  • Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said Thursday he is putting a hold on two presidential nominees until Donald Trump explains his recent firings of two inspectors general.
  • President Trump won’t make an expected trip to his resort in Bedminster, N.J., this weekend, as nationwide protests demanding justice for George Floyd are expected to continue.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • After 78 days of being shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic, casinos in Las Vegas and throughout Nevada were allowed to reopen at 12:01 am on Thursday.
  • Dr. Angela Dunn, Utah’s state epidemiologist known for measuring her words carefully, was blunt Wednesday: “We have increased the spread of COVID-19 in Utah.”

The continuing “sharp spike” — as the state reported another 295 confirmed coronavirus cases — is “not explained easily by a single outbreak or increase in testing,” Dunn said. “This is a statewide trend.”

Wednesday’s case count was the second largest one-day rise in cases since the pandemic began. The record, 343 cases, was set on Friday. The state has seen jumps of at least 200 cases each day for the last seven days — an increase of 1,791 cases statewide in a week.

  • Centers for Disease Control Director Robert Redfield apologized for his agency’s “inadequate” reporting on racial disparities in coronavirus patients, addressing criticism that the lack of data has hampered the public health response in communities of color disproportionately affected by the virus.
  • The medical journal Lancet published a statement from the authors of a study showing that hydroxychloroquine was dangerous for hospitalized covid-19 patients, saying they were unable to complete an independent audit of the hospital data underpinning their analysis. As a result, they concluded they “can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources.”
  • Ten weeks after President Trump invoked wartime production powers to address deep medical supply shortages, only 15 percent of that funding has been placed under contract. The Pentagon also received $10.5 billion in Cares Act funding to address the crisis, and had spent about $2.65 billion as of Wednesday afternoon, a department spokesman said.

A document obtained by The Post shows that Pentagon plans for the Cares Act money include spending hundreds of millions of dollars on projects seemingly unrelated to the pandemic, including submarine missile tubes, space launch facilities, and golf course staffing.

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: 10 Minutes

6/4

Protest News

  • Breaking with President Trump, Defense Secretary Esper says he doesn’t support using the military to quell protests triggered by the death of George Floyd. “The option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire situations,” Esper said.
  • Trump went ballistic in the White House today when he heard Defense Secretary Esper went publicly against his plan to invade states with U.S. military.
  • In an abrupt reversal, Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday overturned an earlier Pentagon decision to send a couple hundred active-duty soldiers home from the Washington, D.C., region, amid growing tensions with the White House over the military response to the protests.
  • Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told The Associated Press that he was told about the reversal after Esper attended a meeting at the White House
  • Florida Governor RonDeSantis said he is sending 500 members of the Florida National Guard to Washington to assist with the protests there.
  • A Denver police officer Thomas McClay, who posted a picture of himself and two colleagues in full riot gear with the caption “Let’s start a riot,” has been fired, officials said.
  • President Trump denied reports that he retreated to the underground bunker beneath the White House last Friday night as protests escalated, insisting he only visited the secure facility for a brief time during the day for the purposes of “inspection”
  • Former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was charged with second-degree murder on Wednesday in the death of George Floyd, and three other former officers who were present during the killing were charged with aiding and abetting murder.

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced the upgraded charge against Chauvin

  • U.S. Park Police said Wednesday they are investigating two officers who allegedly attacked Australian reporters during Monday night’s protest near the White House. 

“As is consistent with our established practices and procedures, two U.S. Park Police officers have been assigned to administrative duties, while an investigation takes place regarding the incident with the Australian Press,” the park police tweeted Wednesday.

  • White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Wednesday compared President Trump’s photo opportunity in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church to former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s examination of World War II bombing damage in 1941.
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday joined a crowd of demonstrators outside the Capitol protesting police brutality toward black Americans following the death of George Floyd.
  • Military personnel in Washington, D.C., some of whom were not wearing identifiers, extended the perimeter around the White House on Wednesday, blocking off access to LaFayette Square, where police clashed with protesters earlier this week. They were dressed in mixed riot gear, with helmets and face masks, shields and guns loaded with crowd control agents.
  • Asheville, NC Police surrounded a medic station created by protesters and stabbed water bottles with knives and tipped over tables of medical supplies and food. The medic team, made of EMTs and doctors, said the medical station was approved by the city.
  • Three Nevada men with ties to a right-wing extremists advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government have been arrested on terrorism-related charges in what authorities say was a conspiracy to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas.

Federal prosecutors say the three white men with U.S. military experience are accused of conspiring to carry out a plan that began in April in conjunction with protests to reopen businesses closed because of the coronavirus and later sought to capitalize on protests over George Floyd.

Administration News

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel “was so uncomfortable” with the thought of being with President Trump at the G-7 this summer, she told French President Emmanuel Macron, “I don’t want to be in the room with the guy.” According to sources, Merkel believed that proper diplomatic preparations had not been made; she did not want to be part of an anti-China display; and, she opposed Mr. Trump’s idea of inviting the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

Merkel “knows that any event, Trump will spin as if the others are implicitly endorsing him, and that’s the last thing she wants to do.”

  • France’s attitude “toward Trump is a mix of sadness and anger,” said Thomas Gomart, director of the French Institute of International Relations.

“Our main ally refused to exercise leadership during the corona crisis,” he said, “and is every day more provocative toward its allies and is creating divisions that are very actively exploited by China.”

“Mr. Trump has no diplomatic accomplishments,” Gomart said, listing failures on North Korea, the Middle East, a deterioration of relations with China and no improvement of relations with Russia. Instead, French President Macron believes that Mr. Trump has damaged European security through his unilateral abandonment of the Iran nuclear deal as well as nearly every arms control agreement with Russia.

  • President Trump returned to talk of an unfounded conspiracy theory about MSNBC “Morning Joe” host, Joe Scarborough.

“I’ve always felt that he got away with murder. That was my feeling, a very strong feeling, and I do feel it,” Trump said during a radio interview with Fox News’s Brian Kilmeade on Wednesday morning.

Trump also said that he spends time criticizing Scarborough and CNN anchor Chris Cuomo because he feels compelled to “hit back” at his critics.

“I just do it. People hit me, I hit back. I fight. I’ve always felt that about Scarborough,” Trump said.

Trump was widely criticized, including by some in his own party, for promoting this  baseless theory.

  • During the same interview, President Trump suggested that there are good Christians and bad Christians. The good ones support Donald Trump; the bad ones, like those who criticized his photo stunt, are the opposition.
  • Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump’s account. The president’s account will still be live on the app, and people can still search and subscribe to it. But it won’t show up in the tab that suggests new stories to watch or new people to follow.

“We will not amplify voices who incite racial violence and injustice by giving them free promotion on Discover,” Snap spokesperson Rachel Racusen said. “Racial violence and injustice have no place in our society and we stand together with all who seek peace, love, equality, and justice in America.”

  • Florida elections records show President Trump first tried to register to vote in Florida while claiming Washington, D.C., as his legal residence.

The first application, submitted in September, listed the White House as his legal residence despite a Florida law requiring voters to legally reside in the state, the Post reported. The president resubmitted his application with a Florida address the next month and voted by mail in the Sunshine State’s Republican primary in March.

The original application listing the Washington address is dated Sept. 27, the same day the president publicly announced he would change his legal residence from Manhattan to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Fla. Trump, on two separate forms, listed both the White House as his legal residence and said that he was a “bona fide resident” of Palm Beach.

  • President Trump’s health is largely unchanged over the past year, according to a memo released by the White House physician on Wednesday that found he “remains healthy” after two separate exams in November and April.

Trump underwent a portion of his physical — the third of his presidency — at Walter Reed in November during an unannounced trip that prompted speculation about his health. He completed his physical during an April examination at the White House, according to the memo from Sean Conley.

  • President Trump on Wednesday defended his plans to invite Russia to the Group of Seven (G-7) summit this year despite its expulsion from the group in 2014, arguing that it’s “common sense” to do so.

“It’s not a question of what he’s done, it’s a question of common sense,” Trump said. “We have a G-7, he’s not there. Half of the meeting is devoted to Russia and he’s not there.”

  • A federal judge indicated late Tuesday he believes the EPA must update its plans for responding to offshore oil spills. 

Federal judge William Orrick said in a court decision that the law “strongly suggests that the duty to update and revise the [plan] ‘as advisable’  is not discretionary, but required.”

  • Trump’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Wednesday castigated the president as “the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people,”  Mattis said in a statement.

“We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership. We can unite without him, drawing on the strengths inherent in our civil society. This will not be easy, as the past few days have shown, but we owe it to our fellow citizens; to past generations that bled to defend our promise; and to our children.”

  • State Department IG Steve Linick, who Trump fired, confirmed in an interview with members of Congress at the time of his firing:
    • there was an ongoing investigation into allegations of misuse of government resources by Secretary Pompeo and his wife. 
    • that his office sought documents related to this matter from the Secretary’s office through Executive Secretary Lisa Kenna, and that he had personally discussed this investigation with Under Secretary of State for Management Brian Bulatao and Deputy Secretary of State Biegun.
    • there was an ongoing investigation into Secretary Pompeo’s 2019 “emergency” declaration under the Arms Export Control Act, which was used to push through roughly $8 billion in weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • New COVID-19 cases jumped by 25% in one day. June 1 saw 16,070 new cases diagnosed in the U.S. June 2 that number grew to 20,073.
  • Two weeks after Israel fully reopened schools, officials are again closing dozens of them after a COVID-19 outbreak. A new policy orders any school where a case emerges to close.
  • Senior officials at the World Health Organization said there is no evidence that the coronavirus circulating around the globe has mutated in ways that would make it more virulent or more easily transmissible.
  • Italy, once the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, became the first European nation to fully reopen its borders on Wednesday.

The nation ended the closure of regional and international borders and the end of a 14-day quarantine required for anyone entering the country, part of the final phase of its coronavirus lockdown.

  • Bipartisan members of Congress on Tuesday urged the Trump administration to distribute emergency COVID-19 funding to Medicaid providers as soon as possible, noting their “serious concerns” with the delay. 

While Congress appropriated funding more than two months ago to help health care providers weather the COVID-19 crisis, little of that assistance has gone to those who serve low-income patients, children, and people with disabilities.

  • The malaria drug hydroxychloroquine did not prevent Covid-19 in a rigorous study of 821 people who had been exposed to patients infected with the virus, researchers from the University of Minnesota and Canada reported on Wednesday.

The study was the first controlled clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, a drug that President Trump has repeatedly promoted and recently taken himself.

  • On Wednesday, Florida saw its largest number of new cases of the coronavirus since mid-April. 

The Florida Department of Health announced the state has a total of 58,764 confirmed cases of the disease, a jump of 1,317 from the day before. Wednesday’s total is Florida’s largest since April 17, when it had a daily total of 1,413 cases.

  • Norway PM Erna Solberg rejected Donald Trump’s claim that the WHO is controlled by China and criticized the president’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the organization, calling it “the wrong answer.” Solberg is the first world leader to publicly rebuke Trump on the move.

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

  • The president took aim at Andrew and Chris Cuomo in a Tweet: “Yesterday was a bad day for the Cuomo Brothers. New York was lost to the looters, thugs, Radical Left, and all others forms of Lowlife & Scum. The Governor refuses to accept my offer of a dominating National Guard. NYC was ripped to pieces. Likewise, Fredo’s ratings are down 50%!”
  • The chief of staff for D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser, confirmed that federal officials, including at the White House, inquired about their powers to take control of the city’s police department. He said city officials objected and would mount a legal challenge if federal officials tried to do so.
  • Attorney General William Barr personally ordered the perimeter near the White House to be extended, pushing protesters away from Lafayette Park shortly before President Trump spoke in the area on Monday night. Law enforcement forced protesters out by using tear gas.

“He conferred with them to check on the status and basically said: ‘This needs to be done. Get it done,’” a Justice Department official said.

  • Australia’s prime minister called for an investigation into an attack on two Australian journalists by police officers that was broadcast live on-air as authorities in riot gear broke up a peaceful protest outside the White House on Monday

Correspondent Amelia Brace and cameraman Tim Myers of Australia’s 7NEWS were charged Monday by police officers and National Guard units who fired rubber bullets, deployed flash bangs and set off tear gas bombs to force protesters from Lafayette Square across from the White House.

  • The president and first lady visited the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in St. John’s Episcopal Church. After they paused for a photo-op with the media, they faced the statue of John Paul II for a few minutes. Then they looked at a wreath of red and white roses that held a card saying “Mr. President.”
  • In a sharp condemnation of Trump’s appearance in front of St. John’s Episcopal Church, Washington Archbishop Wilton Gregory said, “I find it baffling and reprehensible that any Catholic facility would allow itself to be so egregiously misused and manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles, which call us to defend the rights of all people, even those with whom we might disagree.” 

“Saint Pope John Paul II was an ardent defender of the rights and dignity of human beings. His legacy bears vivid witness to that truth,” Gregory said. “He certainly would not condone the use of tear gas and other deterrents to silence, scatter or intimidate them for a photo opportunity in front of a place of worship and peace.”

  • The governors of Maryland and Virginia took different approaches to direct requests from Defense Secretary Mark Esper to send National Guard troops to help counter mostly peaceful protestors in Washington, D.C., with Maryland sending troops and Virginia declining to do so.
  • Police broke up a stand-off between residents in Philadelphia’s Fishtown neighborhood after a self-proclaimed vigilante group of men wielding bats, hammers and shovels appeared to confront a group of unarmed protesters. The men claimed to be there to prevent looting, which was not taking place, and photos show they beat a local radio reporter who said they attacked him after he filmed them. Many asked why tear gas was used in other cases on peaceful protesters but not on the armed men who were mostly white.
  • A border fence was erected overnight at Lafayette Park to seal off the White House from protesters. Multiple Secret Service agents declined to discuss who ordered its installation or how long it would stay up.
  • In an interview, Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo directed a message at Trump, “Let me just say this to the President of the United States, on behalf of the police chiefs of this country: please, if you don’t have something constructive to say, keep your mouth shut.”
  • Arrest warrants have been issued for 6 Atlanta police officers after video showed officers firing Tasers and dragging 2 college students, Taniyah Pilgrim and Messiah Young, from a car.
  • Gov. Andrew Cuomo criticized New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, “The NYPD and the Mayor did not do their job last night…It was a disgrace.”

Cuomo said de Blasio refused assistance from the state’s National Guard to thwart widespread looting as protests and riots rage over the death of George Floyd.

  • Mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, Melvin Carter, says “We’re not gonna federalize our National Guard troops, and use them against our American people.”
  • Attorney for George Floyd’s family says authorities have told them the other 3 officers involved in the detainment that preceded Floyd’s death will be charged.
  • A Las Vegas Metro officer is in critical condition after a protester shot him Monday night.  Sheriff Joe Lombardo said officers were attempting to clear protesters from Las Vegas Boulevard near Circus Circus when the officer was shot sometime before midnight. The officer is currently on life support at University Medical Center in Las Vegas. 

A suspect in the shooting was arrested.

  • Retired police captain David Dorn, who served 38 years with the St. Louis P.D., was shot and killed while protecting a friend’s pawn shop from looters.
  • The aircraft flying over DC last night in a show of force against protesters were ordered by the president.
  • 700 members of the 82nd Airborne Immediate Response Force are at Joint Base Andrews and Fort Belvoir. 1,400 more soldiers are ready to be mobilized within an hour. Soldiers are armed and have riot gear. They also were issued bayonets.
  • James N. Miller, the former under-secretary of defense for policy, resigned from the Defense Science Board on Tuesday, citing President Donald Trump’s use of federal police to forcibly move peaceful protesters Monday night.

“If last night’s blatant violations do not cross the line for you, what will?” Miller wrote in his resignation letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, which was published in The Washington Post. “Unfortunately, it appears there may be few if any lines that President Trump is not willing to cross, so you will probably be faced with this terrible question again in the coming days.”

  • The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd, according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News.
  • The FBI’s Washington Field Office “has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence” in the violence that occurred on May 31 during the D.C.area protests according to an internal FBI situation report.

The FBI report states that “based on CHS [Confidential Human Source] canvassing, open source/social media partner engagement, and liaison, FBI WFO has no intelligence indicating Antifa involvement/presence.” The statement followed a list of violent acts like throwing bricks at police and the discovery of a backpack containing explosive materials, which were flagged by the FBI under a “Key Updates” section of the report.

  • Elizabeth Warren, her husband, and their dog Bailey joined protesters outside the White House.
  • More than 17,000 members of the National Guard are standing ready to support local law enforcement. That represents approximately the same number of active duty troops deployed in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan.

Other Administration News

  • North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper rejected the GOP’s plans for a full-fledged convention in Charlotte, telling Republican officials the only way the convention would move forward is with proper health protocols in place. Trump and Republicans want a 50,000-person event.
  • President Trump said that he will move the 2020 Republican National Convention out of North Carolina after the state and GOP clashed over restrictions that would possibly be enforced at the event due to the coronavirus.
  • The House Judiciary Committee has lined up whistleblowers to testify about alleged political interference inside the Justice Department, committee aides told POLITICO on Tuesday, as Attorney General William Barr continues to rebuff efforts by the panel to reschedule testimony he committed to in March.

The whistleblower hearing, which has yet to be formally scheduled, is part of a series of steps the panel intends to take in the coming weeks to push back against Barr, who they say has rejected renewed efforts to testify.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Warmer weather is unlikely to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus, Dr. Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, said in a blog post Tuesday.

“Climate only would become an important seasonal factor in controlling COVID-19 once a large proportion of people within a given community are immune or resistant to infection,” Collins wrote, citing experts in infectious disease transmission and climate modeling.

“We’ll obviously have to wait a few months to get the data. But for now, many researchers have their doubts that the COVID-19 pandemic will enter a needed summertime lull,” he added.

  • Medical journal The Lancet acknowledged that a massive study on hydroxychloroquine that raised serious health concerns about the anti-malaria drug was potentially flawed.

The Lancet issued an “expression of concern” on a study it published last month of nearly 100,000 patients that tied hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine to a higher risk of death in hospitalized patients with coronavirus.

Last week, the study’s research team corrected some of its data but said its conclusions remained the same.

  • An Illinois man faces several federal charges after he allegedly handed out explosive devices to rioters in Minneapolis demonstrating against the killing of George Floyd.

Officials charged Matthew Lee Rupert, 28, with civil disorder, carrying on a riot and possession of unregistered destructive devices after he allegedly handed out the explosives last week and encouraged people to throw them at law enforcement.

  • The Senate confirmed President Trump’s nominee to police the massive coronavirus economic rescue programs, filling a key oversight position Congress created as part of $2 trillion legislation in March.

The Senate voted to 51-40 to approve Brian Miller as Treasury Department special inspector general for pandemic recovery.

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

  • Speaking to governors on a video teleconference with law enforcement and national security officials, President Donald Trump derided the nation’s governors as “weak” and demanded tougher crackdowns on protesters in the aftermath of another night of violent protests in dozens of American cities.

Trump called on them to step up enforcement: “You have to dominate, if you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time. They’re going to run over you, you’re going to look like a bunch of jerks. You have to dominate.”

Trump spoke to governors on a video teleconference with law enforcement and national security officials, telling the local leaders they “have to get much tougher” amid nationwide protests and criticizing their responses.

“Most of you are weak,” Trump said. “You have to arrest people.”

  • Attorney General William Barr is reportedly directing the Federal Bureau of Prisons to deploy riot teams to Washington, D.C.and Miami as part of the Trump administration’s response to escalating protests against police brutality in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
  • Secretary of Defense Mark Esper during White House call with governors: “I think the sooner that you mass and dominate the battlespace, the quicker this dissipates and we can get back to the right normal.”
  • Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, a former congressman and top Democratic National Committee official, said he has not seen any evidence that violence at demonstrations in Minnesota has been linked to antifa as President Trump has claimed, saying: “We don’t see what the president is talking about, I don’t think the president sees what he’s talking about.”
  • Flash bangs could be heard from the Rose Garden as law enforcement officials fired tear gas at demonstrators outside the White House at the same time that President Trump delivered remarks on his response to nationwide protests and violence in the wake of the death of George Floyd. Video from nearby showed officials trying to disperse protesters amid loud bangs as tear gas lingered in the air near the White House.
  • President Trump said he would mobilize “all available federal resources, civilian and military” to clamp down on protests across the country, declaring himself the “president of law and order.” Trump said he was dispatching the military across Washington, D.C., and urged governors nationwide to “dominate” their streets by deploying the National Guard. If they refused, he said, he would send in troops to American cities.
  • Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser condemned the use of tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House and called the move “shameful,” saying “federal police used munitions on peaceful protestors in front of the White House, an act that will make the job of @DCPoliceDept officers more difficult.”
  • Just moments after protesters were forcefully removed from the park directly outside the White House by law enforcement who fired tear gas into the crowd, President Trump walked down the street to a historic church that was set on fire by protesters on Sunday. At the church, he posed for a photo and told reporters he was going to keep the building “safe” while also declaring: “Greatest country in the world!”
  •  Rev. Mariann Budde, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, sharply criticized President Donald Trump for staging a visit to the historic St. John’s Church across from the White House, where he held up a Bible after authorities had cleared the area of peaceful protesters.

“I am outraged,” pausing between words to emphasize her anger as her voice slightly trembled.

She said she had not been given any notice that Trump would be visiting the church, and did not approve of the manner in which the area was secured for his appearance.

“I am the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington and was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop.”

  • President Trump was angered by coverage that he was rushed to the underground bunker during protests Friday night and told aides he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates leading in part to his walk to St. John’s today.
  • A U.S. Army Blackhawk helicopter used a “show of force” maneuver on protesters in Washington, D.C. on Monday night. It’s a tactic often conducted by low-flying jets in combat zones to scare away insurgents.
  • Customs and Border Protection have deployed troops in Washington, D.C., officials announced, as President Trump mobilized the military in the capital city to address the protests.

Other Administration News

  • Any push by Trump to readmit Russia to the G7 would be vetoed by the U.K., Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson said.
  • Canada is opposed to Russia rejoining the G-7 meeting because Moscow continues to disregard international rules, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters.
  • The Taliban has maintained ties with al Qaeda despite signing an agreement with the United States the Trump administration has touted as a commitment from the insurgents to break from the terror group, according to a United Nations report.
  • Judge Emmet G. Sullivan should not be required to act as a “mere rubber stamp” for the government’s unusual move to undo the guilty plea of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the judge’s lawyers told a federal appeals court in Washington on Monday.

Sullivan’s attorneys asked the appeals court to stay on the sidelines to give the judge an opportunity to ensure the “integrity of the judicial process” and to rule on the Justice Department’s request to dismiss Flynn’s case.

  • The Trump administration gutted a key portion of the Clean Water Act, limiting states’ ability to block controversial pipeline projects that cross their waterways. The Trump administration is specifically targeting the section which lets states halt projects that risk hurting their water quality.
  • The Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court decision granting House Democrats access to redacted grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

The filing serves as the Trump administration’s formal appeal of a March order to hand over secret transcripts and exhibits that Democratic leaders of the House Judiciary Committee initially sought as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

  • An early morning shooting at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota has left two active-duty military members dead. The incident is under investigation.
  • In retaliation against President Trump for announcing he would strip Hong Kong of its special status, China has told state-owned firms to stop buying U.S. soybeans and pork, a move that would break a key provision of the phase one trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

Coronavirus/COVID-19

  • Anthony Fauci said his meetings with President Trump have “dramatically decreased” in recent weeks. “We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting we’d meet with the president. So I was meeting with him four times a week back, a month or so ago,” Fauci said in an interview with STAT News published Monday.

“But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased,” he added.

When asked whether the president has frequently discussed work on a coronavirus vaccine with him, Fauci bluntly responded, “No.”

  • Drug company, Eli Lilly, announced that it has administered the first doses of a possible new treatment for coronavirus patients as it begins a phase one clinical trial. The treatment uses an antibody that the body produces to fight coronavirus.
  • The Food and Drug Administration is reporting shortages of Zoloft and the generic version of the antidepressant as demand soars and supply chains for key ingredients are interrupted by the pandemic. Zoloft is commonly prescribed to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental illnesses.
  • Adm. Brett Giroir, the assistant secretary for health leading the COVID-19 testing efforts, will return to his regular duties in mid-June.

Giroir will return to his regular duties next month after spending the past several weeks working with FEMA to increase COVID-19 testing capacity.

  • According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, nearly 26,000 nursing home residents have died from COVID-19, the first public acknowledgement about the scope of the disease in the care facilities.
  • About 15 West Point cadets who returned to campus for graduation, during which President Trump is scheduled to deliver an address, have tested positive for the coronavirus, the Army said.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic will reduce the size of economic output by a combined $7.9 trillion over the next decade in real terms, or 3 percent of cumulative GDP, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office.

The report compared economic and budgetary projections from before the pandemic to the most recent round of projections in May.

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