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

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations 

  • Attorneys representing the family of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died earlier this year after a police officer kneeled on his neck for several minutes, have filed a civil suit against the city of Minneapolis and the four officers involved.
  • Kimberly Gardner, the circuit attorney for St. Louis County ripped President Trump and her state’s governor in a statement after the two criticized her office’s investigation into a couple seen on a viral video threatening Black Lives Matter protesters at gunpoint.

“While they continue to play politics with the handling of this matter, spreading misinformation and distorting the truth, I refuse to do so,” Gardner said.

  • The Asheville City Council has apologized for the North Carolina city’s historic role in slavery, discrimination and denial of basic liberties to Black residents and voted to provide reparations to them and their descendants.

The measure calls for a plan to provide reparations to its Black residents in the form of investments in their community such as “increasing minority homeownership,” “increasing minority business ownership and career opportunities,” and “strategies to grow equity and generational wealth,” according to the resolution.

  • A Confederate flag banner was flown over the Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee on Wednesday ahead of NASCAR’s All-Star Race.

The banner flown over the Wednesday race also included the website “SCV.org,” a website operated by the organization The Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Trump Administration News

  • The Trump administration is escalating its fight against the Chinese telecom giant Huawei by placing unspecified restrictions on visas of company employees within U.S. borders, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced.
  • Senior adviser Ivanka Trump was accused of violating a federal ethics law that bans government employees from using their public office to endorse products when she posted a picture supporting Goya. The White House, however, blamed the media and the “cancel culture movement” for the criticism she received.
  • President Donald Trump said that he would welcome retired Gen. Michael Flynn back into his administration now that the former national security adviser’s legal troubles are on the verge of receding.
  • Nearly two dozen of the country’s Democratic attorneys general are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos over her rollback of Obama-era regulations that allowed students to seek student loan relief if they were scammed by their higher education institution.
  • President Trump has officially finalized the rollback to one of the nation’s bedrock environmental laws in a move critics say will be particularly harmful to minority communities. The change would undo the requirement for environmental reviews of major construction projects and pipelines, which some say will allow for increased pollution in non-white communities.
  • President Trump intends to fight a subpoena for his tax returns and financial records from the Manhattan district attorney after the Supreme Court rejected his claim that he’s immune to criminal investigation, the president’s lawyers told a judge
  • A report by the Government Accountability Office, Congress’s nonpartisan investigative arm, found the Trump administration set a rock-bottom price on the damages done by greenhouse gas emissions, enabling the government to justify the costs of repealing or weakening dozens of climate change regulations.

The report said the Trump administration estimated the harm that global warming will cause future generations to be seven times lower than previous federal estimates.

  • Last week, Lt. Col. Alex Vindman announced his retirement from the Army, with his attorney accusing Trump of “a campaign of bullying, intimidation, and retaliation” since Vindman’s testimony. Now, the White House is accusing the former National Security Council member of creating a hostile work environment after testifying in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

An earlier review found no basis for the claim against Vindman.

  • The Supreme Court has cleared the way for a second federal execution to take place this week.
  • Senior White House adviser Jared Kushner has reportedly halted his plans to divest from a tech startup that he co-founded even after it was revealed that it had been partially fueled by foreign investors, which critics worry violates ethics rules and creates a conflict of interest.

Presidential Campaign

  • Joe Biden’s choice of a running mate is the talk of Washington, but a majority of American voters said Biden’s VP selection won’t affect their vote, according to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released Wednesday.

Fifty-four percent of respondents said that Biden’s running mate will have no impact on how they’ll cast their ballot. Only 16 percent said that it would have a “major impact” on their vote. Another 20 percent said it would have a “minor impact.”

  • President Trump is replacing his campaign manager less than four months from Election Day, removing Brad Parscale from the role and promoting another top political aide, Bill Stepien.
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden has widened his lead over President Trump to 15 points in a new national Quinnipiac University poll.

The poll released Wednesday shows Biden with 52 percent of the vote to Trump’s 37 percent, the widest lead for the presumptive Democratic nominee recorded by a Quinnipiac survey to date.

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

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

Read Time: 3 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations

  • Open Society Foundation, the philanthropic organization founded by billionaire George Soros, is investing $220 million in efforts to promote racial equality, including grants to Black-led organizations working to expand voting rights and advocate for police reform.
  • Residents in Norman, Oklahoma launched a petition this week to recall the city’s mayor and several members of its city council as they express outrage over its decision to vote to cut the police budget by over $800,000 in the wake of nationwide protests, accusing the city council of having “succumbed to an angry mob.”
  • In 1828, North Carolina Supreme Court Judge Thomas Ruffin wrote that a slave owner must have “uncontrolled authority over the body” of a slave to “render the submission … perfect.” Today Thomas Ruffin’s statue was removed from the NC Court of Appeals.
  • A man was recorded on video throwing red paint onto the Black Lives Matter mural that was recently painted on the street in front of Trump Tower, and which President Trump has sharply criticized as a “symbol of hate.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio later clapped back, tweeting: “To whoever vandalized our mural on 5th Avenue: nice try. [NYC Department of Transportation] has already fixed it. The #BlackLivesMatter movement is more than words, and it can’t be undone.”

Administration News

  • The Trump administration is moving forward with the end of a long-standing ban on the sale of gun silencers, also known as suppressors, to foreign buyers, handing a victory to firearm manufacturers after President Trump’s former deputy assistant and White House lawyer launched a campaign as a lobbyist for a gun silencer trade group.
  • President Donald Trump’s executive clemency to his longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone not only commuted the veteran Republican operative’s prison term but it also spared him a fine and two years of supervised release.

“I commute the entirety of the prison sentence imposed upon the said Roger Stone, Jr. to expire immediately,” according to Trump’s order.

“I also commute the entirety of the two-year term of supervised release with all its conditions, and finally, I remit any unpaid balance of the $20,000 fine imposed.”

  • A federal judge in Washington, D.C., again blocked the Trump administration from resuming executions just hours before the first federal death sentence since 2003 was scheduled to be carried out.
  • A private company that President Trump criticized over its efforts to construct a wall near the U.S.-Mexico border received $1.7 billion in federal contracts from the administration after lobbying the president personally on cable news, according to a new report.
  • More than 350 facilities nationwide have taken advantage of a temporary Environmental Protection Agency rule that lets companies forgo monitoring their water pollution during the coronavirus pandemic. The move is causing great concern among environmentalists: “Where facilities don’t monitor their own discharges and emissions, that can present significant environmental problems depending on what wasn’t reported that got into the environment.”
  • President Trump says the federal government may “take over cities” to combat rising crime: “Numbers are going to be coming down even if we have to go and take over cities.”
  • The United States budget deficit grew to a record $864 billion in June as the federal government continued pumping money into the economy to prop up workers and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic
  • The Chinese government announced that it would impose sanctions on three American lawmakers and a diplomat in retaliation for similar moves last week by the Trump administration against four officials in China.

The sanctions targeted Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Representative Chris Smith of New Jersey, all of whom are Republicans. Also named was Trump’s ambassador at large for international religious freedom, Sam Brownback.

The Trump administration banned four Chinese officials and a Chinese government agency last Thursday from accessing American banks and other financial institutions. It also restricted them from obtaining visas to the United States.

The sanctions are mostly symbolic on both sides, as neither the Chinese officials nor the Americans are known to have assets in each other’s financial systems.

  • A federal appeals court has ruled that the Trump administration cannot withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities, affirming previous rulings in the state.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Coronavirus, Race Relations, and Trump Administration News

Read TIme: 7 Minutes

Coronavirus/COVID 19 Update

  • The World Health Organization reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases on Sunday, with the total rising by 230,370 in 24 hours.
  • Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Sunday that she intends to have American schools open for in-person classes this fall, and insisted that this can be done safely despite concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

DeVos called on schools to reopen despite CDC guidelines that say children meeting in groups can put everyone at risk: “There is going to be the exception to the rule. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall.”

The Secretary also reiterated President Trump’s threat to withhold funding from schools that do not reopen.

“American investment in education is a promise to students and their families,” she said. “If schools aren’t going to reopen and not fulfill that promise, they shouldn’t get the funds.” ““There’s nothing in the data that suggests that kids being in school is in any way dangerous.”

  • The White House is seeking to discredit Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, as President Donald Trump works to marginalize him and his dire warnings about the shortcomings in the U.S. coronavirus response.

In a remarkable broadside by the Trump administration against one of its own, a White House official told NBC News on Sunday that “several White House officials are concerned about the number of times Dr. Fauci has been wrong on things.” To bolster the case, the official provided NBC News with a list of nearly a dozen past comments by Fauci earlier in the pandemic that the official said had ultimately proven erroneous.

  • According to initial data reported by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, there were zero new COVID-19 deaths on July 11 for the first time since the state’s first death was recorded on March 11.
  • New Jersey announced 16 more deaths attributed to COVID-19 and 349 additional positive tests.
  • Florida reports 15,300 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day increase for any US state, and 44 new deaths.

Floridians are testing positive every five and a half seconds. 

  • A 30-year-old man who believed the coronavirus was a hoax and attended a “Covid party” died after being infected with the virus, according to a Texas hospital.

The man had attended a gathering with an infected person to test whether the coronavirus was real, said Dr. Jane Appleby, chief medical officer at Methodist Hospital in San Antonio, where the man died.

  • Top officials in Houston are calling for the city to lock back down as hospitals strain to accommodate the onslaught of COVID-19 patients. Texas health officials reported 8,196 new cases statewide, 80 more deaths and a total 10,410 people hospitalized.
  • Some parts of the Midwest are beginning to look alarmingly like the South and West did just a month ago. Cases have been trending upward in every Midwestern state except Nebraska and South Dakota.
  • Minnesota announced its highest daily case totals since May on Sunday and Saturday.
  • Indiana was among the first states in the Midwest to begin reopening in early May. The state was on track to enter its final phase (Phase 5) of reopening by the Fourth of July but as cases began rising, Gov. Eric Holcomb (R) announced the state would instead enter an interim “Phase 4.5.” Mr. Holcomb’s amended executive order stops short of fully reopening but allows fairs and festivals, youth overnight camps and even conventions of up to 250 people to continue. Face coverings are “strongly recommended” but not required.
  • In Kansas, average daily case counts are at their highest levels and in Sedgwick County, which includes Wichita, cases have more than doubled since June 25. Local officials in Wichita have attempted to slow the spread by issuing a universal mask ordinance and banning gatherings of more than 45 people.
  • Parents and teachers discovered that one version of the reopening drafts for the Canyons School District in Utah included a recommendation that crisis communication employees have a “template letter” ready in case a student or teacher died of the virus.

The reference went viral on social media, but it’s not unusual at all for an organization to have a crisis plan in place in case someone dies. A newer draft of the district’s plans does not have that reference, as the reopening drafts are still in the planning phases.

  • The California Assembly is suspending its session until further notice following five confirmed COVID-19 cases among lawmakers and employees.

Assemblywoman Autumn Burke, D-Inglewood, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will remain in quarantine with her daughter until a doctor instructs her otherwise, she wrote on Twitter on Monday.

Burke had “mask to mask” exposure to the virus on June 26, she said — the same day that an Assembly employee was last in the Capitol before testing positive. That employee wore a face covering at all times, according to an Assembly Rules Committee email.

Protests/Race Relations

  • The federal government has denied Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz’ request for aid to help rebuild and repair Twin Cities structures that were damaged in the unrest following George Floyd’s death.
  • Lewis Hamilton shows his support for the Black Lives Matter movement during his victory in the Styrian Grand Prix.

Hamilton secured his first win of the season in Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix. Before and after the race, Hamilton made a more definitive statement by kneeling ahead of the anthem and raising his fist on the winner’s podium.

  • A man who was seen on video going off on a racist tirade against an Asian American family at a restaurant has resigned from his job as CEO of a tech company in California after drawing viral backlash.

Michael Lofthouse, the now-former CEO of San Francisco-based cloud computing firm Solid8, confirmed his resignation to Fox Business.

  • Protesters gathered outside the Allentown, PA police department Saturday night after a  39-second video showed a Pennsylvania police officer with his knee on a man’s neck and head.

The clip, shot outside a hospital in Allentown doesn’t show what prompted the confrontation, but three officers can be seen restraining a man lying face down on the ground and yelling.

One of the officers is seen thrusting his knee and elbow into the man’s head and neck. Earlier this month, the Allentown Police Department released a new excessive force policy. The policy bans neck restraints or chokeholds unless officers are preventing “imminent death or serious bodily injury” to a citizen or themselves.

The Lehigh County district attorney is investigating and in a statement said, “Although significant, the entirety of the interaction is being reviewed,” adding that witnesses were being interviewed and that other videos were being reviewed.

  • The NFL’s Washington franchise announced they are retiring the team’s name and logo. A new name has not yet been announced.

Administration News

  • Following an op-ed by former special counsel Robert Mueller published Saturday in The Washington Post, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, says he will grant a request by Democrats to have  Mueller testify before the committee about his investigation. 
  • President Trump floated the idea of selling Puerto Rico as the territory struggled in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in 2017, former acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke told The New York Times.

Duke, who served in the role for four months, told the Times on Friday that she was shocked when the president raised the suggestion of “divesting” or “selling” Puerto Rico.

  • President Trump’s chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he’s fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. “Meadows told me he was doing that,” said one former White House official. “I don’t know if it ever worked.”
  • Donald Trump has criticised a group of his supporters who privately financed and built a wall along the US-Mexico border in South Texas earlier this year because the wall is already deteriorating from erosion.

The privately-funded wall was “only done to make me look bad,” the president tweeted on Sunday – despite the group, “We Build the Wall,” raising $25million in two years to erect it, in a show of support for Trump’s immigration and border security initiatives.

The group first launched its fundraising effort during the government shutdown of December 2018 when Congress would not agree to fund Trump’s wall proposal.

  • Senate Democrats are demanding they be allowed to see any copies of intelligence briefs that were presented to President Trump regarding evidence that Russia was paying the Taliban bounties for attacks on U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan.

Presidential Campaign

  • After months of insisting that the Republican National Convention go off as scheduled despite the pandemic, President Donald Trump is slowly coming to accept that the late August event will not be the four-night infomercial for his reelection that he had anticipated.

After a venue change, spiking coronavirus cases and a sharp recession, Trump aides and allies are increasingly questioning whether it’s worth the trouble, and some are advocating that the convention be scrapped altogether. Conventions are meant to lay out a candidate’s vision for the coming four years, not spark months of intrigue over the health and safety of attendees, they have argued.

Aides are pushing Trump to move his acceptance speech outdoors to minimize risk of virus transmission. But Trump has expressed reservations about an outdoor venue, believing it would lack the same atmosphere as a charged arena.

  • The Trump campaign canceled the president’s planned rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire because of concerns that COVID-19 fears and a forecasted thunderstorm would lead to low attendance, people close to the campaign told NBC News. 

In its statement, the Trump campaign announcing the rally was being called off blamed a forecasted thunderstorm in the area and “safety reasons” for the decision. But officials told NBC that it was one of several factors that the campaign feared would lead to low attendance at the event, prompting the cancellation.

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

The Past 24 Hours or So – Protests/Race Relations News

Read Time: 2 Minutes

  • Breonna Taylor Taylor, a 26-year-old Black EMT, died in March after she was fatally shot by plainclothes police who arrived at her home in Louisville late at night to execute a no-knock warrant as part of a drug case but no drugs were found.

FBI investigators say the months-old case is a “top priority” for them and their “best agents” are working on it.

  • Police are looking to identify a white man and white woman who vandalized a city-approved Black Lives Matter mural in Martinez, California, on the Fourth of July.

The woman was caught on video by onlookers as she painted over the words “Black Lives Matter” on the street in front of the Contra Costa County courthouse while the man appeared to film her on his phone. Authorities are asking the public to identify the couple so they may be “held accountable for their actions,” Martinez Police Chief Manjit Sappal said in a Sunday press release.

“The community spent a considerable amount of time putting the mural together only to have it painted over in a hateful and senseless manner,” the release said. “The City of Martinez values tolerance and the damage to the mural was divisive and hurtful.”

  • Police in Lincoln City, Oregon, said this weekend that they arrested 7 men on various charges after a group of white people they were a part of allegedly harassed a Black family on Independence Day by using racial slurs and Nazi salutes.

At one point, the agency said officers at the scene had to form “a line between the group of white persons and the black family allowing the black family to safely leave the beach and return to their room.”

  • A predominantly Black group of heavily armed protesters marched through Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta on Saturday, calling for removal of the giant Confederate rock carving at the site that civil rights activists consider a monument to racism.
  • Several hundred people gathered in Sydney on Sunday as part of weekend-long protests in Australia’s large cities in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and increased focus of the mistreatment of indigenous peoples.
  • In an apparent appeal to race-based voters, Monday morning the president Tweeted in defense of the confederate flag and accused NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace of propagating a hoax: “Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!”

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

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

Read TIme: 3 Minutes

Protest/Race Relations

  • Two protesters were injured, one critically, in Seattle early on Saturday, when the women were hit by a speeding car that drove past other stopped vehicles into a crowd demonstrating on an interstate highway, police said.

UPDATE: One of the pedestrians has died. Summer Taylor was 24. A 27 year old suspect is in custody. 

  • A giant 20-by-30 foot Confederate flag was raised along a busy highway in North Carolina this weekend to mark the Fourth of July, but despite complaints local officials say there are no ordinances against it. The Sons of Confederate Veterans raised the flag, saying they did so to mark Independence Day and in response to the removal of Confederate statues in the state.
  • Protesters yanked down the Christopher Columbus statue near Little Italy and tossed it into Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as fireworks went off around the city on the evening of the Fourth of July.
  • Former NFL star and activist Colin Kaepernick marked July Fourth by sharing a video of actor James Earl Jones reciting Frederick Douglass’s historic speech, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July” with Kaepernick calling the holiday a “celebration of white supremacy.”

“Black ppl have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized + terrorized by America for centuries, & are expected to join your commemoration of ‘independence’, while you enslaved our ancestors,” he wrote. “We reject your celebration of white supremacy & look forward to liberation for all.”

  • “We have Americans that cannot breathe, except on ventilators. Who cannot breathe because of a knee on their neck, because of oppression and racism,” the former GOP California governor said in his message. “Slavery and racism are incompatible with freedom… on this July Fourth we celebrate the day America’s promise will be real for everyone.”

“We must fight every day to make sure that dream is as true for a black child born in Minneapolis as it was for a white bodybuilder born in Austria.”

  • Protesters marched and gathered outside the Aurora Police Department precinct to demand the remaining two officers involved in the death of Elijah McClain to be terminated from their jobs.

One officer involved in McClain’s death already resigned after a recent image appeared depicting police reenacting the carotid hold near a memorial for McClain, the same chokehold used at the time of his death.

  • In his Independence Day Speech, Trump compared his fight against the “radical left” to the US’s fight against Nazis in WW2. “American heroes defeated the Nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the earth,” Trump said. “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters, and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”
  • “We will never allow an angry mob to tear down our statues, erase our history, indoctrinate our children or trample on our freedoms,” President Donald Trump said in a July 4 speech. 
  • In an Independence Day message, Joe Biden said, “Our country was founded on an idea: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ We’ve never lived up to it. Jefferson himself didn’t – he held slaves, women were excluded. But once proposed, it was an idea that couldn’t be restrained. Through it all, these words have gnawed at our conscience and pulled us towards justice. We have a chance to rip the roots of systemic racism out of this country. We have a chance to live up to the words that founded this nation.”

Administration News

  • North Korea does not feel the need to have talks with the United States, which would be nothing more than “a political tool” for Washington, a senior North Korean diplomat said on Saturday, ahead of a U.S. envoy’s visit to South Korea.
  • The United States is sending two aircraft carriers into the South China Sea at the same time as China is conducting military exercises in the contested waterway.
  • President Trump took aggressive swipes at the “radical left” and news media during his wide-ranging Independence Day address.

In one part, Trump said when people, specifically the media, call his and allies’ actions racist: “You not only slander me, you not only slander American people, but you slander generations of heroes who gave their lives for America.”

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

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

Read Time: 4 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations 

  • A WWII-era Coast Guard ship named after the Supreme Court chief justice who penned the majority opinion in the Dred Scott ruling will be renamed.

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter “Taney” was originally named to honor Roger B. Taney’s service as U.S. Treasury secretary. But Taney’s legacy is defined principally by his majority opinion in the 1857 ruling in Dred Scott v. Sanford, which said slaves were property and African Americans — whether enslaved or free — could not be U.S. citizens.

  • The Washington Redskins today announced a “thorough review” of the team’s name amid mounting pressure to make a change.
  • The Cleveland Indians released a statement that they are considering changing the name of the team. 
  • Police used smoke bombs to disperse Indigenous protesters who blocked a highway as Trump made his way to Mount Rushmore.
  • An Indiana Catholic diocese has suspended a priest from public ministry after he faced backlash for comparing the Black Lives Matter movement and demonstrators to “maggots and parasites.”

Father Theodore Rothrock of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church in Carmel, Indiana, made the comparison in his weekly message on Sunday, The Indy Star reported.

“The only lives that matter are their own and the only power they seek is their own,” Rothrock wrote. “They are wolves in wolves clothing, masked thieves and bandits, seeking only to devour the life of the poor and profit from the fear of others. They are maggots and parasites at best, feeding off the isolation of addiction and broken families, and offering to replace current frustration and anxiety with more misery and greater resentment.” 

  • The Texas Tribune obtained, via a public information request, a voicemail of June 6, left several days after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott activated the Texas National Guard as some of the protests became violent.

In the voicemail conservative power broker Steve Hotze of Houston told Abbott’s chief of staff, Luis Saenz, “I want you to give a message to the governor. I want to make sure that he has National Guard down here and they have the order to shoot to kill if any of these son-of-a-bitch people start rioting like they have in Dallas, start tearing down businesses — shoot to kill the son of a bitches. That’s the only way you restore order. Kill ‘em. Thank you.”

  • Following the resignation of one of the officers involved, three Aurora, Colorado police officers were fired Friday. The four officers shared photographs they took of themselves re-enacting a chokehold officers used to subdue Elijah McClain who later died.

Jason Rosenblatt, who was among the officers who subdued McClain, was fired for responding “HaHa” after receiving the photo.

Vanessa Wilson, interim chief of police in the Denver suburb of Aurora, called the officers’ actions surrounding the death of Elijah McClain, who was unarmed, “reprehensible.” “I am disgusted to my core.”

  • President Trump on Friday during a Fourth of July event at Mount Rushmore lashed out at protesters calling for the removal of Confederate statues, accusing them of wanting to “overthrow the American Revolution” and fundamentally change the country adding that protestors’ goal is to “end America.”
  • “The violent mayhem we have seen in our streets and cities are run by liberal Democrats in every case is the predictable result of years of extreme indoctrination and bias in education, journalism and other cultural institutions,” Trump said. “Against every law of society and nature, our children are taught in school to hate their own country and to believe that the men and women who built it weren’t heroes, but villains. The radical view of American history is a web of lies.”
  • President Trump has unveiled an executive order to create a “National Garden of American Heroes” that will feature statues of prominent Americans in response to protesters calling for the removal of Confederate statues or statues of racist figures.

The executive order says the garden will include statues of John Adams, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Daniel Boone, Davy Crockett, Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson and Harriet Tubman, among others.

Administration News

  • The president’s arrival at his Sterling, VA country club marks the 365th day he has spent at one of his properties since assuming the office.
  • The Senate finalized passage of a sanctions bill to penalize China for its new national security law for Hong Kong that U.S. lawmakers say effectively ends the island’s autonomous legal status. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warned he may skip a summit in Washington next week with President Trump and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador over the Trump administration’s threats of tariffs and due to the coronavirus pandemic which is raging and seeing record-breaking days in the states.
  • “I have reviewed the classified information regarding bounties, upon which recent news reports are based. This information raises many questions and administration officials should come before the Senate and provide a classified briefing and answer questions from all members,” GOP Sen. Pat Toomey said, demanding a briefing on the controversial reports Russia has been targeting U.S. troops.
  • President Vladimir Putin on Friday mocked the U.S. embassy in Moscow for flying a rainbow flag to celebrate LGBT rights, suggesting it reflected the sexual orientation of its staff.
  • The Pentagon released a report claiming that the Russians have been working alongside the Taliban to drive US troops out of Afghanistan.

The report comes just days after the New York Times reported that Russian intelligence agents were paying bounties to Taliban-connected fighters for killing US troops.

“As of February, the Russian government was working with the central government, regional countries and the Taliban to gain increased influence in Afghanistan, expedite a US military withdrawal,” the report states.

The Pentagon report covers the time period between December 2019 and May 2020.

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

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

Read Time: 6 Minutes

Protests/Race Relations News

  • Boston city officials voted to remove “The Emancipation Statue” depicting President Lincoln standing tall above a formerly enslaved Black man kneeling at his feet. Critics argue the controversial monument is a “reductive representation” of the role Black Americans played in the abolition movement and the Civil War.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said on Thursday he plans to introduce legislation withholding federal funding for states and cities that don’t enforce laws protecting statues and monuments.
  • GOP Rep. Andy Biggs is calling for the White House to dissolve its coronavirus task force so that health officials like Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx can’t contradict many of Trump’s “stated goals and actions” when it comes to the economy.
  • U.S. Senators Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and James Lankford (R-Oklahoma) are proposing scrapping Columbus Day as a federal holiday and replacing it with Juneteenth.
  • Newly released body-camera footage shows two officers laughing about shooting protesters in Fort Lauderdale, Florida with rubber bullets, with one saying, “Did you see me fuck up those motherfuckers?” Fort Lauderdale Police Chief Rick Maglione defended the footage and said his officers were under attack.

Video shows protesters were mostly peaceful, however, and police were responding to a water bottle being thrown at them because another officer had pushed a kneeling woman to the ground.

  • Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has confirmed that soldiers who were deployed to Washington, D.C. to quell the protests over George Floyd’s death were given bayonets, knife-like attachments for rifles and other guns that allow them to be used as spears.

The members of the division and the regiment never were sent to the demonstrations to respond and were told no weapons would enter the city without orders or before nonlethal response methods were analyzed.

  • Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson called on protesters across the U.S. to cease efforts to dismantle statues of some historical figures and called on state leaders to dismantle “autonomous zones,” an apparent reference to the now-dismantled Seattle Capitol Hill Organized Protest zone.
  • The NFL is planning to have “Lift Ev’ry Voice And Sing,” long referred to as the Black national anthem, played or performed before games during the first week of this year’s season.
  • An Aurora, CO police officer who was involved in taking pictures reenacting the police chokehold used on Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man who died three days after the encounter, has resigned from the force.

The photos show officers from the Aurora Police Department posing inappropriately near his memorial site and reenacting the carotid restraint used on McClain before his death

  • A husband and wife were charged with assault Thursday, one day after pulling a gun on a Black mother and her two daughters amid an alteration in Oakland County, Mich.

Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper charged Jillian and Eric Wuestenberg with one count each of felonious assault.

  • As statues are removed in the U.S., Spain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has offered to take the statues and move them to Spain. Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya has sent diplomatic letters to “federal, state and local authorities” in the United States to address the issue. 

“We have made them aware of the importance we award to this shared history with the United States, as shared as it is unknown.”

  • Parole, a historically Black suburb of Annapolis, MD, will soon be the site of a large mural of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed Black woman who was fatally shot by police in her home in Kentucky earlier this year.

According to The Capitol Gazette, the mural of Taylor, which also will feature the phrase “Black Lives Matter” along with her date of birth and death, is expected to span 7,000-square feet across several basketball courts at Chambers Park, with creators aiming to make it visible from space.

  • FedEx has requested the NFL’s Washington team change its name from the Redskins. A FedEx spokesperson released this statement: “We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name.”

FedEx is the title sponsor of the team stadium in Landover, MD.

  • Fans of Waverly-Shell Rock High School baseball team in Iowa taunted the opposition’s only Black player with racially charged insults. Charles City High School’s Center Fielder, Jeremiah Chapman, said, “They called me Colin — I assumed they were just calling me Colin Kaepernick.” After making a play, “They said, ‘You need to go back to the fields to do your job.’”

“They looked at me and said, ‘You should have been George Floyd,'” the Minneapolis man killed by a police officer. “Then they started chanting ‘Trump 2020,'” Chapman said.

Waverly-Shell Rock High School put out a statement on their Facebook page saying they “fully acknowledge” the remarks happened. “This behavior is unacceptable. We make no excuses, because there are none,” the post said. “We do, however, wish to make a sincere apology to the Charles City school district and community and, in particular, the young man towards whom these comments were directed.”

Administration News

  • The U.S. Supreme Court says it will decide whether US House investigators can get access to grand jury material from Mueller’s special counsel team; the court will hear the case during the new term in the fall, delaying Congress’ potential access to the material.
  • The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June.
  • The Commerce Department’s internal watchdog is accusing the department of “actively preventing” it from releasing a full report expected to detail a “flawed process” during what is now known as the Sharpiegate controversy.
  • The Trump administration has reportedly awarded a contract to a California-based tech startup to set up hundreds of “autonomous surveillance towers” along the U.S.-Mexico border to aid its immigration enforcement efforts. 

U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced on Thursday that the towers, which use artificial intelligence and imagery to identify people and vehicles, were now a “program of record” for the agency and that 200 would be deployed along the southern border by 2022.

  • A little-known North Dakota construction firm that was awarded the single largest border wall contract–after its CEO praised the president in a slew of conservative media appearances–is now defending its product as experts warn the structure is in danger of collapsing, ProPublica and the Texas Tribune reported Thursday.

Several experts interviewed for the report said poor planning and shoddy engineering have left the wall “in danger of falling into the Rio Grande.”

  • Mark Burkhalter, president Trump’s nominee to be ambassador to Norway, is facing demands that he abandon his pursuit of the diplomatic post following the unearthing of a 1994 court filing indicating his involvement in the production of a racist campaign flier against an African American politician in Georgia.

Burkhalter  helped create a flier that distorted and exaggerated the features of Gordon Joyner, a candidate for county commissioner in north-central Georgia. Joyner was pictured with some features darkened, a large Afro, enlarged eyebrows and a warped eye.

Joyner sued for libel, resulting in an out-of-court settlement, an apology signed by Burkhalter and three other men, and payment of an undisclosed sum.

  • Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, who resigned last month under pressure from Attorney General William Barr, will testify to the House Judiciary Committee next week about the circumstances of his departure, according to a congressional aide.
  • Weeks after the firing of former U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, Richard Donoghue, a top Washington deputy to U.S. Attorney General William Barr, is under consideration to replace an outgoing prosecutor for the Eastern District of New York, CNN reported.
  • Former Trump administration officials said President Trump’s national security advisers began limiting their briefing of the president on matters relating to Russia due to his frequent pushback on such assessments, CNN reported.

Former officials responsible for briefing Trump on national security issues said they found he frequently became angry when being presented with intelligence implicating Russia in political interference.

“The president has created an environment that dissuades, if not prohibits, the mentioning of any intelligence that isn’t favorable to Russia,” a former senior national security staffer told the network.

  • President Trump retweeted a series of tweets from ACT for America, which is an anti-Muslim hate group. 

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