June 2020 News


Editor's Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative June 2020 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors' words except for subheads and occasional "Editor's notes" such as this.

June 30

Top Stories supreme court headshots 2019

ny times logoNew York Times,Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Restrictions, Adam Liptak, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). First Abortion Ruling Since 2 New Conservatives Joined Court.The Supreme Court struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic. The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., right, voting with the court’s liberal wing, saying respect for precedent compelled his vote.

john roberts oThe law’s supporters said the law protects the health and safety of women seeking abortions, and that the requirements for obtaining admitting privileges helps ensure the competence of doctors.

Opponents disputed that, saying that hospitalizations after abortions are rare, that women would receive medical care at hospitals whether their doctors had admitting privileges or not and that abortion providers are often unable to obtain admitting privileges for reasons unrelated to their competence.

The Louisiana law, which was enacted in 2014, requires doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Only two of the five doctors who provide abortions in Louisiana have obtained admitting privileges, one in New Orleans and one in Shreveport. But the Shreveport doctor testified that he could not handle the clinic’s work alone. If the law went into effect, a trial judge concluded, there would be a single doctor in a single clinic, in New Orleans, available to provide abortions in Louisiana.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, Officials Say, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, Nicholas Fandos and Adam Goldman, updated June 30, 2020. The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter.

Russian FlagThe new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious.

But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically.

Virus Victims, Responses

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washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Reopenings grind to a halt as Sun Belt states witness surge in hospitalizations, Staff reports, June 30, 2020. All the ways the coronavirus will make this school year harder than the last, even if campuses reopen; Modi rebukes Indians for ‘negligence’ as virus cases surge.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2As novel coronavirus cases continue to surge across the Sun Belt, the optimism surrounding ambitious reopening plans is swiftly dissipating. Arizona delayed plans to reopen public schools and ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to close on Monday, as the state marked yet another day of record hospitalizations. In Los Angeles County, which is at risk of running out of hospital beds in the next two to three weeks, residents are being urged to “hunker down” in their homes and avoid all unnecessary trips.Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, is set to testify Tuesday alongside other senior officials before the Senate’s health committee.

A surge in new infections has jeopardized some school reopening plans. Prominent conservatives including Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, have called on schools to open their doors, even as case numbers rise in more than half the states. If schools and child-care centers do not reopen in the fall, American workers could face a child-care crisis.Nearly 10.3 million coronavirus cases have been detected worldwide, with roughly 2.6 million infections reported in the United States. At least 124,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States, and the global death count is hovering near 505,000.

washington post logoWashington Post, Stimulus program nears its end with $130 billion left unused, Jonathan O'Connell, Erica Werner and Aaron Gregg, June 30, 2020. With the deadline to apply for the program coming just before midnight tonight, senators are considering how best to use the remaining funds to help small businesses.

washington post logoWashington Post, Biden to escalate criticism of Trump on coronavirus as cases grow nationwide, Annie Linskey, June 30, 2020. As states report exploding numbers of coronavirus cases, Joe Biden joe biden 2020 button Customon Tuesday plans to escalate his criticism of President Trump’s handling of the pandemic and detail how he would stem the virus, which has killed at least 124,000 Americans.

Biden will tie together a raft of proposals he’s offered since January, including providing free testing and treatment for the disease and guaranteed paid leave for those who must stay home from work while sick, according to a campaign document outlining his themes that was obtained by The Washington Post.

The document, in the form of a scorecard that the campaign will push via social media, is intended to hammer home the areas where Biden’s campaign believes that Trump has fallen short. Broad categories include the president’s failure to “level with the American people”; his inability to provide testing and treatment; shortfalls in securing a supply chain for protective equipment; and failures to protect workers, older Americans and small businesses.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Obamacare Versus the G.O.P. Zombies, Paul Krugman, right, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). Ten years of failed promises to come up with something better. Covid-19 cases are paul krugmansurging in states that took Donald Trump’s advice and reopened for business too soon.

This new surge — is it OK now to call it a second wave? — is, on average, hitting people younger than the initial surge in the Northeast did. Perhaps as a result, rising infections haven’t been reflected in a comparable rise in deaths, although that may be only a matter of time.

There is, however, growing evidence that even those who survive Covid-19 can suffer long-term adverse effects: scarred lungs, damaged hearts and perhaps neurological disorders.

And if the Trump administration gets its way, there may be another source of long-term damage: permanent inability to get health insurance.

Remarkably, last week the administration reaffirmed its support for a lawsuit seeking to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which would, among other things, eliminate protection for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. If the suit were to succeed, having had Covid-19 would surely be one of the pre-existing conditions making health insurance hard, perhaps impossible, to get.

Not to worry, says the president. In tweets over the weekend he insisted that he would come up with an alternative to Obamacare that would be “FAR BETTER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE” while protecting Americans with pre-existing conditions.

But he’s been claiming to have a much better alternative to Obamacare since he took office. Republicans in Congress, who voted to repeal Obamacare 70 times during the Obama years, have been making the same claim for more than a decade. Yet somehow the great alternative to the Affordable Care Act has never materialized. 

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump is projecting again, and he’s giving something away, Robert Harrington, June 30, 2020. Lately Donald Trump has spilled a lot of Twitter ink tweet-shaming Joe Biden for inadvertently referring to the deaths caused by Donald Trump in the coronavirus debacle as “120 million” instead of “120 thousand.”

I don’t know, maybe it’s a feature of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, but isn’t that a little like Hitler saying, “No, dummkopf, it’s 6 million Jews, not 6 billion!” You have to wonder, isn’t anyone in the Trump camp doing a giant face slap over this?

bill palmer report logo headerBesides the fact that Trump is broadcasting how many human beings he’s murdered, it is also the height of insensitivity. Think of it yourself, the loved ones, friends and relatives of the deceased aren’t going to want anyone turning a statistic about their dearly departed into a political excoriation of someone else. It really does beggar belief. 

But besides all that, there’s the fact that Donald Trump himself made a similar gaffe. On April 7th of this year, while he was bragging about the number of coronavirus tests he’d done, Trump said, thus far there had been “One point eight seven million tests to date so there’s one million, eight hundred and seventy thousand million tests.” Oops, that’s a million times too many, Donny. 

Remember, this is the guy who dared to try to educate the graduating class at West Point about Douglas Muh-Garther. Or who, during last year’s Fourth of July celebration, spoke of airports during the American Revolution. He once mistook 9/11 for the convenience store “7/11,” called John Bolton “Michael Bolton,” and spoke of Americans from “all walks of lice.” 

What comes across more than anything else is what a little man Trump is, a little man who dares to compare himself — favorably, if you can believe it — with Abraham Lincoln. We must unite to defeat him in November. Every moment he spends in the White House is an effrontery to the dignity of the office of the presidency.

washington post logoWashington Post, Millions track pandemic on Johns Hopkins’s dashboard. Its creators say some miss the real story, Kyle Swenson, June 30, 2020. Since launching in January, the university’s Coronavirus Resource Center has exploded in scope and popularity, garnering millions of page views and popping up in news coverage and daily conversation.

Through numbers, the tracker has told the story of what the virus is doing while the story is still unfolding, offering a nearly real-time picture of its silent march across the globe.

But even as data has jumped to the forefront of international discussions about the virus, the Johns Hopkins team wrestles with doubts about whether the numbers can truly capture the scope of the pandemic, and whether the public and policymakers are failing to absorb t

he big picture. They know what they are producing is not a high-resolution snapshot of the pandemic but a constantly shifting Etch a Sketch of the trail of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

ny times logomichelle goldberg thumbNew York Times, Opinion: Remote School Is a Nightmare. Few in Power Care, Michelle Goldberg, right, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). Government should treat the need to reopen schools as an emergency. With expanded unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of July, many parents will have no choice but to return to work by September.

Even for parents who can work from home, home schooling is often a crushing burden that’s destroying careers, mental health and family relationships. And online school has had dismal results, especially for poor, black and Hispanic students.

washington post logoWashington Post, A hypervigilant mom followed every health guideline. She still caught the coronavirus, Caitlin Gibson, June 30, 2020. “You can do every single thing right and still wind up on the wrong side of the virus,” said the freelance photographer and Washington resident. Her experience, recounted in a recent interview, captures how even a mild case of covid-19 can still be a harrowing ordeal.

U.S. Law, Courts

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washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: With abortion ruling, Roberts reasserts his role and Supreme Court’s independence, Robert Barnes, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). Every Supreme Court decision seems to confirm Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s pivotal role at the center of the court, and Monday’s ruling on abortion showed that restrictions on a woman’s right to the procedure for now will go only as far as the chief justice allows.In a remarkable stretch of decisions over the past two weeks,

Roberts has dismayed conservatives and the Trump administration by finding that federal anti-discrimination law protects gay, bisexual and transgender workers and stopping the president from ending the federal program that protects undocumented immigrants brought here as children.In Monday’s decision, he said the court’s allegiance to honoring its past decisions meant striking down a Louisiana law almost identical to one from Texas that the court said in 2016 was unconstitutional. The twist is that Roberts was a dissenter then.

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: John Roberts Is No Pro-Choice Hero, Editorial Board, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). The latest Supreme Court decision sets the stage for further attacks on abortion rights. Chief Justice Roberts’s decision to concur with the four liberal justices may enrage cultural conservatives who thought that with the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, ending the right to an abortion was just a matter of time.

But the chief justice rarely takes the direct route, preferring incremental rulings that slowly chip away at the court’s longstanding precedents. So no one should be fooled this time around: The current court is as hostile to reproductive freedom as it ever was.

And Chief Justice Roberts left himself plenty of room to vote differently in any of the many cases now speeding toward the court, involving challenges to other state laws that make it difficult if not impossible for most women to obtain an abortion.

Reuters, Investigation: Objections Overruled: Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench, Michael Berens and John Shiffman, June 30, 2020. In the past dozen years, state and local judges have repeatedly escaped public accountability for misdeeds that have victimized thousands. Nine of 10 kept their jobs, a Reuters investigation found – including an Alabama judge who unlawfully jailed hundreds of poor people, many of them Black, over traffic fines.

Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. The sentence was so stiff it exceeded the jail time Alabama allows for negligent homicide.

Marquita Johnson, who was locked up in April 2012, says the impact of her time in jail endures today. Johnson’s three children were cast into foster care while she was incarcerated. One daughter was molested, state records show. Another was physically abused.

“Judge Hayes took away my life and didn’t care how my children suffered,” said Johnson, now 36. “My girls will never be the same.”

Fellow inmates found her sentence hard to believe. “They had a nickname for me: The Woman with All the Days,” Johnson said. “That’s what they called me: The Woman with All the Days. There were people who had committed real crimes who got out before me.”

In 2016, the state agency that oversees judges charged Hayes with violating Alabama’s code of judicial conduct. According to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, Hayes broke state and federal laws by jailing Johnson and hundreds of other Montgomery residents too poor to pay fines. Among those jailed: a plumber struggling to make rent, a mother who skipped meals to cover the medical bills of her disabled son, and a hotel housekeeper working her way through college.

Hayes, a judge since 2000, admitted in court documents to violating 10 different parts of the state’s judicial conduct code. One of the counts was a breach of a judge’s most essential duty: failing to “respect and comply with the law.”

Despite the severity of the ruling, Hayes wasn’t barred from serving as a judge. Instead, the judicial commission and Hayes reached a deal. The former Eagle Scout would serve an 11-month unpaid suspension. Then he could return to the bench.

Until he was disciplined, Hayes said in an interview with Reuters, “I never thought I was doing something wrong.”

This week, Hayes is set to retire after 20 years as a judge. In a statement to Reuters, Hayes said he was “very remorseful” for his misdeeds.

Community activists say his departure is long overdue. Yet the decision to leave, they say, should never have been his to make, given his record of misconduct.

“He should have been fired years ago,” said Willie Knight, pastor of North Montgomery Baptist Church. “He broke the law and wanted to get away with it. His sudden retirement is years too late.”

Hayes is among thousands of state and local judges across America who were allowed to keep positions of extraordinary power and prestige after violating judicial ethics rules or breaking laws they pledged to uphold, a Reuters investigation found.

Methodology and Q&A: How we examined misconduct

Judges have made racist statements, lied to state officials and forced defendants to languish in jail without a lawyer – and then returned to the bench, sometimes with little more than a rebuke from the state agencies overseeing their conduct.

Recent media reports have documented failures in judicial oversight in South Carolina, Louisiana and Illinois. Reuters went further.

In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, reporters identified another 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined wayward judges but kept hidden from the public key details of their offenses – including the identities of the judges themselves.

All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined. They included a California judge who had sex in his courthouse chambers, once with his former law intern and separately with an attorney; a New York judge who berated domestic violence victims; and a Maryland judge who, after his arrest for driving drunk, was allowed to return to the bench provided he took a Breathalyzer test before each appearance.

The news agency’s findings reveal an “excessively” forgiving judicial disciplinary system, said Stephen Gillers, a law professor at New York University who writes about judicial ethics. Although punishment short of removal from the bench is appropriate for most misconduct cases, Gillers said, the public “would be appalled at some of the lenient treatment judges get” for substantial transgressions.

Among the cases from the past year alone...

More On Trump's New Russia Dispute

washington post logoWashington Post, GOP lawmakers confirm reports on Russian bounty operation but say material needs further review, Ellen Nakashima, Shane Harris, Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). Leading Republican lawmakers on Monday confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies have developed information about a Russian military operation targeting U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan.

But they said that any U.S. response should wait until intelligence agencies fully review the material, some of which was shared with members of Congress in a classified briefing at the White House.

Current and former intelligence officials familiar with the intelligence said it was less ambiguous than White House officials and some lawmakers have portrayed and indicated that Russian military intelligence had offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants who killed U.S. military personnel.The CIA in particular has been analyzing the intelligence for several months and has assessed that the Russian program is real, according to these people.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Chalabi's Ghost: Beware of low confidence intelligence, Wayne Madsen, June 30, 2020. The controversy about Donald Trump ignoring U.S. intelligence concerning the Russian military intelligence service, the GU -- Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation -- allegedly offering a bounty for every American and British military John Bolton hands up CSIS member killed by the Afghan Taliban serves as a reminder to be wary of human intelligence sources, particularly those who were given a high degree of credibility by fired Trump john bolton room where cover CustomNational Security Adviser John Bolton, left.

Bolton, the author of a book about his time as Trump's National Security Adviser, The Room Where It Happened: A Memoir, has been appearing on numerous cable news shows claiming that he briefed Trump on the Russian bounty offer in March 2019.

It should be remembered that Bolton was also part of the neo-conservative cabal in the George W. Bush administration that hyped the "intelligence" that Iraqi expat Ahmad Chalabi, a dubious banker with close links to both Israel and Iran, sold the Bush White House on Saddam Hussein possessing "weapons of mass destruction."

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s ignorance is total — and you can quote his press secretary on that, Dana Milbank, right, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). If things weren’t already bad enough for President dana milbank CustomTrump — economic collapse, botched pandemic response, mass unrest — U.S. intelligence believes Trump’s “friend” Vladimir Putin paid Taliban fighters bounties to kill U.S. troops.But the White House is ready with a defense: The president has no earthly idea what’s going on.

Totally in the dark. Not a clue!“

The CIA director, NSA, national security adviser, and the chief of staff can all confirm that neither the president nor the vice president were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany declared at Monday afternoon’s briefing.

So, asked NBC’s Kristen Welker, Trump was kept “out of the loop by his own intelligence community?”“It would not be elevated to the president until it was verified,” the press secretary explained.

 U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump campaign scrambles to revive imperiled reelection bid, Ashley Parker, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey, June 29, 2020. President Trump and his campaign team djt hands up mouth open Customare grappling with how to resuscitate his imperiled reelection effort amid a wave of polling that shows him badly trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and losing traction even among core constituencies.

Donald Trump Logo Make America Great AgainSome Trump advisers and allies are privately pushing for sweeping changes to the campaign, including the idea of a major staff shake-up and trying to convince the president to be more disciplined in his message and behavior.

But so far, the campaign has settled only on incremental changes — such as hiring and elevating a handful of operatives who worked on Trump’s upset victory in 2016 — and has yet to settle on a clear message for his reelection.

More U.S. Supeme Court Rulings 

ny times logoNew York Times, Court Lifts Limits on Trump’s Power to Fire Consumer Watchdog, Adam Liptak, right, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). The case concerning the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was part of adam liptaka politically charged battle over presidential authority.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the president is free to fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause. The decision, rejecting a federal law that sought to place limits on presidential oversight of independent agencies, was a victory for the conservative movement to curb the administrative state.The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s five more conservative justices in the majority.

ny times logoNew York Times, Federal executions can restart after the justices declined a case, Adam Liptak, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). The move clears the way for the executions of four men in the coming months after a 17-year gap during which no inmate on death row for federal crimes was put to death.

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling allowing the Trump administration to resume executions in federal death penalty cases after a 17-year hiatus. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have heard the case.

Attorney General William P. Barr announced last summer that the federal government would end what had amounted to a moratorium on capital punishment.

There are more than 60 prisoners on death row in federal prisons.Judge Tanya S. Chutkan, of the Federal District Court in Washington, blocked the executions in November, saying the protocol the government planned to use did not comply with the Federal Death Penalty Act of 1994, which requires executions to be carried out “in the manner prescribed by the law of the state in which the sentence is imposed.”

The central legal question in the case is whether the word “manner” in the 1994 law refers to the methods of execution authorized by the relevant states (like hanging, firing squad or lethal injection) or the protocols the states require (like the particular chemicals used in lethal injections, whether a doctor must be present or how a catheter is to be inserted).

U.S. Racial, Police Brutality Protests

Palmer Report, Michael Cohen: “Remember what I said” about Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, June 30, 2020. Michael Cohen is still under house arrest after having been released from prison early due to the bill palmer report logo headercoronavirus threat. But it’s becoming clear that Cohen has been given permission to use Twitter while at home, because he’s been doing precisely that, with increasing frequency.

After Donald Trump’s since-deleted “white power” tweet, Michael Cohen had this to say:

Remember what I said about @POTUS @realDonaldTrump during my live testimony before @OversightDems @GOPoversight committee. Mr. President, do the right thing and denounce the #offensive and #indefensible chant of “white power”!    — Michael Cohen (@MichaelCohen212) June 28, 2020

But Michael Cohen wasn’t done. After the NY Times reported that Bill Barr tried to sabotage in the Cohen criminal case on Donald Trump’s behalf, Cohen tweeted that “The article reveals only a part of the full story,” adding that he “will speak soon.” Rosie O’Donnell then added “speak out michael – hes going down” and Cohen retweeted it in apparent agreement.

washington post logoWashington Post, St. Louis couple point guns at peaceful crowd of protesters calling for mayor to resign, Teo Armus, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). The barefoot couple standing outside a five-story, marble mansion on St. Louis's ritzy Portland Place appeared to threaten protesters with a pistol and semi-automatic weapon.

  ny times logoNew York Times, What Do You Do When Extremism Comes for the Hawaiian Shirt? Nathan Taylor Pemberton, June 30, 2020 (print ed.). Worn by extremists toting assault rifles, the shirt has gone from dad symbol to battle flag. 

It’s one of the most discussed street styles of the spring: tactical body armor, customized assault rifles, maybe a sidearm and helmet, paired with the languid floral patterns of a Hawaiian shirt.While it’s not uncommon to see heavily armed white men toting military-grade gear on American streets, the addition of the Hawaiian shirt is a new twist.

It turned up in February at gun rights rallies in Virginia and Kentucky, then in late April at coronavirus lockdown protests in Michigan and Texas.Think of the shirts as a campy kind of uniform, but for members of extremist groups who adhere to the idea of the “boogaloo” — or, a second civil war in the United States.

If that sounds silly to you, consider that these groups settled on the Hawaiian shirt thanks to a string of message board in-jokes.

The joke, for the uninitiated, involves a farrago of convoluted references to the 1984 film “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo” and sound-alike terms like “big igloo” and “big luau.” Each is a reference to the movement’s insurrectionary appetites, which range from civil libertarian rebellion against the American government to full-fledged race war instigated by white nationalists, as reported by investigative journalism site Bellingcat. The boogaloo has taken to announcing itself with images of igloos and floral prints in memes, battle patches and flags — and by wearing old Hawaiian shirts. 

June 29

Top Stories 

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law that would have closed clinics, June 29, 2020.  Robert Barnes, June 29, 2020.The Louisiana law was virtually identical to a Texas statute the Supreme Court struck down in 2016. But the court’s membership has grown more conservative since then, and partisans on both sides of the controversial issue saw the case as a test of whether the court is going to stand by its precedents on abortion rights.

washington post logoWashington Post, Russian bounties to Taliban-linked militants resulted in deaths of U.S. troops, intelligence assessments say, Ellen Nakashima, Karen DeYoung, Missy Ryan and John Hudson, June 29, 2020 (print ed.). The disturbing intelligence — which the CIA was tasked with reviewing, and later confirmed — emerged from U.S. military interrogations in recent months. The issue has generated disagreement within the Trump administration about how to confront the Russians.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump says U.S. intelligence did not find reports of Russian bounties credible, John Wagner and Ellen Nakashima, June 29, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump said late President Donald Trump officialSunday that he was not told of intelligence that a Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. troops, because U.S. intelligence officials did not find it credible.

“Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or @VP,” Trump said in a tweet, referring to Vice President Pence. He added that he considers such reports “possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax” spread by the “Fake News ... wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”Earlier Sunday,

Trump had tweeted that he had not been briefed about the intelligence, but he did little to clarify whether the administration was denying that the assessment existed or simply denying that he knew anything about it.

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Palmer Report, Opinion: Kayleigh McEnany holds disastrous press conference as Donald Trump’s Russia scandal explodesBill Palmer, June 29, 2020. Even as additional major news outlets confirm that Donald Trump knew all along about Russia paying the Taliban to murder U.S. soldiers, Trump continues to cower. He once again sent White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to the podium to issue his denials for him, and it went just about as poorly as possible.

bill palmer report logo headerMcEnany was asked if Trump had a specific message for Moscow about the scandal. Her response: “No, because he has not been briefed on the matter.” Wait, he still hasn’t been briefed on the matter? This news broke on Friday. Today is Monday. Trump has found time to play multiple rounds of golf since then, but we’re supposed to believe that he hasn’t found time to be briefed on one of the ugliest scandals in American political history?

Kayleigh McEnany’s stupid answer gives away that Donald Trump is too afraid to stand up to Vladimir Putin, even verbally. Trump wants us to believe that he somehow didn’t know these murders were going on. If that were the case, then he would presumably be outraged to learn about it now, and demanding to know the real story, and insisting to Putin that it had better not be true.

We’re seeing none of that, of course, because as most of us have known for years, Donald Trump is Putin’s puppet. Trump is throwing away what little is left of his presidency for the sake of trying to protect Putin’s interests. 

Virus Victims, Responses

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washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Global death toll from coronavirus surpasses half a million, Antonia Noori Farzan, Rick Noack, Meryl Kornfield, Lateshia Beachum, Brittany Shammas and Adam Taylor, June 29, 2020. Reported cases of covid-19 worldwide passed the 10 million milestone on June 28. India and Brazil accounted for more than a third of new cases in the past covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2week. (Reuters).

The global community marked yet another grim milestone on Sunday as the confirmed worldwide death count from the novel coronavirus surpassed 500,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

That tally is just the latest reminder of the pandemic’s brutal toll. Earlier in the day, the total number of coronavirus cases reported in the United States topped 2.5 million amid worsening outbreaks in Florida, Texas and Arizona. Over the weekend, the number of coronavirus cases reported worldwide soared past 10 million.

Ron De santis oHere are some significant developments: 

  • Anthony S. Fauci (shown above in a group file photo at a White House briefing), the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, told CNN on Sunday that an eventual vaccine for the coronavirus may not be enough to achieve herd immunity in the United States. 
  • In Florida, where the seven-day average of new cases has hit new highs for 21 days in a row, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), right, said that young people who ignore social distancing rules were largely to blame for the rise in infections.   
  • Vice President Pence, speaking Sunday in Dallas, urged Americans to wear face masks. During the same visit, he attended a rally where dozens of choir members performed without masks on.
  •  As new coronavirus cases continue to rise in California, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has shut down bars in some areas of the state, including Los Angeles.
  • A Chinese county southwest of Beijing has imposed a new lockdown amid concerns that an outbreak of the coronavirus linked to a major market in the capital may have spread more german flagwidely.
  • The German labor union Verdi said Sunday that employees at six Amazon locations in Germany would go on strike Monday for at least two days amid concerns that the company is not sufficiently addressing health safety concerns amid the pandemic.   

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Washington Post, This coronavirus mutation has taken over the world. Scientists are trying to understand why, Sarah Kaplan and Joel Achenbach, June 29, 2020. A mutation that seems trivial could be making the virus spread more easily and is associated with outbreaks in Europe and New York. 

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump campaign scrambles to revive imperiled reelection bid, Ashley Parker, Robert Costa and Josh Dawsey, June 29, 2020. President Trump and his campaign team djt hands up mouth open Customare grappling with how to resuscitate his imperiled reelection effort amid a wave of polling that shows him badly trailing presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and losing traction even among core constituencies.

Donald Trump Logo Make America Great AgainSome Trump advisers and allies are privately pushing for sweeping changes to the campaign, including the idea of a major staff shake-up and trying to convince the president to be more disciplined in his message and behavior.

But so far, the campaign has settled only on incremental changes — such as hiring and elevating a handful of operatives who worked on Trump’s upset victory in 2016 — and has yet to settle on a clear message for his reelection.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Biden could be the unlikely instrument of a new generational alignment, E.J. Dionne Jr., right, June 29, 2020. When Barack Obama won his sweeping victory in 2008 and carried ej dionne w open neckDemocrats to enlarged majorities in the House and Senate, progressive voices rang out in celebration of a new political majority empowered by a new generation.

joe biden 2020 button CustomObama’s triumph was seen not just as an individual success, but also as a realigning event. The Obama Coalition, its champions insisted, would set the tone for the coming decades, much as the New Deal Coalition had defined the parameters of American politics from 1932 to 1968.It didn’t quite work out that way. Republicans came roaring back to take control of the House in2010.

Far from adjusting themselves to a liberalism thought to be on the rise, the GOP moved even further right as the tea party became the new political vogue.But there is another way to look at those 2008 predictions: They were not wrong, they were just premature. As a result, a 77-year-old Democratic presidential nominee may be the unlikely instrument of a new generational alignment.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Let Biden be Biden, Jennifer Rubin, right, June 29, 2020. We know former vice president Joe Biden is in a solid position when his greatest fears — and they are significant — are that President Trump will suppress votes or that Trump will not recognize his own defeat.

jennifer rubin new headshotBy contrast, Trump’s faces a massive polling deficit nationally, in key battleground states and in key demographic groups (e.g., college-educated whites, women).

To take nothing away from Biden’s agenda and campaign organization, Biden’s biggest advantage is in being Biden and letting Trump be Trump.

Trump must now defend pleading for the Supreme Court to wipe out the Affordable Care Act in its entirety; failing to respond to a Russian security operation to reward militants for killing our troops in Afghanistan; the recent surge in coronavirus cases, especially in states with governors who followed Trump’s reckless advice to open prematurely; the corruption of the Justice Department (which increasingly resembles a mob boss’s law firm); 14 consecutive weeks with more than a million new unemployment claims filed; and a failure to respond to calls for racial justice from a supermajority of Americans in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. Even a skilled, likable and self-aware candidate would be daunted in responding to all that; for Trump, the task borders on impossible.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump has berserk meltdown about the “stupid people” who won’t vote for him, Bill Palmer, June 29, 2020. Like an insecure fragile narcissist, Donald Trump can’t bill palmer report logo headerhandle the fact that people are increasingly turning against him. His poll numbers and approval rating numbers keep getting uglier, but his own people keep feeding him fake poll numbers that tell him he’s doing well, and he keeps wanting to believe it.

For instance, Trump is once again insisting that he has a 95% approval rating within the Republican Party, a number he cites frequently, without ever saying where it republican elephant logosupposedly came from. But now Trump has decided that the 5% of Republicans who don’t approve of him are, well, stupid:

95% Approval Rating of President Trump in the Republican Party. I would imagine the 5% are the RINOS’ and stupid people who don’t want to see great Judges & Supreme Court Justice’s, a new & powerful Military, Choice for Vets, 2A Protection, big RegulationCuts, Life, & much more!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2020

Who’s going to be the one to break it to Donald Trump that his approval rating in the Republican Party is actually closer to 80% in an average of polls? This may sound like a high number, but it’s actually rather historically low. Trump’s failure to dominate within his own party helps explain why his numbers are so bad overall.

Trump Impeachment: Revisited 

djt impeachment graphic

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s articles of impeachment — updated, Fred Hiatt, June 29, 2020. As they acquitted President Trump of high crimes and misdemeanors nearly five months ago, several Republican senators cheerfully assured us that impeachment would chasten him.

“I believe that the president has learned from this case,” Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told CBS News. “The president has been impeached. That’s a pretty big lesson.”

Here’s a thought experiment to help test that prediction: Imagine that the Senate had simply postponed its impeachment vote — and that we had the opportunity now to update the articles of impeachment.Based on Trump’s behavior this year, and what we’ve learned of his prior actions, would we have anything to add?

U.S. Racial, Police Brutality Protests

 washington post logoWashington Post, Police unions and veteran officers resist call for change from chiefs and mayors, Kimberly Kindy and Mark Berman, June 29, 2020. When police departments push for new practices, rank-and-file officers and union leaders offer powerful resistance.

Police and city leaders have repeatedly adopted changes, only for these efforts to run headlong into two formidable and interconnected forces: veteran officers who resist these efforts and the powerful unions fighting discipline. This combination can make it difficult for departments to evolve, even after they publicly pledge increased training and greater accountability, former law enforcement officials and experts say.Minneapolis’s experience shows how difficult it can be to change a police department.

washington post logoWashington Post, Miss. lawmakers vote to remove Confederate icon from state flag, Brittany Shammas, June 29, 2020. The state House and Senate approved the measure Sunday to loud applause in both chambers. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said he would sign such a bill if one reached his desk.

washington post logoWashington Post, Changing the state flag is not about forgetting Mississippi’s past. It’s about acknowledging it, Russell Moore, June 29, 2020. Russell Moore is president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention and the author of “The Courage to Stand: Facing Your Fear Without Losing Your Soul,” to be published in October.

Until now, the only flag of my home state that I would display are scraps, barely holding together, lying on the shelf next to me right now.

This remnant of the Mississippi flag was a gift from a man who served in the National Guard patrolling my hometown of Biloxi in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. He found the shredded flag clinging to the ground next to the lighthouse, and gave me what was left of it.

In time, it fell apart, and all I kept were the parts that held together — stripes of red, white and blue.For me, this tattered flag was a reminder of the fragility and resilience of my home state and its people, of the ties that hold it together and the winds that have torn it apart. But I love this particular symbol not just for what’s there — bits of red and blue and white holding together despite it all — but also for what’s missing. The part that fell away was the Confederate emblem: the ugly reminder of our state’s legacy of white supremacy and exclusion.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Suspect in custody after shooting at Louisville rally,  Josh Wood, Robert Klemko, Roman Stubbs and Ava Wallace, June 29, 2020. Police said the suspect had been arrested several times in recent weeks and had been asked to leave the park by other protesters because of his “disruptive behavior.”  

Media News

ny times logomartin baron at 2018 pulitzers wikimedia commonsNew York Times, Marty Baron Made The Post Great Again. Now, the News Is Changing, Ben Smith,  June 29, 2020 (print ed.). The ultimate old-school editor, right, is grappling with a moment of cultural reckoning, our columnist Ben Smith writes.At the heart of The Washington Post’s identity is Martin Baron, the paper’s executive editor since 2013.

washington post logoWashington Post,Trump and Biden both want to repeal this tech rule. They’re both wrong, Editorial Board, June 29, 2020. Section 230 does not need a revocation. It needs a revision. President Trump and Joe Biden both think Internet platforms have it too easy — but for very different reasons.

Neither really gets it right.“REVOKE 230!” the president tweeted late last month, the day after signing an executive order seeking to punish platforms for alleged systematic anti-conservative censorship that the evidence says doesn’t exist. “Section 230 . . . immediately should be revoked,” his Democratic rival told the New York Times. Mr. Biden is of the opposite opinion: that companies aren’t removing enough harmful material.

Proposals on the table today try to address both sets of concerns.Mr. Biden at least has a better handle than Mr. Trump on the purpose of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which was designed to encourage Internet sites to moderate content without worrying about being punished for anything illicit that got through.

The legislation, which shields companies from liability for content posted by third parties, has sometimes offered sites too free a pass — permitting them to refuse to remove illegal activity and even, at times, to solicit it. Yet wholesale repeal would certainly threaten the Web as we know it. 

World Freedoms, Attacks

maria ressa rappler

Journalist Maria Ressa

USA Today, Opinion: Why Maria Ressa's fight for free speech and a free press should be America's fight, too, Kathy Kiely, June 29, 2020. Americans should care because powerful US usa today logocompanies are aiding and abetting Ressa’s censors and our tax dollars are going to Duterte's government.

Americans should care because powerful US companies are aiding and abetting Ressa’s censors and our tax dollars are going to Duterte's government. In the middle of a worldwide pandemic and a paroxysm of racial resentments in the United States, it would be tempting to avoid hurting our heads even further with the details of a complicated legal battle now unfolding in a faraway place. 

But if we believe in democracy and want to preserve it, journalist Maria Ressa’s battle for freedom must be ours as well.

rodrigo duterte philippines presidentRessa’s legal team was back in a Philippine court Monday to appeal the libel verdict handed down this month against her. It’s the latest twist in a legal battle that rivals Charles Dickens' famous novel Bleak House, a powerful allegory in which, as in Ressa’s case, legal technicalities end up overriding basic human morality and common sense.

A former CNN reporter raised in New Jersey after her parents fled martial law in the Philippines, Ressa eventually returned to her home country and founded Rappler, an innovative online news outlet.

Its investigations have drawn the ire of Rodrigo Duterte, right, the unsavory but hugely popular president.

Duterte does not brook criticism. He has already locked up one Philippine senator who criticized him, and he recently shut down one of the country’s leading broadcast networks. Against Rappler, Duterte is engaged in what might be called censorship by trial: Over the past 15 months, 11 cases have been leveled against the news organization or its employees. Ressa herself has had to post bail eight times just to stay out of jail.

Strategic Culture Foundation, Opinion: Trump’s ‘Alternate History’ and Rejection of Facts, Wayne Madsen, right, wayne madsen screen shotJune 29, 2020. Future historians will scratch their heads when researching the annals strategic culture logoand archives of the Donald Trump administration. Trump’s denial of basic facts about history, science, and even the weather will undoubtedly result in his administration and the subsequent fall-out from it being called the “Age of Unreason.” Trump and his administration often seize on erroneous information and turn them into, in what is in their minds, irrefutable facts. One example has been Trump’s insistence that the 1918 influenza occurred in 1917. Trump and his advisers discount the fact that the “1918 flu” is thus named because it was first detected in 1918, not in 1917.

Trump eschews facts as often as he is able. The 1918 flu, incorrectly called the “Spanish flu” was first detected in the United States on March 4, 1918. “Patient zero” was identified as Albert Gitchell, a U.S. Army cook at Camp Funston in Kansas.

Facts matter, except for a select group of fascist and proto-fascist leaders who include Trump, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, right, Colombian President Ivan Duque, Philippines President jair bolsonaro brazilRodrigo Duterte, and a few other delusional presidents and prime ministers scattered around the globe.

Trump’s logic on the Covid-19 virus is as bizarre as his botching the time line of the 1918 flu. Trump repeatedly claimed the United States had more cases of Covid-19 because it was conducting more tests. Trump also admitted that he ordered less tests because that action would result in fewer cases. Of course, such a statement is that of a madman and is similar to someone claiming that if he or she was not tested for cancer, they would not contract cancer.

It is historical revisionism by Trump and his acolytes that presents the most danger for the United States and the world. George Orwell’s novel about a dystopian fascistic future, “1984,” introduced the quote, “Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” That fascist precept, a canon of fictional Oceania’s “Ministry of Truth,” is dominant in Trump’s administration and Republican Party, the latter having become a personal political vehicle for would-be dictator Trump.

Alteration of American history lies at the heart of Trump’s attempt to re-brand the Old Confederacy. Trump has held up politicians and generals of the Confederate States of America, over which the United States was ultimately victorious in the U.S. Civil War, as part of the “heritage” of America. “Heritage” is a word that has become synonymous with adulation of the Confederacy, Jim Crow-era racism, plantation system slavery, and esteem for Confederate leaders. In order to re-write history, Trump and his Republicans have acted to develop fictional stories about the past.

In Mississippi, the Republicans opposed to removing the Confederate battle flag from the state flag have incorrectly stated that the flag was designed by “an African-American Confederate soldier.” State senator Kathy Chism, a Republican supporter of Trump, wrote on Facebook about the black Confederate soldier, who she failed to identify, “I can only imagine how proud he was that his art, his flag design was chosen to represent our State and now we want to strip him of his pride, his hard work. I’m sure he put a lot of thought into this design.” Chism made up the entire claim.

First, there were no black soldiers who fought for the Confederacy. Second, the current Mississippi flag was designed in 1894 by one of her predecessors in the state Senate, Edward Scudder, a white man who wanted to honor the Confederacy. Scudder’s wife actually sewed the flag as both she and her husband were ardent supporters of the segregationist South. What better way to both honor the Confederacy and send a strong message to Mississippi’s large black population than to place the flag of a defeated secessionist and racist confederation of states on the flag of Mississippi!

Another disturbing alteration of history can be linked directly to the neo-fascist global movement of former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon. The neo-fascist catechism holds forth that Adolf Hitler and his Nazis were not far-right-wingers but represented “left-wing socialism.” This false historical narrative, pushed by officials in both the Trump and Bolsonaro administrations, reasons that because “National Socialism,” the political tenet of the Nazis, contain the word “socialism,” that makes Hitler and his Nazis “socialists.” Those who believe such codswallop refuse to recognize that Germany’s true Socialists and Communists were either executed by Hitler’s paramilitary forces or sent to the death camps, where few survived. To Hitler, socialism represented Bolshevik Marxism, Socialism, and Communism. There was absolutely nothing “leftist” about Hitler and his Nazis.

Trump and his supporters’ entire campaign to paint the news as “fake” and history, as we know it, as false is an Orwellian attempt to own the past, dictate the present, and control the future. Trump has given more than one “wink and nod” to an extreme fringe of right-wingers, who call themselves “Qanon,” who believe that even more far-out fantasies are true. One is that John F. Kennedy, Jr., the son of the 35th president who died along with his wife and sister-in-law in a 1999 plane crash, faked his own death in order to re-emerge one day to join Trump in battling an international pedophile ring. Several Qanon followers have emerged to join Trump on the Republican ballot in several states for the November 3 election. Qanon has a major outlet for their bizarre views on a cable “news” network, One America News Network, which is based in San Diego, California.

June 28

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops, Eric Schmitt, Adam Goldman and Nicholas Fandos, June 28, 2020, updated June 29, 2020. The recovery of large amounts of American cash at a Taliban outpost in Afghanistan tipped off U.S. officials. 

United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter.

They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said.

The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said.

ny times logoNew York Times, How the World Missed Covid-19’s Silent Spread, Matt Apuzzo, Selam Gebrekidan and David D. Kirkpatrick, June 28, 2020 (print ed.). Symptomless transmission makes the coronavirus far harder to fight. But health officials dismissed the risk for months, pushing misleading and contradictory claims in the face of mounting evidence.

Interviews with doctors and public health officials in more than a dozen countries show that for two crucial months — and in the face of mounting genetic evidence — Western health officials and political leaders played down or denied the risk of symptomless spreading. Leading health agencies including the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control provided contradictory and sometimes misleading advice. A crucial public health discussion devolved into a semantic debate over what to call infected people without clear symptoms.

 djt council to reopen america fox

 washington post logoWashington Post, With Trump leading the way, record surge in new infections exposes failures in U.S. response,Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey and Yasmeen Abutaleb, June 28, 2020. As case numbers rise, a virus that has killed at least 123,000 Americans has revealed a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to local city councils.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, How the Trump Campaign Is Drawing Barack Obama Out of Retirement, Glenn Thrush and Elaina Plott, June 28, 2020. More than three years after his exit, the 44th president of the United States is back on a political battlefield he longed to leave.Just after Donald J. Trump was elected president.

Barack Obama slumped in his chair in the Oval Office and addressed an aide standing near a conspicuously placed bowl of apples, emblem of a healthy-snacking policy soon to be swept aside, along with so much else.

“I am so done with all of this,” Mr. Obama said of his job, according to several people familiar with the exchange.

Yet he knew, even then, that a conventional White House retirement was not an option. Mr. Obama, 55 at the time, was stuck holding a baton he had wanted to pass to Hillary Clinton, and saddled with a successor whose fixation on him, he believed, was rooted in a bizarre personal animus and the politics of racial backlash exemplified by the birther lie.

“There is no model for my kind of post-presidency,” he told the aide. “I’m clearly renting space inside the guy’s head.”

Which is not to say that Mr. Obama was not committed to his pre-Trump retirement vision — a placid life that was to consist of writing, sun-flecked fairways, policy work through his foundation, producing documentaries with Netflix and family time aplenty at a new $11.7 million spread on Martha’s Vineyard.

Still, more than three years after his exit, the 44th president of the United States is back on a political battlefield he longed to leave, drawn into the fight by an enemy, Mr. Trump, who is hellbent on erasing him, and by a friend, Joseph R. Biden Jr., who is equally intent on embracing him.

Palmer Report, Opinion: “Pisses me off” – President Obama comes out swinging at Donald Trump, Bill Palmer, June 28, 2020. President Barack Obama promised that he’d come out swinging at the right time during the 2020 election cycle to make sure Donald Trump loses. With the pandemic going on, campaigning has been anything but traditional. That said, Obama has clearly decided that now is the time to start making his mark on the election.

bill palmer report logo headerPresident Barack Obama promised that he’d come out swinging at the right time during the 2020 election cycle to make sure Donald Trump loses. With the pandemic going on, campaigning has been anything but traditional. That said, Obama has clearly decided that now is the time to start making his mark on the election.

During a private fundraiser this week, President Obama lashed out at Trump for his use of racist phrases to describe the coronavirus, saying “I don’t want a country in which the president of the United States is actively trying to promote anti-Asian sentiment and thinks it’s funny. I don’t want that. That still shocks and pisses me off.”

U.S. Courts, Justice Dept. 

ny times logoNew York Times, The Obama administration tried to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Joe Biden says he shares the goal, Carol Rosenberg, June 28, 2020 (print ed.) (This article was produced in partnership with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting). The Obama administration ran into a wall of political opposition when it tried. The former vice president rarely brings up the topic and has yet to draw up a strategy but says he shares the goal.

President Barack Obama vowed to close it, and failed. President Trump vowed to load it up with more “bad dudes,” and has not. Now Joseph R. Biden Jr. is saying that if elected president, he would support shutting down the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — but has declined to specify how he would do it or what he would do with the 40 men held there as wartime prisoners, including the men accused of plotting the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

In response to a question, his campaign said in a statement that Mr. Biden “continues to support closing the detention center.” Echoing Mr. Obama, the statement said the prison “undermines American national security by fueling terrorist recruitment and is at odds with our values as a country.”

But Mr. Biden rarely, if ever, brings up the topic, evidence of how politically toxic it remains after intense Republican efforts to cast Mr. Obama’s initiative as endangering Americans by transferring terrorists to U.S. soil or sending them without adequate safeguards to other countries.

June 27

Top Headlines

Virus Victims, Responses

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2

Russian Dead American Bounties?

Inside DC / Scandal

U.S. 2020 Politics, Elections

U.S. Courts, Justice Dept.

Media News

U.S. Anti-Brutality, Race Protests

U.S. Crime, Courts

World News


Top Stories

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Strike Down Affordable Care Act, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). If successful, the move would end the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.

President Donald Trump officialThe Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans.

In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the administration joined Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate.

The administration’s argument, coming in the thick of an election season — as well as a pandemic that has devastated the economy and left millions of unemployed Americans without health coverage — is sure to reignite Washington’s bitter political debate over health care.

In his brief, Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco argued that the health law’s two remaining central provisions are now invalid because Congress intended that all three work together.

republican elephant logoThe court has not said when it will hear oral arguments, but they are most likely to take place in the fall, just as Americans are preparing to go to the polls in November.

Republicans have long said their goal is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act but have yet to agree on an alternative. They are bracing for the possibility that the effort to overturn the health law will cost them. Joel White, a Republican strategist, said in a recent interview that he considered it “pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic.”

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. sets another single-day record for new coronavirus cases, surpassing 40,000 for first time, Staff reports, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). Philadelphia issues mandatory mask order as city considers delaying reopening plans, Five states set record number of new cases.

The United States has set a record for new covid-19 cases for the third time in three days, passing the 40,000 mark for the first time, according to tracking by The Washington Post. Eleven states set their own records for the average number of new cases reported over the past seven days: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

Five states set new single-day highs, led by Florida with 8,942 cases, more than 60 percent higher than its previous high set on Wednesday. Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah also set new single-day records.

Florida announced Friday morning that bars must close immediately, a move echoed by Texas, a state also dealing with a surge in cases and nearing its capacity to care for those suffering.dc statehood taxes chart Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, House approves D.C. statehood for the first time, Jenna Portnoy, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). Backers of the measure to make Washington, D.C. the 51st state say it would right historic wrongs. But the White House opposes the bill, which probably will not be approved by the Senate.

For the first time since the establishment of the District of Columbia 230 years ago, the House of Representatives voted to declare the city as the nation’s 51st state, a legislative milestone that supporters say begins to right historic wrongs.

U.S. House logoThe vote on Friday afternoon, which fell mostly along party lines, comes as the United States grapples with systemic racism that District officials say has led to the disenfranchisement of the 700,000 residents of the nation’s capital.

muriel bowser CustomD.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D), right, who was watching the proceedings from a restaurant on the Southwest Waterfront, waved her hands above her head in celebration as the bill passed, according to a video tweeted by her office.

“Power concedes nothing without a demand. And statehood is our demand,” the fifth-generation Washingtonian said in a statement.

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: The House casts a historic vote for D.C. statehood. Elect senators who will do the same, Editorial Board, June 27, 2020. It was a signature moment, the first time in history that a chamber of Congress has formally approved statehood for the District. Credit to the 232 Democratic House members who, in a largely party-line vote, dc statehood logo Customrecognized and acted on the injustice of more than 705,000 Americans long denied their rights as citizens.

The legislation — which would shrink the seat of the federal government to a two-square-mile enclave and designate the District’s other 66 square miles the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth — has no immediate prospects of enactment. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) won’t allow debate on the bill, and the White House vowed to veto it if given the chance. Even if it were enacted, a court challenge on constitutional grounds would be likely.

But Friday’s debate and vote on H.R. 51 demonstrated how far the issue has come in recent years. More and more Americans recognize that District residents should be represented in Congress and have local control. They see this for the civil rights issue it is. It will not go away until there is some resolution to the centuries-old problem.

washington post logoWashington Post, E.U. to leave Americans off list of foreign travelers allowed into Europe when it reopens next week, Michael Birnbaum and Quentin Ariès, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). Diplomats are poised to approve an agreement in which foreign travelers will be welcomed on July 1. But with the coronavirus raging in the United States, the possibility of allowing American tourists hasn’t entered the discussion, according to six officials familiar with the talks.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Texas and Florida walk back reopenings as cases spike, Arelis R. Hernández, Frances Stead Sellers and Ben Guarino, June 27, 2020. The governors ordered bars closed as some local officials and experts claimed the states reopened too soon.

Texas and Florida — whose leaders were praised by President Trump for being among the first to end coronavirus restrictions — abruptly reversed course Friday as virus infections Ron De santis osoared to record levels, slamming the door shut on bars and imposing other measures in a bid to contain the pandemic.

Both states are backtracking amid a crisis of rising hospitalizations and skyrocketing infection rates. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) ordered bars to close and restaurants to reduce occupancy, and he gave local governments authority to ban outdoor gatherings of more than 100 people. The changes came as statistics show 1 in 10 Texans tested is positive for the novel coronavirus and the state’s largest hospital is at capacity in its intensive care unit.

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), right, ordered bars to close immediately Friday because of “widespread noncompliance” with rules regarding capacity and social distancing. The surprise announcement came as state health officials reported a record 8,942 infections Friday. Average cases are up nearly 77 percent from a week ago.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Texas governor says he let bars reopen too early, June 27, 2020. A covid-free Italian town will soon reopen to visitors and coronavirus risk. Facing a surge of new coronavirus cases, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, right, expressed regret for allowing bars to reopen so early, saying Friday that he did not realize how fast the virus would Greg Abbott Customspread.

“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spreads in the bar setting,” Abbott said in an evening interview with KVIA in El Paso.

For the third day in a row, the United States set a single-day record for new cases, with 44,702 reported Friday. Thirteen states set their own records for the average number of new cases reported over the past seven days. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Pence puts positive spin on surging cases in South, West, Anne Gearan and Yasmeen Abutaleb, June 27, 2020 (print ed). The Trump administration on Friday claimed “remarkable progress” in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, despite a surge of cases in the South and West and as several Republican governors allied with President Trump are under pressure to impose stricter public health restrictions to gain control of outbreaks in their states.

Mike PenceVice President Pence, right, held the first public briefing of the coronavirus task force in nearly two months and sought to deliver an upbeat message that is at odds with warnings from public health experts. The vice president also dodged the question of whether people should wear masks in public, as his own administration recommends, and said campaign rallies that pack people together in violation of public health guidance will continue.

Pence offered no new strategies to combat the rapidly spreading virus and minimized record daily case counts in several states as “outbreaks in specific counties.”

djt virus news conference nyt photo Custom

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: New Virus Numbers Intrude on a White House in Denial, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). The Trump administration has insisted for weeks that the pandemic was winding down, but rising cases in Texas, Arizona and Florida indicate otherwise. New U.S. cases on June 26: 45,498, up 65% from 14 days ago.

In the past week, President Trump hosted an indoor campaign rally for thousands of cheering, unmasked supporters even as a deadly virus spread throughout the country. He began easing up on restrictions that had been in place at the White House since Washington instituted a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus in March, and he invited the president of Poland to a day of meetings. Then, on Thursday, he flew to Wisconsin to brag about an economic recovery that he said was just around the corner.

But by Friday, it was impossible to fully ignore the fact that the pandemic the White House has for weeks insisted was winding down has done just the opposite.

Russian Dead American Bounties?

ny times logoNew York Times, Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schwirtz, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment. American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter.

American FlagThe United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.

Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.

The intelligence finding was briefed to President Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, the officials said. Officials developed a menu of potential options — starting with making a diplomatic complaint to Moscow and a demand that it stop, along with an escalating series of sanctions and other possible responses, but the White House has yet to authorize any step, the officials said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump tried to invite Putin to G7 summit AFTER he learned Russia was murdering U.S. soldiers, Bill Palmer, June 26, 2020. This afternoon Donald djt smiling fileTrump abruptly canceled his planned weekend golf resort trip, suggesting that something big was going on behind the scenes. This evening the New York Times dropped the bombshell: Trump has known for months that Russia had been paying the Taliban to take out U.S. soldiers. This is a horrifying storyline. Here’s the thing, though. The timing makes it even uglier.

bill palmer report logo headerThe NY Times article reveals that the Trump regime knew about the Russian plot for “months.” But less than a month ago, Donald Trump tried to invite Vladimir Putin and Russia to attend the G7 summit, only to get vetoed by other G7 members. This means Trump knew the Kremlin was paying Taliban terrorists to murder U.S. soldiers, and he still tried to invite the Kremlin to rejoin the G7. This is stunning, even for Trump.

Now come the inevitable questions about whether Donald Trump was trying to bring Vladimir Putin to the G7 summit so the two of them could discuss this scandal, and perhaps try to figure out how to keep it from coming to light. At some point Trump becomes an accessory after the fact in these murders of U.S. soldiers.

U.S. Courts, Justice Dept. 

  roger stone djt palmer Custom

Longtime Trump friend and Republican operative Roger Stone, seeking to avoid prison after conviction on seven felonies, is shown above at left and below at left.

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge orders Trump associate Roger Stone to report to prison on July 14, Spencer S. Hsu, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). The federal judge overseeing Stone’s case rejected his request for a two-month delay amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A federal judge has ordered Roger Stone to report to prison July 14, granting him a two-week delay because of the coronavirus pandemic, but not the two months that President Trump’s confidant had requested with prosecutors’ assent.

amy berman jacksonStone, 67, had been due to surrender June 30 to a federal prison in Jesup, Ga., while he appeals his November conviction for lying and witness tampering in a congressional investigation.

In an order and sealed opinion late Friday, U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson, right, granted a two-week delay. Prosecutors had not opposed Stone’s request for a delay until Sept. 3, saying the Justice Department’s policy during the pandemic has been to grant up to a 60-day extension upon defendants’ request “without respect to age, health, or other COVID-19 risk factors.”

roger stone hands waving no credit from stone cold CustomIn a short public notice, Jackson said she agreed to a two-week extension, with the reasoning explained in a sealed opinion; she asked whether both sides would agree to unseal that opinion next week.

“This affords the defendant seventy-five days beyond his original report date,” Jackson said in the notice, pointing out that she had originally ordered Stone to surrender to prison within two weeks after she denied his motion for a new trial in mid-April.

Stone, a longtime GOP operative and friend of Trump’s, was expected to seek a stay of his 40-month prison sentence since he appealed his case in April to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

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TheHill.com, Mueller investigation witness George Nader sentenced to a decade in prison in child sex case, Tal Axelrod, June 27, 2020. George Nader, a central witness in former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and a former informal foreign policy adviser to the White House, was sentenced to 10 years in prison over his conviction on child sex charges.

Judge Leonie Brinkema handed down the decade-long sentence Friday after Nader pleaded guilty in January to two charges relating to sexual exploitation of children.

Nader, former high-profile adviser to top U.S. and Middle Eastern officials, had admitted to possessing child pornography that showed sexual abuse of minors and bringing an underage boy to the U.S. for sex. The crimes were committed prior to the 2016 race, during which he worked with President Trump’s transition team and was seen at high-level meetings.

The Justice Department had agreed as part of its plea deal with Nader to only seek the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years.

jared kushner head shotNader was known to have interacted with Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, left, former chief strategist Steve Bannon and former national security adviser Michael Flynn and played a role in arranging Trump’s maiden foreign trip to Saudi Arabia in 2017.

The meetings with Trump’s campaign caught the eye of Mueller’s team, who stopped him for questioning in 2018 and discovered several explicitly sexual videos of minors on his phone. He was ultimately arrested in 2019.

Nader has long faced accusations of pedophilia. Charges were first dropped against him in 1984, but he later pleaded guilty in 1991 to transporting child pornography, according to CNN. He was later convicted in 2003 in the Czech Republic for sex with several underage boys.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

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washington post logoWashington Post, GOP appointee resigns from Federal Election Commission, leaving it again without a quorum, Michelle Ye Hee Lee, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). In the face of a mounting backlog of complaints and requests for guidance in an election year, the commission will not have enough votes to do its official work.

Caroline Hunter, a long-serving Republican appointee to the Federal Election Commission, announced her resignation Friday, once again leaving the panel without a four-person quorum to conduct business just months before the November election.

The agency had just regained its voting quorum this month, with the swearing in of a new GOP commissioner after the longest period in the agency’s history without the four votes necessary to regulate and enforce federal campaign finance laws.

Now, in the face of a mounting backlog of complaints and requests for guidance in an election year, the commission will not have enough votes to do its official work.

Hunter, who has sided with her Republican colleagues on the panel in favor of less regulation on campaign finance, informed the White House that she plans to step down July 3, according to the letter. Her departure was first reported by Politico.

The White House announced its plans Friday to nominate campaign finance lawyer Allen Dickerson as FEC commissioner to replace Hunter. Dickerson is the legal director of the Institute for Free Speech, a nonprofit that opposes limits on political speech and advertising.

The Commission, which is ideologically split by design, is now left with one Republican, one Democrat and an independent who often caucuses with Democrats. It is unclear when the nomination will be formally sent to the Senate for confirmation.

Ellen Weintraub, the Democrat, and current vice chair Steven Walther, an independent, are both serving on the panel beyond their six-year terms. Weintraub’s term expired in 2007, and Walther’s in 2009. The seats formerly held by Democratic appointee Ann Ravel and Republican appointee Lee Goodman have remained vacant for years.

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court won’t force Texas to allow absentee ballots for all voters, Robert Barnes, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). The Supreme Court declined Friday to force Texas officials to offer mail-in ballots to all voters in the state because of the threat of the coronavirus, not just those over 65.

The justices, without comment, turned down a request from the Texas Democratic Party to reinstate a district judge’s order that would affect the primary runoff elections in July and the general election in November.

There were no noted dissents to the court’s order, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the case raised “weighty but seemingly novel questions” regarding whether special conditions for those over a certain age violated the constitutional rights of younger voters.

She said an emergency request like the one before the Supreme Court was not the right time to consider them. But she added that she hoped the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit “will consider the merits of the legal issues in this case well in advance of the November election.”

The case has been part of a nationwide debate centered on the safety of in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump, buoyed by conservative allies, has been critical of mail-in ballots, suggesting they could prove deleterious to Republicans’ chances in November and open the door to widespread voting fraud, a claim that lacks evidence.

All voters in every state but two — Mississippi and Texas — have the right to cast mail or absentee ballots for the midyear primaries after the pandemic led 14 states to relax their rules. Many states are considering extending those changes for the general election in November.


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Palmer Report, Opinion: GOP implodes as Chuck Grassley blames Sean Hannity for Donald Trump’s collapse, Bill Palmer, June 27, 2020. There’s no more sure sign that Donald Trump bill palmer report logo headerand the GOP are in 2020 trouble than when they start publicly blaming each other for what’s going wrong. When Fox News host Sean Hannity, above, asked Trump what his priorities are for a second term, Trump gave a babbling incoherent non-answer that was almost shockingly awful, even for him.

chuck grassley djt CustomNow Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, shown at right in file photos with Trump, is blaming Hannity of all people for not finding a way to bail Trump out of his failed answer:



Does FOXNews want Trump Re-elected?Watched Hannity/Trump interview/KEY QUESTION”What goals in next term?Trump starts answer/gets off point and Hannity helps digress and that’s end of the most important Q to get FOUR MORE YEARS OF DRAINING THE SWAMP & Justices

Notably, Grassley is admitting that Donald Trump is so far gone in the cognitive department, he needs to be fed answers by dummies like Hannity in order to have any chance of sounding coherent. But when we’re at the point where GOP leaders are openly blaming Hannity for Trump’s inability to think or speak or function, let’s just say that things are unraveling rather quickly now.

Media News / Propaganda

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook will label violating posts from public figures going forward, Rachel Lerman, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook will start labeling posts it deems newsworthy but that also violates its policies, marking a major about-turn from the company’s previous hands-off stance.

facebook logoIn a town hall that was streamed live Friday, Zuckerberg said the company will also remove content that incites violence or attempts to suppress voting — no matter who says it.

“There are no exceptions for politicians in any of the policies that I’m announcing today,” he said.

Twitter labels Trump tweet on force

Social media companies are under an especially bright spotlight this year in the lead up to the 2020 presidential election, facing pressure to control hate speech and misinformation on their sites — something that still haunts them from rampant disinformation that spread online during the 2016 campaign.

 ny times logoNew York Times, ‘PizzaGate’ Conspiracy Theory Thrives Anew in the TikTok Era, Cecilia Kang and Sheera Frenkel, June 27, 2020. The false theory targeting Democrats, now fueled by QAnon and teenagers on TikTok, is entangling new targets like Justin Bieber.

Four minutes into a video that was posted on Instagram last month, Justin Bieber leaned into the camera and adjusted the front of his black knit beanie. For some of his 130 million followers, it was a signal.

tiktok logo square CustomIn the video, someone had posted a comment asking Mr. Bieber to touch his hat if he had been a victim of a child-trafficking ring known as PizzaGate. Thousands of comments were flooding in, and there was no evidence that Mr. Bieber had seen that message. But the pop star’s innocuous gesture set off a flurry of online activity, which highlighted the resurgence of one of social media’s early conspiracy theories.

Viewers quickly uploaded hundreds of videos online analyzing Mr. Bieber’s action. The videos were translated into Spanish, Portuguese and other languages, amassing millions of views. Fans then left thousands of comments on Mr. Bieber’s social media posts asking him if he was safe. Within days, searches for “Justin and PizzaGate” soared on Google, and the hashtag #savebieber started trending.

Four years ago, ahead of the 2016 presidential election, the baseless notion that Hillary Clinton and Democratic elites were running a child sex-trafficking ring out of a Washington pizzeria spread across the internet, illustrating how a crackpot idea with no truth to it could blossom on social media — and how dangerous it could be. In December 2016, a vigilante gunman showed up at the restaurant with an assault rifle and opened fire into a closet.

In the years afterward, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube managed to largely suppress PizzaGate. But now, just months before the next presidential election, the conspiracy theory is making a comeback on these platforms — and on new ones such as TikTok — underlining the limits of their efforts to stamp out dangerous speech online and how little has changed despite rising public frustration.

U.S. Anti-Brutality, Race Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Violence rises in Minneapolis, as debate over role of police rages, Holly Bailey, June 27, 2020 (print ed). Minneapolis officials have described an unprecedented burst of violence following George Floyd’s Memorial Day death. The spike in violence has come as public confidence in the police department has deteriorated.

At first, it sounded like fireworks, a loud crackling noise that has become the daily soundtrack of the city in recent weeks. But when David Trueblood, a coach for the Minnesota Jays youth football team, felt a bullet go whizzing by his head and heard the rapid pings of metal spray across a fence in Jordan Park, he screamed for his players, 50 kids ages 5 to 14, to hit the ground.

“I thought somebody was going to die,” Trueblood said.

As gunfire rang out early Monday evening here on the city’s north side, Trueblood and six other coaches threw their bodies atop as many children as they could. Frantic parents took cover behind cars, desperate to crawl to their kids but caught in the middle of a gun battle between a nearby group and a car that circled the park, spraying bullets across the field where the Jays were playing.

Minneapolis officials have described an unprecedented burst of violence following George Floyd’s Memorial Day death, after an officer held him down with a knee to his neck, sparking worldwide fury and massive protests. At least 113 people have been shot since May 25, eight fatally, according to Minneapolis police, with hundreds of reports of gunfire across the city, including several shootings in broad daylight.

The spike in violence has come amid a raging debate over the role the Minneapolis Police Department should play in addressing crime in this city. Public confidence has so deteriorated that a majority of the City Council has pledged to dismantle the agency. Some residents have accused officers of purposefully curbing response to crime, which police deny. Others have decided to stop using the agency’s services altogether.

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr forms task force to counter ‘anti-government extremists,’ Matt Zapotosky, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). The attorney general’s move escalates the federal response to the violence that has sometimes erupted at protests over police brutality. Attorney General William P. Barr on Friday directed the formation of a task force that will be dedicated to countering “anti-government extremists,” escalating federal law enforcement’s response to the violence that has sometimes marked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, according to a memo obtained by The Washington Post.

In the memo, Barr wrote that amid peaceful demonstrations, anti-government extremists had “engaged in indefensible acts of violence designed to undermine public order.”

“Among other lawless conduct, these extremists have violently attacked police officers and other government officials, destroyed public and private property, and threatened innocent people,” Barr wrote in a directive to all the Justice Department’s law enforcement components and U.S. attorneys. “Although these extremists profess a variety of ideologies, they are united in their opposition to the core constitutional values of a democratic society governed by law. . . . Some pretend to profess a message of freedom and progress, but they are in fact forces of anarchy, destruction, and coercion.”

U.S. Crime, Courts

washington post logoWashington Post, Foul play suspected in case of missing Fort Hood soldier Vanessa Guillén, Arelis R. Hernández, June 27, 2020. The family of the 20-year-old private, who was last seen on the morning of April 22 in the parking lot outside her regiment headquarters at the Texas base, said she had complained of sexual harassment.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Mexico City’s top security official injured in apparent assassination attempt, Kevin Sieff, June 27, 2020 (print ed.). At least a dozen armed men staged an attack Friday on Mexico City’s top security official, who narrowly escaped the apparent assassination attempt that left at least three people dead. The gunmen shot .50-caliber weapons at the SUV carrying Omar García Harfuch, Mexico City’s secretary of public security, in one of the capital’s most exclusive neighborhoods. García Harfuch was injured in the attack but was in stable condition. Two police officers and one passerby were killed, officials said. Twelve people were detained.

June 26

Top Headlines

Wars, Intrigue

Virus Victims, Responses

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Inside DC / Scandal

U.S. Courts, Justice Dept.

 U.S. 2020 Politics

U.S. Brutality, Race Protests

U.S. Crime, Probes, Punishment


Top Stories

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Cases Are Probably 10 Times Higher Than Reported, C.D.C. Says, Staff report, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The White House coronavirus task force will reconvene on Friday for its first briefing in nearly two months. The number of Americans who have been infected with the coronavirus is most likely about 10 times higher than the 2.3 million cases that have been reported, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday.

cdc logo Customrobert redfieldWe probably recognized about 10 percent of the outbreak,” Dr. Robert Redfield, right, said on a call with reporters.

He added that between 5 percent and 8 percent of Americans have been infected to date.

The C.D.C. is basing those estimates on antibody test results from across the country. The tests detect whether an individual has ever had Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, as opposed to diagnostic tests, which detect current infections. Both types of tests have been plagued by accuracy problems, although the antibody tests, which are based on blood samples rather than nasal swabs, have had a higher rate of failures.

During the call, the C.D.C. also clarified some of its previous reports on who is at increased risk of getting severely ill from Covid-19. Older people do have a higher risk of severe cases, the agency said, but that is in part because they are more likely to have other underlying medical problems, such as chronic kidney disease, lung disease, serious heart conditions, sickle cell disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity.

washington post logoWashington Post, Another 1.48 million jobs lost last week as strain of pandemic persists, Eli Rosenberg, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). Another 1.48 million people applied for unemployment for the first time last week, a slight decrease from the week before and the 14th straight week that more than one million people have filed for unemployment.

american flag upside down distressWorkers continue to file for jobless claims at record numbers, due to the economic shutdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus. By contrast, in February the weekly claims were roughly 200,000 a week. The previous record was 695,000 jobless claims in 1982.

There are signs that some states are still dealing with the backlogs that plagued unemployment systems early in the crisis.

In Wisconsin, state officials have warned a backlog of unemployment claims could last until October. Kentucky’s state capitol has been flooded with laid off workers who said they had not been paid since the beginning of the pandemic.

The numbers were higher than analysts’ predictions, adding to a raft of bad news as the country struggles to rebound both economically and on a public health level from the coronavirus. As a slight glimmer of hope, the total number of people claiming unemployment last week sunk to 19.5 million, a drop of more than 750,000 from the week before.

ny times logoNew York Times, The House passed an expansive policing overhaul bill, but it is doomed in the Republican-led Senate, Catie Edmondson, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). Democrats’ legislation would institute significant changes to the rules that govern how police officers operate, but it is doomed in the Republican-led Senate.

The House on Thursday passed an expansive policing overhaul bill aimed at combating racial discrimination and excessive use of force in law enforcement, as Democrats sought to respond to a nationwide outcry for racial justice and pushed through legislation that is doomed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

The bipartisan vote was 236-181 to approve the measure, the most sweeping federal intervention into law enforcement in years. It would eliminate legal protections that shield police officers from lawsuits, make it easier to prosecute them for wrongdoing, impose a new set of restrictions on the use of deadly force, and effectively ban the use of chokeholds.

But passage of the legislation, introduced as a response to the killings of black Americans across the country and a wave of protests that have followed, only underscored the depth of the stalemate in Congress over how to bring about law enforcement changes that both parties say are needed. Republicans have said the bill is a federal overreach into policing that will never pass the Senate, and the White House has threatened a veto.

Its approval came the day after Senate Democrats blocked a Republican effort to advance a much narrower bill that would encourage police departments to revise their practices, but not mandate any changes. That move all but extinguished the hope that Congress will be able to pass legislation this year addressing systemic racism in law enforcement, almost certainly shifting the debate over race and policing to the campaign trail, where the two parties will blame each other for the demise of the effort.

Three moderate Republicans joined a united bloc of Democrats — including those facing difficult re-election fights in conservative-leaning districts — to support the legislation. The vote underscored just how quickly the politics of law enforcement have shifted during an election year amid a groundswell of public support for significant changes to the way that the police operate. Representatives Fred Upton of Michigan, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Will Hurd of Texas, the only African-American Republican in the chamber, voted in support of the bill.

Wars, Intrigue

charlotte dennett

The Independent, A daughter’s quest to find the truth about the death of her father, the CIA’s top spy in the Middle East, James Taylor, June 26, 2020. Charlotte Dennett, shown above, suspects the British or the Russians were responsible for her father's death. Charlotte Dennett was only six weeks old when her father died in a plane crash. In her new book, she investigates his death and how the CIA Logooil game influences politics across the Middle East.

In 1947, Daniel Dennett was sent to Saudi Arabia to study the route of the proposed trans-Arabian pipeline before heading to Addis Ababa in Ethiopia to meet with Ethiopian and oil officials to discuss energy opportunities and airspace rights. The Cairo-based US petroleum attache and a communications specialist were also on board the ill-fated flight, which was also carrying 2,000lbs of secret radio equipment as well as an aerial camera.

Palmer Report, Opinion: No wonder Donald Trump abruptly called off his golf resort trip, Bill Palmer, June 26, 2020. When Donald Trump abruptly canceled his weekend golf resort trip to New Jersey earlier today, Palmer Report pointed out that something was obviously up. He doesn’t care about optics anymore, so this wasn’t in response to the worsening pandemic.

bill palmer report logo headerNow the news has broken that for months, the Trump regime has known that Russia offered bounties to Afghani operatives who were willing to take out U.S. soldiers. This is tantamount to an act of war on the part of the Kremlin, yet Donald Trump did nothing in response and kept it a secret, because he’s a Kremlin puppet.

No wonder Donald Trump abruptly canceled his trip. Considering how severely he’s in freefall, and how much of a Russian puppet he’s already seen as being, this is the kind of exploding scandal that could finish him off if he doesn’t manage the fallout properly.

Julian Assange IndicterJulian Assange (Photo by The Indicter Magazine).

Medium, Opinion: Demasking the Torture of Julian Assange; On the occasion of the International Day in Support of Torture Victims, Nils Melzer (UN Special Rapporteur on Torture), June 26, 2020. I know, you may think I am deluded. How could life in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard ever amount to torture?

That’s exactly what I thought, too, when Assange first appealed to my office for protection. Like most of the public, I had been subconsciously poisoned by the relentless smear campaign, which had been disseminated over the years. So it took a second knock on my door to get my reluctant attention.

But once I looked into the facts of this case, what I found filled me with repulsion and disbelief.

Surely, I thought, Assange must be a rapist! But what I found is that he has never been charged with a sexual offence. True, soon after the United States had encouraged allies to Swedish flagfind reasons to prosecute Assange, Swedish prosecution informed the tabloid press that he was suspected of having raped two women.

Anna Ardin and Sofia WilenStrangely, however, the women themselves never claimed to have been raped, nor did they intend to report a criminal offence. Go figure.

Moreover, the forensic examination of a condom submitted as evidence, supposedly worn and torn during intercourse with Assange, revealed no DNA whatsoever — neither his, nor hers, nor anybody else’s. Go figure again. One woman even texted that she only wanted Assange to take an HIV test, but that the police were “keen on getting their hands on him.” Go figure, once more.

Ever since, both Sweden and Britain have done everything to prevent Assange from confronting these allegations without simultaneously having to expose himself to US extradition and, thus, to a show-trial followed by life in jail. His last refuge had been the Ecuadorian Embassy.

Alright, I thought, but surely Assange must be a hacker! But what I found is that all his disclosures had been freely leaked to him, and that no one accuses him of having hacked a single computer. In fact, the only arguable hacking-charge against him relates to his alleged unsuccessful attempt to help breaking a password which, had it been successful, might have helped his source to cover her tracks. In short: a rather isolated, speculative, and inconsequential chain of events; a bit like trying to prosecute a driver who unsuccessfully attempted to exceed the speed-limit, but failed because their car was too weak.

Well then, I thought, at least we know for sure that Assange is a Russian spy, has interfered with US elections, and negligently caused people’s deaths! But all I found is that he consistently published true information of inherent public interest without any breach of trust, duty or allegiance. Yes, he exposed war crimes, corruption and abuse, but let’s not confuse national security with governmental impunity.

Yes, the facts he disclosed empowered US voters to take more informed decisions, but isn’t that simply democracy? Yes, there are ethical discussions to be had regarding the legitimacy of unredacted disclosures. But if actual harm had really been caused, how come neither Assange nor Wikileaks ever faced related criminal charges or civil lawsuits for just compensation?

But surely, I found myself pleading, Assange must be a selfish narcissist, skateboarding through the Ecuadorian Embassy and smearing feces on the walls? Well, all I heard from Embassy staff is that the inevitable inconveniences of his accommodation at their offices were handled with mutual respect and consideration. This changed only after the election of President Moreno, when they were suddenly instructed to find smears against Assange and, when they didn’t, they were soon replaced. The President even took it upon himself to bless the world with his gossip, and to personally strip Assange of his asylum and citizenship without any due process of law.

In the end it finally dawned on me that I had been blinded by propaganda, and that Assange had been systematically slandered to divert attention from the crimes he exposed. Once he had been dehumanized through isolation, ridicule and shame, just like the witches we used to burn at the stake, it was easy to deprive him of his most fundamental rights without provoking public outrage worldwide.

And thus, a legal precedent is being set, through the backdoor of our own complacency, which in the future can and will be applied just as well to disclosures by The Guardian, the New York Times and ABC News.

Very well, you may say, but what does slander have to do with torture? Well, this is a slippery slope. What may look like mere «mudslinging» in public debate, quickly becomes “mobbing” when used against the defenseless, and even “persecution” once the State is involved. Now just add purposefulness and severe suffering, and what you get is full-fledged psychological torture.

Yes, living in an Embassy with a cat and a skateboard may seem like a sweet deal when you believe the rest of the lies. But when no one remembers the reason for the hate you endure, when no one even wants to hear the truth, when neither the courts nor the media hold the powerful to account, then your refuge really is but a rubber boat in a shark-pool, and neither your cat nor your skateboard will save your life.

Even so, you may say, why spend so much breath on Assange, when countless others are tortured worldwide? Because this is not only about protecting Assange, but about preventing a precedent likely to seal the fate of Western democracy. For once telling the truth has become a crime, while the powerful enjoy impunity, it will be too late to correct the course. We will have surrendered our voice to censorship and our fate to unrestrained tyranny.

This Op-Ed has been offered for publication to the Guardian, The Times, the Financial Times, the Sydney Morning Herald, the Australian, the Canberra Times, the Telegraph, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Thomson Reuters Foundation, and Newsweek. None responded positively.

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: The Coronavirus Crisis Inside Prisons Won’t Stay Behind Bars, Editorial Board, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). Federal officials recognized the danger of the spread of coronavirus in prisons early, but have dragged their feet releasing at-risk inmates.

The situation inside the nation’s jails and prisons amid the Covid-19 pandemic has become the stuff of nightmares. Overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, shortages of personal protective equipment (not to mention soap) and restrictions on hygiene products such as hand sanitizer have turned detention facilities into a playground for the virus and a death trap for inmates — many of whom, because of age or pre-existing conditions, are at elevated risk for complications. And the threat extends far beyond the facilities themselves, endangering the families and communities that surround prison guards, nurses and other staff members.

Currently, the nation’s top five Covid-19 hot spots are all correctional facilities, according to data collected by The Times. The number of infected inmates and workers has topped 70,000 — the count doubled between mid-May and mid-June — and there have been at least 627 virus-related deaths.

Even these infection numbers are assumed to be an undercount, since testing for the virus remains inadequate and uneven. New York State has tested only about 3 percent of its 40,000 inmates, and more than 40 percent of those tested were confirmed infected. In Mississippi, Alabama and Illinois, fewer than 2.5 percent of state prison inmates have been checked. Some states, like Texas, have moved to ramp up testing, and their reported cases are soaring. Further complicating the count, some facilities do not make their testing numbers public.

Inmates are scared and desperate, and tensions occasionally boil over. In April, more than 100 inmates at a prison in Washington State protested after six inmates tested positive for the virus, and a smaller uprising occurred at a Kansas facility after more than two dozen inmates and staffers tested positive.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: America Didn’t Give Up on Covid-19. Republicans Did, Paul Krugman, right, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). Partisanship has crippled our response. Earlier this year much of paul krugmanAmerica went through hell as the nation struggled to deal with Covid-19. More than 120,000 Americans have now died; more than 20 million have lost their jobs.

But it’s looking as if all those sacrifices were in vain. We never really got the coronavirus under control, and now infections, while they have fallen to a quite low level in republican elephant logothe New York area, the pandemic’s original epicenter, are surging in much of the rest of the country.

And the bad news isn’t just a result of more testing. In new hot spots like Arizona — where testing capacity is being overwhelmed — and Houston the fraction of tests coming up positive is soaring, which shows that the disease is spreading rapidly.

It didn’t have to be this way.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Fauci Says U.S. Is Considering ‘Pool Testing,’ Staff reports, June 26, 2020. The pooled approach combines samples from multiple people at once, and would offer a way to minimize how many tests are needed.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the U.S., confirmed that officials are having “intense discussions” about the new strategy. With more than 40,000 new cases across the country, Florida and Texas paused their reopenings.

The pooled approach combines samples from multiple people at once, and would offer a way to minimize the number of tests needed. If the pooled sample tests negative for the coronavirus, all the individuals who provided samples are considered to be virus-free.

If a certain pool comes back with a positive result, each patient who provided a sample can be tested individually. The strategy can be particularly effective when the prevalence of infection in a population is less than 30 percent, according to some reports.
Here’s the latest.

ny times logoNew York Times, As Virus Surges, Younger People Account for ‘Disturbing’ Number of Cases, Julie Bosman and Sarah Mervosh, Updated June 26, 2020. Younger people are making up a growing percentage of new coronavirus cases in cities and states where the virus is now surging, a trend that has alarmed public health officials and prompted renewed pleas for masks and social distancing.

In Arizona, where drive-up sites are overwhelmed by people seeking coronavirus tests, people ages 20 to 44 account for nearly half of all cases. In Florida, which breaks records for new cases nearly every day, the median age of residents testing positive for the virus has
dropped to 35, down from 65 in March. The trend is raising fears that asymptomatic people in their 20s, 30s and 40s are helping to fuel the spread.

ny times logocovad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2New York Times, Arizona ‘Overwhelmed’ With Demand for Tests as U.S. System Shows Strain, Sarah Kliff, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). American coronavirus testing remains fragmented, as in the early days of the pandemic. The bottlenecks are the same ones, too.

People seeking drive-up coronavirus tests in Phoenix faced a three-mile-long car line last weekend. On Friday, Arizona’s largest laboratory received twice as many samples as it could process. The phone line for testing appointments at a large site on the state fairgrounds now opens at 7 a.m. with 800 callers already in the queue.

By 7:07 a.m., all 1,000 appointments for the day are typically taken.t in front of Trump Tower/Tiffany” and sought to play up animosity between the Black Lives Matter movement and the police in New York City.

Inside DC / Scandal 

washington post logoWashington Post, SBA exempted lawmakers, federal officials from ethics rules in $660 billion loan program, Jonathan O'Connell and Aaron Gregg, June 26, 2020. A “blanket approval” allows Congress, Small Business Administration officials, their families and others to receive small business loan funds without standard ethics review.

sba logo new Custom CustomA brief and barely noticed “blanket approval” issued by the Trump administration allows lawmakers, Small Business Administration staff, other federal officials and their families to bypass long-standing rules on conflicts of interest to seek funds for themselves, adding to concerns that coronavirus aid programs could be subject to fraud and abuse.

Under normal circumstances, lawmakers and some federal employees who apply for small business funds in some cases have to seek approval of a little-known SBA body called the Standards of Conduct Committee. The rule applies to officials who are business owners, officers, directors or shareholders with a more than 10 percent business interest, plus any “household members” of those officials.

But in a rule the administration issued April 13, the administration disclosed that the approval requirement had been suspended for all entities seeking funds from the $660 billion program “so that further action by the [ethics committee] is not necessary.”

Policy experts and government watchdogs said the blanket waiver could allow officials to write the rules to benefit themselves. Josh Gotbaum, a Brookings Institution scholar who has worked in economic policy under Democratic and Republican administrations, said he was “appalled” by the waiver.

“The idea that the Small Business Administration can, without any review or publicity, secretly let all of its employees arrange loans for their family members or associates is outrageous,” Gotbaum said.

Because the administration has not yet released any information about the individual borrowers, it is unknown how many members of Congress or SBA officials have benefited from the nearly $700 billion program, but several representatives did, according to media reports and financial records.Congress or SBA officials have benefited from the nearly $700 billion program, but several representatives did, according to media reports and financial records.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump’s use of military funds for border wall construction is illegal, 9th Circuit Court rules, Nick Miroff, June 26, 2020. President Trump’s transfer last year of $2.5 billion in military funds to pay for border barrier construction was an illegal overreach of executive authority, a three-judge panel in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday.

The 2-1 ruling was a setback to the president’s increasing reliance on the Pentagon to finance hundreds of miles of new barrier along the Mexico border. Its long-term implications were less certain, as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Trump’s favor in a similar case last year, and Friday’s decision only affects a portion of the funds the White House has budgeted for what has become one of the largest federal infrastructure projects in U.S. history.

The president, who ran for office in 2016 promising that Mexico would pay for the border barrier, has obtained more than $15 billion in U.S. federal funds for his signature project, including $5 billion provided by Congress through conventional appropriations. The president has tapped into Pentagon accounts for the remaining $10 billion, including the $2.5 billion transfer last year that the 9th Circuit said Friday was unlawful.

U.S. Courts, Justice Dept.

ny times logoNew York Times, Inside the Attorney General’s Effort to Undermine Prosecutors in N.Y., Benjamin Weiser, Ben Protess, Katie Benner and William K. Rashbaum, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The firing of the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan was foreshadowed by a disagreement over a case linked to President.

Shortly after he became attorney general last year, William P. Barr set out to challenge a signature criminal case that touched President Trump’s inner circle directly, and even the michael cohen ap file croppedpresident’s own actions: the prosecution of Michael D. Cohen, right, Mr. Trump’s longtime fixer.

The debate between Mr. Barr and the federal prosecutors who brought the case against Mr. Cohen was one of the first signs of a tense relationship that culminated last weekend in the abrupt ouster of Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney in Manhattan. It also foreshadowed Mr. Barr’s intervention in the prosecutions of other associates of Mr. Trump.

By the time Mr. Barr was sworn into office in February, Mr. Cohen, who had paid hush money to an adult film star who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, had already pleaded guilty and was set to begin a three-year prison sentence, all of which embarrassed and angered the president.

But Mr. Barr spent weeks in the spring of 2019 questioning the prosecutors over their decision to charge Mr. Cohen with violating campaign finance laws, according to people briefed on the matter.

william barr new oAt one point during the discussions, Mr. Barr instructed Justice Department officials in Washington to draft a memo outlining legal arguments that could have raised questions about Mr. Cohen’s conviction and undercut similar prosecutions in the future, according to the people briefed on the matter.

The prosecutors in New York resisted the effort, the people said, and a Justice Department official said Mr. Barr did not instruct them to withdraw the case. The department official, who was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter, noted that Mr. Cohen was convicted and sentenced in December 2018, before Mr. Barr was sworn in, so there was little he could do to change the outcome of the case.

Still, Mr. Barr’s unexpected involvement in such a politically sensitive case suggested that he planned to exert influence over prosecutors in the United States attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, long known for operating independently of Washington. Mr. Barr and other officials have told aides and other United States attorneys that the Southern District needs to be reined in. 

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court agrees with administration on limits on asylum seekers, Robert Barnes and Nick Miroff, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that asylum seekers who are quickly turned down by U.S. immigration officials do not have a right to make their case in federal court, a win for the Trump administration and its desire to rapidly deport people who enter the United States illegally.

The ruling was 7 to 2, although the usual undercurrents of an ideological divide on the court were present. Two of the court’s liberals dissented, and the other two agreed only with the outcome in the specific case.

Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., writing for the majority, rejected a lower court’s ruling that the Constitution guarantees a “meaningful opportunity” for asylum seekers to make their case to a judge if they are turned down in an initial screening.

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nbc news logoNBC News via Yahoo News, Trump signs executive order to punish vandalism against federal monuments, Dartunorro Clark, June 26, 2020. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Friday to protect federal monuments after a rash of recent incidents involving the vandalism of statues memorializing the Confederacy and some of the nation's Founding Fathers.

"I just had the privilege of signing a very strong Executive Order protecting American Monuments, Memorials, and Statues - and combatting recent Criminal Violence. Long prison terms for these lawless acts against our Great Country!" Trump said in a tweet.

The order would "reinforce" existing federal law, which criminalizes the destruction of federal monuments. For instance, the Veterans’ Memorials Preservation and Recognition Act of 2003 imposes a fine and up to 10 years in prison on anyone who vandalizes a monument.

"Individuals and organizations have the right to peacefully advocate for either the removal or the construction of any monument," the order states. "But no individual or group has the right to damage, deface, or remove any monument by use of force."

It also threatens to withhold federal funding from state and local law enforcement agencies that "fail to protect monuments, memorials, and statues."
The protests against racism and police brutality prompted by the killing of George Floyd has reignited the debate around statues and other monuments honoring the Confederacy and slave-holding presidents, such as George Washington and Andrew Jackson. After violence prompted by white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in 2017, there was a public outcry to remove Confederate symbols across the country.

Earlier this week, protesters defaced a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square outside the White House and tried to topple it, but police pepper-sprayed demonstrators to protect the monument. Jackson was a slaveholder and oversaw the expulsion of Native Americans in which they were forcibly moved further west by the federal government. Roughly 4,000 Cherokees died on that journey, known as the "Trail of Tears."

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

 ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Is Getting a Lot of Advice on His V.P. Here’s What Voters Think, Alexander Burns and Katie Glueck, June 26, 2020. A large majority of voters say race should not be a factor in his decision, and none of the best-known candidates has emerged as a favorite.

Joseph R. Biden Jr. appears to face limited political pressure from voters about whom to choose as his running mate, with no contender emerging as a clear favorite and the great majority of people saying that race should not be a factor in his decision, according to polling conducted by The New York Times and Siena College.

Mr. Biden has pledged to select a woman as his nominee for vice president, and his advisers are vetting more than half a dozen people for the job. In recent weeks, amid ongoing demonstrations against racism and police violence, a number of prominent Democrats have pressed Mr. Biden to select an African-American woman. And his search committee has been reviewing at least five black women, one Latina and one Asian-American candidate.

In the Times poll, four in five registered voters said that race shouldn’t be a factor in Mr. Biden’s selection of a running mate. That group included three-quarters of the black voters polled, and more than 8 in 10 white and Hispanic voters.

washington post logoWashington Post, Rep. Karen Bass is being vetted as part of Joe Biden’s vice presidential search, Sean Sullivan, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The California Democrat is the lead architect of the House police overhaul bill. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, is under consideration by Joe Biden’s campaign as a potential running mate amid pressure on him to put an African American woman on the ticket, according to people briefed on the process.

karen bass headshotBass, right, a former speaker of the California Assembly who has served in Congress since 2011, is the lead architect of a sweeping House Democratic police overhaul bill. She has emerged as one of the most prominent African American women in politics in the wake of several high-profile killings of unarmed black democratic donkey logopeople that sparked nationwide protests.

She is among multiple black women being considered. CBS News first reported that the Biden campaign was vetting Bass. Representatives for Biden and Bass declined to comment.

Asked on MSNBC on Tuesday about the vetting and her interest in the job, Bass said such questions should be directed to the Biden campaign and that she was focused on the police restructuring bill she is spearheading.

ny times logoNew York Times, Tammy Duckworth Is Battle Tested. Could She Help Joe Biden in His Biggest Mission? Jennifer Steinhauer, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The Biden campaign is vetting Ms. Duckworth, a senator and a veteran with a compelling life story, as a potential running mate.  

Dan Milberg is a retired Army helicopter pilot who voted for Donald J. Trump in 2016, and does not wish to vote for him again. But before he can consider pulling the lever for former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., he needs to know who his running mate will be.

“It might be someone too progressive,” said Mr. Milberg, who lives in Robertsville, Mo.

democratic donkey logoThe one person who would put him at ease, Mr. Milberg said, is the pilot whose seemingly lifeless body he lifted from a helicopter in 2004, her legs blown off by a rocket-­propelled grenade not far from Baghdad: Senator Tammy Duckworth of Illinois.

It is not so much the event that indelibly marked both of their lives and earned Ms. Duckworth a purple heart that draws him to her, Mr. Milberg said. Rather, he continued, she “is moderate enough that I think she can be appealing.”

tammy duckworth o CustomMs. Duckworth, right, is among more than one dozen women who have been considered by the Biden campaign to join his ticket, and she is among a smaller group asked to submit documents for vetting. But she is rarely talked up by Washington’s consultant class.

She is not one of the Democratic senators who ran for the top job this cycle and then became part of the vice-presidential search. She is not from a battleground state; vice-presidential candidates often are. She is not among the running-mate contenders who are black; many leading Democrats feel Mr. Biden should choose a black woman, in part because of the growing public attention to and support for fighting systemic racism. Her politics are in some ways abstruse; she largely votes with her party but she is not particularly identified with any progressive cause, other than an often bipartisan distaste for protracted foreign entanglements.

But presidential candidates generally try to find a running mate who can both complement and highlight their own political qualities, and in that sense, some experts say, Ms. Duckworth fits the bill.

Ms. Duckworth, who has two daughters, was the first senator to give birth while in office and the first to bring her newborn to the floor for a vote. Her mother is Thai of Chinese descent, and her father was a white veteran who fell on such hard times that Ms. Duckworth once helped support the family while growing up by selling flowers on the side of the road in Honolulu.

“I can push back against Trump in a way others can’t,” Ms. Duckworth said in a telephone interview from her car last week as she waited to attend a Juneteenth demonstration in Grant Park in Chicago.

“I can say, ‘Listen, that American flag is the same flag that would drape my father’s coffin, my coffin, my husband’s coffin and my brother’s.’ It has draped them for generations,” she said. “No one respects that flag more than I have. But I will respect the right to protest it, too.”

Two people with knowledge of the vetting process say that Ms Duckworth’s early interviews with the Biden campaign were impressive enough to make her a contender.

Ms. Duckworth, 52, was born Ladda Duckworth in Bangkok. Her father, who served two tours in Vietnam, moved the family around Asia as a program director for the United Nations and for the private sector. “I got to see America in many ways through the eyes of other nations,” she said. (She is fluent in Thai and Indonesian.)

He moved the family to Hawaii after losing his job, when Ms. Duckworth was in her last year of high school. The family was forced to live in a low-rent hotel in Waikiki with the financial help of a 90-year-old woman who volunteered at the local American Legion, making do with food stamps, school lunches and her odd jobs. “I learned about the kindness of people,” she said.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Lindsey Graham is in deep trouble, Bill Palmer, June 26, 2020. Over the past week, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has begun turning against Donald Trump. First, Graham helped sink Trump’s plan to take over the SDNY. Then, Graham announced that he disagrees with Trump’s assertion that President Obama committed “treason.” It’s clear that something has gotten into Graham; most likely he looked at his poll numbers and saw that he’s in danger of losing his own seat because he’s married himself to Trump’s sinking ship.

Democratic candidate Jaime Harrison tweeted an article from The State which confirms that his race against Lindsey Graham is indeed becoming a competitive one. Steve Schmidt from the Lincoln Project then chimed in, adding this:

This is a very interesting race and one where Lindsey Graham can go down. Lindsey’s problem is his cynicism. He believes that South Carolinians are stupid and easily manipulated. He thinks he can look them in the eye and say anything and that they will believe it no Matter how easily it is contradicted. His betrayal of his “best friend” for Trumps favor shows he can’t be trusted. No one likes being played for a fool and that is how Lindsey treats his voters. @ProjectLincoln likes @harrisonjaime. He is principled and tough, a Maverick.

washington post logoWashington Post, Delegates told to stay home for Joe Biden’s nominating convention in Milwaukee, Michael Scherer, June 26, 2020 (print ed.).  Democrats are planning a much smaller four-day event with satellite celebrations designed for television and online broadcast. Democrats announced Wednesday that Joe Biden will forgo big crowds, chaotic floor votes and dnc horizontal logomuch of the pomp of a traditional political convention when he accepts his party’s nomination over four nights of nationally televised celebrations in Milwaukee in August.

The decision to shift gears and shrink attendance, abandoning the city’s basketball arena for a nearby convention hall, is intended to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus and establish a clear contrast with President Trump, who wants a large and raucous event with thousands of cheering supporters to celebrate his nomination.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump just made a startling admission, Bill Palmer, June 26, 2020. Donald Trump’s brain cells just keep betraying him. It’s not merely that he’s speaking semi-incoherently. It’s that he’s saying things he should know he’s supposed to keep to himself.

bill palmer report logo headerDuring his event on Thursday night, Trump said this about Joe Biden: “He’s gonna be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe, and all I’m doing is doing my job.”

Read this carefully. Trump is admitting that he now expects Biden to win. Of course the point he was trying to make is that he deserves to get reelected because he’s (supposedly) doing his job, and that it’s unfair to him that Biden is going to win. But still, Trump just admitted – four months before the election – that he expects to lose.

This is a big deal because it suggests that Trump is mentally giving up on his collapsing reelection bid. This creates an opening for us to continue putting in the hard work on things like voter registration and voter turnout, and really run up the score so that no last minute fluke can change the result.

U.S. Brutality, Race Protests

ny times logoNew York Times, Philadelphia Officials Announce Changes After Protest Response, Nilo Tabrizy, Christoph Koettl, Muyi Xiao, Natalie Reneau and Drew Jordan, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). Officials in Philadelphia on Thursday announced a moratorium on the use of tear gas in the city and apologized for their response to a June 1 protest against police brutality.

The announcement, by the mayor and the police commissioner, came hours after The New York Times published a visual investigation into the use of force by the police. During a confrontation with several hundred demonstrators who had entered Interstate 676 in the city center this month, SWAT officers used tear gas and pepper spray on a group of nonviolent protesters, some of whom were trapped as they tried to leave.

“I humbly apologize to those who were directly impacted as well as to our communities at large,” said Danielle Outlaw, the Philadelphia police commissioner. “As recently as today, I have viewed video posted by The New York Times by which I am extremely disturbed and, quite frankly, sickened beyond description.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Another Nightmare Video, and the Police in Tucson Go on the Defensive, Simon Romero, Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The city is grappling with a brutal death in police custody — and why it took so long to become public.

It was another gruesome video of policing in America — a naked Latino man, his face covered by a mesh spit guard, his hands cuffed behind him as he lay dying face down on the ground at his grandmother’s house. He pleaded for water more than a dozen times, saying he could not breathe as police officers restrained his legs and torso.

This time, the scene was a southern Arizona city with a politically moderate image, a large Latino population and a Police Department said to be relatively progressive.

The victim was Carlos Ingram Lopez, a 27-year-old cooking school graduate who prepared every meal from scratch for his 2-year-old daughter and watched YouTube videos to learn how to comb her hair. His death, as he was having a mental health crisis that led to a call for help, was a jarring reminder that Latinos as well as African-Americans have a troubled history with the police, even though Latinos’ struggles do not get the same attention.

Still unanswered is why it took the police two months to release the video taken by officers’ body cameras when Mr. Lopez’s family had almost immediately asked to see it. Regina Romero, Tucson’s first Latina mayor, said on Thursday that there had been a “breakdown” inside the Police Department and that she had not learned of Mr. Lopez’s death until last week, when the police chief called her. Even then, she said, the city’s lawyer warned her and the City Council not to say anything publicly because it could be seen as an effort to influence the internal investigation, which was still underway.

ny times logoNew York Times, Mayor Bill de Blasio ordered “Black Lives Matter” to be painted on the street outside Trump Tower, angering the president, Mihir Zaveri, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). Mayor de Blasio’s plan drew an inflammatory response from the president, who used it to try to stoke tensions between protesters and the police.

bill de blasio 11 2 2013Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, has ignited a new feud with President Trump by ordering the words “Black Lives Matter” to be painted in large yellow letters on the street outside of Trump Tower.

The words are expected to be painted in the coming week on Fifth Avenue, between 56th and 57th Streets, according to the city.

“The president is a disgrace to the values we cherish in New York City,” Julia Arredondo, a spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio, said in a statement on Thursday. “He can’t run or deny the reality we are facing, and any time he wants to set foot in the place he claims is his hometown, he should be reminded Black Lives Matter.”

In a tweet in response, Mr. Trump referenced Mr. de Blasio’s plan to paint “the fabled & beautiful Fifth Avenue, righ

U.S. Crime, Probes, Punishment

jack abramoff coverBloomberg, Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Charged in Crypto-Currency Case, U.S. Says, Joel Rosenblatt, June 25, 2020. Investors allegedly deceived in offering of digital tokens; Abramoff to plead guilty, faces five years, prosecutor says. Jack Abramoff, the onetime Washington insider who went to prison in a lobbying scandal, was charged by the U.S. with illegally lobbying for a fraudulent cryptocurrency project.

Abramoff  (shown on the cover of his post-prison memoir) has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act and faces as long as five years in prison, according to a court filing and U.S. Attorney David Anderson in San Francisco.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Overhaul of Campus Sex Assault Rules Wins Surprising Support, Michael Powell, June 26, 2020 (print ed.). The new approach finds unlikely allies among some feminist scholars, who say the rights of men accused of sexual misconduct are not being protected.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos fired a shot last month in the nation’s culture wars, overhauling how colleges handle investigations of sexual assault and ending what she called Obama-era “kangaroo courts” on campus.

The new Education Department rules give more protections to the accused, primarily young men who face discipline or expulsion as a result of allegations of sexual misconduct.

The move set off a liberal uproar, denounced by unions representing teachers and college professors, by the National Organization for Women and by an array of Democratic senators. The Trump rules, they said, constitute a radical rollback of protections for victims who seek justice after sexual assaults.

But Ms. DeVos’s actions won praise from a surprising audience: an influential group of feminist legal scholars who applauded the administration for repairing what they viewed as unconscionable breaches in the rights of the accused.

June 25

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. Prosecution, Court Politics

World News

 Police Brutality, Race Protests

U.S. 2020 Politics

Media News

U.S. Jobs, Economy

U.S. Crime, Probes, Punishment


Top Stories

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washington post logoWashington Post, Appeals court orders judge to dismiss criminal case against Flynn, Ann E. Marimow, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). The decision blocks U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan from holding a hearing to scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its long-running prosecution of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser.michael flynn arms folded

U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan cannot scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its long-running prosecution of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn and must dismiss the case, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday.

In a 2-1 decision, the court (portrayed above in a building shared with the district court) said it is not within the judge’s power to prolong the prosecution or examine the government’s motives for its reversal in the politically charged case. Flynn, below left, twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador before the Justice Department moved in May to dismiss the charges.

“This is not the unusual case where a more searching inquiry is justified,” wrote Judge Neomi Rao, a recent nominee of the president, who was joined by Judge Karen LeCraft emmet sullivan 2012Henderson (also a Republican nominee).

The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit means Sullivan cannot hold a hearing set for July 16 to formally hear the government’s john gleeson Customrequest to dismiss Flynn’s case.

Sullivan, also a Repubican nominee and shown at left, refused to immediately sign off on the Justice Department’s plans, and instead appointed a former federal judge to argue against the government’s position and help him decide how to proceed.

John Gleeson, right, the former New York judge and mob prosecutor, characterized the government’s move as a “gross abuse of prosecutorial power” and “highly irregular conduct to benefit a political ally of the President.”

 roger stone djt palmer Custom

Longtime Trump friend and Republican operative Roger Stone, seeking to avoid prison after conviction on seven felonies, is shown above left.

ny times logoNew York Times, Justice Dept. Officials Outline Claims of Politicization Under Barr, Nicholas Fandos, Katie Benner and Charlie Savage, June 25, 2020 (print ed.).Two Justice Department officials recounted to Congress in stinging detail on Wednesday how political appointees had intervened in criminal and antitrust cases to advance the personal interests of President Trump and Attorney General William P. Barr.

aaron zelinkskyAaron S.J. Zelinsky, right, a prosecutor who worked on the Russia investigation, told the House Judiciary Committee that senior law enforcement officials had john eliasstepped in to overrule career prosecutors and seek a more lenient prison sentence for Mr. Trump’s longtime friend Roger J. Stone Jr. “because of politics.”

“In the United States of America, we do not prosecute people based on politics, and we don’t cut them a break based on politics,” said Mr. Zelinsky, who testified by video because of the coronavirus pandemic. “But that wasn’t what happened here. Roger Stone was treated differently because of politics.”

John W. Elias, a senior career official in the antitrust division, charged (in testimony here) that his supervisors improperly used their powers to investigate the marijuana industry and a deal between California and four major automakers at the behest of Mr. Barr. He likened their efforts to burdensome harassment meant to punish companies for decisions the attorney general and the president opposed.

ny times logojoe biden 2020 button CustomNew York Times, Biden Takes Dominant Lead as Voters Reject Trump on Virus and Race, Alexander Burns, Jonathan Martin and Matt Steven, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden is ahead of President Trump by 14 points, with a wide advantage among women and nonwhite voters, a New York Times/Siena College poll found. Some traditionally Republican-leaning groups have shifted away from Mr. Trump, who now appears to be the underdog in his fight for a second term.

538.com, Biden Has A Historically Large Lead Over Trump, But It Could Disappear, Geoffrey Skelley, June 25, 2020. Just ask Michael Dukakis or George W. Bush. FiveThirtyEight’s general election polling averages debuted last week, showing that former Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, holds a big lead over President Trump in national surveys — about 10 percentage points as of 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

So how does Biden’s lead stack up to those in previous cycles? We compared his standing at this point to previous presidential elections by applying our polling average methodology to polls from past cycles. And as you can see in the chart below, both Biden’s average support and margin over Trump are historically large — the largest of any contender since Bill Clinton in 1996.

Of course, there are still four months to go until Election Day, but the fact that Biden has such a sizable lead — already bigger than Hillary Clinton’s largest lead over Trump, which peaked at 7.5 points in 2016 — is notable. Heck, even Barack Obama never led by more than 8 points in our 2008 national average, and that wound up being a blowout.

It’s not just Biden’s margin that stands out, either; he’s also only one of three candidates to crack the 50 percent mark at this point in the cycle. (The other two were Richard Nixon in 1972 and Ronald Reagan in 1984, both of whom were incumbents who went on to win landslide victories by 23 and 18 points, respectively.)

It’s unlikely that Biden wins by that sort of margin, given our increasingly polarized politics, but it is a sign that there are fewer undecided or third-party voters for Trump to pick up to help improve his position. It also doesn’t bode well for Trump that he is in the worst position of any incumbent since Jimmy Carter in 1980.

washington post logoWashington Post, Coronavirus deaths trail surging infections but may catch up soon, Lenny Bernstein, Rachel Weiner and Joel Achenbach, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). Arizona, Texas and Florida — states that reopened early and now see runaway infection rates — probably will bury more dead in July, if experts are right.

With novel coronavirus infections setting a single-day national record Wednesday, health experts are taking little solace from one of the few bright spots in the current resurgence: Deaths are not rising in lockstep with caseloads.

But that may be just a matter of time.

“Deaths always lag considerably behind cases,” Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease specialist, told Congress at a hearing Tuesday. In the weeks to come, he and others said, the death toll is likely to rise commensurately.

Which means Arizona, Texas and Florida, states that reopened early and now are experiencing runaway infection rates, are likely to be burying more dead in July.

ny times logoNew York Times, With Unemployment Offices Busy, Recovery Seems a ‘Long Haul,’ Nelson D. Schwartz, June 25, 2020. As U.S. businesses reopen in fits and starts, and anxiety over new coronavirus hot spots increases, state unemployment offices have their hands full. An additional 728,000 filed for benefits from Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, a federally funded emergency program aimed at covering the self-employed, independent contractors and other workers who don’t qualify for traditional unemployment insurance.

To be sure, the weekly pace of new state filings is a fraction of the more than 6.5 million recorded in early April. As businesses have reopened, some employees have been called back. The total number of people collecting state unemployment insurance for the week ending June 13 was 19.5 million, seasonally adjusted, a decrease of 767,000 from the previous week and down from nearly 25 million in early May.

washington post logoWashington Post, Treasury sent more than 1 million coronavirus stimulus payments to dead people, congressional watchdog finds, Erica Werner, June 25, 2020. The checks sent to irs logodead people as of April 30 totaled nearly $1.4 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office.

U.S. House logoThe federal government sent coronavirus stimulus payments to almost 1.1 million dead people totaling nearly $1.4 billion, Congress’ independent watchdog reported Thursday.

The Washington Post previously reported that the Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service disbursed some payments of up to $1,200 each to dead people. But the astonishing scope of the problem had not been known.

The U.S. Government Accountability Office, an independent investigative agency that reports to Congress, issued the finding as part of a comprehensive report on the nearly $3 steven mnuchin wtrillion in coronavirus relief spending approved by Congress in March and April. It said it had received the information from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration in an accounting as of April 30.

The revelation comes as President Trump and some members of his administration advocate for another round of stimulus checks. The news that so much money has gone to the dead could add to reluctance from some Republicans to agree to more direct relief payments.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Fox News poll says Donald Trump is now losing multiple red states to Joe Biden, Bill Palmer, June 25, 2020. Earlier today Donald Trump went nuts on Twitter because Fox News allowed an on-air commentator to make fun of his idiocy. Now Fox is doing something far worse to Trump: it’s telling the truth about just how badly he’s currently losing the 2020 election.

bill palmer report logo headerIt’s bad enough for Donald Trump that Fox News polling recently announced that he was twelve points behind Joe Biden. Now Fox is releasing updated state by state polls, and they’re even uglier for Trump. For instance, Fox says that Trump is now down an astounding nine points in the crucial swing state of Florida. But joe biden othe news gets even worse for Trump in the red states.

fox news logo SmallFox News has Trump two points behind Biden in Georgia, and Trump one point behind Biden in Texas. That’s not a typo; the Fox News poll currently has Biden winning Georgia and Texas. It’s by the slimmest of leads, and of course it’s within the margin of error.

But when the Republican nominee for president is even slightly behind in states that are this deep red, it means Donald Trump is in a heap of trouble – as are the Republican Senators who are up for reelection in the fall.

U.S. Prosecution, Court Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate confirms 200th judicial nominee from Trump, a legacy that will last well beyond November, John Wagner, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). A divided Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Trump’s 200th judicial nominee, a milestone that reflects the breakneck speed at which he and fellow Republicans have moved to create a legacy that will endure regardless of the outcome of this year’s elections.

On a largely party-line vote of 52 to 48, the Republican-led chamber approved the nomination of Cory Wilson of Mississippi to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, elevating yet another conservative judge to a lifetime appointment on the federal bench.

With Wilson’s confirmation, Republicans also reached a benchmark vigorously pursued by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): For the first time in more than four decades, there are no longer any vacancies on the nation’s appellate courts, the judicial level where most of the major rulings are handed down.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysts say Barr is eroding Justice Dept. independence, Matt Zapotosky and Karoun Demirjian, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). Tension over allegations of the attorney general’s malfeasance reached new heights Wednesday as the House Judiciary Committee heard testimony from two prosecutors, including one who had worked with former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The Flynn decision doesn’t pass the smell test, E.J. Dionne, right, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). Shudder for the rule of law in our nation. Be ej dionne w open neckalarmed that a politicized Justice Department will be allowed to do whatever it wants in service to a sitting president. Be amazed that judges can spout errant nonsense to reach a result that just happens to square with the interests of a president who shares their partisan leanings.

Yes, the decision by two Court of Appeals judges to block efforts to scrutinize the Justice Department’s decision to drop its prosecution of Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, is that disturbing. Here’s hoping the entire U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit insists on reviewing this scandalous decision and overturns it.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: All the worrisome things happening at the DOJ could be just the tip of the iceberg, Ruth Marcus, right, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). It is becoming alarmingly ruth marcus twitter Customdifficult to keep track of all the reasons to worry about what’s happening at Justice under Barr — and increasingly clear that what we know that is worrisome may be the tip of the iceberg. And it is becoming absolutely imperative that Barr and other senior department officials testify about their activities.

Last Friday saw the botched massacre of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. The episode was telling for those, myself included, who once had higher hopes for Barr’s second stewardship of the department.

For those who thought Barr might be an institutionalist, protecting the department from the predations of a president with little respect for it, consider: He backed installing a prosecutor in the flagship office with no — zero — prosecutorial experience.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Bill Barr is going to prison, Robert Harrington, June 25, 2020. Mark Tuesday, July 28th, 2020 on your calendars. That is the date that Barr is scheduled to go before Jerry Nadler’s House Judiciary Committee to show cause for his improper meddling in criminal cases and antitrust probes for political gain on behalf of Donald J. Trump. Barr is, in effect, to face questions of why he decided to abandon his distinguished career so late in life and agree to become Donald Trump’s fixer.

bill palmer report logo headerTo be sure, Barr won’t be the first United States Attorney General to go to prison. John N. Mitchell has that distinction. But Barr will be the first A.G. to go to prison because of actions he took while Attorney General. And he will go because when he appears before Mr. Nadler’s committee, he will do so under oath. As such he will be faced with two choices, either he tells the truth, at which point he will be criminally liable for his flagrantly unlawful behaviours while in office, or he will lie, at which point he will be criminally liable for perjury. And he will be criminally liable for his flagrantly unlawful behaviours while in office anyway.

william barr new oNeedless to say Barr, right, has a little over a month to back out. In fact, he did back out of appearing before Congress in 2019 during its probe into the impeachment of Donald Trump. This time is a little different, however. This time it’s about his showing cause as to why Congress should not impeach him. And if Congress should decide to draft articles of impeachment against Bill Barr, it would not be surprising if those articles are delivered to the Senate after January 3rd, 2021, when new Senators are sworn. By then it will almost certainly be a Democratic Senate deciding Barr’s fate.

Beyond that, of course, Barr will face the wrath of the next Attorney General, to be sworn after 20 January 2021, who will take his or her time preparing criminal indictments against Donald J. Trump, Mike Pence, Donald, Eric and Ivanka Trump, Kellyanne Conway, a host of Trump cabinet officers, former and current press secretaries and appointees and, last but not least, William P. Barr. It is going to be quite a circus and I, for one, intend having ringside seats.

The problems facing William Barr are legion. As Jerry Nadler puts it, “Mr. Barr’s work at the Department of Justice has nothing to do with correcting injustice. He is the president’s fixer. He has shown us that there is one set of rules for the president’s friends, and another set of rules for the rest of us.” Trump’s last fixer, Michael Cohen, also went to prison.

Everything Bill Barr says under oath at his hearing in July can and will be held against him in a court of law. When he goes to prison I plan to enjoy it. Barr is an awful, authoritarian, religious zealot who would happily turn America into a theocratic dictatorship if he had his way. So when we get rid of Donald Trump in November, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, we will also be getting rid of William Barr, and seeing them both safely in prison.

Virus Victims, Responses

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Is Feeding America’s Coronavirus Nightmare, Nicholas Kristof, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). “It’s going away” only in the president’s delusion. President Trump says the coronavirus is “fading away” and pats himself on the back for “a great job on CoronaVirus” that saved “millions of U.S. lives.”

“It’s going away,” Trump said Tuesday at a packed megachurch in Phoenix where few people wore masks.

That’s what delusion sounds like. We need a Churchill to lead our nation against a deadly challenge; instead, we have a president who helps an enemy virus infiltrate our churches and homes. Churchill and Roosevelt worked to deceive the enemy; Trump is trying to deceive us.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: U.S. Sets Record for Daily New Cases as Virus Surges in South and West, Staff reports, June 25, 2020. Nearly 37,000 new infections were reported in the U.S., the largest one-day total since the start of the pandemic. Nearly 37,000 infections were reported as the virus surged in the South and West. Pregnant women who contract the illness wind up in hospitals and I.C.U.’s at higher rates, a federal study suggested.

The number of infections indicated that the country was not only failing to contain the virus, but also that the caseload was worsening — a path at odds with many other nations that have seen steady declines after an earlier peak. Cases in the United States had been on a downward trajectory after the previous high of 36,739 cases on April 24, but they have roared back in recent weeks.

ny times logoNew York Times, Arizona ‘Overwhelmed’ With Demand for Tests as U.S. System Shows Strain, Sarah Kliff, June 25, 2020. American coronavirus testing remains fragmented, as in the early days of the pandemic. The bottlenecks are the same ones, too.

People seeking drive-up coronavirus tests in Phoenix faced a three-mile-long car line last weekend. On Friday, Arizona’s largest laboratory received twice as many samples as it could process. The phone line for testing appointments at a large site on the state fairgrounds now opens at 7 a.m. with 800 callers already in the queue.

By 7:07 a.m., all 1,000 appointments for the day are typically taken.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: The shift of the coronavirus to primarily red states is complete — but it’s not that simple, Philip Bump, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). More people have been confirmed infected with the coronavirus in New York state than anywhere else in the country. There’s some uncertainty to that figure, just in the sense that the slow ramping-up of testing for the virus means that many cases there and elsewhere went undetected. But New York was clearly the hardest-hit based on death toll alone; nearly 30,000 residents of the Empire State have died of covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

covad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2These days, though, New York is a success story. So, too, are New Jersey and Connecticut. While in early April, those three states were seeing about 16,000 new cases each day, they added only 1,000 on Tuesday. Now, most of the new cases are coming from Texas, Florida, California and Arizona. Arizona has been particularly worrisome, adding dozens of new cases per 100,000 residents each day, easily the highest per capita rate in the country.

So on Wednesday, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a new policy in which visitors from nine states would be encouraged to self-quarantine for two weeks upon arrival in their states. Those nine states — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington — are largely red states and, between them, added more than 16,000 new cases on Tuesday. Those states added only slightly fewer new cases than the rest of the country, minus the three blue states imposing the new quarantine recommendation.

republican elephant logowashington post logoWashington Post, Pence urges GOP senators to focus on ‘encouraging signs’ as virus cases spike, Erica Werner, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). The vice president’s appearance on Capitol Hill comes as many states scramble to contain a surge in infections, while Washington sits back.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: State officials, companies delay reopening measures after record high in new infections, Staff reports, June 25, 2020. Analysis: Research explores how conservative media misinformation may have intensified coronavirus; Coronavirus sweeps through Afghanistan’s security forces.

As new coronavirus cases in the United States reached their highest single-day level yet on Wednesday, companies and state officials appeared to be taking matters into their own hands. Nevada and North Carolina ordered residents to wear masks in public, and Virginia moved to implement new workplace safety rules that would force companies to protect workers from infection. Disneyland delayed plans to reopen, and the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from certain hard-hit states.

The 38,173 new infections reported by state health departments Wednesday underscored the changing geography of the U.S. outbreak. The bulk of the cases were posted in Texas, Florida and California, while Oklahoma also set a new statewide record in infections. Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and at least 119,000 deaths, while the global number of cases has soared past 9 million.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump to send some troops he is withdrawing from Germany to Poland, Karen DeYoung and Michael Birnbaum, June 25, 2020. The president made the announcement during a Rose Garden appearance with Polish President President Andrzej Duda, who is heading into his country’s election Sunday.

washington post logoWashington Post, Coronavirus sweeps through Afghanistan’s security forces, Susannah George, Aziz Tassal and Sharif Hassan, June 25, 2020. The novel coronavirus is sweeping through Afghanistan's security forces, according to senior Afghan security officials from four provinces who report suspected infection rates of 60 to 90 percent among their units — reducing the number of forces available to conduct operations or take up duty at outposts.

Few have died, the officials say, but little to no testing capacity has forced many into weeks of isolation, leaving deployable forces stretched thin at a time when the country is under pressure from both increased Taliban violence and from the United States, where officials are eager to see the government and militants begin direct talks.

Afghanistan has extremely low coronavirus testing rates: Less than 0.2 percent of its population — 64,900 people out of an estimated 37.6 million Afghans — have been tested. As of Thursday, more than 30,000 people were confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus and over 600 had died. But the Health Ministry warns the true numbers are much higher and that as many as 26 million people in the country could be infected with the virus in coming months and the death toll could top 100,000.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kosovo leader indicted on war crimes charges ahead of White House summit, Michael Birnbaum, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). The announcement of the 10-count indictment threw the summit with Serbia into disarray.sovo President Hashim Thaci was indicted on a range of war crimes charges, including nearly 100 murders, a special prosecutor in The Hague announced Wednesday, just three days before the leader was due at the White House for a special summit with Serbia.

The announcement of the 10-count indictment threw the summit into disarray.

The special prosecutor’s office, which is investigating crimes against ethnic Serbs connected to Kosovo’s 1998-1999 war of independence, said Thaci and others had perpetrated “murder, enforced disappearance of persons, persecution, and torture.” It added that “the crimes alleged in the indictment involve hundreds of known victims of Kosovo Albanian, Serb, Roma, and other ethnicities and include political opponents.”

Thaci was expected to visit the White House along with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Saturday. Serbia never recognized Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence, and the summit was intended to try to resolve the long-standing dispute between Belgrade and Pristina. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Hit Hard by Coronavirus, Russia Holds a Mostly Mask-Free Victory Parade, Andrew Higgins, June 25, 2020 (print ed.).Tens of thousands turned out for the delayed annual vladimir putin o wcelebration of Russia’s defeat of Nazi Germany but few, including veterans in their 80s and 90s, took precautions.

Putting to one side Russia’s unfinished battle against the coronavirus, President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday celebrated his country’s victory 75 years ago against Nazi Germany, presiding over an enormous military parade through Red Square that featured thousands of soldiers marching shoulder-to-shoulder without face masks.

The parade, the largest of several celebrations taking place nationwide, was originally scheduled for May 9, a joyous annual holiday known as Victory Day, but was delayed for six weeks by the coronavirus pandemic. The outbreak continues to grow in Russia — the world’s third hardest hit country, with nearly 600,000 cases — but at a slightly slower pace than before.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, Insurgent Wave Upends House Primaries in N.Y., Jesse McKinley, June 25, 2020 (print ed.).  Following the 2018 success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, three progressive Democrats took commanding leads in their primaries.

Candidates from the Democratic Party’s left wing held significant leads in three marquee House primaries in New York after Tuesday’s machine ballot count, in a profound show of progressive political power.

One of the contests could lead to the unseating of an entrenched leader: Representative Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was badly trailing Jamaal Bowman, an insurgent candidate from Yonkers.

If Mr. Engel, who has served in Congress for more than 30 years, were to lose, it would echo a similar upset in 2018, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joseph Crowley, then the No. 4 House Democrat.

But this year, the movement seemed to have more reach, as progressive Democrats led the way in contests for two open House seats held by retiring Democrats.

In the Bronx, Ritchie Torres, a city councilman, led a pack of contenders in the 15th Congressional District, where Representative José E. Serrano is retiring. Those trailing Mr. Torres included a political veteran, Rubén Díaz Sr., a conservative former state senator with a history of anti-gay remarks, who had been considered among the favorites.

And in the Hudson Valley district held by Representative Nita Lowey, who is also retiring, Mondaire Jones, a Harvard-educated lawyer, had pulled away from six other candidates in early returns.

Mr. Jones and Mr. Torres would become trailblazers if elected in November: Either would be the first openly gay black member of Congress. 

peggy noonan wsjwsj logoWall Street Journal, Opinion: The Week It Went South for Trump, Peggy Noonan, right, June 25, 2020. Something shifted this month. Donald Trump’s hold on history loosened, and may be breaking.

In some new way his limitations are being seen and acknowledged, and at a moment when people are worried about the continuance of their country and their own ability to continue within it. He hasn’t been equal to the multiple crises. Good news or bad, he rarely makes any situation better. And everyone kind of knows.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump is headlining a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore. Experts worry that coronavirus and wildfire could both spread, Juliet Eilperin, Darryl Fears and Josh djt 2020 hat CustomDawsey, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump is planning a massive fireworks display at Mount Rushmore on July 3, despite a decade-long ban on pyrotechnics at the iconic spot because of concerns about public health, environmental and safety risks.

Trump has wanted to stage fireworks at the national memorial in South Dakota’s Black Hills since 2018, according to two individuals familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. But the idea was scuttled or delayed by a number of his advisers, these individuals said.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump sparks backlash over racist language — and a rallying cry, David Nakamura, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump’s appearance before thousands of young people in Phoenix showed how his casual use of a demeaning phrase has swiftly morphed into a staple of his reelection message as his poll numbers tumble.

washington post logoWashington Post, Black Americans say racism, policing top issues for November, favor Biden by huge margin, poll finds, Scott Clement, Dan Balz and Emily Guskin, June 25, 2020. Black Americans say racism and police conduct are the most important issues in their choice of candidates for president, are sharply critical of President Trump on both matters and see increasingly high stakes in the outcome of November’s election, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll finds.

Former vice president Joe Biden currently leads Trump by a not-unexpectedly lopsided margin among black registered voters, 92 percent to 5 percent. His supporters are about evenly split on whether they are casting an affirmative or negative vote, with roughly half saying they mainly “support Biden” and the other half saying they mainly “oppose Trump.”

washington post logosecret service logoWashington Post, Dozens of Secret Service officers and agents told to self-quarantine after Trump’s Tulsa rally, Carol D. Leonnig and Joshua Partlow, June 25, 2020. The move came after two Secret Service employees at the event tested positive for the coronavirus, along with six other advance staffers.

washington post logoWashington Post, Former GOP presidential aspirant Carly Fiorina says she plans to vote for Biden, John Wagner, June 25, 2020. The former Hewlett-Packard chief executive, who sought the 2016 Republican nomination, said she considers this year’s race a “binary choice” and cannot support Trump.

Carly Fiorina, the former chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard who sought the Republican presidential nomination four years ago, said in a new podcast that she plans to vote for Democrat Joe Biden in the fall.

Fiorina said she continues to be a registered Republican but considers the election a “binary choice” and has made clear she cannot support President Trump.

“I am encouraged that Joe Biden is a person of humility and empathy and character,” Fiorina said on an episode of “The Ticket” podcast released Wednesday. “I think he’s demonstrated that through his life.”

Fiorina was the Republican nominee for a U.S. Senate seat from California in 2010 before seeking the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. She briefly became the vice-presidential running mate of another Republican hopeful, Sen. Ted Cruz (Tex.), before he suspended his campaign.

carly fiorina 2 Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: Why it matters that Carly Fiorina of all people is endorsing Joe Biden, Bill Palmer, June 25, 2020. Here we have a Republican candidate for President just four years ago, now endorsing the Democratic nominee in an effort to oust the sitting Republican President.

There are plenty of Republicans and conservatives out there who have never loved Donald Trump, and have been looking for someone to essentially give them permission to vote Democrat this time. Colin Powell’s endorsement of Joe Biden is a bigger deal, because he’s more broadly influential and respected. But Powell is seen as less of a Republican and more of a military figure.

Everyone knows Carly Fiorina, shown above, is a hardcore Republican. If she’s announcing that she’s crossing party lines to stop Trump, it might help nudge some other Republicans in that direction. Good for her.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The quest for D.C. statehood can’t end after Friday’s vote, Colbert I. King, right, June 25, 2020. Friday’s expected successful House vote on D.C. statehood colbert king 2003will be a historic milestone. But it is just one step in a long journey toward the day when a D.C. mayor can issue a proclamation for the first elections to Congress of two U.S. senators and one House representative of the State of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth. The path to that day must eventually wind through the states, because only states that send senators and representatives to Washington can make that happen.

Friday’s House vote will likely mark statehood’s last congressional action for the year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has made clear that D.C. statehood will be given the same treatment he afforded President Barack Obama’s judicial nominations, including Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. With McConnell controlling the calendar, D.C. statehood will not see the light of day in the Senate.

The only unanswered question this week is whether any House Republican will say yes to D.C. statehood. As they have amply demonstrated in the past, it matters not to Republicans in Congress that 700,000 Americans in the District have no say in debates over war, taxes or changes in the Constitution. Republicans know that District residents pay more federal income taxes per person than the residents of any state, and D.C. provides more tax revenue to the federal government than 22 other states. Neither are they ignorant of the fact that District residents have fought and died in every American war but have no voice in decisions that throw D.C. bodies into the fight.

Police Brutality, Race Protests

 washington post logoWashington Post, D.C. police clear out fledgling ‘autonomous zone’ near White House, Marissa J. Lang, Susan Svrluga, Joe Heim, Fredrick Kunkle and Justin Jouvenal, June 25, 2020 (print ed.). The move came after President Trump tweeted that protesters would be met with “serious force” if they tried to create an autonomous zone and that federal officials would seek long sentences against anyone who toppled statues or vandalized monuments.

The comments followed a day of chaotic demonstrations Monday during which protesters unsuccessfully tried to topple a statue of President Andrew Jackson in Lafayette Square and tried to cordon off a section of a street near the White House before

Media / Politics

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Opinion: Sanders-Trotskyist - Neo-Nazi collusion in statue destruction? Wayne Madsen, left, June 25, 2020. The world has witnessed in the past collusion between ostensibly left-wing Trotskyists and right-wing fascists, including Nazis. One of the Trotskyist left figures who agitates for even more widespread destruction and removal of non-racist oriented statues is Shaun King, a darling of the Bernie Sanders left and a writer for Glenn Greenwald's "The Intercept," Daily Kos, and a supporter of Black Lives Matter. It is noteworthy that King's part-time employer, Greenwald, once represented in court convicted neo-Nazi terrorist Matthew Hale.

King jumped the shark on statue removal when he recently advocated tearing down statues of Jesus, claiming that his depiction as a white man represents "a form of white supremacy." Such extremism is the favorite tool of the so-called "far-left," including Trotskyists and anarcho-syndicalists.

A provocateur like King serves two purposes. One is moving the goal post to include other targets in a radicalized "cultural revolution." The other is to provide the extreme right with another cause célèbre to rally Trump's increasingly shrinking base. There are already reports of priceless stained glass windows in churches being smashed by either provocateurs of the extreme left or extreme right or both acting in concert.

King, who claims to be fully African-American but reportedly had a white father, knows full-well where his call to remove Jesus statues leads: vandalizing of churches and cemeteries of many sects, from Roman Catholics to Greek Orthodox. It also provides the religious right with a rallying cry to continue to fleece their congregations in drumming up more financial support for Trump's flagging re-election campaign.

 djt impeachment graphic

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Judge Tosses Trump Family Attempt to Block Mary Trump’s Tell-All, Lachlan Cartwright and Asawin Suebsaeng, June 25, 2020. A Queens County Surrogate Court Judge cited “several improprieties” in Robert Trump’s attempt to block niece Mary’s tell-all. A New York judge has tossed an application by President Donald Trump’s brother to try and halt the publication of his niece’s book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man.

Queens County Surrogate Court Judge Peter Kelly cited “several improprieties” in Robert Trump’s filing that rendered it “fatally defective”—including that it was based on the official disposition of patriarch Fred Trump Sr.’s estate, which wrapped up in 2001 and is thus for legal purposes “nonexistent.” That settlement included a confidentiality clause that niece Mary Trump signed, and which the elder Trumps have argued prevents her from publishing the sort of titillating family secrets her memoir is set to contain.

But Kelly asserted that his court could not provide the declaratory judgment blocking the book that Robert sought, and recommended the Trump brother try his luck in the New York State Supreme Court, which oversees civil and criminal matters. The Surrogate Court strictly handles the wills and assets of the deceased.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Trump Brother Was in ICU Just Before Suing Over Tell-All, Lachlan Cartwright and Asawin Suebsaeng, June 25, 2020. Robert Trump, Donald’s younger brother, spent at least 10 days in a neuro intensive care unit just before launching legal action to stop the publication of his niece’s book.

Robert, 72, had been at Mount Sinai hospital’s neurosciences intensive care unit (NSICU) in New York since at least June 11th, being treated for a serious condition. He was discharged on Sunday and, despite his stay in the hospital, he wasted no time in filing and signing complicated legal documents aided by his celebrity attorney Charles Harder and releasing a statement.

On its website Mount Sinai boasts that its 16-bed NSICU specializes in “state of the art, compassionate care of patients who suffer from subarachnoid hemorrhage, acute ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, subdural hematomas, coma, tumors of the brain and spine, severe or prolonged seizures, neuro-infections, [and] spinal cord injury among others.”

Robert did not respond to multiple requests for comment Wednesday and his attorney, Harder, declined to comment.

Mary Trump’s high-powered legal team, which includes the renowned First Amendment attorney Theodore Boutrous of the law firm Gibson Dunn, are expected to file their response in the coming days.

U.S. Crime, Probes, Punishment

jack abramoff coverBloomberg, Lobbyist Jack Abramoff Charged in Crypto-Currency Case, U.S. Says, Joel Rosenblatt, June 25, 2020. Investors allegedly deceived in offering of digital tokens; Abramoff to plead guilty, faces five years, prosecutor says. Jack Abramoff, the onetime Washington insider who went to prison in a lobbying scandal, was charged by the U.S. with illegally lobbying for a fraudulent cryptocurrency project.

Abramoff  (shown on the cover of his post-prison memoir) has agreed to plead guilty to conspiracy and violating the Lobbying Disclosure Act and faces as long as five years in prison, according to a court filing and U.S. Attorney David Anderson in San Francisco.

June 24

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. Prosecution, Court Politics

 Trump Watch

World News

 Police Brutality, Race Protests

More On U.S. 2020 Politics

Media News

U.S. Jobs, Economy


Top Stories

June 24

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: N.Y. N.J. and Conn. order quarantine for travelers from Florida, other states hit hard by coronavirus, Teo Armus, Katie Shepherd, Jennifer Hassan, Rick Noack, Lateshia Beachum, Hannah Knowles, Miriam Berger, Hamza Shaban and Kim Bellware, June 24, 2020. The governors of the tri-state area jointly announced the travel advisory, which requires a 14-day quarantine for visitors from states whose infection rates meet certain thresholds indicating “significant community spread,” according to New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D). Nine states currently meeting that threshold, Cuomo said: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Washington, Utah and Texas.

New coronavirus cases continued to rise in many parts of the United States, as seven states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — reported record-high numbers of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. Thirty-three states and U.S. territories reported a higher rolling average than last week.

Even as case numbers climb, reports circulated that the federal government is poised to stop providing federal aid to testing sites in some hard-hit states, including Texas, prompting a top federal official to respond that testing was on the rise.

Since the start of the pandemic, the United States has recorded more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and at least 119,000 deaths, while the global number of cases has soared past 9 million.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate Democrats block GOP policing bill, stalling efforts to change practices, Seung Min Kim, June 24, 2020. Democrats said the bill fell far short of addressing racism in policing and responding to the national outcry for change.

dnc square logoSenate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a Republican-drafted bill aimed at overhauling the nation’s policing practices amid a national outcry for a systematic transformation of law enforcement — spelling a potential death knell to efforts at revisions at the federal level in an election year.

On a 55-to-45 vote, the legislation written primarily by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) failed to advance in the Senate, where it needed 60 votes to proceed. Most Democratic senators said the bill fell far short of what was needed to meaningfully change policing tactics and was beyond the point of salvageable.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Trump Pushes Anew to Divide Americans by Race, Maggie Haberman and Jonathan Martin, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump is leaning hard into his decades-long habit of falsely portraying some black Americans as dangerous or lawless. And he is doing it during one of the most tumultuous periods in decades.

President Trump, trying to appeal to his predominantly white base, has repeatedly pushed inflammatory language, material and policies.

President Trump has repeatedly pushed inflammatory language, material and policies in recent days that seek to divide Americans by race as he tries to appeal to his predominantly white base of voters four months before Election Day rather than try to broaden his support.

Trailing in national polls and surveys of crucial battleground states, and stricken by a disappointing return to the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has leaned hard into his decades-long habit of falsely portraying some black Americans as dangerous or lawless. And he has chosen to do so at one of the most tumultuous periods in decades as Americans protest recent episodes of police brutality against black people that have highlighted the nation’s long history of racial injustice.

ny times logoNew York Times, E.U. May Exclude U.S. as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). European Union countries rushing to revive their economies and reopen their borders after months of coronavirus restrictions are prepared to block Americans from entering because the United States has failed to control the scourge, according to draft lists of acceptable travelers seen by The New York Times.

european union logo rectangleThat prospect, which would lump American visitors in with Russians and Brazilians as unwelcome, is a stinging blow to American prestige in the world and a repudiation of President Trump’s handling of the virus in the United States, which has more than 2.3 million cases and upward of 120,000 deaths, more than any other country.

European nations are currently haggling over two potential lists of acceptable visitors based on how countries are faring with the coronavirus pandemic. Both include China, as well as developing nations like Uganda, Cuba and Vietnam.

Travelers from the United States and the rest of the world have been excluded from visiting the European Union — with few exceptions mostly for repatriations or “essential travel” —- since mid-March. But a final decision on reopening the borders is expected early next week, before the bloc reopens on July 1.

U.S. Prosecution, Court Politics

Palmer Report, Opinion: Turns out SDNY is targeting Rudy Giuliani after all, Bill Palmer, June 24, 2020. When Donald Trump and Bill Barr made an urgent and desperate (failed) attempt rudy giuliani recentat taking control of the SDNY, it was pretty clear that they were trying to derail one or more existing criminal cases that Trump didn’t like. We still don’t know which criminal cases had Trump so panicked. But now we do have confirmation that the SDNY is in fact still targeting Trump’s pal Rudy Giuliani, right.

bill palmer report logo headerThe SDNY has now broadened its probe into Giuliani, expanding it to include his interactions with Ukrainian oligarch Pavel Fuks, according to Scott Stedman of Forensic News. We think the timing here is fascinating. Just a few days after Trump tried and failed to overthrow the SDNY leadership, we’re now seeing the SDNY letting it be known that it is indeed targeting Giuliani, and that the case is still ongoing and expanding.

Given the timing, this feels like a message is being sent. SDNY has likely already told Rudy Giuliani the timeframe of his expected indictment and arrest, thus giving him an opportunity to cut a plea deal before his arrest. Now SNDY appears to be signaling to Rudy that this past weekend’s shenanigans didn’t get him off the hook at all, and that he should consider cutting a deal while he still can.

roger stone hands waving no credit from stone cold Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: Prosecutor testifies on alleged politicization inside Barr’s Justice Department, Felicia Sonmez, Karoun Demirjian, Matt Zapotosky and Colby Itkowitz, June 24, 2020. The House Judiciary Committee is hearing testimony Wednesday from a federal prosecutor and another witness who have accused Attorney General William P. Barr and his top deputies of acting “based on political considerations” and a desire to appease President Trump.

Aaron Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland formerly detailed to the Russia investigation by special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller III, told the panel that prosecutors involved in the criminal trial of Trump’s friend Roger Stone (shown above in a file photo) experienced “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice” to give Stone “a break” by requesting a lighter sentence.

Zelinsky was joined by John Elias, an official in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, who said that Barr ordered staff to investigate marijuana company mergers simply because of his “personal dislike” of the nature of their underlying business.

Also appearing are former U.S. attorney general Michael B. Mukasey and former deputy attorney general Donald Ayer, who has publicly called on Barr to step down.

In his testimony, Ayer said Barr “poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law,” while Mukasey dismissed allegations that the Justice Department has become politicized under Barr.

Meanwhile, Barr has accepted an invitation from the panel’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), to appear for a “general oversight hearing” on July 28, Barr’s spokeswoman, Kerri Kupec, said in a tweet Wednesday. According to a Judiciary Committee spokesman, the Justice Department contacted the panel on Tuesday regarding a date for Barr’s testimony to avoid a subpoena for the attorney general.

Yahoo News, House hearing on William Barr quickly descends into chaos, Dylan Stableford, June 24, 2020. A House Judiciary Committee hearing quickly descended into chaos Wednesday moments after the first witness, former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer, called current Attorney General William Barr “the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law.”

william barr new oWhen Ayer exceeded the five minutes allotted for his opening statement, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, began loudly tapping his desk as Ayer was attempting to conclude his remarks.

Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler called for “regular order” to allow Ayer to finish his statement.

“We’re way beyond regular order,” Gohmert snapped.

Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga., urged Nadler to call for the sergeant at arms to “stop the disruption of this meeting.”

“I can’t hear this witness,” Johnson said. “This is a very important witness.”

“Well, he’s way beyond his time,” Gohmert said. “And if there’s no rules about when you can talk, there’s no rules about when you can noise.”

The Republican congressman resumed tapping his desk as Democrats asked Nadler to have Gohmert removed from the panel.

Nadler did not, and Ayer concluded his remarks over the sound of Gohmert’s tapping.

Tuesday’s hearing was convened to examine Barr’s actions as attorney general, including his handling of the Mueller report as well as his role in forcing out Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York who had been conducting separate investigations that could yield unfavorable results for the President Trump.

 supreme court headshots 2019

Los Angeles Times, Analysis of Supreme Court 2020: Major rulings on abortion, Trump’s tax returns still to come, David G. Savage, June 24, 2020. The Supreme Court is nearing the end of its term and ready to release major decisions on abortion, religion and the separation of powers between the president and Congress — specifically, whether House Democrats or a New York grand jury can obtain President Trump’s tax returns.

The court has already handed down a pair of surprises by extending the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect LGBTQ employees and by blocking President Trump’s repeal of the Obama-era program that protects the so-called Dreamers, the young immigrants who were brought to this country as children. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. voted with the four liberals in both cases, triggering dismay and dissent among his colleagues on the right.

The chief justice also figures to hold the deciding vote in the biggest cases yet to be decided. A Louisiana dispute over doctors who perform abortions has taken on added significance because it will be the first abortion ruling since Trump’s two appointees took their seats and because it will signal whether the more conservative court will stick with its precedents on abortion.

Trump is counting on the court to protect him from subpoenas issued by three House committees and a New York grand jury that seek financial records held by his accountant or by Deutsche Bank, which made large loans to Trump’s properties. Trump sued to block the subpoenas but lost in three lower courts.

Usually, the court hands down its final decisions by the end of June and goes on recess for the summer. But the coronavirus shutdown delayed the arguments in several cases, including the dispute over Trump’s taxes, which in turn could push the last decisions into early July.

Here’s a look at the major cases still pending, and the significant rulings so far.

Virus Victims, Responses

The Street, President Trump Will End Funding for Covid-19 Testing Sites, Tony Owusu, June 24, 2020. The Trump administration will stop funding the 13 testing sites it has around the country and will instead rely on public-private partnerships to test people.

The Trump administration plans to end federal funding and support for coronavirus testing sites, NBC News reported Wednesday, even as new cases continue to spike around the country as states start to reopen their economies.

The stock market is down across each index today, as Wall Street is selling off shares after several U.S. states, including Florida, Texas, and California, see spikes in new coronavirus cases.

The White House says that the move is an effort to "broaden community testing," according to the report, which would put more emphasis on public-private partnerships with companies like CVS Health (CVS) - Get Report and Walgreens (WBA) - Get Report.

washington post logoWashington Post, New York City Marathon canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, Cindy Boren, June 24, 2020. The decision to scrap the 50th edition of the race, which runs through the city’s five boroughs and draws more than 50,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers and around one million fans, was “incredibly disappointing,” the chief executive of New York Road Runners said in a statement.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Federal government to scale back testing support even as hospitalizations reach new highs, Staff reports, June 24, 2020. Hospitalizations in Houston have tripled since Memorial Day, hospital CEO says; Megan Rapinoe, two other USWNT players opt out of NWSL tournament; Returning to school this fall may be ‘extremely difficult,’ South Carolina official says.

New coronavirus cases continued to rise in many parts of the United States, as seven states — Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — reported record-high numbers of hospitalizations since the pandemic began. Thirty-three states and U.S. territories reported a higher rolling average than last week. Even as case numbers climb, the federal government is poised to stop providing federal aid to testing sites in some hard-hit states, including Texas, where new cases have spiked sharply in recent weeks.

President Trump said Saturday he told officials to “slow down” testing to lower the number of newly reported coronavirus cases in the country. While his team initially claimed that the statement was a joke, Trump contradicted that claim Tuesday, saying, “I don’t kid.” But top public health experts testifying before Congress on Tuesday denied having been told to scale back testing and reiterated the importance of continuing widespread screenings to hamper the spread of the virus.

washington post logoWashington Post, Virginia to create first pandemic workplace safety mandates in nation, Eli Rosenberg, June 24, 2020. The governor's office said the rules were prompted in large part by the lack of enforcement by OSHA, the federal agency tasked with upholding workplace safety.

Wayne Madsen Report (WMR), Analysis: Them that die'll be the lucky ones," Wayne Madsen, June 24, 2020. "Them that die'll be the lucky ones," boasted Long John Silver in Robert wayne madesen report logoLouis Stevenson's epic, "Treasure Island." And that quote brings us to our present reality.

There is no cure for the Covid-19 global plague nor is a useful vaccine for the deadly virus anywhere close to being widely administered. A recent Chinese study indicates that those who recover from Covid-19 and possess antibodies that give them immunity lose those antibodies after only a few months. Which means, those who survive one bout of Covid-19, may not be so lucky with repeat infections.

OpEdNews, Hotels give a "Wink and a Nod" When Millions of Young Girls' Lives at Stake, Robert Weiner and Zach Filtz, June 24, 2020. Las Vegas could shine its image and lead the nation in fighting human trafficking, a situation made even worse with Coronavirus (Covid-19).

Hotel chains have shown that a wink and a nod are just fine with them, enabling of the destruction of young girls' lives. Ignoring the need to contain it, they are not revealing information regarding their customers and clients interacting with COVID-19-positive people. Now, researchers in China according to WebMD had found that Coronavirus can be prevalent in semen in men who are still infected or recovering from COVID-19, with findings published in the medical journal JAMA Network Open.

While Las Vegas already makes prostitution unlawful, the state of Nevada lets the counties choose to outlaw it. Currently, there are six counties and a city where prostitution is not legal at all: Clark County (which contains Las Vegas), Douglas, Eureka, Lincoln, Pershing, Washoe (contains Reno) and the independent city of Carson City (the state capitol). However, Elko, Humboldt, Lyon, and White Pine Counties all allow brothels in at least parts of their counties. We need sunlight shown on this dark issue, nad question why this is not a statewide prohibition.

Legal sex worker and brothel employee Sandi Benks said to the Reno Gazette Journal that the COVID-19 illness caused her enough worry to stop working in the industry since Nevada shut down brothels on March 19 in the Covid regulations. "I had a gut feeling and I just packed up and left," Benks said. "I bailed on it. I wasn't comfortable. I knew nationally we weren't supposed to be in groups over 10 and I was like this is a group over 10 - I'm outta here. I'm a stickler on that. I'd rather play safe than sorry."

The implications for this legal sex worker is that she, as a legal sex worker, has a choice in the matter is as different as night and day, as it is still believed that illegal traffickers are still forcing their "property" to continue performing sexual services to their black-market customers, are a very different story. Those people -- the unseen victims kept by a force in a clandestine industry -- can't say no unless they safely get help.

For those who are struggling to grasp the experiences of human trafficking survivors, Reno NBC News Channel 4's website encapsulates this horror with "Lisa" (her identity kept a secret). She explains that she was homeless at 12, stripping at 16, and was forced into trafficking soon after that. Lisa says one night she was asked to a friend's house, and that's where five men met her, drugged and beat her and held her for four days. That is where her sex trafficking started in the Reno, Nevada area.

Trump Watch

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: Trump faced a moment of truth in Tulsa. He chose the low road, Editorial Board, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). President Trump faced a moment of truth as his reelection campaign kicked into high gear. He could double down on the politics of division, hoping to energize the minority of Americans who reliably support him and prevent or discourage as many others as possible from voting. Alternatively, he could, with modest efforts at conciliation and healing, expand the pool of voters willing to vote for him.

Political self-interest seemed to dictate the second choice. Unfortunately, in his opening campaign rally in Tulsa on Saturday, he chose the low road instead. Whether by calculation, or because by character he is incapable of any other way, he opted for bigotry, division and mean-spiritedness.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, Saudi Arabia announces drastic curbs to numbers for annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, Sarah Dadouc, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). Fewer than 10,000 people will be allowed to perform the 2020 hajj pilgrimage, which included about 2.5 million last year. The announcement did not explain how the pilgrims will be chosen.

Police Brutality, Race Protests  ahmaud arbery

Yahoo News, 3 men indicted on murder charges in killing of Ahmaud Arbery, Wire reports, June 24, 2020. Arbery was slain Feb. 23 when the Greg and Travis McMichael armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old Black man running in their neighborhood. A prosecutor on Wednesday announced that three men have been indicted on murder charges in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in coastal Georgia.

Prosecutor Joyette Holmes said a Glynn County grand jury has indicted Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael and William “Roddie” Bryan Jr. on charges including malice and felony murder in the death of the African American man. Arbery was slain Feb. 23 when the Greg and Travis McMichael, a white father and son, armed themselves and pursued the 25-year-old Black man running in their neighborhood. Greg McMichael told police he suspected Arbery was a burglar and that Arbery attacked his son before being shot.

washington post logoWashington Post, Senate teeters on cusp of failure in police reform push, Seung Min Kim and Holly Bailey, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). Republicans and Democrats struggled to find consensus on how to address race and policing and answer a public demand to overhaul law enforcement tactics.

The Senate appeared on the cusp of failure Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats struggled to find consensus on how to address a national crisis over race and policing and answer the public demand to overhaul law enforcement tactics.

Democrats criticized a Senate Republican plan as inadequate, arguing that it falls far short of a substantive transformation of controversial policing practices, and they laid the groundwork to stall the measure. Republicans countered that their proposal was a viable starting point for legislation and said Democratic resistance was a sign that the party was interested only in scoring political points months ahead of the elections.

The gridlock on Capitol Hill stood in contrast to the growing public support for policing reforms in the four weeks since the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in police custody, galvanized the nation with demands for racial justice. Three states have already enacted new policing laws that restrict controversial practices such as chokeholds and aim to make law enforcement more accountable. Dozens more are moving aggressively to change police practices.

ny times logoNew York Times,  9 Departments and Multiple Infractions for One New Jersey Police Officer, Rukmini Callimachi, June 24, 2020. With no licenses that can be revoked and no database tracking their misconduct, officers are able to jump from agency to agency, even after they are fired.

This month, the white officer was charged with assault for pepper-spraying a group of black youths after a complaint that they were loitering, but only after cellphone footage captured by one of them was uploaded to YouTube. A look back over the young officer’s career; a review of police records; and interviews with more than a dozen law enforcement officials, witnesses and community leaders indicate that he had a history of interactions that policing experts say should have raised red flags.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

ny times logoNew York Times, Insurgent Wave Upends House Primaries in N.Y., Jesse McKinley, June 24, 2020. Following the 2018 success of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, three progressive Democrats took commanding leads in their primaries.

Candidates from the Democratic Party’s left wing held significant leads in three marquee House primaries in New York after Tuesday’s machine ballot count, in a profound show of progressive political power.

One of the contests could lead to the unseating of an entrenched leader: Representative Eliot L. Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was badly trailing Jamaal Bowman, an insurgent candidate from Yonkers.

If Mr. Engel, who has served in Congress for more than 30 years, were to lose, it would echo a similar upset in 2018, when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez defeated Joseph Crowley, then the No. 4 House Democrat.

But this year, the movement seemed to have more reach, as progressive Democrats led the way in contests for two open House seats held by retiring Democrats.

In the Bronx, Ritchie Torres, a city councilman, led a pack of contenders in the 15th Congressional District, where Representative José E. Serrano is retiring. Those trailing Mr. Torres included a political veteran, Rubén Díaz Sr., a conservative former state senator with a history of anti-gay remarks, who had been considered among the favorites.

And in the Hudson Valley district held by Representative Nita Lowey, who is also retiring, Mondaire Jones, a Harvard-educated lawyer, had pulled away from six other candidates in early returns.

Mr. Jones and Mr. Torres would become trailblazers if elected in November: Either would be the first openly gay black member of Congress. 

washington post logoWashington Post, A second senior economist is abruptly leaving the White House amid the ongoing economic crisis, Robert Costa, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, June 24, 2020. Tomas Philipson, acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, announced he is stepping down two days after his predecessor said he would leave. It is unusual for two senior White House officials to leave in the middle of an economic crisis.

One of President Trump’s senior economic officials has abruptly left the White House in the middle of the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. He becomes the second senior White House economic official whose departure was announced this month.

Tomas J. Philipson, acting chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, will leave his post by the end of June, White House spokesman Judd Deere said in an email. The announcement comes two days after Kevin Hassett, a senior White House economic official and Philipson’s predecessor as chair of CEA, announced he would also be stepping down. Hassett was brought back to the administration this winter but is preparing to step away again.

washington post logoWashington Post, Gade wins GOP Senate primary in Virginia, Webb gets 5th District nomination, Jenna Portnoy, Emily Davies and Antonio Olivo, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). Establishment favorite Daniel Gade, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, will challenge Sen. Mark Warner (D) in the fall. Cameron Webb — a physician, former White House fellow and health policy researcher — is the Democratic nominee to face Bob Good, a self-described “biblical” conservative, in November.

washington post logoWashington Post, Wall Street spent heavily to take down Ocasio-Cortez. It was a bad investment, Tory Newmyer, June 24, 2020. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez fended off a primary challenge from former CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, who raised $2 million.

By one measure, Caruso-Cabrera made the race competitive, raising an impressive war chest of more than $2 million for her bid, most of it in big checks from the financiers whom Ocasio-Cortez has made a point of targeting. That haul paled in comparison to the roughly $10.5 million Ocasio-Cortez raised mostly in small donations.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump visits border barrier in push of immigration message amid pandemic and civil unrest, Anne Gearan, Nick Miroff and Toluse Olorunnipa, June 24, 2020 (print ed.).  The president and his aides continued to flout public health guidelines in Arizona while top administration officials were testifying before Congress about the growing threat of covid-19.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Things just got even uglier with Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, James Sullivan, June 24, 2020. It’s a particularly important year for Democrats to retake the Senate – and they need to flip at least four seats if they’re going to. One of the more problematic seats that they’re protecting this year is Doug Jones’ seat, who replaced Jeff Sessions in djt jeff sessions Customa special election against Roy Moore – two names that represent the worst of what the modern day GOP has to offer. While it’s a relief that Roy Moore is no longer vying for the Senate seat, Sessions is back and facing the candidate picked by Donald Trump in a July Republican primary runoff.

bill palmer report logo headerFor a time, it looked like Tommy Tuberville was a clear favorite to win the nomination in a state where Trump enjoys above average favorability, but it’s not exactly a great sign that the GOP primary election was close enough to be a runoff between Trump’s endorsed candidate and the guy Trump openly despises. Now, Tuberville has a whole new problem – and it could really throw a wrench into the race however things turn out after the July runoff.

While he ran on solving the opioid crisis as one of his top priorities when he gets to Washington, it turns out that Tuberville and his wife have five-figure holdings in stocks of the same companies that have profited from opioids – AmerisourceBergen and Johnson & Johnson, and Teva Pharmaceuticals, all of which have paid out settlements with state and local governments over their role in the opioid crisis, an issue that even Donald Trump has tried to be on the right side of.

This could skew things in Sessions’ favor, and if he does come out the winner in the runoff, we can expect a lot of ugly Republican clashing between Sessions and Trump. If Tuberville manages to prevail, you can expect this to come up again in the fall. With a roughly 45% approval rating, it just became a little easier for Doug Jones to win re-election in November.

washington post logomark meadows SmallWashington Post, A 24-year-old novice beat a Trump-endorsed candidate in primary race for Mark Meadows’s seat in Congress, Meagan Flynn, June 24, 2020. A 24-year-old real estate investor and motivational speaker in western North Carolina has defeated the candidate endorsed by President Trump in a Republican runoff to vie for White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows’s (shown at right) seat in Congress, marking another race this election cycle that has bucked the president’s influence.

Madison Cawthorn, who turns 25 in August, was the surprise victor in North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District runoff against real estate agent Lynda Bennett with nearly two-thirds of the vote, according to the Associated Press. Bennett, 62, had endorsements not only from Trump but also from Meadows, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio.) Meadows vacated the seat in March to join the White House.

washington post logoWashington Post, Candidates in N.Y. and Ky. seize momentum of racial justice protests in bids for Democratic primary wins, Colby Itkowitz, Joe DePaolo and Josh Wood, June 23, 2020. Charles Booker, a state legislator, hopes to claim the nomination and the chance to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell (R). Jamaal Bowman is looking to oust longtime Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D).

ny times logoNew York Times, There’s a Reason Trump Is Fighting Hard for Arizona, Jennifer Medina, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). Joe Biden’s path to the White House could be through fed-up suburbanites and young Latinos.

joe biden oMr. Trump is scheduled to campaign here on Tuesday, in a state whose 11 electoral votes he badly needs to hold to be re-elected, especially if he loses any of the three Midwestern states he flipped in 2016.

Democratic officials believe that frustrations over Mr. Trump’s immigration policies and his handling of the pandemic, as well as polling trends, indicate that Joseph R. Biden Jr. has the best shot of any Democratic presidential candidate to win Arizona since Bill Clinton carried the state in 1996. And the Biden campaign sees winning Arizona as not just a path to victory, but also a confirmation that Latino and immigrant voters are a strong and dependable part of the party. 

Media News

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump family seeks to block book by niece that calls him ‘world’s most dangerous man,’ Michael Kranish, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). Presales of the book, slated for a July 28 publication, have soared on the basis of a description from publisher Simon & Schuster that says it will reveal decades of family secrets, including a “nightmare of traumas” that explain President Trump’s psychology.

President Trump’s brother on Tuesday petitioned a New York court to block the publication of a book by Mary L. Trump that describes the president, her uncle, as the “world’s most dangerous man.”

Presales of the book, slated for publication on July 28, have soared to the top of bestseller lists on the basis of a description from publisher Simon & Schuster that it will reveal decades of family secrets, including a “nightmare of traumas” that explain the psychology of the man who is now president.

President Trump told the Axios news service earlier this week that Mary Trump is “not allowed” to write the book, because she signed a nondisclosure agreement in 2001 that settled her suit against him and his siblings over her inheritance from her grandfather Fred Trump Sr., the president’s father. President Trump said the agreement was a “very powerful one” that “covers everything.”

Yahoo News, Devin Nunes can’t sue Twitter over statements by fake cow, judge rules, Kate Irby, June 24, 2020. A judge has ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother and a Republican strategist.

devin nunes file flagJudge John Marshall said in a decision Friday that Twitter was “immune from the defamation claims of” Nunes, R-Tulare, due to federal law that says social media companies are not liable for what people post on their platforms.

Nunes, right, “seeks to have the court treat Twitter as the publisher or speaker of the content provided by others based on its allowing or not allowing certain content to be on its internet platform,” Marshall wrote. “The court refuses to do so.”

twitter bird CustomNunes sued Twitter, the two parody accounts known as Deivn Nunes’ Cow and Deivn Nunes’ Mom and strategist Liz Mair in March 2019. He alleged the latter three had defamed him online, ruining his reputation and causing him to win his 2018 election by a narrower margin than normal. He accused Twitter of being negligent for allowing the alleged defamation.

Twitter’s lawyers, in their motion to dismiss the suit, argued that Twitter was immune from the lawsuit due to federal law. The law, known as Section 230, says that social media companies like Twitter are not liable for what third parties post on their platform. The only exception is if Twitter personally helped develop or create the content. Both Twitter and Nunes agreed the company did not do that in this case.

Nunes’ lawyer, Steven Biss, argued that Twitter’s actions in allegedly favoring more liberal content over conservation content and allegedly promoting tweets that made fun of Nunes meant that Section 230 protections should not apply.

washington post logoWashington Post, White House correspondents’ dinner canceled over coronavirus concerns, Nina Zafar, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). The White House Correspondents’ Association canceled its annual dinner after consulting “with medical experts, government authorities and our own members.”

U.S. Jobs, Economy

washington post logoWashington Post, More than 13,000 federal workers face a possible furlough of 30 days or longer, Eric Yoder, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). Fees from visa and citizenship applications and other services provided by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are down sharply in the wake of the pandemic.

ny times logoNew York Times, Economy Updates: I.M.F. Predicts Deeper Global Downturn, Staff reports, June 24, 2020. The I.M.F said the global economy would shrink 4.9 percent this year and recover more slowly than expected. Stocks stumbled. Here’s the latest.

ny times logoNew York Times, Americans Face New Limbo as Some Reopenings Are Halted, Jack Healy, Mitch Smith and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio, June 24, 2020. Some states and counties are delaying and even reversing reopenings as virus cases mount. Experts say this could go on for months.

June 23

Top Stories

U.S. 2020 Elections

Trump Watch

Virus Victims, Responses

 Police Brutality, Race Protests

U.S. Economy, Jobs, Sports

U.S. Prosecutors, Courts, Crime

World News

Media News


Top Stories

CNN, Keilar confronts Trump campaign official: Is this funny to you? Brianna Keilar, June 23, 2020. CNN's Brianna Keilar confronts Trump 2020 campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh about President Donald Trump's recent comments about coronavirus testing that he made at a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutor to tell Congress that Barr, top aides sought to cut Roger Stone ‘a break,’ Karoun Demirjian, Matt Zapotosky and Rachael Bade, June 24, 2020 (print ed.). House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler wants Attorney General William P. Barr to testify in the Democrats’ investigation into what they warn is dangerous politicization at the Justice Department.

Justice Department log circularA federal prosecutor and another Justice Department official plan to tell Congress on Wednesday that Attorney General William P. Barr and his top deputies issued inappropriate orders amid investigations and trials “based on political considerations” and a desire to cater to President Trump.

Aaron Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland formerly detailed to Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, will tell the House Judiciary Committee that prosecutors involved in the criminal trial of Trump’s friend Roger Stone (shown above left) experienced “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break” by requesting a lighter sentence, according to Zelinsky’s prepared remarks. The expectation, he intends to testify, was that Stone should be treated “differently and more leniently” because of his “relationship with the President.”

Zelinsky will be joined by John Elias, an official in the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, who will say that Barr ordered staff to investigate marijuana company mergers simply because he “did not like the nature of their underlying business,” according to his prepared testimony.

ny times logoNew York Times, Virus Gains Steam Across Latin America, Azam Ahmed, Anatoly Kurmanaev, Daniel Politi and Ernesto Londoño, June 23, 2020. Inequality, densely packed cities, legions of informal workers and weak health care systems have undermined efforts to fight the pandemic. By late March, the Mexican government calmly predicted that its coronavirus outbreak would peak in April.

Mexico, like the rest of Latin America, has quickly become a focal point of the pandemic, a worrisome frontier for a virus that has claimed the lives of more than 460,000 people and infected more than nine million worldwide.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Arizona Mega-Church Set to Host Trump Rally Falsely Claims Its Air Filter Zaps COVID-19 ‘KILLS 99.9 PERCENT,’ David Axe, June 23, 2020. Dream City Church’s claim that it has technology to kill the coronavirus and protect rallygoers “is absurd,” says one epidemiologist. An Arizona mega-church where President Donald Trump is set to hold a rally on Tuesday claimed it possesses technology to clear the air of the novel coronavirus.

The church is wrong, multiple scientists told The Daily Beast. The air filters that Dream City Church said it installed in its 3,000-seat Phoenix-area auditorium can’t protect churchgoers—or the president—from SARS-CoV-2.

“When you come into our auditorium, 99.9 percent of COVID is gone—if it was there in the first place,” Brendon Zastrow, the church’s chief operating officer, claimed in a video that TMZ obtained.

Luke Barnett, Dream City Church’s pastor, said in the same video that the mega-church has installed CleanAir EXP filter units. “It was technology developed by some members of our church,” Barnett said. “And it kills 99.9 percent of COVID within 10 minutes.”

“This is absurd and will not protect you,” Matthew Scotch, an Arizona State University epidemiologist, told The Daily Beast. Dream City Church didn’t respond to an email requesting comment.

The CleanAir EXP system, built by a Phoenix-based company of the same name, is a combination filter unit and sensor that works with a building’s existing air-conditioning. Clean Air EXP claims on its website that its product can “clean indoor air of allergens, pathogens, odors, smoke, mold, ozone and harmful chemicals.”

ny times logoNew York Times, G.O.P. Faces Risk From Push to Repeal Health Law During Pandemic, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, June 23, 2020 (print ed). Republicans and the Trump administration continue to press to end the Affordable Care Act even as more Americans are worried about health care coverage.

President Donald Trump officialRepublicans are increasingly worried that their decade-long push to repeal the Affordable Care Act will hurt them in the November elections, as coronavirus cases spike around the country and millions of Americans who have lost jobs during the pandemic lose their health coverage as well.

The issue will come into sharp focus this week, when the White House is expected to file legal briefs asking the Supreme Court to put an end to the program, popularly known as Obamacare. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, seizing on the moment, will unveil a Democratic bill to lower the cost of health care, with a vote scheduled for next week in the House.

Donald Trump and Mike Pence logoRepublicans have long said their goal is to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act but have yet to agree on an alternative. This week’s back-to-back developments — Ms. Pelosi’s bill announcement on Wednesday, followed on Thursday by the administration’s legal filing — has put Republicans in a difficult spot, strategists say.

“Politically, it’s pretty dumb to be talking about how we need to repeal Obamacare in the middle of a pandemic,” said Joel White, a Republican strategist who specializes in health policy and has presented legislative proposals to House and Senate Republicans and the White House. “We need quick solutions here; we need stuff that we can do tomorrow, because our countrymen are hurting.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: As Outbreak Spreads, Some States Roll Back Plans to Reopen, Staff Reports, June 23, 2020. Some state officials are slowing the anthony fauci Customreturn-to-work plans and in some cases, reimposing earlier restrictions. Dr. Anthony Fauci, right, the top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Robert Redfield, the director of the C.D.C., are speaking before Congress. Novak Djokovic, the No. 1 men’s tennis player, said he has tested positive for the coronavirus. Here’s the latest.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump just confessed, Bill Palmer, June 23, 2020.  Donald Trump’s poorly attended Tulsa rally was controversial enough for him, before he opened his bill palmer report logo headermouth during his speech and admitted that he had instructed his White House advisers to slow down coronavirus testing in order to reduce the number of confirmed cases.

Taken at face value, this was a confession to negligent homicide. Naturally, Trump’s White House quickly began insisting that Trump was merely kidding. But just a few minutes ago, respected CBS News White House correspondent Weijia Jiang tweeted this:

Weijia Jiang: Just now I asked the President if he was kidding when he said he told his people to slow down testing, which is how White House officials explained the comment. He said, “I don’t kid.” He also said again testing is a double-edged sword, and praised the job the U.S. has done.

Wait a minute here. Donald Trump is confirming that he really did mean it when he claimed to have instructed the White House to slow down coronavirus testing. He’s confirming that his confession is indeed a confession. Joe Biden and anti-Trump groups are already using Trump’s “slow down the testing” soundbite in advertising, as it makes clear that Trump really did take dishonest steps to make himself look good that directly resulted in large numbers of Americans dying.

It’s also worth noting that if Donald Trump loses the election, he’ll end up on trial for a wide variety of criminal charges. His confession about deliberately slowing down the testing, coupled with his confirmation today that he really did mean it when he confessed, will be used as evidence against him by the prosecution. By slowing down the testing, he ensured that sick people remained unaware they were sick, and continued infecting other people.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Suspends Visas Allowing Foreigners to Work in the U.S., Michael D. Shear and Miriam Jordan, June 23, 2020 (print ed). The move is fiercely opposed by business leaders, who say it will block their ability to recruit critically needed workers from countries overseas. President Trump on Monday temporarily suspended new work visas and barred hundreds of thousands of foreigners from seeking employment in the United States, part of a broad effort to limit the entry of immigrants into the country.

Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore portrait)In a sweeping order, which will be in place at least until the end of the year, Mr. Trump blocked visas for a wide variety of jobs, including those for computer programmers and other skilled workers who enter the country under the H-1B visa, as well as those for seasonal workers in the hospitality industry, students on work-study summer programs and au pairs who arrive under other auspices.

The order also restricts the ability of American companies with global operations and international companies with U.S. branches to transfer foreign executives and other employees to the United States for months or yearslong stints. And it blocks the spouses of foreigners who are employed at companies in the United States.

Officials said the ban on worker visas, combined with extending restrictions on the issuance of new green cards, would keep as many as 525,000 foreign workers out of the country for the rest of the year.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump tells aides he backs new round of stimulus, but some in GOP disagree, Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey, June 23, 2020. President Trump has told aides he is largely supportive of sending Americans another round of stimulus checks, believing the payments will boost the economy and help his chances at reelection in November, according to three people aware of internal administration deliberations.

However, leading congressional Republicans and some senior White House officials remain skeptical of sending more checks, creating a rift within conservative circles that could have significant consequences for the stimulus package set to be

Trump Watch

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump, without evidence, accuses Obama of ‘treason,’ Felicia Sonmez, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). In an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, the president did not offer any evidence or details to back up his accusation against his predecessor. The president has frequently accused others of “treason,” but Monday marked the first time that he has leveled that claim against the man who preceded him in the Oval Office.

“On Obama and the spying situation, this idea that they were spying on your campaign — you’ve been asked before about what crime would have been potentially been committed,” Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody said.

“Treason,” Trump responded. He added: “It’s treason. Look, when I came out a long time ago, I said they’ve been spying on our campaign. ... It turns out I was right. Let’s see what happens to them now.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump fixated on defending his physical and mental health, Ashley Parker and Josh Dawsey, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). After months attacking Democratic opponent Joe Biden’s acuity and strength, the president finds himself being mocked by critics for incidents including “the ramp and the water” at West Point.

ny times logoNew York Times, Roger Stone Sentencing Was Politicized, Ex-Prosecutor Plans to Testify, Nicholas Fandos, Charlie Savage and Katie Benner, June 23, 2020.  The prosecutor’s supervisor said that the case was being treated differently because of the defendant’s relationship with the president, according to planned testimony.

Senior law enforcement officials intervened to seek a more lenient prison sentence for President Trump’s friend and ally Roger J. Stone Jr. for political reasons, a former prosecutor on the case is expected to testify before Congress on Wednesday, citing his immediate supervisor’s account of the matter.

“What I heard — repeatedly — was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the president,” the prosecutor, Aaron S.J. Zelinsky, said in a written opening statement submitted on Tuesday to the House Judiciary Committee ahead of Wednesday’s hearing. A copy was obtained by The New York Times.

Mr. Zelinsky will say that a supervisor working on the case told him there were “political reasons” to shorten prosecutors’ initial sentencing guidelines and that the supervisor agreed that doing so “was unethical and wrong.” Mr. Zelinsky said he and his fellow prosecutors raised concerns in writing and in conversation, but his “objections were not heeded.”

Mr. Zelinsky did not say in his written statement whom he was referring to. Attorney General William P. Barr directed the intervention days after he maneuvered the Senate-confirmed U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Jessie K. Liu, out of her role and installed in her place as acting U.S. attorney a close aide from his own office, Timothy Shea.

U.S. 2020 Elections

538.com, The Debate Over Biden’s VP Pick Is Full Of Half-Truths And Misleading Arguments, Perry Bacon Jr., June 23, 2020. Almost every case for or against a particular vice presidential candidate comes with an electoral argument. But most of these electoral claims are highly contestable, at best.

It’s not that they should be dismissed out of hand. They matter. But as people in the Democratic Party advance their preferred candidates, they’re also doing a bit of hiding the ball. Electoral claims — “Person X will help win Michigan” — are often seen as objective and fact-based, even when they’re flimsy. But there are more obvious, non-electoral, cases for running mates that tend not to be voiced outright.

washington post logoWashington Post, Candidates in N.Y. and Ky. seize momentum of racial justice protests in bids for Democratic primary wins, Colby Itkowitz, Joe DePaolo and Josh Wood, June 23, 2020. Charles Booker, a state legislator, hopes to claim the nomination and the chance to challenge Sen. Mitch McConnell (R). Jamaal Bowman is looking to oust longtime Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D).

washington post logoWashington Post, Barring a landslide, election night might not yield a result in White House race, Amy Gardner, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). An expected surge in voting by mail during the pandemic means that close counts in key states could take days — even weeks — to resolve.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Voters head to the polls in Kentucky and N.Y.; officials contend with dearth of poll workers due to pandemic, Amy Gardner, Elise Viebeck and Michelle Ye Hee Lee, June 23, 2020. Voters in Kentucky and New York headed to the polls Tuesday amid concerns that the coronavirus could cause delays or health risks and as election officials contended with an influx of mail ballots and a dearth of poll workers.

An hour after polls had opened, voting appeared to be moving smoothly at the lone polling locations for the state’s two largest cities, Louisville and Lexington. Statewide, counties were expected to open fewer than 200 polling locations instead of the usual 3,700.

Election officials said mail-in balloting and in-person early voting have been so strong that they expected less demand for in-person voting locations.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Income, race emerge as major predictors of coronavirus infections, Amy Goldstein, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). Lower-income seniors are substantially more likely to develop the disease, a federal report finds.

Income is a potent force along with race in determining who among the nation’s vulnerable, older population has been infected with the novel coronavirus, according to a federal analysis that lays bare stark disparities in the pandemic’s toll.

The findings released Monday are based on billing records for people on Medicare who have contracted the virus. They echo the commonly understood pattern that black Americans are more likely to test positive for the virus and to be hospitalized for covid-19, the disease it causes, than other racial and ethnic groups. But they also point to the role of poverty as the pandemic has sped through U.S. communities in the winter and spring.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Coronavirus cases are rising in most states, but many leaders still insist on lifting restrictions, Staff reports, June 23, 2020. Second presidential debate moved from Ann Arbor, Mich., to Miami amid coronavirus concerns; Following virus flare-ups, Australia closes two schools again; LAX is testing fever-detecting cameras as passengers depart and arrive

washington post logoWashington Post, Hundreds of cash-strapped cities halt plans to repair roads, water systems, Tony Romm, June 23, 2020. The coronavirus has forced many municipalities to halt or cancel major purchases and infrastructure improvements, according to new data from the National League of Cities.

ny times logoNew York Times, Health Officials Had to Face a Pandemic. Then Came the Death Threats, Julie Bosman, Updated June 23, 2020. State and local health officials have found themselves at the center of regular news briefings, making them targets for harassment and threats.

michelle goldberg thumbny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: America Is Too Broken to Fight the Coronavirus, Michelle Goldberg, right, June 23, 2020 (print ed). No other developed country is doing so badly.

washington post logoWashington Post, Fauci, other health officials expected to caution at hearing that coronavirus could continue for ‘some time,’ June 23, 2020. Anthony S. Fauci and other Trump administration health officials are expected to caution that coronavirus activity could continue for “some time”as they testify at a high-profile congressional hearing Tuesday at a key juncture in the country’s response to the pandemic.

With cases rising in nearly half of the states and a White House eager to return to normal, Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, and three other key officials are scheduled to appear before a House panel overseeing the administration’s response.

The testimony will be Fauci’s first since a highly anticipated appearance a month ago, and it comes on the heels of President Trump’s comments at a controversial campaign rally over the weekend that he asked officials to slow testing to show fewer cases. Aides later said the comment was made in jest, but it prompted a fresh round of criticism that Trump is seeking to minimize the challenges that loom in recovering from the virus.

In a joint statement submitted on behalf of the four witnesses, the Department of Health and Human Services says “while it remains unclear how long the pandemic will last, COVID-19 activity will likely continue for some time.”

Police Brutality, Race Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: There is no earthly reason this nation should be defiled by Confederate statues, Eugene Robinson, right, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). The solution to the problem colbert king 2003of Confederate memorials is simple: Tear them down, all of them. If a few must be left standing for practical reasons — the gigantic carvings on Stone Mountain outside Atlanta come to mind — authorities should allow them to be appropriately defaced, like the graffiti-scrawled remnants of the Berlin Wall.

The question of monuments to other white supremacists is more complicated, but it’s still not rocket science. As a society, we’re perfectly capable of deciding together which must go and which can stay. This supposed “slippery slope” isn’t really slippery at all.

There is no earthly reason any of this nation’s public spaces should be defiled by statuary honoring generals, soldiers and politicians who were traitors, who took up arms against their country, who did so to perpetuate slavery, and who — this is an important point — were losers.

There is an obvious difference between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who founded our union, and, say, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson, who tried to destroy it. The fact that Washington, Jefferson and other early presidents owned slaves should temper our admiration for them but not erase it entirely. They gave us a nation grotesquely disfigured by slavery, but they also gave us the constitutional tools, and the high-minded ideals, with which to heal that original, near-fatal flaw.

washington post logoWashington Post, Police thwart attempt by protesters to topple statue of Andrew Jackson near White House, Fredrick Kunkle, Susan Svrluga and Justin Jouvenal, June 23, 2020. As the protest unfolded Monday, someone spray-painted “BHAZ,” or Black House Autonomous Zone, on the columns of the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church.

U.S. Economy, Jobs, Sports

ny times logoNew York Times, Owners Vote to Hold M.L.B. Season After Players Reject Latest Offer, Tyler Kepner, June 23, 2020 (print ed). After months of failed negotiations, M.L.B. announced it would impose a season on their own, with length to be determined, provided the players accept health and safety protocols.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: A Plague of Willful Ignorance, Paul Krugman, right, June 23, 2020 (print ed). Trump has empowered America’s anti-rational streak. We’ve known for months paul krugmanwhat it takes to bring Covid-19 under control. You need a period of severe lockdown to reduce the disease’s prevalence. Only then can you reopen the economy — while maintaining social distancing as needed — and even then you need a regime of widespread testing, tracing and isolation of potentially infected individuals to keep the virus suppressed.

Most advanced countries have gone down this route. A few countries, like New Zealand and South Korea, have largely or completely defeated the coronavirus. The European Union, comparable in population and diversity to the United States, continues to record new cases of Covid-19, but at a far slower rate than at the pandemic’s peak in late March and early April.

U.S. Prosecutors, Courts, Crime

washington post logogeoffrey berman sdnyWashington Post, Before his ouster, U.S. attorney refused to join Justice Dept. rebuke of New York mayor, Shayna Jacobs, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). Geoffrey Berman, right, who was fired by President Trump on Saturday, had refused to support an initiative last week urging New York’s mayor to ease certain coronavirus restrictions.

washington post logoWashington Post, Chrystul Kizer, accused of killing her alleged sex trafficker, freed on bail after two years, Jessica Contrera, June 23, 2020 (print ed.).  A fund for arrested George Floyd protesters was used to pay $400,000 for the release of the 19-year-old black woman.

daily beast logoDaily Beast, Barr Gives Dems the Finger and They’re Unsure How to React, Sam Brodey and Erin Banco, June 23, 2020.  A faction of the party believes all remedies need to be on the table. Another doesn’t want a standoff bleeding into the presidential election. Attempting to navigate this dilemma yet again is Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), the Judiciary Chairman tasked most directly with overseeing the Department of Justice.

Appearing on CNN on Sunday, Nadler dismissed the notion of impeaching the attorney general — an idea championed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and entertained by william barr new omembers of his own committee — as a “waste of time” because the “corrupt” GOP-held Senate wouldn’t remove Barr from office. Nadler told Jake Tapper that the committee would pursue other tactics, like advancing legislation that aims to decrease funding to his office. And on Monday, Axios reported that the chairman would move to subpoena Barr, left, for testimony on July 2.

But Nadler’s dismissal of impeachment landed poorly among some members of his own party, including members of Judiciary, who have said they would like to see the entire oversight toolbox on the table. Impeachment is a power Congress retains, though one it has used exceedingly rarely. But, these members argue, the times call for extraordinary reactions.

Deep State /  History

jacob hornberger newFuture of Freedom Foundation, Opinion: Fear in the JFK Assassination, Part 2 (of 2), Jacob G. Hornberger, right, June 23, 2020. Let’s now move to the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on the President John F. Kennedy’s body on the evening of the assassination, November 22, 1963.

Texas law required the autopsy to be conducted in Texas. Dr. Earl Rose, the Dallas Medical Examiner, insisted on conducting the autopsy immediately upon Kennedy’s death. An armed team of Secret Service agents, brandishing their guns, refused to permit that to happen and forced their way out of Parkland Hospital. Operating on orders, their objective was to get the president’s body to the airport, where Vice President Lyndon Johnson was waiting for it. His objective: to put the autopsy in the hands of the U.S. military.

In the 1970s, the U.S. House of Representatives opened up a new investigation into Kennedy’s assassination. During and after those hearings, a group of Navy enlisted men came forward with a remarkable story. They stated that they had secretly carried Kennedy’s body into the morgue at Bethesda Naval Medical Center in Maryland about an hour-and-a-half before the body was officially brought into the morgue.

They also stated that they had all been sworn to secrecy immediately after the autopsy and had been threatened with severe punishment, including criminal prosecution, if they ever revealed to anyone the classified secrets about the autopsy that they had acquired.
The Boyajian Report

In the 1990s, the Assassination Records Review Board, which was formed to enforce the JFK Records Act, uncovered an official document that had been kept secret for more than 30 years. It became known as the Boyajian Report. It had been created by Marine Sergeant Roger Boyajian immediately after the autopsy. Boyajian gave a copy of the report to the ARRB. Boyajian and his report confirmed that his team carried the president’s body into the morgue in a cheap military-style shipping casket at 6:35 p.m., about 1 and 1/2 hours before 8 p.m., the time that the body was officially brought into the morgue in the expensive, ornate casket into which it had been placed in Dallas.

On the night of the autopsy, one of the autopsy physicians, Admiral James Humes, telephoned U.S. Army Colonel Pierre Finck asking him to come to the morgue and assist with the autopsy. That phone call was made at 8 p.m. During the conversation, Humes told Finck that they already had some x-rays made of the president’s head. Yet, how could they have x-rays of the president’s head, given that the president’s body was being officially brought into the morgue at 8 p.m.? Humes’s testimony inadvertently confirmed the accuracy of the Boyajian Report and the statements of the enlisted men who had secretly carried the president’s body into the morgue an hour-and-a-half before the official 8 p.m. time that the body was brought into the morgue.

The Magic Bullet

During the autopsy, Finck began to “dissect” the president’s neck wound, a wound that later became embroiled in what became known as the “magic bullet” controversy. As Finck began the procedure, he was ordered by some unknown figure to cease and desist and to leave the wound alone. Finck complied with the order. The order showed that the three autopsy physicians were not in charge of the autopsy and that there was a higher force within the deep state that was orchestrating and directing the overall operation.
The brain examinations

It’s worth mentioning the brain examinations that took place as part of the autopsy. In an autopsy, there is only one brain examination. In the Kennedy autopsy, there were two, the second of which involved a brain that could not possibly have belonged to the president. Rather than detail the circumstances surrounding that unusual occurrence, I’ll simply link to the following two articles that the mainstream press published about it for those who might be interested in that aspect of the autopsy:

  • Newly Released JFK Documents Raise Questions About Medical Evidence by Deb Riechmann in the November 9, 1998, issue of the Washington Post.
  • Archive Photos Not of JFK’s Brain, Concludes Aides to Review Board by George Lardner Jr. in the November 10, 1998, issue of the Washington Post.

It is also worth noting that when Congress enacted the JFK Records Act mandating that federal agencies had to release their long-secret records relating to the assassination, the law that brought the ARRB into existence to enforce the law expressly prohibited the ARRB from investigating any aspect of the assassination. It was a provision that the ARRB board strictly enforced on the ARRB staff, which thereby prevented the staff from investigating the two separate brain examinations once they were discovered or, for that matter, anything else.

It’s is also worth noting that there are still thousands of assassination-related records that the National Archives is keeping secret, owing to a request by the CIA to President Trump early in his administration to continue keeping them secret, a request that Trump granted. The CIA’s reason for the continued secrecy? The CIA told Trump that the disclosure of the 56-year-old records to the American people would endanger “national security.”

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, South Korea calls Bolton’s account of Trump-Kim summit distorted, Min Joo Kim and John Hudson, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). South Korea’s national security adviser called the book a betrayal of trust and said it should be suppressed.

Former national security adviser John Bolton's account of nuclear talks between the United States and the two Koreas is incorrect and distorted, Seoul's Presidential Office said North Korean flagMonday, echoing the Trump administration's accusations against the soon-to-be-published exposé by the former top aide.

In his new memoir giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Washington’s dealings on foreign affairs, Bolton describes how President Trump’s engagement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to achieve its goal of getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Bolton’s tell-all account of the 17 months he served as Trump’s national security adviser has made waves not only in Washington but also among diplomatic partners of the United States, as excerpts from the book were released in media reports over the past few days.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump backtracks on a meeting with Venezuela’s Maduro after criticism, John Wagner, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). The president had suggested he would consider sitting down with the dictator, a move that would be at odds with his administration's tough posture. President Trump backtracked Monday from comments made in an interview over the weekend in which he refused to rule out meeting with Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, a move that would be at odds with his administration's hard-line policy toward the dictator.

After a backlash from Democrats and some Republicans, Trump tweeted that he only would meet with Maduro, who has clung to power since a disputed 2018 election, to discuss “a peaceful exit.”

“Unlike the radical left, I will ALWAYS stand against socialism and with the people of Venezuela,” Trump wrote. “My Admin has always stood on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and against the oppressive Maduro regime! I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!”

AFP via Yahoo News, Macaque attack: humans try to take back Thai city from monkeys, Stéphane Delfour and Pitcha Dangprasith, June 23, 2020. Welcome to Lopburi, an ancient Thai city overrun by monkeys super-charged on junk food, whose population is growing out of control.

Pointing to the overhead netting covering her terrace, Kuljira Taechawattanawanna bemoans the monkey menace across the heart of the 13th-century city in the central province of the same name.

"We live in a cage but the monkeys live outside," she tells AFP. "Their excrement is everywhere, the smell is unbearable especially when it rains."

Their growing numbers -- doubling in three years to 6,000 -- have made an uneasy coexistence with their human peers almost intolerable. Some areas of the city have simply been surrendered to the monkeys.

Media News

 Ron Jeremy, center, with attorney Stuart Goldfarb at right in Los Angeles Superior Court (LA Times pool photo distributed via AP on in Los Angeles Superior Court June  23, 2020).

  Porn star Ron Jeremy, center, with attorney Stuart Goldfarb at right in Los Angeles Superior Court (LA Times pool photo distributed via AP on June 23, 2020).

Forbes, Adult Film Star Ron Jeremy Charged With Sexually Assaulting Four Women, Lisette Voytko, June 23, 2020. Adult film star Ron Jeremy, 67, was charged Tuesday with sexually assaulting four women in 2014, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, and could face 90 years in prison if convicted as charged.

Jeremy, whose full given name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, was charged with “three counts each of forcible rape and forcible penetration by a foreign object and one count each of forcible oral copulation and sexual battery,” according to the district attorney’s statement.

He is accused of raping a 25-year-old woman in West Hollywood in May 2014 and raping a 30-year-old woman at a local bar in July 2019.

Jeremy (shown above in a Los Angeles Times pool photo on June 23 in Los Angeles Superior Court with his attorney) is also accused of sexually assaulting two more women, ages 33 and 46, at that same bar in separate 2017 incidents.

Jeremy has faced accusations of sexual assault in the past. He told Rolling Stone in 2017 that he denies all allegations, calling them “pure lies or buyer’s remorse,” and added “I have never and would never rape anyone.” At the time, Jeremy also expressed support for women and men coming forward about being sexually assaulted, saying, “These real predators need to be taken down.” Jeremy, a prolific adult film star, reportedly made the Guinness Book of World Records for having made the most appearances in adult films.

June 19

ny times logoNew York Times, Tennessee Newspaper Fires Advertising Manager After Anti-Muslim Ad, Staff Report, Aimee Ortiz, June 23, 2020 (print ed.). The Tennessean apologized for the ad on Sunday in a statement that said its advertising standards forbid hate speech. The Tennessean newspaper and Gannett, its parent company, fired an advertising manager on Monday, a day after the newspaper published a full-page ad from a biblical prophecy group claiming “Islam” would detonate a bomb in Nashville.

The manager who was fired “agreed to proceed with the ad without fully reviewing the content” after it had been flagged by a sales executive, Kathy Jack-Romero, the president of local sales for Gannett, said in a Tennessean article published on Monday.

An internal investigation found that three advertising staff members had the opportunity to review the ad before it published, she said, adding that “the sales and design teams did not fully read the context of the ad content in its entirety and subsequently approved it.”

June 22

Top Stories

U.S. Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

U.S. Police, Cultural, Protests

More On U.S. Prosecutors, Courts

World News

U.S. Economy, Business

Media News


Top Stories  djt tulsa rally 6 20 20 crowd shot 1 Custom

Photo via Twitter of President Trump's campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20, showing empty blue seats in upper decks. Tulsa's fire marshall announced attendance at 6,200 for the 19,000 seat area, far below Trump estimates of up to a million attendees and also substantially below estimates of many cable pundits Saturday night who estimated the area was two-thirds or half-filled.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump leans on racial grievances as he seeks a campaign reset, Jose A. Del Real, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). The strategy helped him win the White House in Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore portrait)2016 but is out of step with public opinion.

He referred to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus as the “kung flu.” He called racial justice demonstrators “thugs.” He attacked efforts to take down Confederate statues as an assault on “our heritage.” And in an ominous hypothetical, he described a “very tough hombre” breaking into a young woman’s home while her husband is away.

President Trump has long used his raucous rallies to road test potential campaign themes and attack lines. And while much attention on his Saturday night appearance in Tulsa focused on the sparse turnout for his first rally since the pandemic ended mass gatherings, Trump’s litany of racially offensive stereotypes sent a clear signal about how he plans to try to revive his flagging reelection effort.

john bolton djt palmer images Custom

washington post logoWashington Post, ‘I’m not going to vote for him’: John Bolton calls Trump a ‘danger for the republic,’ Allyson Chiu, June 22, 2020. Former national security adviser John Bolton, above left, a self-described “lifelong conservative,” said he will not vote for President Trump in November, calling Trump a “danger for the republic” during a televised interview with john bolton room where cover CustomABC News that aired Sunday night.

“I hope [history] will remember him as a one-term president who didn’t plunge the country irretrievably into a downward spiral we can’t recall from,” Bolton told ABC News’s Martha Raddatz. “We can get over one term. I have absolute confidence. … Two terms, I’m more troubled about.”

Bolton’s public excoriation of his former boss comes as part of a media tour to promote his new book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, which has drawn intense criticism from both Democrats and Republicans since excerpts and advance copies began circulating earlier this month.U.S. Prosecutors, Courts, Crime

washington post logoWashington Post, Acting U.S. attorney in N.Y. will advance politically sensitive cases, colleagues say, Shayna Jacobs, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). Audrey Strauss became head of the Manhattan-based prosecutor office after a standoff between her predecessor Geoffrey Berman and Attorney General William P. Barr.

geoffrey berman sdnyWhen Attorney General William P. Barr announced Friday night that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, right, would step down and the post would be filled on an interim basis by the sitting chief prosecutor in neighboring New Jersey, Justice Department veterans and legal observers were baffled.

audrey straus bloomberg CustomWhy would Barr not promote Berman's second-in-command, Audrey Strauss, left, as is customary while a president's new nominee awaits Senate confirmation?

Among the attorney general's critics, an answer soon became evident: Berman's departure was neither planned nor voluntary but driven by long simmering frustrations over his office's pursuit of investigations targeting President Trump's interests and members of his inner circle.

Berman’s refusal to leave quietly — he indicated a desire to ensure that “important cases continue unimpeded” — forced Barr’s hand. On Saturday the attorney general announced that plans had changed and Strauss, 72, would take charge instead while the nomination of Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton is pending.

ny times logoNew York Times, Roosevelt Statue to Be Removed From Museum of Natural History, Robin Pogrebin, Updated June 22, 2020. The equestrian memorial to Theodore Roosevelt has long prompted objections as a symbol of colonialism and racism. The bronze statue of Theodore Roosevelt, on horseback and flanked by a Native American man and an African man, which has presided over the entrance to the American Museum of Natural History in New York since 1940, is coming down.

The decision, proposed by the museum and agreed to by New York City, which owns the building and property, came after years of objections from activists and at a time when the killing of George Floyd has initiated an urgent nationwide conversation about racism.

For many, the equestrian statue at the museum’s Central Park West entrance has come to symbolize a painful legacy of colonial expansion and racial discrimination.

“Over the last few weeks, our museum community has been profoundly moved by the ever-widening movement for racial justice that has emerged after the killing of George Floyd,” the museum’s president, Ellen V. Futter, said in an interview. “We have watched as the attention of the world and the country has increasingly turned to statues as powerful and hurtful symbols of systemic racism.”

Ms. Futter made clear that the museum’s decision was based on the statue itself — namely its “hierarchical composition”—- and not on Roosevelt, whom the museum continues to honor as “a pioneering conservationist.”

“Simply put,” she added, “the time has come to move it.”

The museum took action amid a heated national debate over the appropriateness of statues or monuments that first focused on Confederate symbols like Robert E. Lee and has now moved on to a wider arc of figures, from Christopher Columbus to Winston Churchill.

June 2020 update: The Museum has requested that the Equestrian Statue be moved.

American Museum of Natural History video documentary and commentary via YouTube, Meaning of the Monument, Director and Producer Reniqua Allen / Editor Rebecca Sherwood, June 2020 (15:55 min. video). The Equestrian Statue of Theodore Roosevelt was commissioned in 1925 to stand on the steps of the Museum, on city-owned property. It was unveiled to the public in 1940, as part of a larger New York State memorial to former N.Y. governor and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt.

As part of a national conversation about problematic public monuments, and following the report of the Mayor’s Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, the Museum is providing new context and perspectives, presenting the history and rationale for the statue while explicitly acknowledging its troubling aspects.

To understand the statue, we must recognize our country’s enduring legacy of racial discrimination—as well as Roosevelt’s troubling views on race. We must also acknowledge the Museum’s own imperfect history. Such an effort does not excuse the past but it can create a foundation for honest, respectful, open dialogue.

We hope this exhibition, together with other efforts to address cultural representation at the Museum, will inspire such discussion.

U.S. Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump faces backlash after saying he asked officials to slow down testing, Yasmeen Abutaleb, Taylor Telford and Josh Dawsey, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). The president’s remark drew criticism from congressional Democrats and public health officials — and it frustrated members of his administration.

President Trump’s Saturday night remark that he asked officials to “slow the [coronavirus] testing down” sparked harsh rebukes from experts and frustration from his own staffers, who say it undercuts their efforts to reassure Americans as the disease surges around the country.

The president’s comment, which came on the same day that eight states reported their highest-ever single-day case counts, drew a chorus of criticism from congressional Democrats and public health officials, who worry the president is more concerned with saving face than combating the pandemic.

“Looking at it as a scoreboard is the wrong way to think about it,” said Amesh Adalja, an infectious-disease expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. “To think of it as something you can manipulate or slow down based on what the numbers look like speaks to a complete misunderstanding of what an infectious-disease response should be.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Live updates: More than two dozen states report coronavirus surges as Trump administration prepares for possible second wave, Staff reports, June 22, 2020. A White House adviser said Sunday that the Trump administration is preparing for a possible second wave in the novel coronavirus pandemic this fall, as 29 states and U.S. territories logged an increase in their seven-day average of new reported cases after many lifted restrictions in recent weeks.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro disclosed the preparations for the possible second wave but rejected the suggestion that a second wave had already taken hold.

washington post logoWashington Post, Voices From The Pandemic: On the front lines and in the background, a New York paramedic speaks out, As told to Eli Saslow, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). Anthony Almojera has seen too many of his colleagues struggling emotionally and physically during the pandemic.

Nobody wants to know about what I do. People might pay us lip service and say we’re heroes, but our stories aren’t the kind anyone actually wants to hear about. Kids in this country grow up with toy firetrucks, or maybe playing cops and robbers, but who dreams of becoming a paramedic? That’s ambulances. That’s death and vulnerability — the scary stuff. We’re taught in this culture to shun illness like it’s something shameful. We’d rather pretend everything’s fine. We look the other way.

That’s what’s happening now in New York. We just had 20,000-some people die in this city, and already the crowds are lining back up outside restaurants and jamming into bars. This virus is still out there. We respond to 911 calls for covid every day. I’ve been on the scene at more than 200 of these deaths — trying to revive people, consoling their families — but you can’t even be bothered to stay six feet apart and wear a mask, because why? You’re a tough guy? It makes you look weak? You’d rather ignore the whole thing and pretend you’re invincible?

Do you know how much EMTs make in New York City? We start at $35,000. We top out at $48,000 after five years. That’s nothing. That’s a middle finger. It’s about 40 percent less than fire, police and corrections — and those guys deserve what they get. But we have three times the call volume of fire. There are EMTs on my team who’ve been pulling double shifts in a pandemic and performing life support for 16 hours, and then they go home and they have to drive Uber to pay their rent. I’m more than 15 years on the job, and I still work two side gigs. One of my guys does part-time at a grocery store. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Coronavirus Attacks the Lungs. A Federal Agency Just Halted Funding for New Lung Treatments, Katie Thomas, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). The shift, quietly disclosed on a government website, highlights how the Trump administration is favoring development of vaccines over treatments for the sickest patients.

When the coronavirus kills, it attacks the lungs, filling them with fluid and robbing the body of oxygen. In chest X-rays, clear lungs turn white, a sign of how dangerously sick patients are.

But earlier this month, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, or BARDA, a federal health agency, abruptly notified companies and researchers that it was halting funding for treatments for this severe form of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.

The new policy highlights how staunchly the Trump administration has placed its bet on vaccines as the way to return American society and the economy to normal in a presidential election year. BARDA has pledged more than $2.2 billion in deals with five vaccine manufacturers for the coronavirus, compared with about $359 million toward potential Covid-19 treatments.

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, For Biden and Democrats, confidence comes with a chaser: Fear, Matt Viser, June 22, 2020. Democrats worry their party still does not fully understand what led voters to Trump in the first place, and they are terrified that overconfidence, like some of them enjoyed four years ago, will lead to complacency.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Trump’s problem in Tulsa wasn’t just empty seats. It was empty rhetoric, Ruth Marcus, June 22, 2020. In his first campaign rally since the pandemic lockdowns began and Joe Biden clinched the Democratic presidential nomination, President Trump made clear — as clear as a stream-of-consciousness Trump speech can — how he plans to run against Biden: He won’t, not directly.

Instead, Trump will run against dual, intertwined caricatures.

joe biden 2020 button CustomFirst, against Biden as a doddering facsimile of his former self — someone who, as Trump suggested in Tulsa on Saturday night, confuses his wife with his sister, who doesn’t comprehend the talking points written for him by the “great students in English lit” who now work for Biden.

Second, against “the extremism and destruction and violence of the radical left” and against the Democratic Party as a “left-wing mob” to which the supposedly feeble Biden “has surrendered.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Did TikTok users and K-pop fans really foil Trump’s Tulsa rally? Travis M. Andrews, June 22, 2020. On June 15, Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted that they had received more than a million “requests” to attend the rally. And members of the campaign, including the president himself, repeated the potential “million” number in several media appearances during the lead-up to Saturday.

tiktok logo square CustomBut according to the Tulsa Fire Marshal’s Office, fewer than 6,200 people actually showed up. The New York Times and CNN both ran stories largely crediting TikTokers and K-pop fans for the disparity in expectations.

The common refrain shifted from “TikTokers and K-pop fans lead Trump to overestimate his crowd” to “TikTokers and K-pop fans are the reason fewer than 6,200 people showed up to the event.” The former assertion is almost certainly true to some degree, but the latter is not only unlikely but probably false.

“People didn’t attend the rally because people decided not to attend the rally. It had nothing to do with TikTok kids or HR Pufnstuf shenanigans,” tweeted “Morning Joe” host Joe Scarborough. “Enthusiasm for Trump is down and pandemic cases are up. The campaign raised expectations too high and embarrassed themselves.”

Roll Call, As Tom Cotton courts controversy, he runs unopposed in Arkansas, Herb Jackson, June 22, 2020. Senator’s critics had no opponent to give cash to after outrage over op-ed.  New York Times opinion piece by Arkansas senator and presidential-candidate-in-waiting Tom Cotton advocating the use of military force to put down rioters and looters in American cities caused a meltdown on liberal social media and an uproar at the Times. In the end, editorial page editor James Bennet, the brother of former presidential candidate and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet, resigned.

tom cotton o CustomWhat did not happen: an outrage-fueled flood of campaign donations to Cotton’s Democratic opponent in this year’s Arkansas Senate race. That’s because Cotton, right, doesn’t have a Democratic challenger. Neither does Rep. Rick Crawford, one of the four Republican House members in Arkansas.

Democrats thought they had a Senate candidate lined up, but he dropped out after the deadline had passed to put someone else on the ballot. And unlike other states where even the safest candidates seem to face perennial challengers, no other Democrat in Arkansas had filed. Indeed, other than the presidential ballot, where President Donald Trump got 97 percent against two challengers and former Vice President Joe Biden got 41 percent against 17 opponents, none of the federal offices in Arkansas’ March 3 primary was contested.

Six years ago, Cotton’s victory over Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor marked the first time since Reconstruction that the GOP held both Senate seats. Two years before that, Cotton won an open seat in the 4th District given up by Democrat Mike Ross, and the GOP has held a monopoly in the House since then. A decade ago, Rep. John Boozman, now a senator, was the only Republican in the delegation.

Nationalizing Arkansas: Southern Democrats were becoming endangered for a long time before that.

But Janine A. Parry, a University of Arkansas political scientist, said the tea party movement, the election of Barack Obama and the relaxation of campaign finance laws changed state politics. The focus on building personal connections — shaking hands and kissing babies — gave way to attacks based on talking points from cable news.

“Suddenly glossy-packaged appeals were pinning every Democrat, down to county legislators and justices of the peace, to Obamacare,” she said. “Tom Cotton skipped the Warren Pink Tomato Festival and was at a Koch brothers event in 2014. It was the full-on nationalization of Arkansas politics.”

Some of that is happening everywhere, especially as local news outlets decline. And the effect on fundraising in races that might otherwise get little attention can be profound.

During the fourth quarter of last year, as New York GOP Rep. Elise Stefanik grabbed the spotlight defending Trump at impeachment hearings, her reelection campaign raised $3.2 million, including $1.7 million in amounts of $200 or less. During the same period, her Democratic opponent, Tedra Cobb, raised more than $2 million, including $1.4 million in amounts of $200 or less. Cobb received more than $209,000, and Stefanik more than $403,000, in the week after Trump retweeted a video clip from a hearing with the comment, “A new Republican Star is Born. Good going, @EliseStefanik!”

Stefanik carried the 21st District with 57 percent of the vote two years ago, and the race is rated Solid Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. But Cobb can at least give Stefanik a challenge, and who knows what the fall will bring?

Police, Cultural Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Checker Analysis: Who caused the violence at protests? It wasn’t antifa, Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels, June 22, 2020. On May 30 — five days after George Floyd was killed and four after protests erupted across Minneapolis — President Trump first said antifa forces were behind the violence that swept across the country. He has repeated this claim nearly 20 times since. Online activists and prominent right-wing Twitter personalities promoted the theory. And the nation’s top law enforcement officials — including FBI Director Christopher A. Wray and Attorney General William P. Barr — appeared to confirm it, echoing Trump’s claim.

The Fact Checker video team spoke to witnesses and reviewed arrest records, federal charges, intelligence reports, online conversations and dozens of videos and photos of violent incidents from the early days of protests in Minneapolis to determine whether a coordinated antifa campaign was responsible for the violence.

The Facts: Antifa is a moniker, not a single group with a clear organizational structure or leader. It is a decentralized network of activists who don’t coordinate. Their common ground is opposing anything that they think is racist or fascist. In recent years, antifa activists appeared whenever there was a large gathering of white nationalists.

And white nationalists, as counterintuitive as it might seem, have been known to attend Black Lives Matter rallies. That is what could then draw attention from antifa forces, according to Seth G. Jones, director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

washington post logoWashington Post, Minnesota jail that held Derek Chauvin is accused of bias, Holly Bailey, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). Discrimination complaints allege that only white officers were allowed to guard Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death, while he was at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul.

Eight minority correctional officers at a Minnesota county jail say they were segregated from the area where Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd's death, was being held, and only white officers were allowed to guard or communicate with him, according to discrimination charges with the state.

One corrections officer, who described herself as a mixed-race woman, also suggested that Chauvin, who was filmed with his knee on Floyd’s throat, had been given special treatment at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul. In a statement, she recalled watching security footage of a white female lieutenant, who was granted “special access” to Chauvin’s cell on May 30, sit on Chauvin’s bed and allow him to use her cellphone — a major policy violation.

washington post logoWashington Post, Teacher arrested at Trump rally plans to fight charge, Ziva Branstetter, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). The 62-year-old grandmother hoped to take a stand against the president and police brutality. The Trump campaign told police to arrest her.

When Sheila Buck left her apartment two blocks from President Trump’s rally Saturday, she knew she might provoke some people with her black “I can’t breathe” T-shirt. She wound up handcuffed in a jail cell for hours, as video of her arrest played on television.

Buck had reserved a ticket to Trump’s rally days earlier. She planned to attend to show support for the Black Lives Matter movement, despite the risk to her health and safety.

A little after noon on Saturday, she showed her ticket to police and stepped into the outdoor area cordoned off for the event. When she knelt down to pray, she was asked to leave. When she refused, she was arrested at the request of the Trump campaign.

Five takeaways from Trump’s Tulsa rally

“There are some things worth dying for, and I’m tired of seeing what’s happening and what’s being done to black lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma, specifically, but in this country,” Buck told The Washington Post in an interview after she was released from jail Saturday evening.

washington post logoWashington Post, NASCAR has the biggest story in a barren sports world — and it is as ugly and inflaming as it gets, Jerry Brewer, June 22, 2020.  This is an important sports moment amid all the protests. Consider it evidence of how symbols and institutions are often used to keep black people down.

More On Prosecutors, Courts

ny times logoNew York Times, For Barr, Standoff With Prosecutor Adds to String of Miscues, Katie Benner and Sharon LaFraniere, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). The attorney general has found himself at odds with the White House on high-profile issues in recent weeks.

william barr new oFrom the onset of his tenure, William P. Barr, left, has been billed as the attorney general that President Trump was looking for. And Mr. Barr has taken some pride in this role, telling Fox News this past weekend that he speaks with the president “very regularly.”

But for a man who projects unswerving confidence in his political and legal skills, his efforts this month to play presidential intimate have backfired, embarrassing both him and his boss.

The month has brought a string of unusually high-profile miscues for the attorney general. He has been at odds with the White House at critical moments, showing how even top administration officials known for their loyalty can fall out of sync with a president laser-focused on his own political popularity.

msnbc logo CustomMSNBC,

,’ Lawrence O'Donnell, June 22, 2020. Rep. Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intel. Committee, joins Lawrence O’Donnell to discuss why some senators voted against subpoenaing John Bolton: because they were “afraid of what John Bolton would say” that would be damning to President Trump.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Bill Barr goes completely off the rails, Daniel Cotter, June 22, 2020. President Donald Trump recently claimed that he has done more for black people than any other president in history aside from Abraham Lincoln, and even in Lincoln’s case the outcome was questionable. This was not the first time that Trump has made such claims, and he’s often stated he is the worst treated president in history, even more so than Lincoln. Never mind that Lincoln was assassinated, as have been several other presidents.

bill palmer report logo headerNow, Trump’s personal attorney and defender at all costs, Barr, has made similar claims. Barr, the street sweeper behind the GOP elephant in the shitshow circus, in an interview on Fox with host Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” agreed with her assertion that the Trump-Russia investigation “was the closest the United States ever came to a coup to take down a president since the assassination of Lincoln.” The exchange that took place:

Bartiromo: “A source said to me a couple of years ago, speaking of the Russia collusion story, that this was the closest the United States ever came to a coup to take down a president since the assassination of Lincoln. Is that an appropriate statement?”

Justice Department log circularBarr: “In this sense, I think it is the closest we have come to an organized effort to push a president out of office. I’m not reaching a judgment to what the motivations there were.”

That is absurd. Andrew Johnson was impeached for violations of a congressional act. Several others were assassinated. Clinton was impeached. But to somehow to claim the treatment of Trump is similar to the assassination of Lincoln is just wrong and this administration continues to trample history and portray Trump as the poor victim. What we have here is the great Lincoln projection, trying to convey notions of greatness on the great pretender.

World News

 ny times logoNew York Times, Political Grip Shaky, Belarus Leader Blames Longtime Ally: Russia, Andrew Higgins, June 22, 2020. Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, who used to call his political foes stooges of the West, is now trying to play on anti-Russian sentiment at home and abroad.

washington post logoWashington Post, South Korea calls Bolton’s account of Trump-Kim summit distorted, Min Joo Kim and John Hudson, June 22, 2020. South Korea’s national security adviser called the book a betrayal of trust and said it should be suppressed.

Former national security adviser John Bolton's account of nuclear talks between the United States and the two Koreas is incorrect and distorted, Seoul's Presidential Office said North Korean flagMonday, echoing the Trump administration's accusations against the soon-to-be-published exposé by the former top aide.

In his new memoir giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Washington’s dealings on foreign affairs, Bolton describes how President Trump’s engagement with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un failed to achieve its goal of getting North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Bolton’s tell-all account of the 17 months he served as Trump’s national security adviser has made waves not only in Washington but also among diplomatic partners of the United States, as excerpts from the book were released in media reports over the past few days.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: In 2016, Putin didn't expect Trump to win. Now, he needs him to, Jackson Diehl, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). Vladimir Putin is suffering through his worst year in two decades in power. 

Vladimir PutinThe coronavirus is raging across Russia, which has reported more than half a million cases and 8,100 deaths and is suspected of hiding many more. The economy is crashing so steeply that the government failed to issue a monthly gross domestic product report in May for the first time in 15 years. Putin’s foolish launching of an oil price war with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made a bad recession worse.

Putin needs help. He badly needs a win. He needs, specifically, the reelection of President Trump. In ways both more blatant and more subtle than in 2016, he is trying to make it happen.

ny times logoNew York Times, The Lapses That Let a Saudi Extremist Shoot Up a U.S. Navy Base, Michael LaForgia and Eric Schmitt, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). The gunman who killed three in Florida was not directed by Al Qaeda, nor inspired solely by online ideology. He was a new kind of terrorist, harder to spot: an extremely enterprising freelancer.

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump backtracks on a meeting with Venezuela’s Maduro after criticism, John Wagner, June 22, 2020. The president had suggested he would consider sitting down with the dictator, a move that would be at odds with his administration's tough posture. President Trump backtracked Monday from comments made in an interview over the weekend in which he refused to rule out meeting with Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro, a move that would be at odds with his administration's hard-line policy toward the dictator.

After a backlash from Democrats and some Republicans, Trump tweeted that he only would meet with Maduro, who has clung to power since a disputed 2018 election, to discuss “a peaceful exit.”

“Unlike the radical left, I will ALWAYS stand against socialism and with the people of Venezuela,” Trump wrote. “My Admin has always stood on the side of FREEDOM and LIBERTY and against the oppressive Maduro regime! I would only meet with Maduro to discuss one thing: a peaceful exit from power!”

U.S. Economy, Business

ny times logoNew York Times, Editorial: Why Is OSHA AWOL? Editorial Board, June 22, 2020. Worker protections are critical during the pandemic — yet the Trump administration has issued only voluntary guidance instead of enforceable rules.

As states and municipalities relax shelter-in-place orders, the nation seems to be racing to get the economy back to something resembling the pre-pandemic era. Restaurants, malls, cinemas, day care centers and retail stores are reopening sooner than most medical professionals think is wise.

The risk is obvious to many businesses that stayed open as the coronavirus swept the country. Meat processing plants, for instance, have had among the highest rates of infection. Employees continued to show up to work at many such facilities, even as thousands of their colleagues tested positive for the virus. By one estimate, more than 27,000 workers in meatpacking have tested positive for the coronavirus, up sharply from 17,000 just last month.

Yet the federal agency meant to protect America’s workers continues to sit on the sidelines. Even as state after state reopens, and the number of infections continues to climb, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has so far refused to give employers clear rules to follow, allowing those that neglect worker safety to operate without fear of government penalty.

For months now, OSHA has relied on general guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, without making them mandatory, meaning businesses face no threat of enforcement action for noncompliance.

ny times logoNew York Times, A Tidal Wave of Bankruptcies Is Coming, Mary Williams Walsh, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). Experts foresee so many filings in the coming months that the courts could struggle to salvage the businesses that are worth saving.

Media News

washington post logoWashington Post Magazine, The Stars and Stripes newspaper has long supported the troops. Now it needs Congress’s support, Graham Vyse, June 22, 2020 (June 28 print ed.). By mid-March, coronavirus response efforts were underway worldwide. President Trump had declared a national emergency. France was in lockdown. And Japanese public schools were closed.

stars strips logo CustomBut schools on American military bases in Japan planned to remain open, much to the dismay of nervous parents. Then the news appeared in Stars and Stripes, the Pentagon-subsidized but editorially independent newspaper that covers the U.S. armed forces at home and abroad. “School is such an easy place for viruses and germs to spread,” one Navy spouse fretted to the publication, “and it seems like too much of a risk.” A day later, closures were announced.

Stars and Stripes has been chronicling the military angle of the covid-19 crisis for months now: sailors infected on Navy ships, face masks purchased for the Department of Defense workforce, stimulus checks cut for veterans. But in the midst of the pandemic, the newspaper faces an unprecedented threat all its own: In February, the Trump administration proposed eliminating all of the publication’s federal support in 2021. That’s more than $15 million a year, about half its budget. “I can’t think of a graver threat to its independence,” the paper’s ombudsman, Ernie Gates, told me recently. “That’s a fatal cut.”

mark esperDefense Secretary Mark Esper justifies the cut by saying the publication’s money should be spent on “higher-priority issues,” including space and nuclear programs. But considering that Stars and Stripes represents a minuscule fraction of the department’s $705 billion budget — “decimal dust,” as editorial director Terry Leonard puts it — critics see the proposal as consistent with the president’s broader war on journalism. “It’s another obnoxious assault by the Trump administration on freedom of the press,” says Rep. Seth Moulton (D-Mass.), a Marine veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee, who blasts the defunding plan as “un-American.”

Now Moulton’s committee — and ultimately the rest of Congress — must decide whether to support the appropriation by the fall, preserving a news organization with a unique civic role. This deliberation comes as the coronavirus economic crisis exacerbates the news industry’s financial woes, adding to what The Washington Post recently described as a “tsunami of layoffs, cutbacks, furloughs and closures” washing over American newsrooms.

Stars and Stripes, which dates back to the Civil War, has published continuously since World War II.

ny times logoNew York Times, What’s Facebook’s Deal With Donald Trump? Ben Smith, June 22, 2020 (print ed.). Mark Zuckerberg has forged an uneasy alliance with the Trump administration. He may have gotten too close. Last Nov. 20, NBC News broke the news that Mark Zuckerberg, Donald Trump and a Facebook board member, Peter Thiel, had dined together at the White House the previous month. “It is unclear why the meeting was not made public or what Trump, Zuckerberg and Thiel discussed,” the report said.

facebook logoThat was it. Nothing else has emerged since. Not the date, not who arranged the menu, the venue, the seating, not the full guest list. And not whether some kind of deal got done between two of the most powerful men in the world. The news cycle moved on, and the dinner became one of the unsolved mysteries of American power.

But I was able to pry some of those details loose last week from White House officials along with current and former senior Facebook employees and people they speak to. Most said they would only talk on the condition their names not be used, since the company is not eager to call attention to Mr. Zuckerberg’s relationship with the president.

ny times logoNew York Times, Tennessee Newspaper Apologizes for ‘Utterly Indefensible’ Anti-Muslim Ad, Bryan Pietsch, Updated June 22, 2020. The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville is investigating how it came to publish a full-page ad on Sunday by a biblical prophecy group claiming “Islam” would detonate a bomb in the city.

The ad, which included a photo collage of President Trump, Pope Francis and burning American flags, urged readers to visit a website offering more details. The ad was credited to the group Ministry of Future for America, which says its mission is to “proclaim the final warning message” from the Bible.

Addressed to “Dear Citizen of Nashville,” the eight-paragraph ad spanned the full length of the newspaper page, and discussed Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Democratic Party and Sept. 11. It claimed Trump’s presidency was part of a prophecy, warned of “another civil war,” and said that “Islam is going to detonate a nuclear device” in Nashville.

The full-page ad, which appeared in Sunday’s editions of The Tennessean and claimed “Islam” would detonate a nuclear device in Nashville, “should have never been published,” the editor said.

Historical Retrospective

Future of Freedom Foundation, Analysis: What Americans Fear Most In The JFK Assassination, Part 1, Jacob Hornberger, right (author, publisher and Libertarian) think tank president), June 22, 2020. One of the fascinating phenomena in the JFK jacob hornberger newassassination is the fear of some Americans to consider the possibility that the assassination was actually a regime-change operation carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment rather than simply a murder carried out by a supposed lone-nut assassin.

The mountain of evidence that has surfaced, especially since the 1990s, when the JFK Records Act mandated the release of top-secret assassination-related records within the national-security establishment, has been in the nature of circumstantial evidence, as compared to direct evidence. Thus, I can understand that someone who places little faith in the power of circumstantial evidence might study and review that evidence and decide to embrace the “lone-nut theory” of the case.

But many of the people who have embraced the lone-nut theory have never spent any time studying the evidence in the case and yet have embraced the lone-nut theory.

john f kennedy smilingWhy? My hunch is that the reason is that they have a deep fear of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist,” which is the term the CIA many years ago advised its assets in the mainstream press to employ to discredit those who were questioning the official narrative in the case.

Like many others, I have studied the evidence in the case. After doing that, I concluded that the circumstantial evidence pointing toward a regime-change operation has reached critical mass. Based on that evidence, for me the Kennedy assassination is not a conspiracy theory but rather the fact of a national-security state regime-change operation, no different in principle than other regime-change operations, including through assassination, carried out by the U.S. national-security establishment, especially through the CIA.

Interestingly, there are those who have shown no reluctance to study the facts and circumstances surrounding foreign regime-change operations carried out by the CIA and the Pentagon. But when it comes to the Kennedy assassination, they run for the hills, exclaiming that they don’t want to be pulled down the “rabbit hole,” meaning that they don’t want to take any chances of being labeled a “conspiracy theorist.”

For those who have never delved into the Kennedy assassination but have interest in the matter, let me set forth just a few of the reasons that the circumstantial evidence points to a U.S. national-security state regime-change operation. Then, at the end of this article, I’ll point out some books and videos for those who wish to explore the matter more deeply.

lee harvey oswald in dallas custodyI start out with a basic thesis: Lee Harvey Oswald (shown in custoday in Dallas) was an intelligence agent for the U.S. deep state. Now, that thesis undoubtedly shocks people who have always believed in the lone-nut theory of the assassination. They just cannot imagine that Oswald could have really been working for the U.S. government at the time of the assassination.

Yet, when one examines the evidence in the case objectively, the lone-theory doesn’t make any sense. The only thesis that is consistent with the evidence and, well, common sense, is that Oswald was an intelligence agent.

Ask yourself: How many communist Marines have you ever encountered or even heard of? My hunch is none. Not one single communist Marine. Why would a communist join the Marines? Communists hate the U.S. Marine Corps. In fact, the U.S. Marine Corps hates communists. It kills communists. It tortures them. It invades communist countries. It bombs them. It destroys them.

What are the chances that the Marine Corps would permit an openly avowed communist to serve in its ranks? None! There is no such chance. And yet, here was Oswald, whose Marine friends were calling “Oswaldovitch,” being assigned to the Atsugi naval base in Japan, where the U.S. Air Force was basing its top-secret U-2 spy plane, one that it was using to secretly fly over the Soviet Union. Why would the Navy and the Air Force permit a self-avowed communist even near the U-2? Does that make any sense?

While Oswald was serving in the Marine Corps, he became fluent in the Russian language. How is that possible? How many people have you known who have become fluent in a foreign langue all on their own, especially when they have a full-time job? Even if they are able to study a foreign language from books, they have to practice conversing with people in that language to become proficient in speaking it. How did Oswald do that? There is but one reasonable possibility: Language lessons provided by U.S. military-suppled tutors.

After leaving the Marine Corps, Oswald traveled to the Soviet Union, walked into the U.S. embassy, renounced his citizenship, and stated that he intended to give any secrets he learned while serving in the military to the Soviet Union. Later, when he stated his desire to return to the United States, with a wife with family connections to Soviet intelligence, Oswald was given the red-carpet treatment on his return. No grand jury summons. No grand-jury indictment. No FBI interrogation. No congressional summons to testify.

 June 21

Top Headlines

 Virus Victims, Responses

Prosecutors, Courts, Injustice

Media News

U.S. 2020 Elections, Politics

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Top Stories

djt coming home from tulsa ap june 20 2020 Small

Shaken, not stirred. Donald Trump returns to the White House following disastrous attendance for his campaign launch in Tulsa, Oklahoma on June 20, 2020 (AP Photo).

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump suffered a humiliatingly senile moment during his Tusa rally, Bill Palmer, right, June 21, 2020. Between the hilariously small crowd, the lengthy monologue about not being able to walk down a ramp, and the ugly racial slurs, you might be tempted to overlook a certain moment during Donald Trump’s Tulsa rally which revealed just how far gone he truly is in the cognitive department.

bill palmer report logo headerAs Donald Trump’s cognitive abilities have gradually failed him over the past several months, he’s begun losing his ability to understand what it is that he can or can’t say out loud. That may seem like an odd thing to say about a guy who has spent his entire political career blurting out horrible, offensive, random, and stupid things.

But there are plenty of things that Trump makes a point of not telling us about. It’s not like he’s ever bragged during one of his rally speeches about how he cheats on his taxes, or what Vladimir Putin tells him during their secret phone conversations.

Yet during Trump’s rally speech, he flat out admitted that he asked his advisers to slow down coronavirus testing in the United States, so that the number of confirmed cases would remain low. Of course Trump told his advisers this; it’s not a surprise. But this is one of those things that Trump absolutely could not afford to admit out loud, because it’s literally a murder confession. Yet Trump just blurted it out anyway. His White House now says he was just joking. Yeah, right.

To give you an idea of how serious this is, if Donald Trump loses the election and ends up on criminal trial, and the charges include negligent homicide for the coronavirus tests, his “slow the testing down” remark will be entered as evidence against him. This is the kind of mistake that a mentally and cognitively competent person doesn’t make.

  • TheHill.com, Tulsa Fire Department says Trump rally attendance was about 6,200, Justin Wise, June 21, 2020. (Total reportedly includes campaign workers, White House personnel, security, etc.).

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump campaign, Democrats joust over turnout at Tulsa rally, Felicia Sonmez and Taylor Telford, June 21, 2020. The Trump campaign sought to blame concerns about protesters for the smaller-than-expected crowd Saturday night, even though the campaign itself had touted the number of people who signed up for tickets online.

There were just under 6,200 people in the arena, the Tulsa Fire Marshal’s Office said Sunday. Trump’s campaign rallies have typically attracted more than 10,000 people, and some djt maga hathave drawn two or three times that many — although the president has a habit of inflating his crowd numbers to cast his popularity as even greater.

In an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” campaign adviser Mercedes Schlapp argued that turnout was lower than expected because Trump supporters were afraid of protests outside the venue turning violent.

People were concerned about the demonstrations, Schlapp said, “and so, we saw that have an impact in terms of people coming to the rally.” Pressed by host Chris Wallace on the fact that the Trump campaign itself had raised expectations about high attendance numbers, Schlapp replied: “There were people and families that couldn’t bring their children because of concerns of the protesters.”

Axios Sneak Peek, Exclusive: Trump held off Xinjiang sanctions for trade deal, Jonathan Swan, right, June 21, 2020. In an Oval Office interview on Friday afternoon, President Trump told me jonathan swan twitterthat he held off on imposing Treasury sanctions against Chinese officials involved with the Xinjiang mass detention camps because doing so would have interfered with his trade deal with Beijing.

Driving the news: Asked why he hadn't yet enacted Treasury sanctions against Chinese Communist Party officials or entities tied to the camps where the Chinese government detains Uighurs and other Muslim minorities, Trump replied, "Well, we were in the middle of a major trade deal. And I made a great deal, $250 billion potentially worth of purchases. And by the way, they're buying a lot, you probably have seen."

2. Trump: "What's good for the country is also good for an election." I also asked President Trump whether — as Bolton charges — he asked President Xi to increase China's farm purchases from the U.S. to help Trump win in 2020. Bolton claims Trump made the request when the leaders met in Buenos Aires in December 2018.

"No, not at all," Trump said. "What I told everybody we deal with — not just President Xi — I want them to do business with this country. I want them to do a lot more business with this country."

"By the way, what's good for the country is good for me," Trump continued. "What's good for the country is also good for an election."

Forbes, Trump Cancels Second Tulsa Speech Due To Low Turnout, Blames Protesters And The Media, Andrew Solender, June 21, 2020 (print ed.). The Trump campaign announced Saturday evening that they were cancelling a planned second speech at the president’s Tulsa rally due to low turnout, blaming the turnout on protesters and the media.

The campaign anticipated a crowd too large for Tulsa’s BOK Center, a stadium with a capacity of 19,200, claiming to have received over a million ticket requests.

"There was so much response, over a million ticket requests, that we decided that the BOK Center was just not big enough,” Trump campaign Communications Director Tim Murtaugh said on Friday, announcing the president would “speak in both locations."

But as the crowd filed in Saturday evening, it looked as though there wouldn’t be enough people to fill the stadium, let alone necessitate a second speech.

In a statement, Murtaugh announced the campaign was canceling the speech, insisting that the president’s supporters were energized and blaming the low turnout on protesters and the media.

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge rejects Justice Dept. request to block release of John Bolton’s book, Spencer S. Hsu and Tom Hamburger, June 21, 2020 (print ed.).  A federal judge on Saturday rejected the Justice Department’s emergency request to block publication of John Bolton’s White House memoir but said the former Trump national security adviser “likely jeopardized national security” and exposed himself to criminal prosecution.

royce lamberth CustomU.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, right, of the District of Columbia denied the Trump administration’s request for a restraining order on the book, set for publication Tuesday, citing his publisher’s declaration that more than 200,000 copies have already shipped for sale.

John Bolton hands up CSIS But Lamberth noted that it appeared Bolton, left, failed to complete a pre-publication government review and get written authority that his manuscript contained no classified information before publishing.

“While Bolton’s unilateral conduct raises grave national security concerns, the government has not established that an injunction is an appropriate remedy,” Lamberth wrote. “For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir.”

The Room Where It Happened recounts Bolton’s 17 months as Trump’s top national security official and offers a withering portrait of the president as an “erratic” and “stunningly uninformed” leader. Bolton called Trump incompetent and “unfit for office” in promotional interviews.

 Virus Victims, Responses 

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Trump says he told officials to slow testing to find fewer cases, Staff reports, June 21, 2020. Pelosi says remarks on testing show Trump is ‘ethically unfit and intellectually unprepared’ to lead during pandemic; Masks should have been recommended from the beginning, former FDA commissioner says; Trump’s Tulsa rally could be a ‘superspreader’ event, Johns Hopkins expert says.

Amid surging coronavirus infections nationwide, President Trump said at his campaign rally in Tulsa Saturday night that he told officials to administer fewer coronavirus tests to keep case numbers down.

The comments drew a chorus of criticism from congressional Democrats, who said it validated fears that the president was more focused on saving face amid the pandemic than on protecting public health. A White House official told The Washington Post that Trump was joking, a common defense from Trump’s aides when he says something controversial.

Eight states on Saturday reported their highest single-day case counts since the pandemic began, and daily new infections nationwide exceeded 30,000 on both Friday and Saturday. The country has not seen daily totals that high in more than seven weeks.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: 12 States Hit Daily Virus Records; White House Is Preparing for Possible Fall Wave, Staff reports, June 21, 2020. Cases in the U.S. are up 15 percent over the last two weeks. Seven states hit single-day case records Saturday, and five others hit a record earlier in the week. A top adviser said that the White House was preparing for a second wave of the virus, though he said it wouldn’t necessarily come. Here’s the latest.

ny times logoNew York Times, Nursing Homes Evict Residents to Make Way for Lucrative Coronavirus Patients, Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Amy Julia Harris, June 21, 2020. Nursing homes across the country are kicking out old and disabled residents and sending them to homeless shelters and rundown motels.

On a chilly afternoon in April, Los Angeles police found an old, disoriented man crumpled on a Koreatown sidewalk. Several days earlier, RC Kendrick, an 88-year-old with dementia, was living at Lakeview Terrace, a nursing home with a history of regulatory problems. His family had placed him there to make sure he got round-the-clock care after his condition deteriorated and he began disappearing for days at a time.

But on April 6, the nursing home deposited Mr. Kendrick at an unregulated boardinghouse — without bothering to inform his family. Less than 24 hours later, Mr. Kendrick was wandering the city alone.

According to three Lakeview employees, Mr. Kendrick’s ouster came as the nursing home was telling staff members to try to clear out less-profitable residents to make room for a new class of customers who would generate more revenue: patients with Covid-19.

ny times logoNew York Times, New York City Hired 3,000 Workers for Contact Tracing. It’s Not Going Well, Sharon Otterman, June 21, 2020. The program is crucial to the next phase of reopening, which begins on Monday. But workers have not had much success in getting information from people.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, TikTok Teens and K-Pop Stans Say They Sank Trump Rally, Taylor Lorenz, Kellen Browning and Sheera Frenkel, June 21, 2020. Did a successful prank inflate attendance expectations for the president’s rally? TikTok users and fans of Korean pop music groups claimed to have registered potentially hundreds of thousands of tickets for Mr. Trump’s campaign rally as a prank. After the Trump campaign’s official account @TeamTrump posted a tweet asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones on June 11, K-pop fan accounts began sharing the information with followers, encouraging them to register for the rally — and then not show.

The trend quickly spread on TikTok, where videos with millions of views instructed viewers to do the same, as CNN reported on Tuesday. “Oh no, I signed up for a Trump rally, and I can’t go,” one woman joked, along with a fake cough, in a TikTok posted on June 15.

tiktok logo square CustomThousands of other users posted similar tweets and videos to TikTok that racked up millions of views. Representatives for TikTok did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” said the YouTuber Elijah Daniel, 26, who participated alexandria ocasio cortezin the social media campaign. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”

Many users deleted their posts after 24 to 48 hours in order to conceal their plan and keep it from spreading into the mainstream internet. “The majority of people who made them deleted them after the first day because we didn’t want the Trump campaign to catch wind,” Mr. Daniel said. “These kids are smart and they thought of everything.”

Twitter users on Saturday night were quick to declare the social media campaign’s victory. “Actually you just got ROCKED by teens on TikTok,” Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, left, tweeted in response to Mr. Parscale, who had tweeted that “radical protestors” had “interfered” with attendance.

Prosecutors, Courts, Injustice

ny times logoNew York Times, Trump Fires U.S. Attorney in New York Who Investigated His Inner Circle, Alan Feuer, Katie Benner, Ben Protess, Maggie Haberman, William K. Rashbaum, Nicole Hong and Benjamin Weiser, Updated June 21, 2020. The president’s move deepened a crisis over the independence of law enforcement and the president’s purge of officials he views as disloyal.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: A Friday night massacre that backfired, Jennifer Rubin, right, June 20, 2020. Barr announced Saturday afternoon that, at his request, President Trump had jennifer rubin new headshotfired Berman. At the same time, Trump told reporters, “I’m not involved.” So what’s the truth here?

It is telling that we do not know which of many possible investigations may have triggered Barr’s ire. There are so many to choose from. AP reports, “The move to oust Berman also comes days after allegations surfaced from former Trump national security adviser John Bolton that the president sought to interfere in an Southern District of New York investigation into the state-owned Turkish bank in an effort to cut deals with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.”

There are also the original investigations into campaign finance violations for which Michael Cohen was prosecuted, the alleged insurance and tax irregularities that Cohen alluded to in testimony to Congress, and the investigations into Rudolph W. Giuliani’s nefarious activities in Ukraine. You need a scorecard to keep track of Trump’s legal vulnerabilities.

The latest turn of events is more embarrassment for self-deluded Republicans like Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) who voted to acquit Trump during his impeachment trial and who thought Trump had learned his lesson. This is one of many efforts to fire investigators, including five inspectors general, at least three of whom were looking into Trump administration wrongdoing. (Let’s not forget Barr’s attempt to un-prosecute Michael Flynn after the latter pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI.)

In this dizzying display of contempt for the Constitution and obstruction of legitimate investigations into the Trump administration, we see a level of lawlessness that puts Richard M. Nixon to shame.

washington post logoWashington Post, Barr’s botched effort to remove prosecutor who probed Trump allies, Aaron Blake, June 21, 2020. The attorney general ’s effort to remove the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, appears to have reached its conclusion, after a series of apparent missteps.

Whatever one thinks of Attorney General William P. Barr, even his detractors have generally agreed on something: He’s a shrewd, calculating political operator.

The events of this weekend would sure seem to undermine that image.

Barr’s halting, problematic effort to remove the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, Geoffrey Berman, appears to have reached its conclusion. Berman signaled Saturday that he will step aside after Barr notified him that President Trump had fired him. But getting to that point required a series of missteps — and the outcome is apparently far from what Barr desired.

So while Barr said Friday night that he was installing another U.S. attorney, Craig Carpenito, as the acting head of SDNY, it now automatically falls to Berman’s deputy, Audrey djt lindsey graham CustomStrauss.

Second, it’s not clear when Barr will even be able to eventually replace Strauss. He had announced Friday night that the full-time replacement would be Jay Clayton, the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But Clayton drew apprehension even from Republicans, given his dearth of experience as a prosecutor. And then Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), right, said in a statement Saturday that he would abide by the tradition of allowing home-state senators to veto a U.S. attorney nominee, which is something Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) quickly did with Clayton.

Igor Fruman, top left, and Lev Parnas, two Soviet-born associates of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s personal attorney at bottom of a Wall Street Journal graphic above by Laura Kammermann, appear to be deeply involved in the Ukraine scandal.

Trump Counsel Rudolph Giuliani, center is portrayed with businessmen Igor Fruman, top left, and Lev Parnas, who were arrested last year while boarding a flight to Vienna from Dulles International Airport.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Barr Tries to Fire U.S. Attorney in Trump-Related Cases, but He Won’t Go, Benjamin Weiser, William K. Rashbaum, Nicole Hong, Maggie Haberman and Katie Benner, June 20, 2020 (print ed.). The United States attorney in Manhattan, Geoffrey Berman, had been leading the inquiry into Rudolph Giuliani. The clash sets up a crisis in the Justice Department.

Mr. Trump’s purge of officials has intensified in the months since the Republican-led Senate acquitted him in the impeachment trial. He has fired or forced out inspectors general with independent oversight over executive branch agencies and other key figures from the trial.

 Justice Department log circularSeveral dismissals have come late on Friday nights, a time that many White Houses have used to disclose news that they would prefer receive little attention.

Mr. Berman’s office has taken an aggressive approach in a number of cases that have vexed the Trump administration, from the prosecution and guilty plea obtained from Mr. Cohen to a broader investigation, growing out of that inquiry, which focused on Mr. Trump’s private company and others close to him.

Over the last year, Mr. Berman’s office brought indictments against two close associates of the president’s current lawyer, Mr. Giuliani, and began an investigation into Mr. Giuliani himself, focusing on whether his efforts to dig up dirt in Ukraine on the president’s political rivals violated laws on lobbying for foreign entities.

Read New York Times profile of Geoffrey Berman from 2017: "A Canny Mind With Humor." 

Mr. Berman’s office also conducted an investigation into Mr. Trump’s inaugural committee, subpoenaing financial and other records as part of a broad inquiry into possible illegal contributions from foreigners.

The United States attorney’s office in Manhattan is perhaps the most famous federal prosecutor’s post in the country. The office, through Democratic and Republican administrations, has long prized a tradition of independence from the Justice Department and Washington. It has even been nicknamed the “Sovereign District of New York.”

Mr. Berman worked there in the 1990s as a prosecutor, but he took over the office under unusual circumstances.

A Republican who contributed to the president’s campaign and worked at the same law firm as Mr. Giuliani, Mr. Berman was never formally nominated for the position by Mr. Trump or confirmed by the Senate, as is normal protocol for United States attorneys.

Mr. Barr also announced that on his recommendation, Mr. Trump had appointed Craig Carpenito, the current U.S. attorney for New Jersey, to serve as acting U.S. attorney in Manhattan while the Senate considers Mr. Clayton’s nomination. Mr. Barr said Mr. Carpenito’s appointment would be effective July 3.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Who Can Fire a Court-Appointed U.S. Attorney? A New Legal Fight, Explained, Charlie Savage, right, June 20, 2020. No definitive precedent exists, but the charlie savagepresident dismissed the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan after he announced he was refusing to resign.

The declaration by the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan on Friday night that he would stay in his job despite Attorney General William P. Barr’s attempt to fire him raised not just the mystery of what was behind Mr. Barr’s move, but also a legal question: Who has the authority to remove him?

No definitive and settled Supreme Court precedent exists to look to for guidance, and federal statutes appear to conflict on the question. That sets up the possibility of a protracted fight in court if Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, continues to resist after Mr. Barr told him on Saturday that the president had fired him.

But legal experts pointed to a 1979 Justice Department opinion to suggest that the ultimate result of any courtroom confrontation will likely be that Mr. Trump — though not Mr. Barr — does have the authority to fire Mr. Berman.

“It’s probably the case that Trump, but not Barr, would have to remove Berman and take the political responsibility for doing so,” said Martin S. Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who served in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in the Obama administration.

Normally, under the Constitution, the power to remove government officials rests with whomever appointed them, except in instances where Congress set up an alternative mechanism. At issue is how that framework applies to the position of a U.S. attorney who was appointed by a court, as Mr. Berman was in 2018.

In his statement on Friday night, Mr. Berman indicated that Mr. Barr could not fire him because he had been appointed by the court, and declared he intended to remain in office until the Senate confirms a successor.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Atlantic, Where Was the ‘Silent Majority’? Russell Berman, June 21, 2020. The president planned an arena rally in Tulsa to show that life was “back to normal.” Oklahomans failed to fill the venue.

Rarely has a single campaign rally drawn as much hype as the one President Donald Trump held Saturday night at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma—a relaunch of his reelection bid that, according to the president himself, more than 1 million people had requested tickets to attend. Rarely has a presidential event endangered the public health of the atlantic logo horizontalcommunity it was held in. And rarely has a spotty crowd made such a statement.

It turns out Oklahomans might care more about their own health than the president does.

Trump had hailed this rally as something more than a return to the campaign trail. His insistence on speaking to a packed, indoor arena full of cheering, maskless supporters—19,000 expected inside, tens of thousands more in an outdoor overflow area—in defiance of public-health experts, in spite of a spike in coronavirus cases in Tulsa itself, was supposed to be a signal to the country that American life was getting back to normal, pandemic be damned.

And yet the arena the president addressed Saturday wasn’t packed. Thousands of seats were empty. Trump didn’t speak to the overflow crowd outside, because there was no overflow.


Tulsa Trump 2020 Presidential Campaign Lunch in Oklahoma's BOK Center (New York Times photo by Doug Mills)

Tulsa Trump 2020 Presidential Campaign Lunch in Oklahoma's BOK Center (New York Times photo by Doug Mills)

brad parscale djt Custom

Palmer Report, Opinion: Brad Parscale is in deep trouble tonight, Bill Palmer, June 20, 2020. Imagine throwing a party for your boss, and no one shows up. Now imagine throwing a party for your boss, getting him all excited about how many people are attending in his honor, and then no one shows up. Now imagine throwing a party for your malignantly narcissistic boss, telling the entire world that a million people have RSVP’d for the party, and then no one shows up – at a time when your boss is in danger of getting fired, and if he does, he’s going to prison.

bill palmer report logo headerAs absurd of a scenario as that may be, it’s precisely what Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale did to Donald Trump tonight. Parscale bet big that if he held a rally in a deep red state like Oklahoma, he could get enough Trump fanatics to show up in the middle of a pandemic, just so Trump’s ego could be stroked. After all, if Trump saw an arena full of cheering idiots, maybe he’d believe it when his campaign tells him that his bad poll numbers are somehow fake.

tiktok logo CustomBut that didn’t happen, did it? Sure, Parscale is insisting that Trump’s speech to the crowd on the overflow stage was only canceled because protesters overran the place. But we all saw Air Force One fly over the arena. Trump could see that there was no one in the overflow space to begin with. Trump could surely also see that at least one-third of the blue seats in the arena were empty while he was speaking.

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: On Foreign Policy, John Bolton Sees ‘Split Between Trump and Trump,’ David E. Sanger, June 21, 2020. In his memoir, the hawkish national security adviser describes a president who wanted to sound tough and strike a deal that could be portrayed as a victory.

President Trump knew exactly what he was getting when he hired John Bolton in the spring of 2018 to be his national security adviser: An uber-hawk who made no secret of his john bolton room where cover Custombelief that Iran and North Korea could be driven over the brink by extreme sanctions, and who told the president that attacking nuclear facilities “might be the only lasting solution.”

So far, the sanctions experiment has failed: North Korea came to the negotiating table but, by some estimates, has doubled its arsenal during the Trump presidency, and the Iranians reacted to Mr. Trump’s pullout from a 2015 agreement by resuming nuclear fuel production and barring inspectors.

Yet Mr. Bolton’s memoir, which a judge ruled over the weekend can be released this week despite the government’s allegation that it contains classified information, provides the first inside glimpse of what went wrong on both fronts — and why force was never used.

The answer, he argues, lies in a president who wanted to be perceived as tough but changed his mind day-to-day, his top priority “making a deal he could characterize as a huge success, even if it was badly flawed.”

June 20

Top Headlines

Courts, Crime, Injustice

Racial Injustice Protests

 2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

.be">Political video: Female reporters have held Donald Trump accountable

Virus Victims, Responses

World News


Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump administration in standoff with Manhattan U.S. attorney, Devlin Barrett, June 20, 2020. geoffrey berman sdnyThe Trump administration announced late Friday that Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman, right, who has overseen a number of investigations involving the president and his political campaign, will be leaving that job, though Berman fired back that he had not resigned and intends to stay in the job to ensure the cases continue unimpeded.

The surreal Friday night standoff marks the latest battle over the Trump administration’s management of the Justice Department. Democrats have decried what they charge has been the politicization of the department under President Trump and his attorney general, William P. Barr.

william barr at dojBarr, left, announced the personnel change in a statement, saying the president plans to nominate the current chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Jay Clayton, for the job.

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

djt 2020 hat Custom

 ny times logoNew York Times, Trump’s Rallies Are Back, as Is His ‘What Do You Have to Lose?’ Candidacy, Matt Flegenheimer, June 20, 2020. President Trump will speak to a crowd tonight. To summarize his worldview, some ex-associates say, look to the waiver: “guests voluntarily assume all risks.”

Supporting President Trump — or even taking him at his word — has always been an exercise in risk tolerance.

djt maga hat“What do you have to lose?” he asked black voters in 2016, suggesting their lives were so bleak that he was worth the gamble.

“What do you have to lose?” he asked coronavirus patients this spring, suggesting their options were so few that an unproven treatment, hydroxychloroquine, probably couldn’t hurt.

And now, as the nation grapples with the dual menaces of racism and a relentless virus, the once-rhetorical questions of Trump-branded risk management have given way to fine-print legal disclaimers about what might happen if people listen to him.

djt maga hat speech uncredited CustomOn Saturday, Mr. Trump is scheduled to rally at a packed indoor arena in Tulsa, Okla. Many health authorities say it is a terrible idea. And what attendees have to lose, the campaign claims, is any right to hold the host responsible.

“By clicking register below,” reads a message on the Trump 2020 website, directed at those planning to be there, “you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. By attending the Rally, you and any guests voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”

As an encapsulation of the Trumpian worldview, some former associates say, there is perhaps no beating “guests voluntarily assume all risks.”

But then, an air of danger has been embedded in Mr. Trump’s appeal from the start, the risk its own kind of reward for many supporters in his first whirring slot machine of a presidential campaign.

brad parscale walmart hiring

Palmer Report, Opinion: Somebody’s getting fired over this, Bill Palmer, June 20, 2020. Donald Trump said a million people were planning to attend his Tulsa rally tonight. In reality, sofew people showed up, large chunks of the indoor arena are still empty, and the overflow stage outside has no crowd at all. It’s difficult to say how much of this is due to coronavirus fears, and how much of it is due to Trump’s collapsing popularity. But one thing is for sure: somebody’s getting fired.

bill palmer report logo headerThe Trump campaign took a huge risk by putting on this rally during a pandemic. The campaign had to know that Donald Trump would end up looking foolish if a small-ish crowd showed up. Yet the campaign was clearly desperate to sell Trump on the notion that he’s still hugely popular, and that he can draw a massive crowd no matter what.

The truly weird part is that Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale, shown above in a joke graphic on Twitter, bragged about how a million people had supposedly said they planned to attend, thus raising expectations even further. By the time Parscale resorted to making these claims, he had to have already been seeing weak signup numbers, meaning he made things even worse by creating false expectations.

So now the question is whether Donald Trump fires Parscale for this debacle, or if he decides to scapegoat someone else instead.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Six members of Trump advance team test positive for virus ahead of rally, Robert Klemko, Arelis R. Hernández and Isaac Stanley-Becker, June 21, 2020 (print ed.). The announcement, made as supporters and protesters gathered for the event in Tulsa, underscored concerns about holding a massive indoor rally in a city where coronavirus cases are spiking.

The campaign made that announcement, saying quarantine procedures had gone into effect for the infected staff members and those in “immediate contact" with them, as hundreds of supporters filled downtown streets in anticipation of the president’s evening rally — his first since the virus brought much of public life to a standstill in March.

secret service logoUpon entering the rally grounds, attendees were handed blue face coverings and directed through a maze of metal fencing, which led to a touchless temperature screening conducted by volunteers in purple smocks.

City police erected black fencing and other barriers around the 19,000-seat BOK Center, a private venue leased by the Trump campaign. Shortly before noon, the campaign directed officers to arrest a protester who had sat down within the barricaded zone, according to the police department.

The protester, Sheila Buck of Tulsa, said she had a ticket to the event. She was wearing a shirt that read, “I can’t breathe," among the final words uttered by George Floyd as a police officer in Minneapolis knelt on his neck.

Adding to the fortified atmosphere, about 250 National Guard soldiers were on hand to assist local authorities. Some were armed in response to an elevation of the threat level, said Lt. Col. Geoff Legler, a spokesman for the Guard. Initially, the plan was to equip them only with batons, shields and pepper spray.

Most police officers, National Guard soldiers, food vendors and the vast majority of people in line chose not to wear face coverings, though Trump-branded masks dotted the crowd. The Confederate flag also appeared — all the more striking because Oklahoma was not a state at the time of the Civil War.brad parscale fox

daily beast logoDaily Beast, The Tulsa Rally is the First Big Beta Test of the Trump 2020 App, Which Knows Where You Are and Who You Know, Anne Nelson, Published June 20, 2020. When the virus forced Trump to suspend his rallies, he lost access to the “juggernaut” that’s supposed to keep Trumpists hooked, and help the campaign find more of them.

This month Trump decided to resume his mass rallies starting in Tulsa, less than a mile from the site of the infamous 1919 race massacre there—and originally scheduled it for Juneteenth. The venue is an enclosed arena, although the spike in COVID cases there raised questions about his motivations. We know he misses the energy of his crowds, and that Oklahoma is one of the reddest states in the union. But there’s another strategic reason for propelling the rallies forward.

Trump needs them to propel the “juggernaut” 2020 Trump mobile app that campaign manager Brad Parscale, shown above, has boasted about, that uses a service called geofencing to send messages to smartphone users in a given location, then track their locations and access their address books.

The plan is to harness the enthusiasm of the rally to get thousands of attendees to download the app, which requires them to enter their phone numbers and zip codes, and urges them to provide their email and home addresses as well.

Parscale explained to CNN that once this information is provided, the campaign can combine it with the voter file from the Republican National Committee. This enhances the campaign’s ability to microtarget voters—that is, engage them on multiple communications platforms with tailored messages based on their specific concerns.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Daily U.S. cases top 30,000 for first time in seven weeks, Staff reports, June 20, 2020. New daily coronavirus cases in the United States on Friday exceeded 30,000 for the first time in seven weeks as states in the South and West continued to report alarming spikes in new infections.

The country tallied 31,630 new confirmed cases Friday, according to tracking by The Washington Post. The last time new daily cases in the United States topped 30,000 was on May 1, when 33,263 new infections were reported.

In Tulsa — where President Trump plans to hold a campaign rally Saturday — cases hit a new high on Friday.

washington post logoWashington Post, In reversal, government to disclose many business-loan recipients, Aaron Gregg and Jeff Stein, June 20, 2020 (print ed.). Facing bipartisan pressure, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, below left, agreed to release details on loans of $150,000 or more from the Paycheck Protection Program.

steven mnuchin wThe U.S. Small Business Administration and Treasury Department announced Friday that they would release a data set showing which businesses received many taxpayer-funded Paycheck Protection Program loans, walking back an earlier stance that all of the business names would remain hidden because the Trump administration considered them proprietary.

sba logo new Custom CustomThe disclosures will include the names of recipients who received loans of more than $150,000 and it will also reveal a dollar range for each loan, such as whether it was between $1 million and $2 million. Precise dollar amounts will not be disclosed, the Trump administration said. Borrowers who obtained loans of less than $150,000 will not have their identities disclosed. The administration said nearly 75 percent of all loans were for $150,000 or more, so most borrowers would be revealed.

The announcement came after several weeks of tense negotiations with congressional leadership, in which members of both parties pressed for some form of disclosure. The plan announced Friday amounts to an attempted compromise in which most loan recipients will be made public while specific details would be obscured.

Courts, Crime, Injustice

Palmer Report, Opinion: The real reason Donald Trump just ousted U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman from the SDNY, Bill Palmer, June 19, 2020. When you count up all the people who have been fired, the people who have resigned amid scandal, and the people who have resigned in protest, the Donald Trump administration has been hemorrhaging even more key personnel than usual lately. Tonight a key player is resigning: Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the SDNY. So what’s this about?

bill palmer report logo headerFirst, let’s be clear: this doesn’t look like a legitimate resignation. It came too abruptly. The Trump regime has already picked out a replacement too quickly. And because Berman’s tenure likely would have ended in January anyway, there has to be a specific reason he’s not simply finishing his term.

There are only two reasons for Trump to oust Berman from the SDNY and replace him with someone more friendly to Trump. The first is that Trump wants to have the SDNY bring a phony criminal case against one of his adversaries. The second is that Trump is trying to stop an existing criminal case against one of his friends from proceeding.

It’s worth keeping in mind that the SDNY, which has federal jurisdiction in Manhattan, was responsible for the arrests of Lev and Igor, and is expected to arrest Rudy Giuliani eventually. In addition, if the Feds were to bring criminal charges against the Trump Organization, or members of Donald Trump’s family, it would likely happen through the SDNY. John Bolton’s new book also reveals that Trump meddled in an SDNY case against a Turkish firm as a political favor. In any case, something corrupt is likely playing out here.

Because confusion always arises whenever the SDNY is mentioned, it’s worth keeping mind that the SDNY is part of the federal government, and has nothing at all to do with any state-level charges that would come from the State of New York.

washington post logorobert mueller full face fileWashington Post, Mueller’s team wondered whether Trump lied to them, newly disclosed parts of report show, Devlin Barrett, June 20, 2020 (print ed.). Robert S. Mueller III’s staff noted how President Trump’s answer on a key point differed from the testimony of his former campaign aides.

Racial Injustice Protests

ny times logoNew York Times, Black Tulsans, With a Defiant Juneteenth Celebration, Send a Message to Trump, Astead W. Herndon, June 20, 2020 (print ed.). The president arrives in a city that is in the midst of addressing long-ignored racist history. People there believe the country as a whole could learn a lot from them.

washington post logocolbert king 2003Washington Post, Opinion: From Rodney King to Rayshard Brooks, police have been killing black people for years, Colbert I. King, right, June 20, 2020. The cops beat Rodney King with their nightsticks more than 50 times. The brutal event on March 3, 1991, in Los Angeles was caught on amateur videotape. After four policemen were acquitted, the City of Angels went up in flames.

Decades earlier, in the summer of 1967, civil disorder erupted in Newark, Detroit and more than 100 communities across the country, some of it brought on and inflamed by police actions.

So here we are in 2020, confronted with the death in Atlanta of an unarmed black man, Rayshard Brooks, when confronted by white police officer Garrett Rolfe . . . and the killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, an unarmed black man whose neck was pinned on the ground by a white officer’s knee . . . and the shooting death in Louisville of Breonna Taylor, a black woman and aspiring nurse shot eight times in her own home by white police.

washington post logoWashington Post, Retropolis: ‘Racial Hate’: A famed folk singer, Trump’s dad and angry lyrics at a Tulsa landmark, Petula Dvorak, June 20, 2020. In 1950, Fred Trump was Woody Guthrie's landlord in Brooklyn. Guthrie accused “Old Man Trump” of racism in unpublished lyrics found at Tulsa’s Woody Guthrie Center.

One of the signs that will greet President Trump on Saturday in Tulsa reads “This Machine Kills Fascists.”

It’s affixed to a guitar on a huge mural painted on the side of the Woody Guthrie Center, just six blocks from the arena where Trump is holding his first campaign rally during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Woody Guthrie Center is dedicated to the work of one of the nation’s greatest folk singers and most influential songwriters. Born in Oklahoma, Woody Guthrie is best known for the ballad, “This Land Is Your Land,” which some people consider an alternative national anthem. But Guthrie penned hundreds of other songs, too, and one of them was about Trump’s father, Fred Trump.

2020 U.S. Elections, Politics

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump’s SDNY stunt “may have just flipped the Senate,” Bill Palmer, June 20, 2020. Bill Barr’s Department of Justice announced that SDNY U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman had resigned. But now Berman says he has not resigned, and he’s refusing to be fired unless and until the Senate confirms a replacement. This sets up a potential legal battle in court over whether Berman can keep his job in the meantime. But it also sets up a fascinating Senate battle.

bill palmer report logo headerIf Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tries to quickly ram through the nomination of Trump’s replacement for Berman, nearly every other Republican Senator will have to vote “yes” in order for that person to be confirmed (there are 52 of them, and 50 would need to vote “yes”).

But some of them are very vulnerable in their reelection bids, and could be hesitant to stick their necks out even further for Trump, as his poll numbers continue to drop and their numbers drop accordingly. Then again, McConnell could force them to go along with it, because he controls the Republican Senate campaign purse strings.

Former Senator Claire McCaskill put it this way on Twitter: “Berman may have just flipped the Senate. Will Mitch risk losing the Senate by trying to force Rep Senators to confirm someone clearly being chosen to protect Rudy and Trump?” She makes a good point. This is the last thing Mitch McConnell wants to have to deal with right now, and it’s the last thing vulnerable GOP Senators want to have to vote on. This mess really could end up costing the GOP its Senate majority in November.

Palmer Report, Opinion: Donald Trump is in for the biggest letdown of his life, Robert Harrington, June 20, 2020. Everything has always been too easy for Trump, so much so that he’s never learned discipline. From birth Trump has never known anything but privilege. When he wanted money he went to his father, who gave him, by some estimates, over $400 million in increments large and small over time. When he wanted out of serving in Vietnam his father arranged that too. When daddy’s money ran out after he died, Trump went to the mob for funding, both the domestic and Russian mob, agreeing to launder their money in exchange for a cut. Throughout he counterfeited the role of the high profile, celebrity businessman and real estate developer.

bill palmer report logo headerTrump cannot even discipline himself in what he eats. Trump eats like a teenager left alone by his parents on a Saturday night. Most adults learn that you can’t sustain a remotely healthy life on food almost exclusively from McDonald’s and KFC. That’s a lesson Trump never learned, and he’s held his older self perpetually hostage to his younger, undisciplined self’s choices. Those choices are coming home to roost in poor coordination and poorer mental cognition.

djt apprenticeTrump fooled a lot of people, particularly non-New Yorkers, but he couldn’t fool reality. He was a spectacular failure as a businessman by any metric, bankrupting just about everything he undertook and going a billion dollars in debt for a decade in the 80s and 90s. It was with his hit TV series, “The Apprentice,” that he slowly climbed out of the economic hole he’d dug for himself. He was able to parlay his sullied but sufficiently deceiving reputation into reality TV stardom. It was from that reboot that he was able to remake himself.

Trump’s run for the presidency was a publicity stunt that he didn’t expect to pull off. He envisioned the celebrity capital he could eke from it by playing the role he always ultimately plays, the whiny, misunderstood victim. As stunned as we all were when he won, no one was more surprised than Donald J. Trump.

Now that his unquenchable ego has had a taste of the presidency, Trump is in for the biggest letdown of his life. Donald Trump is headed for a major loss in November and he lacks the imagination to know how it will affect him. He believes he will command the same respect and deference he’s enjoyed as is the automatic due of the man himself, mistaking the deference afforded an occupant of the office of the presidency with respect for Donald Trump. It’s going to be an eye-opening 78 days for a lame duck president who is arguably the most despised human being in modern history.

Meidas Touch,