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Donald J. Trump White House Page 23
By John Stoehr, The Editorial Board

I’m not one of those journalists who laments the news cycle as if the Washington press corps has no choice but to cover everything this president does as if everything he does were of equal importance. The Trump administration is indeed a dust devil of disaster, but some things are more important than others, and reporters should say so. This weekend saw wall-to-wall coverage of Donald Trump’s attempt to reboot his bid for reelection. The setting was Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the Covid-19 pandemic is surging, and where civic and business leaders said now’s the wrong time to gather 20-some thousand people in one place. The Trump campaign, meanwhile, crowed about how many people were going to show up only to be humiliated when less than half did. If this president, or any president, is shown to have cheated to get to where he is today, that means this president, or any president, is illegitimate. Empty seats evidently signal “vulnerabilities” heading into the election, according to the AP’s Steve Peoples and Jonathan Lemire. “Trump’s return to the campaign trail was designed to show strength and enthusiasm but instead highlighted growing vulnerabilities. It also crystallized a divisive reelection message that largely ignores broad swaths of voters, who could play a decisive role on Election Day, and the critical and dominant national issue of racial injustice. National unity was not mentioned.”

By Travis Gettys

Attorney General William Barr appears to be obstructing justice, according to one legal expert, and must be investigated and possibly impeached. The attorney general gave conflicting statements over the weekend about the ouster of Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and attorney and former FBI agent Asha Rangappa called for Barr’s removal in a new column for The Daily Beast. “Barr tried to bamboozle the country (and, apparently, bully Berman himself) into believing that Berman had resigned his post,” Rangappa wrote. “Berman’s day-long standoff with Barr, in which he refused to resign, included a public letter that was an S.O.S. to anyone paying attention, as he assured the public that the ‘office’s important cases would continue unimpeded’ — suggesting that Barr was attempting to obstruct justice by removing him, which Barr ultimately succeeded in doing.” Barr has authority over any Justice Department investigation of his own conduct, and Rangappa argued that leaves only one option to determine why the attorney general removed Berman.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Whether you like John Bolton or not, it's impossible to deny that he is someone who spent almost 18 months in very close proximity to President Donald Trump. And someone who in meetings in which major decisions about national security and foreign policy were made. Which is why these lines from Bolton -- from his interview with ABC's Martha Raddatz that ran Sunday -- regarding how Trump conducted the business of being president are so incredibly striking (bolding is mine): "There really isn't any guiding principle -- that I was able to discern other than -- what's good for Donald Trump's reelection. "Now, look, you can't take the politics out of politics. It plays a role in every aspect of decision making in the executive branch. But there's no coherent basis, no strategy, no philosophy. And decisions are made in a very scatter-shot fashion, especially in the potentially mortal field of national security policy. This is a danger for the republic." What those lines confirm is something I've long believed: There is no secret plan that Trump is operating against. He isn't playing three-dimensional chess. He's playing zero-dimensional chess. He's just, well, doing stuff. And seeing what sticks. (There are myriad examples over his first three years in office that prove this out.)

“We’re talking about the last foundation brick of the Cold War nuclear arms control security architecture,” one expert said.

By Keir Simmons, Willem Marx, Annabel Coleman and Abigail Williams

As U.S.-Russia talks on the future of the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals begin in Vienna on Monday, diplomats and experts warned that President Donald Trump’s insistence that China join the discussions could obstruct the renewal of a crucial treaty and might even precipitate a new nuclear arms race. Russia's lead envoy in the talks has told NBC News that the Kremlin does not currently believe the United States will extend the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or New START, ratified by President Barack Obama in 2011 and due to expire in February. Washington has withdrawn from a number of other agreements between the two former Cold War foes since Trump took office. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said ahead of his arrival in Vienna that he rejected what he called the American position on “verification for verification’s sake.” But he accepted that some of Russia’s more recent nuclear weapons systems that appear to concern the U.S. could be placed under the “umbrella” of the existing treaty, as part of a reciprocal arrangement that would cover new American weaponry, including advanced missile defense systems that have become a major bone of contention for Moscow in recent years.

Image without a caption
By Jackson Diehl

Vladimir Putin is suffering through his worst year in two decades in power. The 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. Forced to postpone a referendum that would allow him to remain in office until 2036, Putin is now going ahead with it on July 1, and no doubt it will be rigged to produce the right result. But his poll ratings are the lowest they have been since he was installed as Boris Yeltsin’s prime minister and successor in 1999.

By Zachary Cohen, CNN

Washington (CNN) Former White House national security adviser John Bolton called President Donald Trump "naive and dangerous," in an ABC News interview that aired Sunday, adding that he hopes his former boss will be remembered as a one-term president. The remarkable statement made by a former key adviser to the sitting US president comes after details of Bolton's upcoming book, "The Room Where it Happened," leaked this week despite the fact that it remains the focus of an ongoing legal dispute. "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. We can get over one term -- I have absolute confidence, even if it's not the miracle of a conservative Republican being elected in November. Two terms, I'm more troubled about," Bolton told ABC News' Martha Raddatz. Regarding the President, Bolton said, "I don't think he's fit for office. I don't think he has the competence to carry out the job. I don't think he's a conservative Republican. I'm not gonna vote for him in November. Certainly not gonna vote for Joe Biden either. I'm gonna figure out a conservative Republican to write in."

The president's former national security adviser discussed his new book.
By ABC News

MARTHA RADDATZ: Ambassador, I want talk to you about specific foreign policies, and go country by country. But what I want ask you first is a very simple question. Why is this the book President Trump doesn't want anyone to read?

JOHN BOLTON: Because this is a book of facts. It's not a book of theories or accusations or emotional responses. What I've tried to do is write 500 pages of facts, of history, that show how decisions were made in the national security field and the Trump administration.

By Donie O'Sullivan, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump didn't fill his rally arena to the more than 19,000-person capacity Saturday night, despite bragging about 1 million RSVP's to his Tulsa, Oklahoma, return to the campaign trail. Many of those who asked for tickets may have been trolling the President -- in a stunt organized mainly through the social media platform TikTok. Last week, Trump tweeted that "Almost One Million people requested tickets for the Saturday Night Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma!" and one local official said they expected 100,000 to show up near the arena. But on Saturday, registered attendees didn't fill Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Center arena, which admitted rallygoers on a first-come, first-serve basis, and the Trump team abandoned plans for the President to speak to an "overflow" area outside the arena. A coordinated effort was underway on TikTok in the days leading up to Trump's Saturday rally, encouraging people to register online for the free event and not show up. TikTok is normally thought of as a platform for dancing teenagers and not, necessarily, political action.

By Maureen Groppe - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Former National Security Adviser John Bolton mercilessly criticizes President Donald Trump in his new book but writes that he had a White House ally in the vice president. From China and Russia to Syria and Venezuela, Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence wanted to take hard lines against oppressive regimes while Trump sought to cut deals and appease totalitarian leaders, Bolton says in his memoir scheduled for release Tuesday. “As Vice President, Pence maintained the strong views on national security that he’d had during his years in the House of Representatives, and I regarded him as a consistent ally,” Bolton wrote in “The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir.” Bolton argued for keeping Pence on the 2020 ticket when Trump asked if he should replace him with Nikki Haley, the former United Nations ambassador. Bolton called it a bad idea to jettison someone so loyal without a guarantee that it would pay off at the ballot box.

By Benjamin Fearnow

White House Trade Advisor Peter Navarro rebuffed criticism over President Donald Trump asking to slow coronavirus testing down, instead saying China "created" COVID-19 and sent "hundreds of thousands" of its own citizens abroad to spread the virus. The Trump administration official responded Sunday morning on CNN's State of the Union to Trump telling Tulsa, Oklahoma rally-goers Saturday that he directed his health officials to "slow the testing down, please," in order to discover fewer cases. Navarro insisted the president was only joking in a "tongue-in-cheek" fashion, before redirecting the conversation and culpability for the pandemic toward the Chinese government.

By Kevin Johnson - USA TODAY

In Attorney General William Barr’s most recent public assessment, Geoffrey Berman was doing an exemplary job as Manhattan’s chief federal prosecutor. There was talk of naming him to another weighty position in the Trump administration, including chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission or chief of the Justice Department’s Civil Division in Washington. “With tenacity and savvy, Geoff has done an excellent job leading one of our nation’s most significant U.S. Attorney’s Offices,” Barr said late Friday night, adding that the prosecutor had achieved “many successes on consequential civil and criminal matters.” The only problem: Berman, whose office has prosecuted and investigated several of President Donald Trump’s allies, had no interest in leaving to make way for the president’s favored replacement – current SEC Chairman Jay Clayton, whose resume is absent any previous experience as a prosecutor. Less than 48 hours after a battle for control of the Justice Department’s most prestigious office ended with Trump ordering Berman’s dismissal, the urgency of the administration’s action has not been fully explained. By some accounts, Clayton had expressed interest in the Manhattan post to both Barr and Trump while preparing to leave the SEC. Others have suggested that the abrupt move, initially revealed on another late Friday night, mimicked the recent actions to remove a number of government watchdogs cast as disloyal or a threat to the administration.

By Devlin Barrett

Newly released portions of Robert S. Mueller III’s report detailing his investigation of President Trump spell out how investigators considered the possibility Trump had lied to them about his conversations in 2016 about WikiLeaks. The material was released by the Justice Department on Friday as part of ongoing litigation over still-secret parts of the former special counsel’s findings. It details some of the evidence that was aired at last year’s trial of Trump associate Roger Stone, who was convicted of lying to Congress and is scheduled to report to prison later this month. At the time Mueller’s report was first issued, the parts related to Stone were redacted because his case had not yet gone to trial. The report’s newly released sections make clear that Mueller’s team was unable to determine if Stone’s claims of having advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans ahead of the 2016 election were rooted in reality or fantasy. The report now says in more blunt language what became clear at Stone’s trial — that multiple Trump campaign aides told investigators then-candidate Trump had engaged in conversations during the 2016 race about what information WikiLeaks might release about his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. In written answers the president gave to Mueller, Trump said he did not recall discussing WikiLeaks with Stone. But multiple witnesses told Mueller’s team that he did have such discussions.

By Daniel Dale and Tara Subramaniam, CNN

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump continued his bombardment of pandemic-related false claims in May and the first week of June -- and, as usual, made dozens of false claims about a wide variety of other subjects. Trump made 192 false claims over the five weeks from May 4 through June 7. Sixty-one of them were about the coronavirus or the pandemic crisis, by far the most of any subject. Trump's average during the five-week period, about 5.5 false claims per day, was below his overall average of about 7.7 false claims per day since July 8, 2019, when we started our tracking at CNN. It was also down from his seven-per-day average during the previous 14-week period we wrote about here. But still: 192 false claims, 5.5 per day. That's a whole lot of dishonesty from the President of the United States.

Where Trump made his false claims
Trump made 42 of the 192 false claims on Twitter. He added 14 in a May interview with Fox Business Network's Maria Bartiromo, 10 in a rare network news interview in May with "ABC World News Tonight" anchor David Muir, nine in a rambling June speech about a surprisingly good jobs report, and eight apiece in two interviews and one exchange with reporters.

A timeline of Trump's 192 false claims in May and early June
Trump averaged about 5.5 false claims per day between May 4 and June 7. His highest daily totals were on days when he conducted interviews or spoke to reporters.

By Daniel Dale, CNN

Washington (CNN) More than two weeks after his controversial photo-op outside a Washington, DC, church, President Donald Trump offered a new explanation last week for why he didn't enter St. John's Episcopal Church. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday Trump said there were "a lot of insurance reasons" for why he couldn't go in. That isn't true.

Facts First: "There were no insurance reasons" why Trump could not have entered St. John's Church, Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington told CNN on Friday. She said only a small room in the basement of the church, a nursery, had been damaged in a fire the day prior, and "the main sanctuary was not harmed at all." Trump has faced criticism not only because police used force to clear peaceful protesters out of the way before the photo-op but because he merely brandished the Bible without opening it, offering a prayer, or going into the building.

By Justin Wise

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's presidential campaign denounced President Trump after he quipped at a campaign rally Saturday night that he told White House officials to slow down testing for the novel coronavirus. Trump's comments came as he held his first rally in more than three months at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The president went ahead with the event even as coronavirus cases spiked in certain areas in the U.S., including Oklahoma, and health officials expressed fears about crowding hordes of people into an indoor arena. But Trump dismissed those concerns amid a 90-minute speech, calling his administration's response to the pandemic "phenomenal." He also said at one point that testing was a "double-edged sword" because an increase could lead to a rise in positive test results. "When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people. You’re going to find more cases. So I said to my people, 'slow the testing down, please,'" Trump said. Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager, said in a statement that Trump's remarks were "outrageous" and that they would be remembered "long after tonight's debacle of a rally."

By Rebecca Klar

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) said on Sunday that calls to impeach Attorney General William Barr are a “waste of time,” since the “corrupt” Republican-controlled Senate would not consider an impeachment trial. CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Nadler if he thinks Democratic lawmakers' calls for Barr’s impeachment in the wake of the firing of Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoff Berman are premature. “No, I don't think calls for his impeachment are premature any more than calls for the president's impeachment were premature,” Nadler said. “But they are a waste of time at this point, because we know that we have a corrupt Republican majority in the Senate which will not consider an impeachment no matter what the evidence and no matter what the facts,” he added. “We’re instead going to do what we have to do without that.”

By Lloyd Green

The attorney general lied about the US attorney from New York, had to fire him, and landed the president with a big problem. Maybe Bill Barr isn’t that smart. With less than 150 days to the election, Roy Cohn 2.0 emerged from his scrum with Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York (SDNY), looking the worse for wear. In less than 24 hours, Barr placed Donald Trump in more jeopardy than he was when their brawl with Berman began late on Friday night. Instead of replacing Berman in the near term with a Trump loyalist, the US attorney for New Jersey, and in the long haul with Jay Clayton, the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Audrey Strauss, a career prosecutor, will lead the “sovereign” district until a Trump nominee clears the Senate. The SDNY, remember, has investigated and prosecuted close allies of the president. For Trump and his attorney general, replacing Berman with Strauss is like jumping from frying pan to fire. If the dynamic duo had a difficult time taming Berman, a Trump contributor and a former partner of Rudy Giuliani, reining in Strauss will prove even tougher.

By Robert Farley

President Donald Trump continues to draw false distinctions between mail-in and absentee ballots, claiming the former are rife with voter fraud while the latter — which he has used as president — require a voter to go through “a very strict process. The equivalent of going to a voting machine, or maybe even sometimes better.” Voting experts told us the verification process is the same for absentee and mail-in ballots, and many states consider them to be the same thing. As many states attempt to ramp up mail-in ballot options in response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has positioned himself as a staunch opponent, claiming that if states expand mail-in voting it will result in a “rigged election.” In a radio interview with Michael Savage on June 15, Trump warned that an expansion of mail-in ballots would increase “the chance of theft, where they steal them, they hold up mailmen, they take them out of mailboxes, they print them fraudulently.” Trump said a friend whose son died seven years ago told him that he recently received a ballot in his son’s name. “These mistakes are made by the millions,” Trump said. Some in the media have pointed out the apparent hypocrisy of Trump’s position on mail-in voting, given that he voted by mail in the Florida primary this year. In his interview with Savage, Trump said his criticism of mail-in ballots did not extend to “absentee” ballots like the one he has said he cast.

By Erica Orden and David Shortell, CNN

(CNN) Attorney General Bill Barr said in a letter Saturday that President Donald Trump had fired Geoffrey Berman, the powerful prosecutor atop the Manhattan US Attorney's office who has investigated Trump's allies, after Berman refused Barr's effort a day prior to oust him. "Unfortunately, with your statement of last night, you have chosen public spectacle over public service," Barr said in his letter to Berman. "Because you have declared that you have no intention of resigning, I have asked the President to remove you as of today, and he has done so." But Trump said Saturday he wasn't involved with the decision. "Well, that's all up to the attorney general. Attorney General Barr is working on that," Trump said on the South Lawn ahead of his departure for his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. "That's his department, not my department. But we have a very capable attorney general so that's really up to him. I'm not involved." The remarkable escalation comes after Barr tried to remove Berman on Friday, but Berman defied Barr by refusing to step down. In an extraordinary statement sent roughly an hour after Barr said Berman was set to leave the office, Berman said he had learned of his purported exit from a press release. "I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate," Berman said.

By Tom Lutz in New York (now), Bryan Armen Graham and Martin Pengelly (earlier) - the guardian

Public health officials in Oklahoma have expressed concern about tonight’s rally as cases of Covid-19 in the state rise. There has not been an order for those attending the rally to wear facemasks, and Oliver Laughland on the ground (don’t worry, he’s wearing one), says most people he has seen are not wearing face coverings.

Review by Brian Lowry, CNN

(CNN) "Where's My Roy Cohn?" was a very good documentary about the notorious lawyer and fixer, including lessons -- never apologize and constantly attack -- he taught to a young client named Donald Trump. What sets "Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn" apart is the personal connection for director Ivy Meeropol, the granddaughter of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. The Rosenbergs were executed for espionage on June 19, 1953, cementing Cohn's image as an anti-Communist crusader, and providing the springboard to his work as chief counsel to Senator Joseph McCarthy. Meeropol chronicled the Rosenbergs' part of the story in a 2004 documentary, "Heir to an Execution." Interviewing her father, Michael Meeropol (who took the name of the family that adopted him and his younger brother), the director has created a film that essentially alternates between its ostensible subject, Cohn, and those victimized by his actions. Cohn is described by journalist Peter Manso as being "without conscience," and by more than interviewee as "evil." He was also a mass of contradictions, which has made him a continuing source of fascination: a gay man who persecuted gays (McCarthy calls them "easy prey to the blackmailer") and courted top conservatives espousing "traditional values" while frequenting Studio 54 and passing around candy dishes filled with cocaine. Meeropol draws upon a trove of audiotapes from Manso's interviews with Cohn for Playboy, coupling those with TV clips that essentially allow Cohn to tell his own story. He explains, for example, his tactic of using "the fear of publicity" to induce settlements, having cultivated and manipulated journalists along with political power brokers and mob figures. - William Barr is Trump's new Roy Cohn. William Barr is not doing his job; his oath of office is to America not to Donald J. Trump.

By Michael H Fuchs

The president has eroded norms, broken laws, and installed cronies who facilitate his corrupt reign. How much more can we take? John Bolton’s book is a reminder that, contrary to all of Trump’s claims to be “tough” on China, in reality Trump fawns over China’s president Xi Jinping, his China policies are counterproductive, and Trump has repeatedly sold out the American people to China to advance his own personal interests. From encouraging Xi to continue ethnic cleansing against Uighurs to asking for China’s help in his 2020 re-election campaign, Trump’s actions make it clear why Chinese officials believe that Trump is good for the Chinese Communist party (CCP). The revelations regarding China are just a handful of the many episodes in Bolton’s book illustrating Trump’s corruption and ineptitude that, in year four of Trump’s term, may not be surprising, but should still shock everyone. Daily events highlight how dangerous Trump is to America and the world, from ignoring a pandemic that is killing tens of thousands of Americans to encouraging state violence against protestors and police brutality against African Americans. There are no more surprises with Trump, just more death and destruction he leaves in his wake. But Bolton’s book helps illustrate two facts about the Trump administration: Trump is exactly who we know he is – an amoral charlatan using the most powerful office in the world to help himself at the expense of the American people; and those around Trump help him carry out his corrupt ends, despite what they may tell themselves to justify their complicity.

Ex-national security adviser's new book reignites controversy over first daughter's use of private email
By Chris Riotta - Independent

The former head of the US Office of Government Ethics has raised questions about controversial emails Ivanka Trump sent before joining her father’s White House administration, after they resurfaced due to John Bolton's upcoming book. Walter Shaub, who served as the chief ethics czar under former President Barack Obama, described the previously reported emails as “disturbing” after they were posted to Twitter by a government watchdog group, which received them after filing a Freedom of Information Act request in 2017. Ms Trump, who now serves as a senior White House adviser in President Donald Trump’s administration, was found to have conducted government business over a private server using personal email account “on hundreds of occasions”, according to the watchdog group, American Oversight. The emails revealed that the first daughter — who had no prior government or political experience prior to serving in her father’s White House — was emailing top cabinet officials like Education Secretary Betsy DeVos prior to officially joining the administration. Mr Shaub pointed to one email he found “even MORE disturbing” than others, which showed Ms Trump referring to a White House official as her “COS”, or chief of staff. The former ethics chief wrote in a tweet: “Wow! This is really crazy stuff.”

(CNN) Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York who has investigated a number of associates with ties to President Donald Trump, said he will not leave his post shortly after the Department of Justice announced late Friday night he was stepping down. Read his full statement: "I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was 'stepping down' as United States Attorney. I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.

By Dan Mangan

In stunning Friday night statements, President Donald Trump said he will nominate Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Jay Clayton to replace Geoffrey Berman as the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan — but Berman promptly said he will not leave until Clayton is confirmed by the Senate. “I learned in a press release from the Attorney General tonight that I was ‘stepping down’ as United States Attorney,” Berman said in a written statement. “I have not resigned, and have no intention of resigning, my position, to which I was appointed by the Judges of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York,” he said. “I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate.” “Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption. I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this Office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this Office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump warned those protesting his planned rally in Oklahoma they could be treated roughly, an opening threat a day ahead of what he says is the new kickoff of his reelection campaign. Writing on Twitter, Trump lumped together "protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes" and said they would not be afforded what he's decried as gentle treatment if they gather outside his Tulsa event. It came the morning after he used a blatantly false video of young children to decry media coverage of American race relations, a move that drew a rebuke from Twitter. The messages, which came as the nation marks the day in 1865 that the last enslaved Black people in the US learned they had been freed from bondage, made no attempt at striking a unifying or commemorative tone. Instead, Trump used his platform to heighten the drama surrounding his return to the campaign trail after a 110-day pandemic-forced absence and warn those who oppose him to stay away. "Please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis. It will be a much different scene!" he wrote on Friday morning.

By Phil Mattingly, CNN

(CNN) The Small Business Administration and Treasury Department, under withering criticism for lack of transparency, shifted course Friday and announced they would disclose details of borrowers in the Paycheck Protection Program. The SBA, which manages the $660 billion emergency lending program, will disclose business names, addresses, loan amount ranges and demographic data, among other things, as part of an agreement with bipartisan lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the SBA and Treasury announced in a joint statement. Such data would be released for businesses that received loans of at least $150,000, which make up nearly 75% of approved funding, the SBA and the Treasury Department said. For loans below $150,000, the SBA and Treasury announced that they would disclose totals aggregated by zip code, industry, business type and certain demographic categories.

By Donie O'Sullivan, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)Twitter on Thursday night labeled a video tweeted by President Donald Trump as "manipulated media." The move marks the third time Twitter has taken action against Trump in a month. Trump tweeted a video with a fake CNN graphic; the video claims, "America is not the problem. Fake news is." A Twitter spokesperson said Thursday night, "This Tweet has been labeled per our synthetic and manipulated media policy to give people more context." The video, which runs for 60 seconds, starts with footage of one part of a viral video that shows a black child run from a white child. The fake CNN graphic reads, "Terrified todler [sic] runs from racist baby."

By Jennifer Rubin Opinion writer

I have always wondered when the MAGA crowd and its Great Leader thought America was great. We know their appeal to disgruntled white voters is an exercise in phony nostalgia and wish fulfillment. Implicit in their slogan is a desire to go back to a time when whites — white men, to be specific — were numerically, politically, economically and culturally unchallenged. But when was this, exactly? 1950? 1920? We might have to go back to the 19th century. We got a hint this week when President Trump restated his support for U.S. Army bases to retain names of Confederate traitors and white supremacists. He said in one of his more bizarre interviews that removing the names would “divide” Americans. (We aren’t divided now, I suppose, because “America” to him is his white base.) We wouldn’t want to “bring people apart,” he insisted — as the traitors did when they took up arms against fellow Americans? In the same interview, he said that no one really knew about Juneteenth (meaning, he and his lily-white staff were ignorant of it) until he brought it up. He also argued that his “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” comment was appropriate. Meanwhile, Republicans in the Senate blocked an effort to remove Confederate statues from the Capitol. I am getting the sense that Trump and his followers look back favorably on the Confederacy, the memory of which swells them with pride. (Does Trump know that, in addition to being racists and traitors, they were losers?) - Confederates were traitors who should not be honor for attacking America so they could keep slaves. The Republican Party supports traitors by protecting the monuments of traitors. Protecting the monuments of traitor’s means in some way you support what the people who committed treason against America did. We should not honor traitors; honoring traitors gives the impression that you can commit treason against America and be honored. We should not honor the traitors who fought against our country that dishonors all the great Americans who have fought and died for our country.


The president “will not even consider” renaming military bases that honor Confederate leaders. - Confederates were traitors who should not be honor for attacking America so they could keep slaves. The Republican Party supports traitors by protecting the monuments of traitors. Protecting the monuments of traitor’s means in some way you support what the people who committed treason against America did. We should not honor traitors; honoring traitors gives the impression that you can commit treason against America and be honored. We should not honor the traitors who fought against our country that dishonors all the great Americans who have fought and died for our country.

The president’s top advisers made repeated reference to possible violence on the streets this weekend.

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened action against protesters and others who might seek to sabotage his rally this weekend in Tulsa, Okla. — echoing the hard-line rhetoric he has employed in response to mass demonstrations across the country against police brutality and racial injustice. “Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “It will be a much different scene!” Trump, who does not control local law enforcement in Oklahoma, did not elaborate on what type of resistance those who gather in opposition to his presence in Tulsa might face. The president’s social media post comes after Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum issued an executive order Thursday declaring a civil emergency and imposing curfews for parts of downtown to be in effect before and after Trump’s rally Saturday in the city’s 19,000-seat BOK Center and a 40,000-capacity convention center nearby. In his order, Bynum also revealed that he had “received information from the Tulsa Police Department and other law enforcement agencies that shows that individuals from organized groups who have been involved in destructive and violent behavior in other States are planning to travel to the City of Tulsa for purposes of causing unrest in and around the rally.”

This isn't the first time he's argued for keeping Confederate memorials.
By Libby Cathey

"THOSE THAT DENY THEIR HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT!" President Donald Trump tweeted Thursday in all capital letters, a day after saying he "will not even consider" renaming Fort Bragg and other military installations named after Confederate generals. He called them "Monumental and very Powerful Bases [that] have become part of a Great American Heritage," even though the Pentagon had said it was open to discussing the move.  Politically risky as it is, Trump has a history of his own in repeatedly defending the symbols of a time many consider deeply offensive, even more so now amid a nationwide reckoning over race. Keeping alive the legacy of the Confederacy -- from statues glorifying its military heroes to the brandishing of its rebel flag -- to millions of Americans is a painful reminder of what it stood for: the nation's racist foundation. - Confederates were traitors who should not be honor for attacking America so they could keep slaves. The Republican Party supports traitors by protecting the monuments of traitors. Protecting the monuments of traitor’s means in some way you support what the people who committed treason against America did. We should not honor traitors; honoring traitors gives the impression that you can commit treason against America and be honored. We should not honor the traitors who fought against our country that dishonors all the great Americans who have fought and died for our country.

Trump’s legal battle to halt Bolton’s book is only one part of a ferocious campaign against his former aide
By Christina Wilkie

WASHINGTON — Former national security advisor John Bolton filed a motion in federal court asking the judge to dismiss a last-minute Trump administration lawsuit against him that seeks to halt the release of his damning memoir, “The Room Where it Happened.” The motion by the Justice Department late Thursday was the latest tactical maneuver in an ongoing battle between the career Republican foreign policy wonk and President Donald Trump over the book, which is scheduled for release Tuesday. The Justice Department alleged in a lawsuit against Bolton filed one week before the book’s release that the memoir contains classified information. A day later, it asked a judge to halt distribution and sale of the book, details of which already have been widely reported. In the motion to dismiss, Bolton attorney Charles Cooper denied there is classified information in the book, and detailed a months-long prepublication review process that Bolton underwent with the National Security Council.

By Greg Sargent

President Trump’s campaign is under fire for employing a symbol once used by Nazis in a new batch of Facebook ads — a red inverted triangle that appeared alongside a warning about the dire threat posed by “antifa,” a loose motley group allied against neo-fascist activity. An internal Department of Homeland Security document — which I obtained from a congressional source — makes the Trump campaign’s use of this symbol, and its justification for it, look a whole lot worse, by undercutting the claim that antifa represents any kind of threat in the first place. After Facebook removed the ads amid an outcry, the Trump campaign continued to defend use of the image — which was used by Nazis to identify political prisoners — by claiming it’s a “common Antifa symbol.” The suggestion, of course, is that the image is justified by the idea that it’s associated with antifa, so it’s merely a warning of a continuing menace to the country. “STOP ANTIFA,” the ads say, warning of “dangerous MOBS of far-left groups” that are “DESTROYING our cities.”

By Daniel Dale

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump made a speech and did at least four television interviews on Wednesday -- and, as usual, littered his comments with false claims about his Democratic opponents, the coronavirus pandemic and a variety of other subjects. Some of his false claims on Wednesday were new, though a number were things he has repeated continuously over the past few months. Here's a look at what he said and the facts behind them:

Biden's campaigning
Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden has been in the basement of his home (in Wilmington, Delaware) "for a long time." Trump added, "They are leaving him there, and at some point he is going to have to come out for air." Facts First: Since late May, Biden has repeatedly left his home to campaign -- and, in fact, made a campaign trip to Pennsylvania earlier this same day. At the very moment in the interview when Trump claimed Biden's campaign was leaving him in the basement, Hannity's show was running footage of Biden delivering an afternoon economic speech in Darby, Pennsylvania. Biden, like Trump, has been forced by the pandemic to reduce his campaign travel. But the former vice president has made multiple trips out of his home since he emerged to lay a Memorial Day wreath on May 25 after more than two months without public events. For example, Biden attended a June 1 community meeting at Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Delaware, delivered a June 2 speech in Philadelphia about racism and leadership and a June 5 economic address in Delaware, met with the family of George Floyd on June 8 in Houston, and held a June 11 economic roundtable in Philadelphia.

By Chris Mills Rodrigo

Facebook on Thursday took down Trump campaign ads against antifa that prominently featured a symbol used by Nazis to designate political prisoners, a spokesperson for the company confirmed to The Hill. “We removed these posts and ads for violating our policy against organized hate," Facebook said in a statement. "Our policy prohibits using a banned hate group's symbol to identify political prisoners without the context that condemns or discusses the symbol.” The ads featured an inverted red triangle, which was used by Nazis to identify political opponents including communists, social democrats and liberals. The symbol was included in ads run by pages for President Trump, Vice President Pence and "Team Trump" alongside text warning readers of “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups" and asking them to sign a petition against antifa, a loose group of radical activists that use direct action to fight against fascism. Just the ads on Trump's page were seen as many 950,000 times before being taken down. The Trump campaign is defending using the image, calling it a "common Antifa symbol" in a statement to The Hill. The most common symbol used to identify antifa is a black and red flag inside a circle.

By David Choi and Sonam Sheth

President Donald Trump expressed approval of a concentration camp for Uighur Muslims in China during a private meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to former national security adviser John Bolton's upcoming memoir, "The Room Where It Happened." In a private meeting during the 2019 G20 meeting in Japan, Trump and Xi were accompanied only by their interpreters, according to Bolton's book, parts of which were published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. Xi "explained to Trump why he was basically building concentration camps in Xinjiang," Bolton wrote, citing the interpreter's account. The interpreter added that "Trump said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which Trump thought was exactly the right thing to do," according to the book. Bolton also wrote in the book that Matthew Pottinger, a retired US Marine and the current deputy national security adviser, "told me that Trump said something very similar during his November 2017 trip to China."

By Peter Baker | The New York Times

John Bolton, the former national security adviser, says in his new book that the House in its impeachment inquiry should have investigated President Donald Trump not just for pressuring Ukraine to incriminate his domestic foes but for a variety of instances when he sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons. Bolton describes several episodes where the president expressed willingness to halt criminal investigations “to, in effect, give personal favors to dictators he liked,” citing cases involving major firms in China and Turkey. “The pattern looked like obstruction of justice as a way of life, which we couldn’t accept,” Bolton writes, adding that he reported his concerns to Attorney General William Barr. Bolton also adds a striking new allegation by saying that Trump overtly linked trade negotiations to his own political fortunes by asking President Xi Jinping of China to buy a lot of American agricultural products to help him win farm states in this year’s election. Trump, he writes, was “pleading with Xi to ensure he’d win. He stressed the importance of farmers, and increased Chinese purchases of soybeans and wheat in the electoral outcome.”

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Faced with faltering poll numbers and a huge furor caused by allegations made in John Bolton's soon-to-be-released memoir of his time in the White House, President Donald Trump retreated to the warm embrace of Fox News on Wednesday night.
In a phone interview with Sean Hannity, Trump railed against his opponents -- real and imagined -- while also painting an alternate reality of his current political situation. He was aided and abetted in that world-building by Hannity, the most loyal of Trump's media foot soldiers.
Below, the lines from the interview you need to see.

1. "We did tremendous opportunity, if you look at the opportunities we have given everybody."
I think I did tremendous opportunity one time. Woke up the next morning and didn't remember a thing. And away we go!

By Isaac Stanley-Becker

In its online salvo against antifa and “far-left mobs,” President Trump’s reelection campaign is displaying a marking the Nazis once used to designate political prisoners in concentration camps. A red inverted triangle was first used in the 1930s to identify Communists, and was applied as well to Social Democrats, liberals, Freemasons and other members of opposition parties. The badge forced on Jewish political prisoners, by contrast, featured a red inverted triangle superimposed on a yellow triangle. The symbol appeared in Facebook ads run by Trump and Vice President Pence, as well as the “Team Trump” account on Facebook. It was featured alongside text warning of “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups” and asking users to sign a petition about antifa, a loose collection of anti-fascist activists whom the Trump administration has sought to link to recent violence, despite arrest records that show their involvement is trivial.

Feds built huge stockpile before FDA withdrew emergency authorization
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff

(Newser) – The US now has more hydroxychloroquine than it knows what to do with following a series of studies that concluded the drug is an ineffective and potentially dangerous treatment for COVID-19. The federal government, which started stockpiling the drug in March, now has 63 million surplus doses of the drug, donated by companies including Novartis, and another 2 million doses of chloroquine, the New York Times reports. Some 31 million doses from the Strategic National Stockpile were distributed before the FDA withdrew its emergency authorization of the drug to treat the coronavirus. President Trump championed the drug for months, hailing it as a possible "game-changer" and announcing that he was taking it himself.

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China threatened retaliation after U.S. President Donald Trump signed legislation on Wednesday calling for sanctions over the repression of China’s Uighurs, as excerpts from a book by his former national security adviser alleged he had approved of their mass detention. The bill, which Congress passed with only one “no” vote, was intended to send China a strong message on human rights by mandating sanctions against those responsible for oppression of members of China’s Muslim minority. The United Nations estimates that more than a million Muslims have been detained in camps in the Xinjiang region. The U.S. State Department has accused Chinese officials of subjecting Muslims to torture, abuse “and trying to basically erase their culture and their religion.” China, which denies mistreatment and says the camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism, responded to the signing of the law with anger, saying it “vilified” the human rights situation in Xinjiang and was a malicious attack against China.

The presidency of Donald Trump has already generated a long reading list, but the latest offering from former National Security Adviser John Bolton has attracted more attention than most, given the author's high-ranking status and the nature of his claims.

His work - The Room Where It Happened - portrays a president ignorant of basic geopolitical facts and whose decisions were frequently driven by a desire for re-election. Critics of Mr Trump have asked why Mr Bolton did not speak up during impeachment hearings, while the president himself has called his former top adviser on security matters "incompetent" and a "boring old fool". The White House is trying to stop the book's release, but US media have obtained advance copies and have started publishing details from it. Here are some of the most eye-catching allegations.

1. Trump wanted help from China to win re-election...
In the book, Mr Bolton describes a meeting between President Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at a G20 meeting in Japan last year. The US president "stunningly, turned the conversation to the coming US presidential election [in 2020], alluding to China's economic capability and pleading with Xi to ensure he'd win," Mr Bolton writes.

In an ABC interview, Bolton says Trump was singularly focused on reelection.
By Conor Finnegan

President Donald Trump is not "fit for office" and doesn't have "the competence to carry out the job," his former national security adviser John Bolton told ABC News in an exclusive interview. In an explosive new book about his 17 months at the White House, Bolton characterizes Trump as "stunningly uninformed," ignorant of basic facts and easily manipulated by foreign adversaries. But his assessment that Trump is not "fit" to be president is among the most stunning indictments of a sitting president by one of their own top advisers in American history.  "There really isn't any guiding principle that I was able to discern other than what's good for Donald Trump's reelection," Bolton told ABC News chief global affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz. "He was so focused on the reelection that longer-term considerations fell by the wayside," he added.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the majority opinion.
By Devin Dwyer

The Supreme Court issued an opinion Thursday on President Donald Trump's 2017 decision to cancel Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA. The majority opinion, written by Chief Justice John Roberts, overturns Trump's decision to end the program on the basis given at the time.

By Rem Rieder

During a visit to Iowa, Vice President Mike Pence made several false claims about President Donald Trump’s handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic. In remarks to employees of Winnebago Industries in Forest City, Iowa, June 16, Pence said Trump “shut down all travel from China.” The president did impose travel restrictions on China but did not shut down all travel. Pence also said that Trump took the action before there had been a single case of the disease in this country. That also is not accurate. And finally, Pence said that Trump’s action gave the United States time to set up its response to the pandemic. But some disease experts say the Trump administration did not use that time effectively. There have been more than 2.1 million cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, in the United States and more than 116,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The novel coronavirus outbreak began in Wuhan, China, late last year. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar announced the China travel restrictions on Jan. 31. The restrictions, which went into effect Feb. 2, prohibited non-U.S. citizens who had traveled to China within the previous two weeks from entering the U.S. But the new rules didn’t apply to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and their immediate family members.


Former national security adviser John Bolton claims President Donald Trump asked his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, to help him win the 2020 US presidential election, according to an excerpt from his upcoming book published by the Wall Street Journal. That encounter, according to Bolton, took place during a June 2019 meeting between the two leaders in Osaka, Japan, where "Xi told Trump that the U.S.-China relationship was the most important in the world" and said that "some (unnamed) American political figures were making erroneous judgments by calling for a new cold war with China."

President was fixated on getting an autographed CD of Elton John's "Rocket Man" to Hermit Kingdom's dictator
By John T Bennett -  Washington Bureau Chief - Independent

Donald Trump cared little about North Korea's nuclear arsenal when he met with Kim Jong Un and was more interested in making friends with the dictator as he treated the historic meeting as "an exercise in publicity," a former senior aide says. "Trump told ... me he was prepared to sign a substance-free communique, have his press conference to declare victory and then get out of town," former Trump national security adviser John Bolton writes in a coming book, according to the Washington Post. Mr Bolton writes that ahead of the big North Korea summit, Mr Trump insisted on giving Kim gifts that violated US sanctions on the country. US officials were forced to waive those sanctions, he contends. The former adviser's description of working for Mr Trump largely confirms what others have laid out and what it often seems like for reporters on the beat: A disorganised, chaotic, constantly shifting workspace with an erratic commander in chief at the helm. For instance, Mr Bolton describes the president's fascination with getting an autographed CD to Kim. The artist was Elton John. The song? "Rocket Man."

By Michael Birnbaum

BRUSSELS — Europeans have lamented that the United States has relinquished its role as a global moral leader under President Trump. But the proliferation of Black Lives Matter protests around the world has solidified belief here that American society remains a superpower of influence, even if its politicians do not. Protests have erupted in Australia, South Africa, Brazil. In war-wracked Syria, one artist painted a mural of George Floyd, the black man who died while being pinned down by a Minneapolis police officer, on a fragment of a wall in a bombed-out house. But nowhere outside the United States has the Black Lives Matter movement forced a more powerful reckoning than in Europe, where increasingly diverse societies have often done little to grapple with their colonial legacies and modern-day discrimination. In Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Berlin, Brussels, Madrid, Lisbon and cities across Britain, protesters have taken to the streets to express solidarity with Americans but also to demand changes within their own countries.

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) There's a common motivation in the White House's attempt to suppress John Bolton's book and its state of denial over alarming new trends in the coronavirus pandemic: President Donald Trump doesn't want Americans to see information that could harm him or the narrative he has constructed. The former national security adviser's behind-the-scenes account is expected to portray Trump, who was impeached over an apparent abuse of power in Ukraine and clashed with Bolton over a number of foreign policy issues, in an extremely poor light. And increasing signs that the pandemic is becoming more virulent in states that heeded the President's calls to open the economy -- like Florida, Arizona, South Carolina and Texas -- contradict his claim that the US has prevailed and it's safe to go back to normal. "They just don't want to deal with the reality of it. They're in denial," an official familiar with the work of the White House's coronavirus task force told CNN's Jim Acosta. Both dramas have the potential to further dent the President's reelection campaign, as polls show him behind presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden. Bolton is likely to undercut Trump's chosen image as a strong, dominant global leader and could unleash more Ukraine-style controversies over his behavior in office. A surge in coronavirus cases is meanwhile tarnishing the President's narrative of the "Great American Comeback" and the economic openings that may be key to his hopes of a second term.

Trump scrambles to suppress inconvenient information with Bolton book and coronavirus
Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) There's a common motivation in the White House's attempt to suppress John Bolton's book and its state of denial over alarming new trends in the coronavirus pandemic: President Donald Trump doesn't want Americans to see information that could harm him or the narrative he has constructed. The former national security adviser's behind-the-scenes account is expected to portray Trump, who was impeached over an apparent abuse of power in Ukraine and clashed with Bolton over a number of foreign policy issues, in an extremely poor light. And increasing signs that the pandemic is becoming more virulent in states that heeded the President's calls to open the economy -- like Florida, Arizona, South Carolina and Texas -- contradict his claim that the US has prevailed and it's safe to go back to normal. "They just don't want to deal with the reality of it. They're in denial," an official familiar with the work of the White House's coronavirus task force told CNN's Jim Acosta.

Trump Could Still Break Democracy’s Biggest Norm
Some of the president’s opponents fear that he’ll refuse to leave the White House if he loses the election. Here’s why.
By Peter Nicholas

Say Joe Biden wins the presidential election in November. On the morning of January 20, Donald Trump will enter the Oval Office and leave a handwritten letter to Biden on the Resolute desk. Later, Trump and his wife, Melania, will stand in the White House’s North Portico to await a visit from the president-elect and his wife, Jill. After the armored limousine glides up the driveway, the couples will exchange pleasantries and maybe gifts before heading inside for coffee. Trump’s pictures would already have been slipped from oversize frames that, for the moment, hang empty on the walls. Workers will pull down drapes and roll up carpets that don’t suit the incoming family’s aesthetic. Sometime before noon, the couples will leave the White House in separate cars and meet again on the Capitol’s west portico. Trump will be in the front row, watching as Biden places his hand on the Bible and takes the oath of office. Back at the White House, Trump’s senior aides will pack up and leave. After the ceremony, the 45th and 46th presidents will walk side by side to a waiting helicopter on the Capitol plaza for a final goodbye. Trump will salute, board, and fly away.

Or maybe not. Every four or eight years, the clock hits noon on January 20 and the nation learns whether the old president accepts the legitimacy of the new. “The current presidential term ends at noon on January 20. Full stop,” Joshua Geltzer, a Georgetown Law professor, told me. If Biden wins, that’s the precise moment when his term would start. It’s democracy’s most dangerous instant: the interval when power changes hands, testing whether the nation stays moored to self-governance. That tradition’s endurance depends on Trump’s cooperation—or the resiliency of the country’s democratic institutions should he withhold it. There’s no assurance that Trump will accept the validity of the election results. He’s already described mail-in voting as a plot to steal the election. And he’s trolled critics with the tongue-in-cheek suggestion that, by popular demand, he might stay in office beyond the Constitution’s eight-year limit.

Seven days before the scheduled June 23 release of a tell-all account of John Bolton's tenure as President Trump's national security adviser, the Justice Department late Tuesday mounted a last-ditch effort to block its publication. A 27-page civil lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Bolton with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges that publication of his 592-page book, The Room Where It Happened, would be a violation of nondisclosure agreements he signed and compromise national security. "[The National Security Council] has determined that the manuscript in its present form contains certain passages — some up to several paragraphs in length — that contain classified national security information," the filing states. "In fact, the NSC has determined that information in the manuscript is classified at the Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret levels." "Accordingly," it continues, "the publication and release of The Room Where it Happened would cause irreparable harm, because the disclosure of instances of classified information in the manuscript reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage, or exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States." The lawsuit argues that Bolton, who lasted 16 months as Trump's third national security adviser before being fired in September 2019, had signed a document three days after leaving his White House post acknowledging "that he continued to be 'prohibited from disclosing any classified or confidential information,' and that he 'may not use or disclose nonpublic information' — defined as 'information gained by reason of [his] federal employment' and that 'has not been made available to the general public.' "

Fact check: A look at the false claim that the previous administration was nowhere on an issue roiling the nation then and now.
By Jane C. Timm

President Donald Trump claimed Tuesday that his predecessor did not take action on reforming police — even though it was under Trump that several Obama-era changes were scrapped. "President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period. The reason they didn't try is they had no idea how to do it," Trump said in the White House Rose Garden before he signed an executive order that encourages police departments to adopt high standards, like banning chokeholds unless the life of the officer is at risk, and to create a database of excessive force complaints. But Obama, the nation's first Black president, who confronted and addressed race and racism frequently, did take action to reform police and try to reduce bias in law enforcement. The Trump administration is well aware of that, too: It unraveled those changes. "He said President Obama did nothing on police reform, but the fact is they made a lot of progress and President Trump rolled it back," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday. Biden's deputy campaign manager, Kate Bedingfield, said, "Donald Trump says President Obama and Vice President Biden didn't do anything on policing reform, but he knows that isn't true because he has spent the past three years tearing down the very reforms the Obama-Biden administration pursued." In August 2017, Trump reversed an Obama policy that banned the military from selling surplus equipment to police, a measure that had been put in place amid criticism over the armored vehicles, tear gas and assault rifles used to control protests after the police killing of Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014.

By John Haltiwanger

As President Donald Trump outlined his executive order on policing in the Rose Garden on Tuesday in a rambling monologue that was more like one of his campaign rallies than a formal announcement, he falsely claimed that former President Barack Obama "never even tried" to reform law enforcement during this tenure. "President Obama and Vice President Biden never even tried to fix this during their eight-year period," Trump said as he discussed bringing about change to policing. "The reason they didn't try is because they had no idea how to do it. And it is a complex situation." But Trump actually rolled back Obama-era efforts aimed at quelling police brutality, including an executive order aimed at demilitarizing the police. In 2014, after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, people across the US looked on in horror as protests over the killing were met by police officers equipped like soldiers.


Former GOP strategist Steve Schmidt joins MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent Ari Melber to discuss Attorney General Bill Barr’s “appalling” actions. Schmidt argues “The attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer of the United States, not the president's personal attorney” adding Barr “has acted in a way that is contrary to every other attorney general's understanding of their duties in that office.” Schmidt slams AG Barr for acting “like Donald Trump's Roy Cohn."

President’s discussion of measure discouraging chokeholds soon shifts to focus on stock market and retail sales
By David Smith in Washington

Donald Trump faced renewed criticism on Tuesday for what critics said was a “woeful” attempt at police reform that failed to address systemic racism and fell far short of the demands of Black Lives Matter activists seeking fundamental change. The US president issued an executive order that would discourage police from using chokeholds and create a national database for police misconduct. But while Trump’s remarks in the White House Rose Garden began with a sombre list of African Americans killed by police, they soon turned into something resembling a campaign speech, touting the stock market and retail sales and arguing “school choice” is the civil rights cause of our time. The president has been scrambling to respond after the death of George Floyd, an African American killed when a white Minneapolis officer pressed his knee into the his neck for nearly nine minutes. The killing touched off the biggest civil rights uprising for half a century and a moment of national reckoning on racism. With nine officials at his side, some in law enforcement uniforms, Trump signed an executive order aimed at promoting accountability in law enforcement. It uses federal government grants to encourage police departments to meet certain standards for use of force, including banning chokeholds – except in cases where an officer is targeted by deadly force.

Bloomberg Politics

Jun.15 -- President Donald Trump threatens to crack down on Seattle anti-police brutality protesters who’ve taken over several blocks of the city unless municipal and state leaders move to reclaim control of the streets. He speaks at the White House. (Excerpt)

By Sarah K. Burris

President Donald Trump was criticized as being “low energy” during his Rose Garden announcement on police brutality Tuesday. After meeting with the families of some of the people of color killed by police, Trump welcomed officers, but not the families, to a press event to announce his executive order. It sparked questions as to why the families didn’t attend and if they were invited or if they refused to support Trump’s new policy. But Trump soon riffed on the protests, attacking them as rioters and looters. He followed by bragging about the stimulus bill that Democrats worked to negotiate with Senate Republicans and Steve Mnuchin. He then tried to claim that “school choice” was all about civil rights so families can bus children miles away instead of mandating that all schools in all communities be improved and equalized. He went on to call it the biggest civil rights issue of our time, ignoring the actual Civil Rights Movement.

Trump signs order on tracking police misconduct, officer training amid George Floyd protests
By Courtney Subramanian - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order directing police departments to adopt new standards for the use of force following protests over the deaths of George Floyd and other African Americans at the hands of law enforcement officers. The order also calls for the creation of a national database to allow departments to track potential hires with records of abuse. Speaking from the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he met privately with several families of those killed in police interactions, including family members of Ahmaud Arbery, Botham Jean, Antwon Rose and Michael Dean, before the event. "All Americans mourn by your side, your love ones will not have died in vain," he said in a message to those families, who were not in attendance. "Reducing crime and raising standards are not opposite goals."

Prosecutor who withdrew from Roger Stone case to testify about DOJ
“Again and again, Attorney General Barr has demonstrated that he will cater to President Trump’s private political interests," Jerry Nadler says.

One of four prosecutors who withdrew from the case of longtime Donald Trump ally Roger Stone after Justice Department leaders intervened in his sentencing, Aaron Zelinsky, is prepared to testify before the House Judiciary Committee next week, Chairman Jerry Nadler revealed Tuesday. Nadler issued two subpoenas, one for Zelinsky and one for DOJ antitrust prosecutor John Elias, describing both as "whistleblowers" prepared to testify to allegations of political interference in Attorney General William Barr's Justice Department. A hearing with both men is set for June 24. They'll appear alongside Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general in President George H.W. Bush's Justice Department, who is expected to speak broadly about the importance of an independent Justice Department.

“Again and again, Attorney General Barr has demonstrated that he will cater to President Trump’s private political interests, at the expense of the American people and the rule of law," Nadler said in a statement. "He has abruptly reversed course on prosecutions against the President’s allies and friends. He has pursued pretextual investigations against the President’s perceived political enemies. He has failed to defend the Affordable Care Act, and he has helped to roll back important civil rights protections.”

By Mary Cadden - USA TODAY

Mary Trump, the niece of President Donald Trump, has penned a book that's on the president and is being released July 28, according to Simon & Schuster. The book is described by the publisher on Amazon as a "revelatory, authoritative portrait of Donald J. Trump and the toxic family that made him," saying Mary Trump, a trained clinical psychologist and the president’s only niece, "shines a bright light on the dark history of their family in order to explain how her uncle became the man who now threatens the world’s health, economic security, and social fabric."

The book, titled “Too Much And Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is timed to come out less than a month before Trump accepts the Republican nomination for a second term. The Republican National Convention is scheduled for Aug. 24-27 and has been moved from North Carolina amid coronavirus concerns to Jacksonville, Florida.

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) Top officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association violated its ethical standards and scientific integrity policy when it issued a statement contradicting a local National Weather Service office during Hurricane Dorian in 2019, a scientific misconduct investigation determined. During Dorian's approach to the United States last year, President Donald Trump showed members of the media an image of the storm's potential path, which included a marker drawing in an area of Alabama. Responding to calls of concern, the National Weather Service's Birmingham, Alabama, office tweeted out, "Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian. We repeat, no impacts from Hurricane #Dorian will be felt across Alabama. The system will remain too far east." But on September 6, NOAA released a statement saying, "The information provided by NOAA and the National Hurricane Center to President Trump and the wider public demonstrated that tropical-storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama. ... The Birmingham National Weather Service's Sunday morning tweet spoke in absolute terms that were inconsistent with probabilities from the best forecast products available at the time."

Now, a new memo laying out the final decision on three allegations of misconduct says that an independent panel investigating NOAA leadership's actions during the storm's approach violated the agency's ethical and scientific standards. Specifically, the panel determined that acting Administrator of NOAA Neil Jacobs and NOAA Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Communications Julie Roberts violated NOAA's Code of Ethics for Science Supervision and Management and the agency's Scientific Integrity Policy in writing and releasing the September 6 statement. By excluding the Birmingham office from the development of the statement, Jacobs and Roberts "engaged in the misconduct intentionally, knowingly, or in reckless disregard of the Code of Scientific Conduct or Code of Ethics for Science Supervision and Management in NOAA's Scientific Integrity Policy," the panel wrote. In addition, the panel addresses the allegation that "the drafting of the September 6 Statement was driven by external political pressure from Department of Commerce ... senior leaders and inappropriately criticized the September 1 Birmingham Tweet and underlying scientific activity."

By Sonam Shet

President Donald Trump said Monday that there would be very few cases of coronavirus if the US stopped its testing and contact tracing. "If we stop testing right now, we'd have very few cases, actually," the president said during a roundtable event for seniors. This isn't the first time Trump has remarked on how less testing would result in fewer publicly reported cases. "So the media likes to say we have the most cases, but we do, by far, the most testing. If we did very little testing, we wouldn't have the most cases. So, in a way, by doing all of this testing, we make ourselves look bad," Trump said during a meeting with Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds last month. - Donald J. Trump makes rocks look smart. Lack of testing does not reduce the actual number cases just the number reported, granted for him he thinks it would look better to have less cases. If you do not test, you do not know who is infected or how wide spread it is.


OAKLAND — California’s “sanctuary” immigration enforcement law will not go before the U.S. Supreme Court, handing California a capstone victory in an ongoing clash with the federal government. The high court on Monday turned down the Justice Department's request to review a federal appeals court decision that largely upheld three California laws. One of the laws passed soon after Donald Trump became president, Senate Bill 54, partitions local law enforcement from federal immigration authorities, protecting arrested immigrants and low-level offenders from deportation. The federal government asked the Supreme Court to review SB 54. The court announced Monday that it declined that review, though Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas would have heard the case. Trump and allies have lambasted California's sanctuary law as an example of what they called Democratic lawlessness on immigration, but it has withstood federal attacks. In addition to rejecting the administration’s argument that California was preempted by federal law, judges have turned back a Trump administration effort to withhold law enforcement funding from “sanctuary” jurisdictions. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra hailed the Supreme Court's decision for bolstering California’s effort to build “trust between law enforcement and our hard-working immigrant communities.”

By Jeong-Ho Lee, Nick Wadhams and Jennifer Jacobs / Bloomberg

A large “Black Lives Matter” banner draped on the front of the U.S. embassy in Seoul was removed on Monday after it was brought to the attention of President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, according to people familiar with the matter. Pompeo and Trump were both displeased about the banner, the people said. A large, multicolored Pride”banner recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people was also removed on Monday. They were replaced with a banner commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Korean War. The embassy unfurled the “Black Lives Matter” banner on its mission building on Saturday to support worldwide anti-racism protests that have followed the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody last month. - Trump America’s racist president

By George T. Conway III - Contributing columnist

John Bolton made a mistake. It’s not the one you may think it is. The former national security adviser’s memoir about his experiences working for President Trump will arrive on June 23. For months, the book has triggered criticism that Bolton put commercial profit over country by saving his depiction of Trump for the book, instead of providing it under oath during Trump’s impeachment proceedings last winter. A new wave of such criticism hit Bolton on Friday, when his publisher revealed more about what’s in the book. In short: Trump is as bad as we thought, perhaps worse. According to the publisher, Bolton will describe Trump as “a president for whom getting reelected was the only thing that mattered, even if it meant endangering or weakening the nation.” Bolton even “argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy.”

By Ilya Zhegulev

KIEV (Reuters) - Ukrainian officials on Saturday said they were offered $5 million in bribes to end a probe into energy company Burisma’s founder, but said there was no connection to former board member Hunter Biden whose father is running for the U.S. presidency. The Ukrainian company was thrust into the global spotlight last year in the impeachment inquiry into whether U.S. President Donald Trump improperly pressured Kiev into opening a case against his rival for the November election race. Trump wants an investigation into the Democrats’ 2020 candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son. Artem Sytnyk, head of Ukraine’s national anti-corruption bureau (NABU), said three people had been detained, including one current and former tax official, over the bribe offer. The money was the largest cash bribe ever seized in the country, NABU said. It was put on display during a press briefing, brought by masked men in see-through plastic bags.

By Linette Lopez

When President Donald Trump tells us he does not want to change the names of US military bases named after Confederate military leaders, or that he wants Confederate monuments left alone, he's telling you who owns this country — white Americans. And when he does so while the country is still reeling from his attempt to unleash the US military on anti-racist protesters, he's forcing us to reckon with the inextricable link between American racism and American fascism. No, the Civil War was not fought over tariffs, and it isn't correct to say it started over states rights either. The Confederates were fascists who used racism as the ideology that organized their authoritarian society. Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis and the entire Confederacy were fighting to preserve a social structure that left Black Americans out of citizenry and firmly established white property holding men on top. They believed the country belonged to these white, landowning men, and that they were the only ones entitled to govern or profit from it. They also believed that those men should preserve it with violence if necessary. To build this slavocracy they became traitors to our homeland. As one southern planter so perversely put it on the eve of secession, "give us slavery or give us death." In 1857 the Athens Southern Watchmen, a prominent pro-secession political journal, laid it out more eloquently. It repudiated the egalitarianism of Thomas Jefferson saying that he had lead our country astray with his talk of "vulgar democracy." It mused that it was absurd to think the "pauper and the landholder are alike competent to manage the affairs of a country." This is why, in the election of 1860, non-property holding men in South Carolina were disenfranchised, and only the planter aristocrats in the Electoral College cast their votes.

Donald Trump and his followers want "order," but they have zero respect for the law. Maybe America sees that now
By David Masciotra

Mark Twain's instruction to curious residents of Freedom Central is, by now, familiar: "If you want to see the dregs of society, go down to the jail and watch the changing of the guard." There is little doubt that the corrections officer who beats and torments the inmates under his supervision would use the phrase "law and order" as a defense for his own lawlessness. Almost any usage of that loaded term in American civic discourse serves as qualification for membership in a diner's club of hell. Donald Trump, the latest political demagogue to employ the term as a rhetorical bludgeon against peaceful protesters, can look forward to sitting alongside Sen. Joseph McCarthy, former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley, who ordered police to attack political demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention, Richard Nixon and many foreign dictators in the annals of history — and if there is an afterlife, in the middle of the inferno. Beyond the term's dark history and utility, there is also the rarely discussed fiction it is meant to disguise. In fact, the United States is one of the least lawful societies in the developed world, and that the bulletproof bullies who scream about "law and order" are typically society's most committed enablers of criminality and corruption. The police lynching of George Floyd provoked widespread denunciation, with even ghouls like Rush Limbaugh and Mitch McConnell condemning the individual officers responsible for the death. What they do not want to acknowledge is the continuation of not only systemic racism within criminal justice, but also a culture of crime. Pundits on the American right delight in reciting the bromide, "a few bad apples," as if they coined it, but they have seemingly forgotten the full cliché: "One bad apple spoils the bunch." One need look no further than Buffalo, New York, to observe how the mold of a single fruit will soon spread to the rest. When two sadists in uniform shoved an elderly man to the ground for the crime of approaching them, causing him a critical head injury, their fellow cops made no attempt to help the victim. After the city of Buffalo suspended the perpetrators and charged them with assault, 57 officers resigned from the Emergency Response Team in support of their "brothers" whose version of "law and order" includes inflicting random violence on unarmed senior citizens.

By Dave Goldiner - New York Daily News

He’s trembling again. President Trump struggled to lift a glass of water Saturday during his speech to U.S. Military Academy graduates at West Point. Trump started to lift the glass with his right hand but seemed unable to guide it all the way up to his lips. The president used his left hand to steady the glass and tilt it into his mouth.

By Brian Niemietz - New York Daily News

Oh sway can you see. President Trump’s struggles to stand still during a Memorial Day visit to Arlington National Cemetery lit up social media Monday, prompting users to recall past incidents in which the commander in chief, who turns 74 next month, battled to find a balance. “Is the President having trouble standing up straight as the National Anthem begins at Arlington Cemetary (sic) or am I seeing things?” Joshua Potash from Queens asked on Twitter. The Trump critic posted that video, along with another clearly showing the president swaying in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

By Morgan Gstalter

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday slammed the Trump administration’s decision to roll back LGBTQ protections in the Affordable Care Act, calling the move “unconscionable.” “This action is unconscionable — and to do so during Pride Month, on the fourth anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack at the Pulse Nightclub that claimed 49 lives, many of them members of the LGBTQ+ community, is despicable,” the presumptive Democratic nominee said in a statement. During the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Biden accused Trump of being “more consumed with destroying the legacy of the Obama-Biden Administration than protecting the health care of millions of Americans.” The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Friday released a final rule scrapping ObamaCare’s nondiscrimination protections for sex and gender identity. The previous administration’s rule made it illegal for doctors, hospitals and other health care workers to deny care to someone whose sexual orientation or gender identity they disapproved of by expanding the law’s definition of sex discrimination to include gender identity for the first time. The new policy establishes the government’s interpretation of sex discrimination to be based on "the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."

The killing of George Floyd has been a turning point for for everyone but the president – who has seldom been so isolated from his own party and the public
By David Smith in Washington - The Guardian

Longtime observers of Donald Trump have often compared him to an old man sitting at the end of a bar, holding forth with crazed opinions, overwhelming self-assurance and taboo-busting shock value guaranteed to draw a crowd. Now, perhaps for the first time, it seems the US president may have lost the room. Trump’s sixth sense for striking populist notes appears to have deserted him in the wake of the death of George Floyd, an African American man killed when a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes, sparking Black Lives Matter protests nationwide. Over the last three weeks the president has found himself on the wrong side of public opinion – and history – on everything from police reform to symbols of the Confederacy which fought a civil war to preserve slavery 150 years ago. Even a sport synonymous with his base, Nascar (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), is on a different wavelength having banned the Confederate flag from its events. Some presidents capture a moment and give voice to a movement. At this time of national reckoning, however, Trump seems to have hit the wrong notes, out of tune with much (if not all) of the rest of the nation. “Whether it is suggesting shooting protesters or siccing dogs on them, pre-emptively defending the Confederate names of military installations or arguing that his supporters ‘love the Black people’, Mr Trump increasingly sounds like a cultural relic, detached from not just the left-leaning protesters in the streets but also the country’s political middle and even some Republican allies and his own military leaders,” the New York Times wrote on Thursday.

Now that the deal has collapsed, some experts expect North Korea to do something provocative in the fall to punish Trump during the political campaign.
By Ken Dilanian

WASHINGTON — North Korea officially declared an end Friday to its diplomatic dalliance with the U.S. But experts say it’s been clear for some time that President Donald Trump’s bold but risky effort to sweet talk Kim Jong Un into relinquishing his nuclear weapons never really went anywhere. Two high-profile meetings with North Korea’s leader bought Trump a hiatus from bellicose rhetoric and nuclear tests, but Kim never stopped building nuclear warheads and the missiles to deliver them, U.S. intelligence officials and private analysts say. Now, on the second anniversary of that first Trump-Kim summit in Singapore, North Korea is renouncing the diplomacy while promising to expand its weapons program, even as experts say it is ever closer to perfecting a long-range missile capable of reaching and destroying an American city. Trump therefore joins a long list of presidents who tried and failed to cut a deal to get rid of North Korean nuclear weapons — but the first one who met face to face with the leader of the outlaw regime, lending it a measure of legitimacy. Trump at one point mused that he and Kim “fell in love,” and he showered praise on a dictator who is said by human rights groups to keep tens of thousands of political prisoners in vast gulags.

President Trump’s election-year push to foreground immigration is officially in full swing.
By Nicole Narea

The Trump administration has proposed a regulation that would deliver its biggest blow to the US asylum system yet, vastly expanding immigration officials’ authority to turn away migrants. If enacted, it would all but close America’s doors to asylum seekers — a signature policy for a president desperately trying to rally his base in an election year. The regulation, which was announced Wednesday, would allow immigration officials to discard asylum seekers’ applications as “frivolous” without so much as a hearing, and make it impossible for victims of gang-related and gender-based violence to obtain protection in the US. It would also refuse asylum to anyone coming from a country other than Canada or Mexico, or who does not arrive on a direct flight to the US, as well as anyone who has failed to pay taxes, among other provisions. President Donald Trump has been working to dismantle the asylum system for years, but this latest regulation is part of an election-year push to curtail immigration. In recent months and under the pretext of responding to the coronavirus pandemic, his administration has closed the US-Mexico border, begun rapidly returning asylum seekers arriving on the southern border to Mexico, and issued a temporary ban on the issuance of new green cards — policies that are now being challenged in court. He is also expected to soon impose new restrictions on work-based visas with the stated purpose of protecting jobless Americans. These policies had already made it exceedingly difficult for asylum seekers to apply for and obtain protections amid the pandemic. The administration’s latest regulation would make it all but impossible.

The Treasury secretary's refusal has created a new flashpoint in Congress' oversight of the Trump administration's use of coronavirus bailout funds.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is facing criticism from lawmakers and watchdog groups after refusing to disclose the businesses that received more than $500 billion in government-backed emergency loans. Mnuchin ignited controversy on Wednesday when he said the Trump administration will not reveal the names of companies and nonprofits that got the so-called Paycheck Protection Program loans, which are guaranteed by the taxpayer and can be forgiven in full if borrowers maintain their payrolls. Mnuchin said the names and specific loan amounts were "proprietary" and "confidential," but that came as a shock after officials had indicated earlier that the information would be subject to public scrutiny. The Small Business Administration warns borrowers in the program's loan application that their names and loan values will be released under Freedom of Information Act requests. POLITICO has sought the information under FOIA, and several other news outlets are suing the government to obtain it. Republicans and Democrats have pressed the administration to disclose loan recipients in recent weeks, and Mnuchin's refusal has created a new flashpoint in Congress' oversight of the Trump administration's use of coronavirus bailout funds. It's fueling concerns that have dogged the program since its April 3 launch that too much of the aid is going to well-financed businesses that don't need it. “Given the many problems with the PPP program, it is imperative American taxpayers know if the money is going where Congress intended — to the truly small and unbanked small business," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday. "The administration’s resistance to transparency is outrageous and only serves to raise further suspicions about how the funds are being distributed and who is actually benefiting.”

By Karl de Vries, CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump announced late Friday night that he is rescheduling a rally that was to be held on June 19 -- Juneteenth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States -- "out of respect for this holiday." Trump's decision to hold his first campaign rally in months on the holiday was met with widespread criticism amid the national outcry following George Floyd's death at the hands of police officers and nationwide protests about police brutality and racial inequality. "We had previously scheduled our #MAGA Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for June 19th -- a big deal," Trump tweeted. "Unfortunately, however, this would fall on the Juneteenth Holiday. Many of my African American friends and supporters have reached out to suggest that we consider changing the date out of respect for this Holiday, and in observance of this important occasion and all that it represents. I have therefore decided to move our rally to Saturday, June 20th, in order to honor their requests." Aside from the significance of June 19, Tulsa also has a troubled racial history. In 1921, it was the site of a massacre of hundreds of African Americans during racial unrest in the historic section of the city known as "Black Wall Street." Earlier Friday, Trump denied in an interview with Fox News that the rally was purposefully scheduled for that date in Tulsa and instead said it should be thought of as a "celebration." "It's an interesting date. It wasn't done for that reason, but it's an interesting date," he said. But given Trump's history of racist statements, including his embrace of the birther movement, many instead saw the upcoming campaign event as a call out to rally white supremacists. Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris of California called the event a "welcome home party" for them. The death of Floyd in police custody has renewed discussions about race in America, though Trump has not given a speech on race and has largely declined to acknowledge the concerns voiced by protesters.

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business)"Bye-bye Tucker Carlson!" T-Mobile CEO Mike Sievert tweeted earlier this week in response to consumers who criticized the advertisers on Carlson's show. Sievert said on Twitter that T-Mobile hasn't bought any air time on "Tucker Carlson Tonight" for "about a month, and we won't be in the future, either." Carlson's Fox News show has once again become a target of critics and a no-go zone for some advertisers. Liberal groups have called out Carlson's advertisers and encouraged customers to take action. The proximate cause: Carlson's comments about the Black Lives Matter movement. "This may be a lot of things, this moment we're living through, but it is definitely not about black lives," Carlson said Monday night. "Remember that when they come for you, and at this rate, they will." What many people heard Carlson telling his nearly 100% white audience was black-people-are-coming-for-you. The next day, Fox came out with a statement attempting to clarify: "Tucker's warning about 'when they come for you' was clearly referring to Democratic leaders and inner city politicians." Media Matters, an advocacy group that opposes Fox, re-shared a list it keeps of Carlson's sponsors. Sievert from T-Mobile spoke out on Tuesday. Papa John's Pizza said on Wednesday it would halt future advertising.

By Joshua Partlow, David A. Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell

The head of President Trump’s flagship hotel stood on Pennsylvania Avenue with face mask on and two thumbs up. After three brutal months of empty hotel rooms and a skeleton staff, Mickael Damelincourt finally had something to celebrate: new sidewalk seating to safely welcome back Trump’s MAGA-loving customers. “Let’s get back to work,” Damelincourt tweeted on May 28. By the next day, Trump was in his underground bunker, protesters swarmed downtown Washington cursing Trump’s name, and the hotel’s outdoor seating experiment was tabled. The whiplash at Trump’s D.C. hotel is emblematic of the problems faced by his company, which was already suffering from a tarnished brand before the novel coronavirus hit. The fresh wave of political anger directed toward Trump complicates an already difficult recovery for the company. Interviews with current and former Trump Organization employees and tenants, and emails obtained by The Washington Post, show the pandemic in particular has rattled operations at the company. With thousands of Trump’s hotel rooms empty, the company laid off or furloughed more than 2,800 employees and scoured for even the smallest savings. It eliminated flowers, chocolates and newspapers at its New York hotel and turned off lights in common areas in its Chicago hotel to save on electricity, according to letters that hotel management sent to investors. “This was not just a step down,” Eric Danziger, the chief executive of Trump Hotels, told board members of Trump’s Chicago hotel on April 22, according to an account of his phone call obtained by The Post. “This was a steep dive.”

By Frances Mulraney and Wires

The Minneapolis City Council on Friday unanimously passed a resolution to replace the city's police department with a community-led public safety system. The move comes days after a veto-proof majority of the council voted to disband the police department after the country erupted in protest over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died when a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. The Minneapolis vote was cast as New York City Council pushed to cut $1billion from the NYPD’s budget. The gigantic cut to the Big Apple police department's $6billion annual budget could see a reduction in the size of the force from 36,000 to 33,000, while removing functions like school safety and homeless outreach from the police. In Minneapolis, the council voted for the community-led replacement Friday as members felt that the police department as it stands is past reform. 'The murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, by Minneapolis police officers is a tragedy that shows that no amount of reforms will prevent lethal violence and abuse by some members of the Police Department against members of our community, especially Black people and people of color,' five council members wrote in the resolution. It added that Floyd's death was one in a 'tragically long list' of people killed by the city's police that had led to 'wave of protests and uprisings across the United States and across the world and has led to thousands of voices asking for change'.

By Devan Cole, CNN

Washington (CNN) The Trump administration announced Friday it is eliminating an Obama-era regulation prohibiting discrimination in health care against patients who are transgender. The move -- coming during Pride Month, an annual celebration of the LGBTQ community that takes place throughout the month of June, and on the four-year anniversary of the deadly Pulse nightclub shooting, in which 49 people were killed at a popular LGBTQ venue in Orlando -- was swiftly denounced by LGBTQ groups, which see the action as discriminatory. Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, known as the Health Care Rights Law, "prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in certain health programs and activities." A rule enacted in 2016 interpreted the ban on sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of gender identity, building on similar interpretations in other federal civil rights laws and court rulings, and termination of pregnancy. But the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement Friday that it was eliminating "certain provisions of the 2016 Rule that exceeded the scope of the authority delegated by Congress in Section 1557. HHS will enforce Section 1557 by returning to the government's interpretation of sex discrimination according to the plain meaning of the word 'sex' as male or female and as determined by biology."  "The 2016 Rule declined to recognize sexual orientation as a protected category under the ACA, and HHS will leave that judgment undisturbed," HHS said. The department had proposed a similar change to the Obama-era rule last year, saying that in light of several legal challenges to the rule, it wanted to "address the overbroad interpretations" of it and "reduce the significant confusion and unjustified burdens" it said the rule caused. Several LGBTQ rights groups immediately condemned the change, and The Human Rights Campaign said it plans to mount a legal challenge. "We cannot and will not allow Donald Trump to continue attacking us. Today, the Human Rights Campaign is announcing plans to sue the Trump administration for exceeding their legal authority and attempting to remove basic health care protections from vulnerable communities including LGBTQ people," Alphonso David, the group's president, said in a statement.

By Sonam Sheth

President Donald Trump claimed in a Fox News interview with Harris Faulkner that he's done more for the Black community than any other president in history, including Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln is one of the most popular presidents in US history and widely revered for signing the Emancipation Proclamation, which ended slavery. "So I think I've done more for the Black community than any other president, and let's take a pass on Abraham Lincoln because he did good, although it's always questionable, you know, in other words, the end result —" Trump said before Faulkner interjected. "Well, we are free, Mr. President, so I think he did pretty well," she said, referring to Lincoln. "We are free," Trump said. "You understand what I mean." "Yeah, I get it," Faulkner said. This isn't the first time Trump has claimed he's done more for the Black community than his predecessors. "This may well be the president's most audacious claim ever," Michael Fauntroy, a professor of political science at Howard University, told The New York Times earlier this month. "Not only has he not done more than anybody else, he's done close to the least." The majority of historians and experts believe Lincoln and former President Lyndon B. Johnson have had the most legislative achievements in advancing civil rights, according to The Times. Johnson, in particular, advocated for the passage of the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. Other presidents like Ulysses S. Grant, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harry Truman, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton also took action to protect and enforce the constitutional rights of Black Americans, as well as diversify the federal government and the judiciary.

By Kevin Breuninger

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday lashed out at Democrats investigating him, particularly Sen. Bob Menendez, as he defended his recommendation to President Donald Trump to fire the State Department’s internal watchdog. Pompeo also told reporters at a press briefing that he had previously submitted written responses to questions sent by State Department Inspector General Steve Linick’s office. But he maintained that he could not have retaliated against Linick because he was unaware of specific investigations that the watchdog’s office was conducting. Pompeo has come under intense scrutiny since Trump followed through on his Cabinet official’s urging to fire Linick. “This is all coming through the office of Senator Menendez,” Pompeo said at his first on-camera press briefing since Trump fired Linick on Friday night. “I don’t get my ethics guidance from a man who was criminally prosecuted,” he said of Menendez before abruptly ending the briefing. Menendez, the senior senator from New Jersey, was indicted in 2015 as part of an alleged bribery scheme in which he accepted gifts from a Florida ophthalmologist in exchange for using his office to benefit the doctor’s financial and personal interest, the Justice Department said at the time. Federal prosecutors later dropped their case against Menendez, and the judge presiding over the senator’s trial dismissed the charges in 2018. “The facts speak for themselves,” Menendez said in response to Pompeo. “Secretary Pompeo now faces an investigation into both this improper firing and into his attempt to cover up his inappropriate and possibly illegal actions. Not surprisingly, he has lashed out at me and others conducting Congressional oversight.” ″The fact that Secretary Pompeo is now trying diversion tactics by attempting to smear me is as predictable as it is shameful,” Menendez added. Pompeo said at the briefing that he should have recommended Linick’s ouster “some time ago,” and denied that he was retaliating against the IG, who was reportedly investigating him.

By Jacob Pramuk

President Donald Trump downplayed the danger of police chokeholds on Friday even as he suggested he could support banning the practice during a nationwide outcry against brutality. In a Fox News interview, the president said that “the concept of chokeholds sounds so innocent and so perfect” in “one-on-one” struggles. He added that it becomes “a bit of a different story” if “it’s two-on-one.” “With that being said, it would be I think a very good thing that, generally speaking, it should be ended,” Trump said. Asked at what level of government a ban should take place, he said that “in some cases” the law could come from local officials, but the U.S. government could make “very strong recommendations” about the practice. The killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old unarmed Black man who died after police knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes in Minneapolis last month, has sparked more than two weeks of demonstrations calling for officials to address police violence and systemic racism. Floyd’s pleas of “I can’t breathe” echoed the words of Eric Garner, a Black man killed in New York City when police held him in a banned chokehold in 2014.

Analysis by Brianna Keilar, CNN Anchor

Washington (CNN) It's head-scratching, really, that the most prominent Army base in America is named for Braxton Bragg. He was on the wrong side of history, as a Confederate general and a slave owner. It's hard to find a redeeming account of Bragg. Historians repeatedly highlight just how poorly he got along with everyone -- except perhaps Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederate States. Davis seemed to have a soft spot for Bragg, but he was still relieved of his command. As it turns out, Bragg wasn't even that good at his job. The highlight of his military career was leading Confederate soldiers at the Battle of Chickamauga in Tennessee in 1863, perhaps the biggest and bloodiest win for the Confederacy on the western front of the Civil War -- but it was a Pyrrhic victory. Bragg failed to capitalize on the win and Union General Ulysses S. Grant ultimately overpowered his forces at the Battle of Chattanooga. That's when Davis sacked him. When Bragg later returned to the battlefield it was to lead a smaller contingent of forces in the loss of the last port of the Confederacy -- a significant data point on the graph of the South's defeat. "The irony of training at bases named for those who took up arms against the United States, and for the right to enslave others, is inescapable to anyone paying attention," retired four-star Army General David Petraeus wrote this week in The Atlantic. Petraeus commanded coalition troops in Iraq during the surge and in Afghanistan. Fort Bragg in Fayetteville, North Carolina, is home to the elite 82nd Airborne -- the military unit that can be anywhere within 18 hours, parachuting in behind enemy lines if needed. It's also home to Army Special Forces and the training facility for Green Berets.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Since the moment late on November 8, 2016 when it became clear that Donald Trump would be the 45th president of the United States, many Democrats have been counting the days until November 3, 2020 -- the day that they believe he will be voted out of office. Which may well happen! There's no question that Trump is an underdog for a second term right now, with former Vice President Joe Biden leading in key swing states as well as nationally. But even if Democrats do get their wish in 144 days, it's not at all clear that they (or the country) will be rid of Trump -- not just as entity in our culture, but potentially as a presidential candidate. Again. Trump would be entirely within his Constitutional rights to do so. While a president can only serve two consecutive four-year terms (although Trump has "jokingly" floated breaking that limit!), there's no law against a president coming back to run for the office after losing a bid for a second term. In fact, it's already happened once in our history! Grover Cleveland was elected president in 1884 but lost to Benjamin Harrison in 1888. (Harrison won the Electoral College while Cleveland won the popular vote. Sound familiar?) Unbowed, Cleveland beat Harrison in 1892, becoming both the 22nd and 24th president. When you consider Trump's inability to admit defeat and the very real possibility that he never actually concedes to Biden if he loses, the idea of him running again -- or not ever stopping running -- starts to make a lot of sense. Yes, there is already an active effort within the GOP to be the next Donald Trump, the inheritor of the political coalition built by the billionaire businessman during his hostile takeover of the Republican Party. But everyone knows that Trump believes himself to be a great man of history, the sort of person who can't be replicated or duplicated. He tells anyone who will listen that the 2016 campaign was among the greatest ever run. He compares himself favorably to the likes of our greatest presidents. ("I've always said I can be more presidential than any president in history except for Honest Abe Lincoln, when he's wearing the hat," Trump said in 2019.) He insists that his administration has produced the "greatest" economy in history (it hasn't) and that he has done more in his first term than any president ever (impossible to check or prove).

By Joey Garrison USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Five months before the November election, the incumbent president and his Democratic challenger are both telling Americans their opponent could "steal" the election perhaps setting the stage for a contentious fight even after the voting is over. The warnings from President Donald Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden are growing louder and earlier than in 2016, when Trump decried a "rigged" political system in the final weeks before his victory over Hillary Clinton. The claims are also more direct, reflecting the deeply divided nation that has defined the Trump era. Both men's rhetoric is largely aimed at the same issue – vote-by-mail, which Biden and Democrats support to allow citizens to vote safely amid the coronavirus and Trump strongly opposes. Trump has long stoked fears of election-stealing.But in a new warning Wednesday, Biden ramped up his attacks on the president over voter access. "It's my greatest concern, my single greatest concern: This president is going to steal this election," the former vice president said in an interview with host Trevor Noah on "The Daily Show." "This is a guy who said all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, direct voting by mail, while he sits behind a desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary."

Trump administration says it won’t ever reveal the firms after public companies raided small business relief funds
By Igor Derysh

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told Congress on Wednesday that the Trump administration will never reveal the companies which received loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The Government Accountability Office, a nonpartisan congressional watchdog, told Politico that the Small Business Administration was withholding data on the loan recipients that the agency requested as part of its oversight efforts. "We believe that that's proprietary information, and in many cases, for sole proprietors and small businesses, it is confidential information," Mnuchin testified Wednesday before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The decision breaks with standard protocol since the Small Business Administration (SBA) typically discloses the companies that borrowed through the program on which the PPP is based, according to The Washington Post. "4.5 MILLION businesses received government funds. Zero transparency," a spokesperson for the nonprofit consumer advocacy group Public Citizen tweeted. "Unconscionable, jaw-dropping corruption." The PPP has received nearly $700 billion in funding from Congress, more than $500 billion of which has already been doled out. Mnuchin's statement came after the PPP, a coronavirus relief package aimed at helping small businesses pay their workers during the downturn, distributed multi-million-dollar loans to dozens of publicly traded companies. Though lawmakers from both parties have praised the program for helping small businesses, many of them decried $10 million loans given to companies like Shake Shack and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, which had large cash reserves. Even the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers got a loan. None of the loans were revealed by the SBA but rather discovered through company announcements. Those companies later returned the loans.

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump says he didn't schedule his first rally since the start of the coronavirus pandemic on Juneteenth "on purpose." Trump was interviewed by Fox News host Harris Faulkner on Thursday, when the President visited Dallas to host a roundtable with law enforcement and community leaders in the wake of George Floyd's death at the hands of police officers. In newly aired interview footage, Faulkner asked: "Your rally is set for June 19. Was that on purpose?" "Uh, no, but I know exactly what you're going to say. ... Think about it as a celebration. My rally is a celebration," Trump said, adding, "Don't think about it as an inconvenience." The President will hold his first campaign reelection rally since the start of the pandemic on June 19 -- the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. "The fact that I'm having a rally on that day -- you can really think about that very positively as a celebration. Because a rally to me is a celebration," Trump said. "It's an interesting date. It wasn't done for that reason, but it's an interesting date." But given Trump's history of racist statements, including the birther movement, many instead see the upcoming campaign event as a call out to rally white supremacists. Sen. Kamala Harris, a California Democrat who is widely viewed as a top contender to be Joe Biden's vice presidential pick, blasted Trump's decision to hold the rally there on Juneteenth. "This isn't just a wink to white supremacists -- he's throwing them a welcome home party," she tweeted Thursday. Harris has been critical of Trump's posture on race, frequently saying he's unfit to be president because he doesn't understand the racial turmoil engulfing the nation. Other Democratic leaders chimed in to slam the President for holding the rally at the site that bore a horrific act of communal racial violence 99 years ago.

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