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US Monthly Headline News June 2020 Page 1

'I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility,' late actor said in 1971 interview
By John T Bennett -     Washington Bureau Chief

Donald Trump is accusing some Democratic officials of "incredible stupidity" for calling for actor John Wayne's name to be removed from an airport in California even after an interview resurfaced of "The Duke" embracing white supremacy. John Wayne Airport in southern California serves Orange County and Los Angeles. Mr Trump in January 2016, as a presidential candidate, held a special event at the John Wayne Birthplace Museum in Winterset, Iowa. He spoke at a lectern with a wax statue of the late actor behind him. After being introduced by Wayne's daughter, the GOP candidate called himself a "longtime fan" of the star of many hit Western films. "We love John Wayne," Mr Trump said that day. "We love John Wayne and we love his family equally, right? Equally." But amid ongoing protests and other social changes following the death of George Floyd, a black man, under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis, Mr Trump's full embrace of Wayne could give him yet another political headache. That's because of a 1971 interview the actor conducted with Playboy magazine. "With a lot of blacks, there's quite a bit of resentment along with their dissent, and possibly rightfully so. But we can't all of a sudden get down on our knees and turn everything over to the leadership of the blacks," Mr Wayne said. "I believe in white supremacy until the blacks are educated to a point of responsibility. I don't believe in giving authority and positions of leadership and judgment to irresponsible people." "I don't feel guilty about the fact that five or 10 generations ago these people were slaves. Now, I'm not condoning slavery. It's just a fact of life, like the kid who gets infantile paralysis and has to wear braces so he can't play football with the rest of us," he added. "I will say this, though: I think any black who can compete with a white today can get a better break than a white man. I wish they'd tell me where in the world they have it better than right here in America."

By Mike Calia

President Donald Trump and the White House knew earlier than was previously reported about alleged Russian bounties offered to Afghan militants to kill American service members, according to new reports Monday night. Trump received a written briefing in February about intelligence regarding the alleged bounties, The New York Times reported Monday night, citing two officials with knowledge of the matter. The Associated Press, citing officials with direct knowledge of the matter, also reported that the White House was aware of the matter much earlier, in early 2019. Then-national security advisor John Bolton told colleagues that he briefed Trump on the matter in March 2019, the AP added. Bolton has published a tell-all memoir about his time in the White House. The narrative is full of withering condemnations of the president and unflattering anecdotes about him. Trump has slammed the book as full of lies, while the administration unsuccessfully sought to block the book’s publication. Trump and the White House have denied that the president had been briefed on the intelligence assessment regarding the Russian bounties. The White House had also said that the intelligence underpinning the claim was unverified.

GOP members say the panel's virtual sessions are insecure. Democrats accuse Republicans of a partisan snit.

Democrats see a boycott motivated by partisan politics. Republicans argue they have legitimate security concerns. Either way, GOP members of the House Intelligence Committee have skipped all but one of the panel's proceedings, public and private, since before Congress went into its coronavirus-lockdown in early March. And that impasse shows no signs of ending, even as the panel takes up issues like China, Covid-19 and the annual intelligence policy bill. Democrats see it as yet another manifestation of the toxic partisan split dividing the panel during Donald Trump's presidency, in contrast to the still-bipartisan spirit that prevails on the Senate Intelligence Committee. “It seems almost counterproductive on their part,” House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told POLITICO when asked about the Republican no-shows. “It seems rather childish but I hope that they will reconsider.” The committee, with 13 Democratic and eight Republican members, has held at least seven bipartisan hearings and roundtables, both open- and closed-door, since the pandemic shut down much of Washington in March and April. The sessions, all unclassified, included a virtual hearing in mid-June where representatives of Facebook, Twitter and Google answered questions about foreign efforts to subvert the 2020 presidential election.

The ball’s ‘nostalgic’ design is less controversial than its price tag, which echoes a code used by neo-Nazis everywhere
By Andrew Naughtie

Donald Trump’s umbrella company, The Trump Organisation, is being hectored and denounced on social media for selling a “nostalgic” baseball for $88 – an unusual price tag that uses a number often referenced on the far right to signal sympathy with Adolf Hitler. The awkward attention to the ball’s price tag comes just after the president retweeted a video in which an elderly white man in Florida riding a golf cart shouts “white power” at anti-racism protesters. Mr Trump originally captioned his retweet “Thank you to the great people of The Villages,” but has since deleted it. In white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles, the number 88 serves as a code for the letters “HH” – an abbreviation of “heil Hitler”. The number 18 sometimes stands in for Hitler’s initials, while the number 14 refers to a widely known 14-word shibboleth: “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children”. The numbers are sometimes combined into 1488.

The influential pro-Trump community broke the rules on harassment and targeting, said Reddit, which also banned other groups.
By Mike Isaac

SAN FRANCISCO — Reddit, one of the largest social networking and message board websites, on Monday banned its biggest community devoted to President Trump as part of an overhaul of its hate speech policies. The community or “subreddit,” called “The_Donald,” is home to more than 790,000 users who post memes, viral videos and supportive messages about Mr. Trump. Reddit executives said the group, which has been highly influential in cultivating and stoking Mr. Trump’s online base, had consistently broken its rules by allowing people to target and harass others with hate speech. “Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,” Steve Huffman, the company’s chief executive, said in a call with reporters. “‘The_Donald’ has been in violation of that.”

Clip shows man and woman pointing weapons at people staging protest against US city’s mayor
By Martin Pengelly in New York and agencies

Donald Trump courted controversy on Monday – and perhaps sought to deflect attention from reports about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan – by retweeting news footage of a white couple in St Louis, Missouri, who pointed guns at protesters marching for police reform. The president’s action came a day after he retweeted footage of protesters clashing in Florida in which a Trump supporter could be heard to say: “White power! White power!” That retweet was deleted from the president’s account after a few hours, a White House spokesman saying Trump had not heard the inflammatory words before sending the footage on to his supporters. The protesters in St Louis were marching to the mayor’s home to demand her resignation.

By Theron Mohamed

Facebook shares dropped roughly 1% on Monday as more advertisers joined the boycott of the social network. The continued slide followed an 8.3% loss on Friday amid the first round of pulled advertising. The two-day stock decline has resulted in roughly $60 billion in market value being erased from Facebook. Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Unilever, and Verizon have all halted advertising on Facebook — and in some cases, on other social-media platforms too. Several high-profile executives have called for the social-media giant to do more to combat the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform.

By N'dea Yancey-Bragg - USA TODAY

A white man and woman pointed guns at protesters marching through St. Louis and calling for Mayor Lyda Krewson to resign on Sunday night. Video from the protest circulating on social media shows the man pointing a semi-automatic rifle and the woman pointing a pistol at the crowd walking past their home in the upscale Central West End neighborhood of the Missouri city. The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said it responded to a "call for help" from a 63-year-old man and a 61-year-old woman around 5:30 p.m. Sunday. The pair said they went to investigate a loud commotion coming from the street and saw a group of people break an iron gate marked with "No Trespassing" and "Private Street" signs, according to police.

By Kevin Breuninger

Congressional Democratic leaders demanded Monday that the Trump administration brief all members of the House and Senate on reports that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “The questions that arise are: was the President briefed, and if not, why not, and why was Congress not briefed,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA chief Gina Haspel. President Donald Trump has denied being briefed on the U.S. intelligence findings, reported first by The New York Times and later confirmed by other outlets, that a Russian military intelligence unit covertly offered Afghan militants rewards for killing coalition forces. But one American official told the Times that the intelligence assessment had percolated to the highest levels of the White House, and another told the paper that it had been added to Trump’s daily brief. “Congress and the country need answers now,” Pelosi said in the letter. “I therefore request an interagency brief for all House Members immediately. Congress needs to know what the intelligence community knows about this significant threat to American troops and our allies and what options are available to hold Russia accountable.”

By Salvador Rizzo

“Now that the very expensive, unpopular and unfair Individual Mandate provision has been terminated by us, many States & the U.S. are asking the Supreme Court that Obamacare itself be terminated so that it can be replaced with a FAR BETTER AND MUCH LESS EXPENSIVE ALTERNATIVE..... Obamacare is a joke! Deductible is far too high and the overall cost is ridiculous. My Administration has gone out of its way to manage OC much better than previous, but it is still no good. I will ALWAYS PROTECT PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS,ALWAYS!!!” — President Trump, in a pair of tweets, June 27, 2020

Just as the number of weekly coronavirus cases reached a new high in the United States, the Trump administration filed a legal brief asking the Supreme Court to strike down the entire Affordable Care Act. About 20 million people covered through the act could lose their health insurance if Trump succeeds, among many other consequences bearing directly on the U.S. response to the coronavirus pandemic. Key provisions of the health-care law prohibit insurers from denying coverage to people who are already sick, or who have “preexisting conditions.” Trump has claimed nearly 100 times since he took office that he will “always protect people with preexisting conditions,” but the legal brief filed by the Justice Department last week belies the president’s claim. It says point blank that the entire Affordable Care Act — including its coverage guarantee for people with preexisting conditions — “must fall.”

The Facts
Republicans for a decade have tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act signed by President Barack Obama in 2010. The Supreme Court has upheld the law twice in the face of legal challenges from conservative groups. A new challenge brought by a group of Republican state attorneys general is now pending before the court. The Justice Department filed a brief June 25 in support of the GOP argument that “the entire ACA ... must fall.” Before the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies could consider a person’s health status when determining premiums, sometimes making coverage unaffordable or even unavailable if a person was already sick with a problem that required expensive treatment.

If business types really care about social justice, they’ll defund the country’s most prominent purveyor of anti-justice poison. And here’s an unlikely model for them to follow.
By Diane McWhorter

Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben are being emancipated, and now corporate America promises to tackle the crueler substructures of racism: impediments to opportunity that, perhaps as much as police brutality, explain why George Floyd went from a second-grader with dreams of becoming a Supreme Court justice to a dead man under a cop’s knee because of a fake $20 bill. The “racial equality and justice solutions” being explored by a new subcommittee of the Business Roundtable will take time and benchmarks. But there is an essential transformation the C-suite could set in motion immediately: Defund the toxic political culture, or at least its most conspicuous instrument, that makes progress difficult if not impossible and turns second thoughts about a mammy-esque syrup bottle into “they murdered Mrs. Butterworth,” as a recent guest on Fox News fumed. If the CEOs mean business, they will find an unlikely but useful (if somewhat squirrely) blueprint for change in “The Year of Birmingham,” the name the civil rights movement gave to 1963’s tectonic shift on civil rights, which has lately re-entered the news cycle. Martin Luther King Jr.’s epic demonstrations that spring set the standard for the George Floyd mass marches—and for the opposition response. The German shepherds that police commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor used against King’s young foot soldiers made a recent comeback as “the most vicious dogs” tweet-sicced by Donald Trump.

A company that offered its "services" for the border wall got "quick approval" to mine outside of normal protocol
By Igor Derysh

Multiple government watchdog groups have called for an investigation after a Mexican company received rapid approval on a multi-million-dollar mining contract in Colorado shortly after it expressed support for President Donald Trump's border wall. Days after Trump's election in 2016, Enrique Escalante, the chief executive of Grupo Cementos de Chihuahua (GCC), told Reuters that the company was "ready to lend its services" to build the border wall that the president promised during his campaign. "For the business we're in, Trump is a candidate that does favor the industry quite a bit," he told the outlet. The announcement drew headlines around the world as outlets seized on the idea of a Mexican firm helping to build the wall. The company has seen business boom since Trump's inauguration with some help from the administration. About a year after the announcement, the company's subsidiary, GCC Energy, received "quick approval" to expand operations in the King II coal mine near Hesperus, Colo., The Durango Herald reported. The company has operated the mine since 2007 and had asked the Bureau of Land Management for a 950-acre expansion. But the request did not go through the normal process. The expansion was granted by the Interior Department in Washington rather than the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) state office in Denver. Normally, a mining company which operates on BLM land in Colorado has to go through the Denver office and can then appeal to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, which is part of the Interior Department. But the GCC expansion was instead approved by Katharine MacGregor, then the department's deputy assistant secretary for land and minerals management, which meant the decision could not be appealed.

By Rebekah Riess and Hollie Silverman, CNN

(CNN) Hundred of protesters marched to the home of St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson Sunday night while chanting "resign Lyda, take the cops with you," according to CNN affiliate KMOV. The demonstration came after Krewson read the names and addresses of people calling for police reform during a Friday afternoon Facebook live video, the affiliate reported. During the live video briefing Friday, the mayor was asked about meeting with protesters outside City Hall. In response, Krewson read letters submitted to her by protesters aloud during the video "including the names and both partial and full addresses of those calling to defund the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department," KMOV reported. Krewson released a statement later that day saying the names and addresses she read are public information, according to the affiliate.

Guardian News
Mississippi lawmakers have voted to retire the state flag, the last to feature the Confederate battle emblem. The House and Senate voted to remove the current flag, while a commission will design its replacement.

"And yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed," Pelosi told ABC's "This Week."
By Allan Smith

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said Sunday that President Donald Trump "wants to ignore any allegation against Russia" as he and his administration deny ever being briefed about intelligence that Russians have offered to pay bounties to Taliban fighters who kill Americans. Speaking with ABC's "This Week," Pelosi said, "This is as bad as it gets." "And yet the president will not confront the Russians on this score, denies being briefed," Pelosi said. "Whether he is or not, his administration knows and our allies — some of our allies who work with us in Afghanistan had been briefed and accept this report." "Just as I have said to the president: With him all roads lead to Putin," she added. "I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, financially, or whatever it is, but he wants to ignore, he wants to bring them back to the G8 despite the annexation of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine, despite what they yielded to him in Syria, despite his intervention into our election which is well documented by our intelligence community, and despite now possibly this allegation, which we should have been briefed on." The U.S gathered intelligence on the Russian bounty offers, three people briefed on the matter told NBC News. The New York Times was first to report on the intelligence, and other outlets have confirmed too.

Face the Nation
The Republican senator from South Carolina said the president should take down a tweet showing a video of clashing protesters in Florida.

By James Walker

The European Union plans to bar most U.S. travelers from entering the region amid fears over failures to control the spread of COVID-19. E.U. officials told The New York Times and CNN on Friday that senior diplomats had negotiated a list of countries deemed safe for travel with the bloc when it reopens on July 1. While the U.S. did not make the list, along with Russia and several other countries, China was reportedly deemed to be a safe country from which to welcome travelers. The E.U. travel list could still be changed before the start of next month, as it has yet to receive formal backing from member state leaders. But an unnamed E.U. diplomat told CNN yesterday that it was highly "unlikely" that U.S. travelers would get approval to travel into the bloc, largely due to the country's current coronavirus infection rate per 100,000 people.

Democratic presidential candidate and former vice president says if elected president he will confront Russia's Putin.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has attacked President Donald Trump over a report that he said, if true, contains a "truly shocking revelation" about the commander in chief and his failure to protect US troops in Afghanistan and stand up to Russia. The New York Times reported on Friday that US intelligence officials concluded months ago that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered rewards to Taliban-linked armed fighters for killing American troops in Afghanistan. The report said the Russians offered rewards for successful attacks last year, at a time when the US and Taliban were holding talks to end the long-running war. The report was confirmed by The Washington Post.

By Jonathan Vanian

Russian hackers are trying to take advantage of the millions of employees working from home because of shelter-in-place orders. Security firm Symantec said this week that it had discovered and then notified businesses that the Russian hacking group Evil Corp has been targeting remote employees with so-called ransomware attacks. In a typical ransomware attack, criminals send victims an email—often created to look like it’s from a colleague—that contains a link to a malicious site. When users access the fraudulent site, criminals can then take over their computers and demand payment—typically in cryptocurrency like Bitcoin—to regain control of their devices. In the case of Evil Corp’s ransomware attack, Symantec said the hackers wanted to “cripple” a company’s “IT infrastructure by encrypting most of their computers and servers in order to demand a multimillion-dollar ransom.”

By Matt Keeley

Republican Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins from Oregon shared a video Saturday morning where she recited the American oath of office in a meme connected to the QAnon conspiracy theory. In the video, which appears to be recorded on Perkins' back porch, she introduces herself and takes the oath of office. Perkins has not been elected to the Senate. "I am honored and blessed to be the U.S. Senate nominee in Oregon on the Republican ticket for 2020. I am also one of the thousands of digital soldiers. Today, June 25, I am taking the oath of office. Protocols call for you to put your left hand upon a Bible. I have here the American Patriot's Bible. It also say to raise your right hand," Perkins said before reading the oath. Republican Senate candidate Jo Rae Perkins from Oregon shared a video Saturday morning where she recited the American oath of office in a meme connected to the QAnon conspiracy theory. In the video, which appears to be recorded on Perkins' back porch, she introduces herself and takes the oath of office. Perkins has not been elected to the Senate. "I am honored and blessed to be the U.S. Senate nominee in Oregon on the Republican ticket for 2020. I am also one of the thousands of digital soldiers. Today, June 25, I am taking the oath of office. Protocols call for you to put your left hand upon a Bible. I have here the American Patriot's Bible. It also say to raise your right hand," Perkins said before reading the oath.

The mayor of San Jose, California, said he expects "that racist, anti-Muslim or menacing comments expressed by any current SJPD Officer will be met with termination."
By Minyvonne Burke and Shamar Walters

Four police officers in San Jose, California, have been placed on leave while the department says it is investigating alleged racist and anti-Muslim posts on Facebook. The investigation apparently grew out of a blog post Friday on Medium by an anonymous author who claims to be "the partner of an active law enforcement officer in a San Francisco Bay Area police department." The Medium article includes screenshots of alleged posts by active and retired San Jose officers, including some that the author says were posted to a private Facebook group of both retired and current officers in the city. Links to posts with screenshots in the article appeared to be broken as of late Saturday afternoon. The screenshots include an alleged post by a retired officer who lambastes Black Lives Matter protesters as “racist idiots,” “un-American” and “enemies.” Another screenshot, allegedly of a post by a current officer in San Jose, says, “Black lives don’t really matter.”

By David Smith in Washington

The president has had a difficult period and is trailing his rival by double digits. But he has time to fight back – and fight dirty. It was the death of a salesman. With tie undone and crumpled “Make America great again” cap in hand, Donald Trump cut a forlorn figure shambling across the White House south lawn on his return from his failed comeback rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some observers likened him to Willy Loman, the tragic protagonist of Arthur Miller’s benchmark drama. The US president, critics say, has spent years selling a bill of goods to the American people. Now they are no longer buying. The thinly attended rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, last weekend was the physical manifestation of what poll after poll is showing: Trump is trailing his Democratic rival Joe Biden by double digits and seemingly on course for a historic defeat in November’s presidential election.

America’s police officers seem to find themselves embroiled in fabricated fast-food fracases with alarming regularity
By Arwa Mahdawi

What a tampon in a Frappuccino says about policing in America. It is one of the most stomach-churning mysteries of our time. Did a Starbucks barista really put a tampon in a cop’s coffee? Or did the cop fabricate the incident? Enquiring minds want to know. Earlier this week Bill Melugin, a reporter for a Fox News affiliate in Los Angeles, tweeted a photo of what he claimed was a tampon that had been sneakily submerged in an off-duty police officer’s Frappuccino. Melugin noted that the officer had used his police credit union debit card to pay for the drink – thereby alerting staff to his occupation. We are left to presume that a radicalized cop-hating barista trained in sanitary warfare cruelly took advantage of the situation.

By Poppy Noor

Officers’ claims of Shake Shack ‘bleach poisoning’ were formally investigated and quickly dismissed by the NYPD’s own chief of detectives while Starbucks has debunked ‘tamponga. Some good news, finally, for cops: you can go back to eating at Shake Shack without worry.

Last week, after drinking some weird-tasting shakes, three New York officers alleged they had been poisoned with bleach. The claims were formally investigated and quickly dismissed by the NYPD’s own chief of detectives after video footage showed that the drinks had not been tampered with by employees. Subsequent New York Post reporting has shown the officers checked into the hospital even though they weren’t sick and, importantly, that Shake Shack could not have known they were cops because they pre-ordered through the Shake Shack app.

Before the investigation into the alleged poisoning was concluded, the New York police union issued a lengthy statement condemning how persecuted cops are in America. The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York (NYCPBA) put out a statement on Twitter: “Three of our brothers in blue were intentionally poisoned … under attack by vicious criminals who dislike us simply because of the uniform we wear.” The tweet was subsequently deleted.

Fierce response from top Democrats after US intelligence finding was reportedly briefed to Trump in March, but the White House has yet to act
Guardian staff

Outrage has greeted media reports that say American intelligence officials believe a Russian military intelligence unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing foreign soldiers in Afghanistan, including targeting Americans. The story first appeared in the New York Times, citing its sources as unnamed officials briefed on the matter, and followed up by the Washington Post. The reports said that the US had come to the conclusion about the operation several months ago and offered rewards for successful attacks last year. The Times wrote: “The intelligence finding was briefed to Trump, and the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March.” White House officials apparently drew up several possible options to retaliate against the Kremlin, ranging from a diplomatic reprimand right through to fresh sanctions. However, the White House has so far not taken any action. It is not clear if bounties were ever paid out for successfully killing American soldiers. As the news broke it triggered a fierce response from top Democrats, especially those who have long pointed to what they say is Trump’s overly close relationship to Russia’s autocratic leader, Vladimir Putin. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, who was Hillary Clinton’s running mate in 2016, said: “Trump was cozying up to Putin and inviting him to the G7 all while his administration reportedly knew Russia was trying to kill US troops in Afghanistan and derail peace talks with the Taliban.”

"The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it," Gov. Tate Reeves said in a tweet Saturday.
By Minyvonne Burke

The governor of Mississippi announced that if the state legislature votes to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, he will sign the bill. Gov. Tate Reeves' statement comes as Mississippi lawmakers may consider a measure on the flag as early as Saturday. "The legislature has been deadlocked for days as it considers a new state flag. The argument over the 1894 flag has become as divisive as the flag itself and it’s time to end it. If they send me a bill this weekend, I will sign it," Reeves said in a tweet Saturday morning. Mississippi is the last state in the nation to feature the Confederate emblem on its flag, and Reeves has previously said any change to the flag should come through a popular vote rather than the legislature. He acknowledged in a Facebook post on Thursday, however, that vetoing such legislation would be “pointless.”

Opinion by Alexandra Petri

“Yes, Wyoming is smaller. … But it has three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded, working-class state.” “Alaska provides more than 60 percent of the nation’s seafood.” — Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.), explaining his opposition to D.C. statehood

Well, this is much clearer! Here I was thinking that all the rationales for voter suppression and denying representation (Is voting by mail good or to be forbidden at all costs? Is two senators for 700,000 people perfectly just or a terrible slight not to be borne?) were starting to be confusing and transparently racist, but once again Tom Cotton has proved me incorrect. It all has to do with your proximity to key industries. You must log trees, not keystrokes; you must mine ore, not data. You must — well, he said it better than I possibly could, perhaps even as well as our Founders. As the Declaration of Independence said, “All men are created equal, but those even tangentially involved in the production of seafood are more equal than others.” This matter of industries was actually the very thing Jefferson and Hamilton were always fighting about; Jefferson was saying that yeoman farmers should get 100 percent of the votes, and Hamilton was saying that they should save some votes for workers in manufacturing. Both, it turns out, were correct. (Hamilton, alas, perished before he could cast his first vote; he was trying to catch a fish on Weehawken, but Aaron Burr, knowing how powerful his franchise would be if he ever got to exercise it, was determined to stop him. The fish survived.)

By Faith Karimi and Pierre Meilhan, CNN

(CNN) A former Arizona county assessor pleaded guilty to running an adoption fraud scheme that involved bringing pregnant women from the Marshall Islands to the United States to give birth, authorities said Thursday. Paul Petersen, 45, was an adoption lawyer licensed in Utah and Arizona, and an elected assessor for Maricopa County. Petersen pleaded guilty to three counts of fraudulent schemes and one count of forgery, all felonies in Arizona. He operated the international adoption scheme in Arizona, Arkansas and Utah, according to the the latter's office of the Attorney General. In Utah, Petersen is accused of running an enterprise to transport pregnant Marshallese women to the state for adoptions. The women came from the islands in the central Pacific and were housed in residences he allegedly owned or leased. He transported or secured transportation for more than 40 pregnant Marshallese women to Utah between August 2016 and August 2019, federal prosecutors said. "The defendant collected proceeds from each adoption in the form of fees paid to him by adoptive parents," the documents said. He resigned from his job and was arrested in October last year. "While Paul Petersen enjoyed a position of respect and trust in the community, he manipulated adoptive families and bilked Arizona taxpayers for his own profit," Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich said. "Mr. Petersen must now answer for his crimes. It doesn't matter if you're politically connected, wealthy, or an elected official, the rule of law applies equally to everyone."

By Siraj Datoo

Mark Zuckerberg just became $7.2 billion poorer after a flurry of companies pulled advertising from Facebook Inc.’s network. Shares of the social media company fell 8.3% on Friday, the most in three months, after Unilever, one of the world’s largest advertisers, joined other brands in boycotting ads on the social network. Unilever said it would stop spending money with Facebook’s properties this year. The share-price drop eliminated $56 billion from Facebook’s market value and pushed Zuckerberg’s net worth down to $82.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That also moved the Facebook chief executive officer down one notch to fourth place, overtaken by Louis Vuitton boss Bernard Arnault, who was elevated to one of the world’s three richest people along with Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates.

By Chas Danner

A Russian spy unit secretly offered bounties last year to Taliban-linked militants for the killing of U.S. coalition forces in Afghanistan, including American troops, the New York Times reported Friday. President Trump was briefed on the intelligence and the U.S. developed a range of possible responses to the significant Russian escalation, including diplomatic efforts and new sanctions, but the White House has not authorized any of them, according to U.S. intelligence officials who spoke with the Times. (The officials didn’t offer any explanation as to why.) The intelligence officials believe that militants did collect some of the bounty money after completing successful operations against coalition forces, but it’s not yet clear if any of the deaths of the 20 American servicemembers who were killed in combat in Afghanistan last year are linked to the Russian operation. The Washington Post added in its own subsequent report that “it was not immediately clear whether the militants approached by Russia as part of the initiative had succeeded in killing Americans or allied forces.” The National Security Council discussed the intelligence during an interagency meeting at the White House in March, but the Trump administration did not brief U.S. allies about it until this week. Neither the Times nor Post reported anything about what President Trump’s views are on the matter, but he has notoriously dismissed the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community regarding Russia in the past. According to the Post, the alleged Russian operation “has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic” in light of Trump’s ongoing stance toward the country. - It has been several months since the Trump administration was notified that the Russians were paying bounty for dead Americans Trump has not responded to protect our American soldiers. However, he has attempted to get Russia back in the G7 after he found out about the bounties on our American soldiers.

By Quil Lawrence

The New York police officer accused of using a chokehold in an incident captured on video Sunday has been charged with strangulation. The officer, 39-year-old David Afanador, was suspended the same day the cellphone video appeared to show him choking a Black man on a Queens boardwalk. Now he's been arrested and charged with felony strangulation and attempted strangulation. Afanador pleaded not guilty and was released Thursday afternoon without bail. Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz noted that New York state had criminalized chokeholds just days earlier. "The ink from the pen Gov. Cuomo used to sign this legislation was barely dry before this officer allegedly employed the very tactic the new law was designed to prohibit," Katz said in a statement. "Police officers are entrusted to serve and protect — and the conduct alleged here cannot be tolerated." Afanador could face up to seven years in prison if convicted. Sunday's incident began when police responded to complaints about three men shouting at passersby in Rockaway, Queens. Police body-camera footage appears to show officers talking calmly for about 11 minutes while the men shout obscenities and slurs at them. Then one of the men, 35-year-old Ricky Bellevue, seems to retrieve a bag and ask the police, "Are you scared?"

It’s always been racist, partisan, and nonsensical.
By Joshua Keating

On Friday, the House of Representatives passed legislation that would make the District of Columbia the 51st state. While the bill is unlikely to survive the Republican-controlled Senate—or President Donald Trump’s veto pen—it’s still a milestone in the long battle for full political representation for the residents of the nation’s capital city. D.C. residents have only had the right to vote for president since the passage of the 23rd Amendment in 1961, and to elect their own mayor and city council since 1973. Still, today, D.C. has no voting representatives in Congress, laws passed by the district government can be overturned by Congress, and it has no control over most local prosecutions or—as recent events painfully showed—its own National Guard.  And a dog whistle–laden speech on Thursday by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton showed that some national attitudes toward Washington haven’t changed much since the civil rights era. D.C. statehood would likely result in two more Democratic senators, but the GOP tends to define its opposition to the idea as being a matter of hewing to the Constitution, which created a federal district as the seat of government. Not every Republican argument has feinted such high-mindedness, however. In his speech, Cotton questioned whether current Mayor Muriel Bowser or controversial former Mayor Marion Barry—both Black—could be trusted with the powers of a governor. And he contrasted D.C. with Wyoming, noting that while the Western state has a smaller population, it is a “well-rounded working-class state.” Shortly before the vote, I called veteran D.C. reporter Tom Sherwood to discuss the state of statehood. Sherwood has covered local politics in D.C. for a number of outlets since the mid-1970s and co-authored the definitive history of the Barry years, Dream City: Race, Power, and the Decline of Washington, D.C. Today, he’s a columnist for Washington City Paper and co-host of the weekly Politics Hour on WAMU. Our conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Guardian investigation finds more than 3m aggregate followers and members support QAnon on Facebook, and their numbers are growing
By Julia Carrie Wong

Guardian investigation finds more than 3m aggregate followers and members support QAnon on Facebook, and their numbers are growing. In early May, QAnon braced for a purge. Facebook had removed a small subset – five pages, six groups and 20 profiles – of the community on the social network, and as word of the bans spread, followers of Q began preparing for a broader sweep. Some groups changed their names, substituting “17” for “Q” (the 17th letter of the alphabet); others shared links to back-up accounts on alternative social media platforms with looser rules. More than just another internet conspiracy theory, QAnon is a movement of people who interpret as a kind of gospel the online messages of an anonymous figure – “Q” – who claims knowledge of a secret cabal of powerful pedophiles and sex traffickers. Within the constructed reality of QAnon, Donald Trump is secretly waging a patriotic crusade against these “deep state” child abusers, and a “Great Awakening” that will reveal the truth is on the horizon. QAnon evolved out of the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy theory, which posited that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring out of a Washington DC pizza restaurant, and has come to incorporate numerous strands of rightwing conspiracy mongering. Dedicated followers interpret Q’s cryptic messages in a kind of digital scavenger hunt. Despite the fact that Q’s prognostications have reliably failed to come true, followers rationalize the inaccuracies as part of a larger plan.

Guardian News

Robin DiAngelo’s bestselling book White Fragility has provoked an uncomfortable but vital conversation about what it means to be white. As protests organised by the Black Lives Matter movement continue around the world, she explains why white people should stop avoiding conversations about race because of their own discomfort, and how 'white fragility' plays a key role in upholding systemic racism.

A ‘blanket approval’ allowed Congress, officials and their families to receive Paycheck Protection Program funds without a required conflict of interest review
By Jonathan O'Connell and  Aaron Gregg

A brief and barely noticed “blanket approval” issued by the Trump administration allows lawmakers, Small Business Administration staff, other federal officials and their families to bypass long-standing rules on conflicts of interest to seek funds for themselves, adding to concerns that coronavirus aid programs could be subject to fraud and abuse. Under normal circumstances, lawmakers and some federal employees who apply for small business funds in some cases have to seek approval of a little-known SBA body called the Standards of Conduct Committee. The rule applies to officials who are business owners, officers, directors or shareholders with a more than 10 percent business interest, plus any “household members” of those officials. But in a rule the administration issued April 13, the administration disclosed that the approval requirement had been suspended for all entities seeking funds from the $660 billion program “so that further action by the [ethics committee] is not necessary.”

By Brett Molina - USA TODAY

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg outlined several steps the social network will take to combat hate speech as companies pull advertising from its platform. In a live stream and post published to Facebook on Friday, Zuckerberg detailed multiple steps the company will take ahead of the 2020 presidential election. Among the planned steps: pushing back against voter suppression, boosting standards for hateful content in ads, and labeling content deemed newsworthy. "I'm optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting," wrote Zuckerberg. "I'm committed to making sure Facebook is a force for good on this journey." Zuckerberg said any posts that would typically violate their policies but remain on the platform will include a label noting the content they are sharing may violate their policies.

By Brooke Seipel

The owner of a North Carolina racetrack advertised so-called Bubba Rope for sale this week, alluding to a noose that was found earlier this month in the garage used by NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. at a track in Alabama. According to a report by ESPN, 311 Speedway owner Mike Fulp posted on Facebook Marketplace on Wednesday that he was selling "Bubba Rope" for just under $10 each. "Buy your Bubba Rope today for only $9.99 each, they come with a lifetime warranty and work great," the post reportedly read. Fulp's post was taken down by Thursday afternoon after it was the subject of backlash from fans. Some said, according to ESPN, that they would no longer attend events at the track over the product. The news follows controversy after Wallace, the only Black NASCAR driver, found rope pulled into a noose in the garage that had been assigned to him at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

By Veronica Stracqualursi and Nicky Robertson, CNN

(CNN) Sen. Tom Cotton argued on Thursday that Wyoming, which he called a "well-rounded working-class state," is more deserving of statehood than the District of Columbia, even though the nation's capital has more citizens. "Wyoming is smaller than Washington by population, but it has three times as many workers in mining, logging and construction, and 10 times as many workers in manufacturing. In other words, Wyoming is a well-rounded working-class state. A new state of Washington would not be," the Arkansas Republican said on the Senate floor. Advocates of DC statehood point to the fact that residents pay taxes to the federal government but don't have representation in the US Senate and only have one non-voting delegate representing them in the US House. But Cotton argued that Democrats are only pushing for DC statehood so they can "have two new Democratic senators in perpetuity" and to "rig the rule of our democracy." Partisanship has long been a central reason for Republican opposition to DC statehood, as they frequently point to the likelihood that Democrats would pick up two additional US senators. But Cotton's comments also underscore the economic, regional and racial divides that increasingly make up both parties. - Tom Cotton is a racist plain and simple. The jobs that people do has nothing to do with how rounded or how American they are they are still hard working Americans. The people of DC are hardworking tax paying Americans who deserve representation.

By Barbara Sprunt

House Democrats approved a bill Friday afternoon to make the District of Columbia the nation's 51st state. The vote was 232-180 largely along party and the legislation is expected to go no further in the face of opposition by Republicans in the Senate. For decades, Washington, D.C., license plates have bemoaned the District of Columbia's lack of statehood, reminding viewers in bold blue letters of its "taxation without representation." Despite having a population larger than that of Vermont or Wyoming, the District's 700,000 residents don't have anyone voting for their interests on the floor of the House or the Senate. The bill scheduled for action on Friday, sponsored by the District's nonvoting delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, has over 220 co-sponsors and is expected to sail through the House. The vote was announced last week by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. Norton says her bill holds personal, as well as political, meaning.

By Marshall Cohen

(CNN) George Nader, who was a key witness in the Russia investigation and informally advised President Donald Trump's team on foreign policy, was sentenced on Friday to 10 years in prison by a federal judge in Virginia, stemming from his convictions on child sex charges. The sentence was announced by Judge Leonie Brinkema, closing a disturbing case that exposed Nader's double life as a pedophile who also advised top US and Middle Eastern officials. Earlier this year, Nader pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography that depicted sexual abuse of minors and admitted bringing an underage boy to the US for sex. These crimes occurred years before the 2016 election, when Nader worked his way into Trump's orbit and served as an informal foreign policy adviser to the transition, attending high-level meetings. Nader, 61, has already been in jail for more than a year and could apply for "compassionate release" because of the pandemic after he is formally transferred to a federal prison, the judge said. As part of a plea deal, the Justice Department agreed to recommend that Nader only receive the mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison.

By Noam N. LeveyStaff Writer

Just weeks after the coronavirus overwhelmed hospitals in and around New York City, medical centers in Arizona, Florida, Texas and other states with skyrocketing infections are rapidly filling with sick patients, threatening their healthcare systems. The swift increase has forced hospital leaders to begin bringing in extra staff, converting space into dedicated coronavirus units and, in some cases, moving sick patients hundreds of miles to get to available beds. Surging numbers of patients with COVID-19 — though still shy of the wave that hit New York — also raise the prospect of new restrictions on nonessential medical care to free up beds for patients infected with virus. “The numbers are definitely scary,” said Judy Rich, chief executive of Tucson Medical Center, a hospital with more than 500 beds that serves patients from across southern Arizona. Tucson Medical Center has seen a threefold increase in COVID-19 patients since the beginning of June.

By Maegan Vazquez, CNN

Washington (CNN) Members of the Texas congressional delegation on both sides of the aisle are asking the Trump administration to reconsider its decision to halt direct funding to several coronavirus testing sites in the Lone Star State, where there has been a surge of Covid-19 cases. The transition away from these federally funded sites began in April, but the latest debate over federal funding comes after President Donald Trump on Saturday lamented the rise in coronavirus cases in the US, blaming increased testing. At a campaign rally over the weekend, he said coronavirus testing was "a double-edged sword." "I said to my people, 'Slow the testing down, please,' " the President added. Administration officials have said that slowing down testing has not been requested and his comments were made "in jest," but Trump maintains that he wasn't kidding. The federally funded testing program was intended to jump-start initial capabilities in critical areas across the US, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But given Food and Drug Administration approval for individuals to self-administer nasal swab tests at sites, the demand for personal protective equipment and trained health care providers will be reduced, a FEMA spokesperson said in a statement in April, when the administration began its transition away from the program.

ProPublica Deputy Managing Editor Eric Umansky’s family saw an unmarked NYPD cruiser hit a Black teenager. He tried to find out how it happened, and instead found all of the ways the NYPD is shielded from accountability.

by Eric Umansky

Last Halloween, my wife and then-6-year-old daughter were making their way home after trick-or-treating in Brooklyn. Suddenly, an unmarked NYPD car with sirens wailing began speeding against traffic up a one-way street, our neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. The officer seemed to be going after a few teenage boys. Then, in an instant, the car hit one of the kids. It was the first of many jarring things my family saw the NYPD do that night. Afterward, I tried to find out more about what exactly had happened and whether officers would be disciplined. There was footage and plenty of witnesses, and I happen to be an investigative journalist. I thought there was at least a chance I could get answers. Instead, the episode crystallized all of the ways in which the NYPD is shielded from accountability. This happened in my neighborhood, Carroll Gardens, which is overwhelmingly white. Residents named it that in the 1960s to distinguish it from nearby Red Hook, where the population was largely Black. The area has changed enormously over the decades. But even now, it’s segregated almost block by block. Halloween is the one day that it can seem like an integrated neighborhood. With lots of stoops and storefronts, there’s always plenty of candy to be had. Kids from the whole area come for the haul.

The bill "[mis]understands how encryption works. You can't create a backdoor just for 'good guys,'" one expert says
By Matthew Rozsa

Republican senators on Tuesday introduced the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data (LAED) Act, a bill that if passed would require technology companies to allow law enforcement to access encrypted data in order to carry out their warrants. "Terrorists and criminals routinely use technology, whether smartphones, apps, or other means, to coordinate and communicate their daily activities," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said in a statement while introducing the legislation with his Republican colleagues, Sens. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Tom Cotton of Arkansas. After claiming that there have been terrorism cases and other incidents involving "serious criminal activity" in which law enforcement was hindered by not being able to access encrypted information, Graham accused technology companies of not honoring court orders.

Althea Bernstein, 18, told police she heard someone yell out a racial epithet, looked around and saw four white men. One sprayed liquid on her face and neck and threw a flaming lighter at her.

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — An assault on a biracial woman in Madison was being investigated as a hate crime after the woman told police she was burned by lighter fluid thrown at her and ignited by a white man, just a few blocks from violent protests at the state Capitol. Althea Bernstein told police she was driving near the Capitol about 1 a.m. Wednesday and had stopped at a red light with her driver’s side window down. Bernstein, 18, told police she heard someone yell out a racial epithet, looked around and saw four white men. One sprayed liquid on her face and neck and threw a flaming lighter at her, she told police. Bernstein said she pulled forward, put out the flames and drove home where her mother encouraged her to go to the hospital. She was treated for burns. Hospital staff believe the liquid was lighter fluid, police said. A call by The Associated Press to Bernstein’s home was referred to Michael Johnson, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County. Johnson released a statement from Bernstein’s family that they were “saddened at what happened to Althea and the unprovoked attack on her body. At this time, our family is asking everyone to respect our privacy as Althea is recovering from the burns on her face and neck.” The assault came amid a night of violence Tuesday that included the toppling of two statues outside the Capitol and an attack on a state senator. A group of 200 to 300 people protested the arrest of a Black man after he shouted at restaurant customers through a megaphone while carrying a baseball bat.

The actions by the close allies of President Trump speaks to the severity of the outbreaks in two of the most populous states in the country.

A pair of GOP governors on Friday moved to impose new mitigation measures in their states amid record numbers of new coronavirus infections, with both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordering bars closed and Texas placing new restrictions on other businesses the governor said were linked to the virus's resurgence. Texas and Florida are among around a dozen other states that have hit the brakes on reopening their economies amid a resurgence of the virus across the South and West affecting more than half of the states in the country. That both governors — who are close allies of President Donald Trump and were criticized for resisting calls to lock down their states in the pandemic's early days — have not only pressed pause on reopening but reimposed some restrictions, speaks to the severity of the outbreaks in two of the most populous states in the country. The country as a whole on Thursday registered another single-day record of more than 39,000 new infections, with fears that hospitalizations and the nationwide death toll could soon follow. The new spikes come as the White House has attempted to play down the increase and press forward with reopening the economy after coming to a standstill for months this spring. Signs are emerging, however, that the White House has begun to take the threat more seriously, with its coronavirus task force set to hold its first public briefing since April 27.

By Robert Farley

President Donald Trump has ramped up his rhetoric about voting fraud to include foreign interference — specifically making the unfounded claim that “MILLIONS OF MAIL-IN BALLOTS WILL BE PRINTED BY FOREIGN COUNTRIES,” resulting in a “RIGGED” election. Voting experts say there are numerous logistical hurdles, such as reproducing ballots in multiple jurisdictions, and security safeguards, such as bar codes and signature checks, that would prevent a foreign government from slipping large numbers of fraudulent ballots past election officials. Those safeguards make such a plan highly unlikely to result in fraudulent votes being cast, experts say, and certainly not enough to sway a presidential election. Numerous voting experts told us they were not aware of any cases of counterfeit ballots being used in past elections. But if foreign actors were to attempt something like that this year, some experts believe the goal might not be to fool election officials, but rather to create chaos and confusion among American voters, many of whom might be voting by mail for the first time and might be tricked into voting with a counterfeit ballot that is never counted. In his ongoing and often misleading campaign against the expansion of mail-in voting in the upcoming presidential election, Trump has repeatedly warned about fraudulent ballots. More recently, Trump has warned of foreign interference.

Ron DeSantis angrily dismisses allegation from fired scientist that officials are massaging figures to hide true impact of coronavirus
By Richard Luscombe in Miami

Republican Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s faltering response to soaring new coronavirus numbers in his state is descending into acrimony, after an accusation his administration is “cooking the books” in an effort to hide the true impact of the devastating pandemic. More than 20m Americans could have contracted Covid-19, experts say The claim from the state’s former leading Covid-19 data scientist comes as Florida smashed its own one-day record for new cases of the disease on Friday with 8,942, after two successive days above 5,000 – by far the highest figures since the pandemic began. The situation in Florida is part of a widespread surge of infections across broad swathes of the US, especially in states – often run by Republicans – which have rushed to reopen their economies.

So far this month, Florida has seen confirmed cases more than double from 56,000 to above 114,000, and set daily records on seven of the last 13 days. Meanwhile, the number of deaths among Florida residents has climbed to almost 3,400. Rebekah Jones, who says she was fired from her job in charge of the state’s official Covid-19 database in May for refusing to manipulate its figures, claimed on social media to have evidence that employees at Florida’s department of health “have been instructed this week to change the numbers and begin slowly deleting deaths and cases so it looks like Florida is improving next week in the lead-up to July 4, like they’ve ‘made it over the hump’.” “They’re only reporting all these cases now so they can restrict reporting next week to make everyone think it’s over,” she said. DeSantis, a Donald Trump loyalist who has refused to slow Florida’s reopening or implement a statewide mask mandate, angrily dismissed the claim, calling a reporter from the Miami Herald who asked him about it “embarrassing”.

Wildlife Services kills thousands of animals at ranchers and farmers’ behest. But it operates with little oversight – and critics describe it as out of control
By Jimmy Tobias in Pocatello, Idaho

The call came over Tony Manu’s police radio one March day in 2017: some sort of pipe had exploded in the hills outside Pocatello, Idaho and the son of a well-known local doctor was hurt, or worse. Manu, a long-time detective with the county sheriff’s office, was shocked. A pipe bomb in Pocatello? “We were like, ‘Holy shit,’” says Manu. He hit the gas and screeched up winding mountain roads outside of town. “I thought maybe [the victim] was missing a leg or something. That is what it sounded like.” At the home of Dr Mansfield and his family, he found a frightening scene. On the driveway, just outside the sprawling timbered house, the family’s dog, Kasey, was dead. Inside the home, Canyon Mansfield, 14 years old, the youngest of three children, was sobbing. His head was pounding and his eyes were burning – he needed to go to the emergency room.

Manu soon pieced together the story. While playing in the woods behind the family home, Canyon and his dog had stumbled upon a strange device that sprayed them in the face with a dose of of sodium cyanide. The boy managed to quickly clean the poison out of his eyes, but the dog collapsed and started convulsing. As Kasey lay dying on the hillside, Dr Mansfield had wanted to give Kasey CPR, but Canyon told him that if he did, he’d ingest the deadly stuff himself. It didn’t take detective Manu and his team of investigators long to uncover how it got there. The so-called cyanide bomb was not the work of some rogue actor or terrorist cell. It had been installed by a federal employee on official business.

By Nicholas Garton

An 18-year-old biracial woman is in receiving continued hospital treatments for burns suffered early Wednesday morning following a reported attack that Madison police are investigating as a hate crime. Althea Bernstein, an EMT studying at Madison College to be a paramedic and firefighter, said she was driving on W. Gorham St. at approximately 1 a.m. on Wednesday morning. As she stopped for a red light she heard the voices of what she described as college-aged men calling her a "Nigger." She told police that one of the men sprayed a fluid, which hospital staff believe to have been lighter fluid, on her face, and then used a lighter to light her on fire. Bernstein suffered burns on the side of her face, and was able to put the flames out and managed to drive herself to the safety of her mother’s home. Bernstein was treated for her injuries at a hospital, and has had to have follow-up visits, including on Thursday afternoon. The Madison Police Department said they are investigating the assault as a hate crime and attempting to use surveillance images if possible to identify the attackers. Bernstein’s family has asked Boys and Girls Club of Dane County CEO Michael Johnson to assist with resources and to respond to press inquiries on behalf of the family.

By John Bowden

Philadelphia's police commissioner and mayor announced Thursday that the department would put a moratorium on the use of tear gas and apologized for the city's response to peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd. The New York Times reported that Philadelphia police commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters at a news conference that she was "extremely disturbed" by a previous Times investigation that reported city officers had used tear gas on nonviolent protesters who were trapped on Interstate 676 in the city by police. “I humbly apologize to those who were directly impacted as well as to our communities at large,” she said. “As recently as today, I have viewed video posted by the New York Times by which I am extremely disturbed and, quite frankly, sickened beyond description.” "Effective immediately, I’m declaring a categorical moratorium on the use of tear gas for the dispersal or control of crowds, which includes any persons who are peacefully assembling or passively resisting,” she reportedly continued. “We are also evaluating all other munitions available to SWAT personnel.”

By Rachel Sharp For Dailymail.com

The biggest Saharan dust storm in 50 years has hit the US and is headed for Florida, Texas and other states already struggling with COVID-19 surges, sparking fresh fears of respiratory problems among Americans. The so-called 'Gorilla Dust Cloud' struck Mississippi's gulf coast Thursday after charting its path across the Caribbean this week where air quality plunged to 'hazardous' levels. The 3,500-mile-long cloud traveled 5,000 miles from North Africa before reaching the region stretching from Florida west into Texas and north into North Carolina through Arkansas, the National Weather Service (NWS) said. It will hang over the US Southeast this weekend and into the middle of next week, shrouding the region in a brown haze and deteriorating the air quality in states already buckling under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic. Experts are warning vulnerable people to stay inside in states including Texas and Florida as the poor air quality caused by the dust storm coupled with the skyrocketing cases and hospitalizations of the deadly virus poses a double threat to public health.

The U.S. Senate passed legislation on Thursday that would impose mandatory sanctions on people or companies that back efforts by China to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy, pushing back against Beijing’s new security law for the city. The measure also includes secondary sanctions on banks that do business with anyone found to be backing any crackdown on the territory’s autonomy, potentially cutting them off from American counterparts and limiting access to U.S. dollar transactions. The “Hong Kong Autonomy Act” passed by unanimous consent. To become law, it must also pass the House of Representatives and be signed by President Donald Trump. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen, a lead sponsor, said in the Senate the legislation would send a clear message to Beijing that there would be consequences if it acts to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy. The Hong Kong sanctions bill almost passed last week, Van Hollen said, but was blocked by Republican Senator Kevin Cramer — who had co-sponsored it — at the request of the Trump administration, which made a late request for technical corrections.

By Mark Katkov

In a filing with the Supreme Court, the Trump administration has reaffirmed its position that the Affordable Care Act in its entirety is illegal because Congress eliminated the individual tax penalty for failing to purchase medical insurance. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, the government's chief advocate before the Supreme Court, said in a brief that the other provisions of Obamacare are impossible to separate from the individual mandate and that "it necessarily follows that the rest of the ACA must also fall."

Shortly after the brief appeared on the court's docket late Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement: "President Trump and the Republicans' campaign to rip away the protections and benefits of the Affordable Care Act in the middle of the coronavirus crisis is an act of unfathomable cruelty." The case before the high court began with a lawsuit brought by 20 states, led by Texas, calling for the elimination of the ACA. It has been consolidated for argument with another case brought by 17 states, led by California, seeking to preserve the law. The court is likely to hear the case in the fall.

By Ariane de Vogue, Tami Luhby and Sarah Mucha, CNN

(CNN) In the midst of a global pandemic with the presidential election just months away, the Justice Department asked the Supreme Court on Thursday to invalidate the Affordable Care Act, the landmark health care law that enabled millions of Americans to get insurance coverage and that remains in effect despite the pending legal challenge. In a late-night filing, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said that once the law's individual coverage mandate and two key provisions are invalidated, "the remainder of the ACA should not be allowed to remain in effect." The justices will hear arguments in the case sometime next term, although it is unclear if they will occur before the November election. The dispute ensures another major shift in the political landscape during the election season on an issue that has dominated American politics for the last decade. It will be the third time the court has heard a significant challenge to the law. The case pits a coalition of Democratic attorneys general led by California and the House of Representatives, which are defending the law, against the Trump administration and a group of red state attorneys general led by Texas. At issue is whether the law's individual mandate was rendered unconstitutional because Congress reduced the penalty for remaining uninsured to zero and, if so, whether that would bring down the entire law. A federal appeals court in December ruled that the mandate was unconstitutional but punted the decision on which, if any, of the law's provisions could be retained back to the district court -- which had previously found the entire law to be invalidated. The administration has generally sided with the Republican attorneys general but recently argued that the entire law should fall but that the ruling should only apply to the 18 states that brought the challenge

By Steven Nelson

More than 1 million dead people received coronavirus stimulus checks this year, according to a report from a government watchdog agency. The payments to nearly 1.1 million people totaled $1.4 billion, the Government Accountability Office revealed Thursday. Treasury Department officials said that the late March CARES Act mandated that they distribute the money as “rapidly as possible,” the report says. The revelation follows anecdotal reports of dead people getting stimulus checks — and comes as Congress begins to consider a new coronavirus package that may include more direct payments. The CARES Act sought to blunt the economic devastation of the pandemic by sending checks of up to $1,200 to taxpayers, with an extra $500 per dependent child. The bill also gave a federal boost of $600 per week to unemployment insurance.

By Jay Croft and Christina Maxouris, CNN

(CNN) Texas' governor is urging people to stay home amid a surge in coronavirus cases, with some health officials calling for a stricter stay-at-home order. "Because the spread is so rampant right now, there's never a reason for you to have to leave your home," Gov. Greg Abbott told CNN affiliate KBTX. "Unless you do need to go out, the safest place for you is at your home." New cases and hospitalizations are rising at their fastest rate yet -- something Abbott called "unacceptable" -- with Texas reporting more than 5,000 cases in a single day, breaking its previous record, health authorities said. The surge comes as alarming coronavirus trends have emerged across several US states. Tuesday saw 34,720 new cases in the US -- the third-highest number of new cases reported in one day since the beginning of the pandemic, based on the archive of numbers kept by Johns Hopkins University. The two days with more cases were both in April. California obliterated its previous single-day high with more than 7,149 cases reported Wednesday, according to data from the state Department of Public Health. The previous record, set the day before, was just more than 5,000. Hospitalization and ICU rates due to the virus are also at an all-time high in the state. Further state actions in Texas could be announced if the virus continues to spread at this rate, even as officials encourage mask wearing and social distancing in places like bars that are often overcrowded, Abbott said.

Why we’re often the ones getting messed with when police officers make food-tampering claims.
by Katie Way

“The worst thing you can do is make an officer feel like they have done something wrong when you don’t have any evidence to support it,” Brian Hornaday, chief of the Herington Police Department in Kansas, told VICE. “As the leader of a law enforcement agency, you always want to believe that the person you have hired and has been sworn under oath will be honest all the time.” It’s July 2019. Phillip Powell, a corrections officer with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana, is peering angrily at his McChicken, which he placed in the break-room fridge of the Marion County Jail at the beginning of his shift. Seven hours later, the sandwich has been bitten into, and Powell can only conclude one thing: A McDonald’s employee, out to score a cheap win against a cop, took several small bites out of his sandwich. After placing an anonymous call to a local radio station in which he accuses an Indianapolis McDonald’s of food tampering, he remembers he was the one who bit his sandwich, and he is placed on 16 hours of unpaid leave. It’s now November. A McDonald’s manager in Bakersfield, California, is contacting the Kern County Sheriff’s Office because she believes she saw security footage showing 21-year-old Tatyana Hargrove rub a hamburger bun on the floor, spit in a burger, then serve it to a uniformed Bakersfield Police Department officer. Within two weeks, she and other employees are interrogated, and Hargrove is charged with battery and “attempting to mingle substances with food and drink.” The latter is a felony.

By Meg Kelly and Elyse Samuels

“The memory of George Floyd is being dishonored by rioters, looters and anarchists. The violence and vandalism is being led by antifa and other radical left-wing groups who are terrorizing the innocent, destroying jobs, hurting businesses and burning down buildings.” — President Trump, in remarks at a SpaceX launch, May 30

“I don't see any indication that there were any white supremest groups mixing in. This is an ANTIFA Organization. It seems that the first time we saw it in a major way was Occupy Wall Street. It's the same mindset.” @kilmeade @foxandfriends TRUE!” — Trump, in a tweet, June 1

“Our nation has been gripped by professional anarchists. Violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa and others.” — Trump, in remarks at the White House Rose Garden, June 1

“We have antifa, we have anarchists, we have terrorists, we have looters. We have a lot of bad people in those groups. I mean, you watch and you see.” — Trump, in an interview, June 3

The Facts
Antifa is a moniker, not a single group with a clear organizational structure or leader. It is a decentralized network of activists who don’t coordinate. Their common ground is opposing anything that they think is racist or fascist. In recent years, antifa activists appeared whenever there was a large gathering of white nationalists. And white nationalists, as counterintuitive as it might seem, have been known to attend Black Lives Matter rallies. That is what could then draw attention from antifa forces, according to Seth G. Jones, director of the transnational threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Roughly 80 federal charges, including murder and throwing molotov cocktails at police vehicles, reveal no evidence of an antifa plot. Four people who identify with the far-right extremist “boogaloo” movement are among those facing the most serious federal charges. Asked whether anyone who identifies as antifa had been charged, Department of Justice spokesman Matt Lloyd said via email, “We do not collect statistics based on potential inspiration but on unlawful acts according to statute.”

By Dan Mangan, Tucker Higgins

A New York judge on Thursday rejected on jurisdictional grounds a legal effort by President Donald Trump’s brother to halt the publication next month of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary Trump — but the brother’s lawyer said the case will be refiled in another court. The ruling in Queens County Surrogate’s Court by Judge Peter Kelly came just two days Trump’s brother, Robert Trump, said in a court filing that Mary Trump would be violating a non-disclosure agreement if the book is published. The president himself recently said that his niece, who is the daughter of his late older brother Fred Trump Jr., is subject to the nondisclosure agreement, and is “not allowed to write a book.” The NDA was signed by the clinical psychologist Mary and her brother with the president, Robert and the elder Trumps’ sister, retired federal appeals court judge Maryanne Trump Barry, as part of a settlement of a court battle over the will of the president’s late father, Fred Trump. Sr. Mary’s book, “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” is scheduled to be published on July 28.

By David Close, CNN

(CNN) NASCAR has released a photo of the noose that was found hanging in Bubba Wallace's team garage at the Talladega Superspeedway last week.
It also said that a thorough sweep of the 29 tracks and 1,684 garage stalls at the speedway, authorities found 11 pull-down ropes tied in a knot -- but only one noose: "The one discovered on Sunday in Bubba Wallace's garage," NASCAR president Steve Phelps said at a news conference Thursday. Wallace is the only Black driver in NASCAR's top circuit. "As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba," Phelps said. He added that a just-concluded NASCAR investigation could not determine who tied the noose. "How did the noose get there? Was anyone an intended target?" The noose had been fashioned back in 2019. Phelps could not say why no one had reported it until this past weekend. "We further determined that the noose was not in place when the October 2019 race weekend began but was created at some point during that weekend," Phelps said. "Given that timing and the garage access policies and procedures at the time, we were unfortunately unable to determine with any certainty who tied this rope in this manner or why it was done."

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) refused to quit banging the table after House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) gave a witness extra time to finish his opening statement. Source: CNN

By Jordain Carney

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Thursday to expand the authority of the Justice Department inspector general over opposition from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and the Department of Justice (DOJ). The committee voted 21-1 on the legislation, which would give the DOJ watchdog the authority to investigate attorneys within the department. Graham was the only senator to vote against the measure. The vote sends it to the full Senate, where supporters acknowledge they don't know if it will get taken up for a vote in the face of opposition from Graham, who chairs the Judiciary Committee, and Attorney General William Barr. Graham tried to change the legislation to require the attorney general to sign off on investigations into potential DOJ attorney misconduct. "I'm not going to support legislation that allows an IG to investigate discretionary decisions at the Department of Justice. If there's a dispute about misconduct between the IG and the attorney general, the last word will be the attorney general who is politically accountable," Graham said of his proposed change. Graham noted that he had spoken with Barr about the legislation three times. He said the attorney general did not support this proposal but DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz did. "I don't think he's ever going to get to yes on any process that allows the IG to look at DOJ lawyers and people under their charge,” Graham said of Barr. But the committee voted down his amendment, instead passing the bill as originally written by Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

By Glenn Kessler

“We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration. The cupboards were bare, as I say often.”

— President Trump, remarks at the White House, April 30, 2020

“You know, if you remember where we started, we had no ventilators.”

— Trump, remarks at the White House, May 15

“He took a ventilator job where the country basically had no ventilators.”

— Trump, remarks at the White House, May 18

“We had none, essentially. We had very few, and they were obsolete. They were broken.”

The Facts
Our colleagues at FactCheck.org published on June 22 details from two statements it received from the Department of Health and Human Services — that there were 16,660 ventilators in the SNS available for distribution at the start of the pandemic and that the federal government had distributed 10,640 of them as of June 17. (Another 2,425 ventilators were in maintenance as of March, HHS says, though the New York Times reported in April that 2,109 were unavailable because the government had let a maintenance contract lapse.)

By Ariane de Vogue, CNN Supreme Court Reporter

Washington (CNN) In a win for the Department of Homeland Security, the Supreme Court said Thursday that a Sri Lankan farmer who lost his bid for asylum in the United States after immigration officials ordered his removal could not challenge that decision in federal court. The ruling will keep courthouse doors closed to asylum seekers in expedited removal processes who say they cannot return home because they have a credible fear of torture or even death. Seven justices sided with the government in the case, but only five -- all conservatives -- signed onto the majority opinion penned by Justice Samuel Alito. Alito said that the petitioner in the case, Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam, "does not want 'simple release' but, ultimately, the opportunity to remain lawfully in the United States." Alito added: "In this case ... the relief requested falls outside the scope of the writ as it was understood when the Constitution was adopted." The expedited removal process is applied to individuals who unlawfully enters the United States and can be ordered removed without further hearing or review. If the individual seeks asylum, however, he or she is provided additional screening before an asylum officer, a supervisory officer and an immigration judge to determine whether the person has a credible fear of persecution or torture if returned to his or her home country.  

Analysis by Stephen Collinson, CNN

(CNN) It's a "public health train wreck in slow motion," in the words of one health expert, and the best President Donald Trump cares to offer the thousands more Americans projected to shortly die of Covid-19 is the unsubstantiated prospect of a "beautiful surprise." The US just hit its third highest ever peak of new coronavirus cases, multiple states are registering their own daily records and three are now taking the extraordinary step of imposing quarantines for citizens from pandemic hotspots. The world's most powerful nation lacks a coherent national strategy to meet another cresting viral crisis, the capacity or even the willingness to take steps that might stop it. It is also led by a man who is suggesting by his actions and attitudes that he doesn't care that much about the unfolding tragedy. Trump, who has previously predicted a "miracle" would occur or the virus would just disappear in the warmer weather, again declared falsely Wednesday that the danger had passed -- even with the nation racing towards another deadly summit of infection. In his latest misleading effort to create a picture of normality, Trump welcomed Polish President Andrzej Duda to the Oval Office. "This is the first after Covid, after the start of the plague as I call it," Trump told his visitor, who was happy to play along after being given a huge political gift of a visit a few days before a national election and approvingly noted "the end of the coronavirus."


Robert Trump, Donald’s younger brother, spent at least 10 days in a neuro intensive care unit just before launching legal action to stop the publication of his niece’s book.
By Lachlan Cartwright, Asawin Suebsaeng

Robert Trump, Donald’s younger brother, spent at least 10 days in an intensive care unit before being released this week and launching legal action to try and stop the publication of his niece’s explosive tell-all book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man, according to multiple people familiar with the situation. Robert, 72, had been at Mount Sinai hospital’s neurosciences intensive care unit (NSICU) in New York since at least June 11th, being treated for a serious condition. He was discharged on Sunday and, despite his stay in the hospital, he wasted no time in filing and signing complicated legal documents aided by his celebrity attorney Charles Harder and releasing a statement. “Her attempt to sensationalize and mischaracterize our family relationship after all of these years for her own financial gain is both a travesty and injustice to the memory of my late brother, Fred, and our beloved parents. I and the rest of my entire family are so proud of my wonderful brother, the president, and feel that Mary’s actions are truly a disgrace,” Robert said in his statement to The New York Times roughly 48 hours after he was discharged from hospital.

The Government Accountability Office said in its report that the IRS does not currently have a plan in place to notify ineligible recipients.
By Rich Gardella and Dartunorro Clark

More than a million Americans who had died received COVID-19 stimulus payments totaling $1.4 billion, a government watchdog said in a report to Congress released Thursday. The finding is part of a sweeping review of the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Government Accountability Office, an independent nonpartisan congressional agency. The report paints a clearer picture of what critics called a muddled rollout by the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department of more than 160 million payments worth $269 billion. Congress passed a massive $2 trillion stimulus package, called the CARES Act, in March to soften the economic blow of the coronavirus pandemic for American workers and businesses. Eligible Americans received checks, called Economic Impact Payments, based on their 2018 or 2019 income tax returns, or by filling out a simple tax return. Individuals making up to $75,000 a year received checks for $1,200 and couples making up to $150,000 and filing a joint tax return received $2,400, with an additional $500 per qualifying child. The payments decreased for those making more than $75,000, with an income cap of $99,000 per individual or $198,000 for couples.

Funding for 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, will end this month – a move officials warn could cause further spread
By Adam Gabbatt

Officials in states across the US have reacted with alarm to the Trump administration’s plan to end federal support for some Covid-19 testing sites, warning it could cause further spread of a disease that is already surging back and calling the move “irresponsible”. The White House confirmed on Wednesday it will no longer fund 13 testing sites, including seven in Texas, despite that state reporting record highs in the number of coronavirus cases. Funding and support for the sites will end this month, even as Covid-19 cases surge across the US. The sites are in Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Colorado. Hospital admissions hit record highs in seven US states on Tuesday, including in Texas, which reported an all-time daily high of 5,489 new cases on Tuesday. Four US congresspeople from Texas urged the government to reconsider defunding the testing sites in a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema). The move would be “harmful and irresponsible”, they wrote in the letter. “We need the support of Fema now more than ever as our communities and the state of Texas see unprecedented growth in cases of the coronavirus disease,” added the members of Congress, including Sylvia Garcia, a Democrat whose district covers much of east Houston. “At this time, we must expand the number of people tested per day to prevent further spread of the virus. “We must continue to protect our vulnerable communities and the capacity of our healthcare system.”

By Arwa Mahdawi

The former White House press secretary has a memoir in the works. But let’s not forget her talent for fiction. Donald Trump may not like reading, but he has inspired a lot of people to take up writing. Anyone remotely connected to the president appears to have an exposé of the Trump administration forthcoming. That includes Sarah Sanders, the former White House press secretary; her book, Speaking for Myself, will be released later this year. Sanders has remained loyal to the president; instead, she directs barbs at the former national security adviser John Bolton, who most certainly has not. In an extract of her book given to the politics site Axios, she describes Bolton as being “drunk on power” and forgetting that “nobody elected him to anything”. It is a shame Sanders has written a memoir, because she has a talent for fiction. During her two-year tenure as press secretary, Sanders proved herself a smooth and shameless liar. She maintained a straight face while arguing that Trump, who has repeatedly glorified violence, had never encouraged violence against anyone. She claimed that Trump’s firing of the FBI director, James Comey, had support from “countless members of the FBI”, before admitting under oath that this statement “was not founded on anything”.

By Salvador Rizzo

“Imagine a ballot being sent to a person regardless of eligibility, signed by someone else, picked up and delivered by a campaign operative, and still counted. Democrats are trying to legalize ballot harvesting nationwide.” — Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, in a tweet, June 23, 2020

A slick video posted on Twitter by the head of the Republican Party takes snippets of news and events from around the country to spin a conspiracy theory about the 2020 elections. Democrats have fought in court and pushed state legislatures for years to increase avenues for voting. State election officials from both parties are expanding vote-by-mail this year to mitigate the risk of spreading the novel coronavirus. President Trump has fumed at these moves and for weeks has been spreading false information about vote-by-mail laws and safeguards, often tweeting baseless warnings about a phantom plot to steal the election.

By Nicholas Wu, Tom Vanden Brook - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — Four hundred National Guard troops have been activated in the nation's capital to guard monuments and infrastructure amid protests over racial injustice and some demonstrators' attempts to pull down statues. "The District of Columbia National Guard has sent unarmed troops to guard monuments and other infrastructure in support of local law enforcement agencies," said Washington, D.C. National Guard spokesperson Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Craig Clapper on Wednesday. Clapper said not all of the  troops would be on the street at the same time, and Army spokesperson Col. Sunset Belinsky noted that none of the soldiers had been sent yet to the monuments to support the National Park Police. "They remain on standby at the National Guard Armory," Belinsky said. The activation comes as some protesters across the country have tried to remove statues related to the Confederacy and other statues following the death of George Floyd.

By Aris Folley

A number of Black staff members and student-athletes are leaving Liberty University after the school's president, Jerry Falwell Jr., sought to mock Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) on Twitter last month with a mask that depicted the racist imagery from Northam's medical school yearbook page. Four Black staff members have left the school so far and the same number of Black athletes have announced their intentions to do the same after Falwell’s tweet, according to The Associated Press. The report comes several weeks after a group of Black graduates signed a letter condemning Falwell for the tweet and demanding he apologize. In the May 27 tweet, Falwell voiced his opposition to a mandate requiring Virginia residents wear face coverings in public and, in a swipe at Northam, said he would only wear a mask if it featured a photo from the governor’s medical school yearbook page that showed a man wearing a Ku Klux Klan robe and another man in blackface. “I was adamantly opposed to the mandate from @GovernorVA requiring citizens to wear face masks until I decided to design my own. If I am ordered to wear a mask, I will reluctantly comply, but only if this picture of Governor Blackface himself is on it!” Falwell said in the since-deleted tweet. The image drew a wave of criticism against the governor when it surfaced last year and fueled calls for Northam to resign. Falwell apologized for his tweet after drawing swift backlash from many online and from Black alumni for using the racist imagery.

From glaring falsehoods about straight-up violence to absurd fantasies often involving ice cream, cops have been creative.
By Kelly Weill

Protesters are not filling ice cream containers with concrete. Shake Shack employees are not putting bleach in milkshakes. And buses full of anti-fascists are not about to descend on a small town near you. That’s just what police are saying. As protests over racial justice and police brutality unfold across the country, police departments are taking to social media to tell their side of the story. The trouble is, they’re frequently wrong—and sometimes so wildly so that it begs the question of why they even bother. Christopher Slobogin, director of Vanderbilt University’s criminal justice program, said cops can be mistaken, just like everyone. But sometimes police lie because they view themselves as in opposition to criminals, who also lie. “It’s possible that police concoct lies because even though they know what they’re saying isn’t true, they believe the lie is in service of a greater good,” Slobogin told The Daily Beast. “If cops are convinced that, overall, they’re in the right, what’s a little lying here and there? I think that’s human nature, not just cops. But the problem, the cops have the power, they have the weapons, and people in authority tend to believe them.”

By Katelyn Polantz and Marshall Cohen, CNN

(CNN) A federal appeals court on Wednesday ordered the dismissal of the case against former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn, likely concluding a long-running court fight that had taken on greater meaning in political debates about the Russia investigation into the 2016 Trump campaign and about the checks and balances the judiciary has on the executive branch. Despite Flynn twice pleading guilty for lying to the FBI about his conversations with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during the presidential transition, the Justice Department moved last month to dismiss the case against him. Trial judge Emmet Sullivan of the DC District did not immediately act, instead saying he wanted to weigh the department's arguments into at least July. If unchallenged with further appeals, the appeals court's ruling exonerates Flynn after he sought to change his plea and claimed innocence. Flynn's case has become a touchstone for President Donald Trump and his supporters in their criticism of the FBI's Russia investigation and special counsel Robert Mueller's criminal prosecution of several Trump campaign associates. Even after the appeals decision, Trump and his supporters continued to attack the investigation, especially as it relates to Flynn. Flynn's team made public a handwritten note on Wednesday that highlighted then-Vice President Joe Biden's comments on Flynn in early January 2017 -- seeking to again delegitimize the Obama administration's discussions of the investigation. What follows is a smattering of the most impactful, egregious, or just plain weird fibs, panicky projections, falsehoods, or exaggerations about protests to come from cops, their spokespeople, and their unions in recent weeks.

Minneapolis residents are forming patrols to protect their city from people who would mar the protests with violence—and some report having strange run-ins with armed white men.
By Justin Glawe, Kate Briquelet

MINNEAPOLIS—Edward walked up to an SUV full of four armed white men on Monday night, pumped his shotgun, and told them to get out of his neighborhood. The men—who he said were armed with hunting knives and wearing tactical vests—told him they were from a suburb south of the city. After repeatedly asking them what they were doing and why they were in the Field neighborhood of South Minneapolis, Edward signaled to his wife, who retrieved the weapon and gave it to her husband. “I just figured I’d respond using the language and methods that they use, and it worked,” Edward, who requested to use a pseudonym out of concern for his safety, told The Daily Beast. The incident speaks to the fear that has descended on Minneapolis in the week since George Floyd was killed by a local police officer, and protests—including occasional bursts of violence, looting, and arson— consumed the city. Across the city and its surrounding suburbs, residents who sympathize with anti-police protesters are creating small, independent groups of citizens—or else arming themselves individually—to look out for their own neighborhoods.

By Kristine Phillips - USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – Still reeling from a highly public clash that led to the firing of one of its most prominent prosecutors, the Justice Department again finds itself under a glaring spotlight as two of its employees told Congress Wednesday that the agency's leadership abused its power at the behest of President Donald Trump. Aaron Zelinsky, one of the attorneys who prosecuted Roger Stone, said that the Justice Department gave the GOP operative "unprecedentedly favorable treatment" and pressured prosecutors to "cut Stone a break" by recommending a lenient sentence because he is an ally of the president, according to his prepared statement. He and the other prosecutors were told to go along, Zelinsky said, or they could be fired.  John Elias, an attorney in the department's Antitrust Division, said that the agency's political appointees pursued unwarranted investigations over the objections of career employees. One investigation, Elias said, was launched after a Trump tweet.

By Saranac Hale Spencer

Social media accounts supportive of President Donald Trump have been sharing a photo of a large outdoor crowd with the false claim that it shows the scene outside of Trump’s Tulsa rally. It actually shows the Rolling Thunder event near Washington, D.C. in 2019. Although President Donald Trump had expected to fill the 19,000-seat arena for his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma — with overflow crowds next door — there were whole sections of empty seats at the June 20 event. The Tulsa Fire Department reported that about 6,200 tickets were scanned for the event. The Trump campaign has disputed that number, saying that the attendance figure was actually closer to 12,000. What’s not in dispute, though, is that the campaign cancelled speeches that were planned for an outdoor overflow crowd when that crowd didn’t materialize. But you wouldn’t know that by looking at Trump fan accounts on social media, which have been posting a picture of an outdoor crowd near Washington, D.C. in 2019 with the bogus claim that it shows the overflow crowd in Tulsa. Many of the pictures were shared with a caption attached that claimed: “A small crowd has gathered for the Trump Rally in Tulsa 😂“ The Berks County Republican Committee’s Facebook page posted the picture the day after Trump’s rally with this claim: “SHARE THIS FAR AND WIDE AS THE LEFT IS TRYING TO MAKE IT LOOK LIKE TRUMP SUPPORTERS DIDN’T SHOW UP FOR TRUMP!”

Accusing the former president of such a crime was overreach, according to lawmakers who normally back Trump.

Senate Republicans on Tuesday distanced themselves from President Donald Trump’s claim that former President Barack Obama committed “treason,” refusing to back up the unfounded allegation that has fueled the president’s revenge campaign against his predecessor. In general, Republicans have shied away from directly criticizing the president’s comments and actions as the November election approaches. In fact, they have heeded Trump’s encouragement to undertake wide-ranging investigations targeting Obama administration officials for their roles in opening up the investigations that have ensnared Trump and his associates for years. But accusing Obama of treason was a bridge too far, they said. “I don’t think that President Obama committed treason,” said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection this year. “I don’t know what he’s talking about,” added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “I don’t have any evidence to believe he committed treason.”


White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany now says that President Donald Trump was involved in the firing of US Attorney Geoffrey Berman, just days after Trump denied involvement.

By David Close and Jill Martin, CNN

(CNN) The FBI said Tuesday a noose found in the team garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at the Talladega Superspeedway has been there since last year and he, therefore, is not a victim of a hate crime. NASCAR, mentioning the FBI report, described the item as a "garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose." "The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week," the agency said in a statement Tuesday. "The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week." NASCAR issued a statement regarding the FBI's decision saying, "We appreciate the FBI's quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba."

By Alicia Lee, CNN

(CNN) A Baltimore restaurant group has apologized after a video showed a Black woman and her son being denied service because the boy's clothes didn't fit the restaurant's dress code, even though a White boy, dressed similarly, was seemingly allowed to dine there. On Monday, Marcia Grant, the boy's mother, posted videos to her social media channels of the Ouzo Bay restaurant denying her and her son service because he was wearing athletic shorts. "So we want to eat and they're telling me my son can't eat here because there's no athletic wear. He's 9. And there's kids out there with tennis shoes on," Grant can be heard saying in the video, which shows her son wearing black tennis shoes, athletic shorts and a t-shirt. "Unfortunately, we do have a dress code," the restaurant employee says as he suggests that the boy possibly change into "nonathletic shorts." Grant then turns the camera to outside the restaurant where a White boy, who, according to Grant, "just ate here," can be seen wearing tennis shoes and a t-shirt. The employee goes on to say that based on what his boss told them while tennis shoes are allowed, athletic shorts and shirts aren't, and he claims that the White boy's shirt isn't what the restaurant would classify as an athletic shirt. "I have faced racism time and time again, but it's hard AF, when you have to see your child (9yo) upset because he knows he's being treated different than a white child!" Grant wrote in the caption of her video posted on Instagram. Grant did not return CNN's request for comment. Atlas Restaurant Group, which owns Ouzo Bay and a number of other restaurants in the area as well as in Houston, apologized on Monday evening, calling the incident "incredibly disturbing."

CBS Evening News

A federal prosecutor who helped put President Trump's ally Roger Stone behind bars plans to tell a congressional committee on Wednesday that he faced pressure from "the highest levels" of the Justice Department to go easy on Stone. Nancy Cordes has the details.

ABC News

In January, the 23-year-old Milwaukee Bucks rookie was tased and arrested by police, but the incident did not result in criminal charges and prompted an internal investigation.

By D'Angelo Gore

Contrary to President Donald Trump’s repeated claims that he inherited a Strategic National Stockpile with “empty” or “bare” cupboards, the federal government had more ventilators in stock than it ended up distributing amid the COVID-19 pandemic, FactCheck.org has learned. The SNS had 16,660 ventilators “immediately available for use” when the federal government began deploying the breathing machines to states to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients in March, according to a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson. None of those ventilators was bought by the Trump administration, the spokesperson told us. In a separate email to us on June 17, another HHS spokesperson said the federal government has distributed 10,640 ventilators during the pandemic. Both HHS representatives said we could attribute their responses to an “HHS spokesperson.” That affirms what we previously wrote in early May: that there were “likely thousands” of ventilators in the federal stockpile of emergency medicines and equipment that Trump inherited from his predecessor. We could not provide the exact numbers – until now. In defending his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, Trump has frequently made the false claim that, when he took office, the SNS was “bare,” or “empty,” and lacked ventilators, which help individuals breathe when they can’t do so on their own. He has also taken credit for preventing deaths by refilling the stockpile. On April 30, Trump falsely claimed, “We had a ventilator problem that was caused by the fact that we weren’t left ventilators by a previous administration.”

By Hannah Allam

Right-wing extremists are turning cars into weapons, with reports of at least 50 vehicle-ramming incidents since protests against police violence erupted nationwide in late May. At least 18 are categorized as deliberate attacks; another two dozen are unclear as to motivation or are still under investigation, according to a count released Friday by Ari Weil, a terrorism researcher at the University of Chicago's Chicago Project on Security and Threats. Weil has tracked vehicle-ramming attacks, or VRAs, since protests began. The 20 people facing prosecution in the rammings include a state leader of the Virginia Ku Klux Klan, as well as a California man who was charged with attempted murder after antagonizing protesters and then driving into them, striking a teenage girl. Video footage of some attacks shows drivers yelling at or threatening Black Lives Matter protesters before hitting the gas. "The message they're trying to send is, 'You need to get out of the street and stop these protests,' " Weil said. "They're trying to intimidate the most recent wave of BLM protesters, to stop their movement." The last rash of vehicle rammings occurred in 2015 and 2016, Weil said, when the "Run Them Over" meme was popularized in far-right circles in response to Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. The most high-profile attack occurred a year later, during the 2017 Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. A white supremacist plowed his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and wounding dozens of others in a bloody weekend that jolted the country into recognizing the resurgent threat of far-right violence.

By Lyndsey Parker

Long before he was famous for his band Raydio or solo smashes like “The Other Woman” and the Oscar-nominated Ghostbusters theme, Ray Parker Jr. was an in-demand musician in his native Detroit, from the age of 15 playing and writing with luminaries like Stevie Wonder, Barry White, Bill Withers, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross, Herbie Hancock and Marvin Gaye. It’s an illustrious career chronicled in his upcoming documentary, Who You Gonna Call?, but the film also examines the unrest of Detroit in the ’60s and Parker’s own mistreatment by police — and how little has changed in the decades since. “First of all, in the film I think you actually hear me say, ‘We’re right on the brink of a riot, and I don’t know how they’re going to fix it,’” Parker tells Yahoo Entertainment/SiriusXM Volume. “Well, I said that a year and a half ago [when the documentary was filmed]! The world’s been heating up like this for some time. There’s a bunch of crazy people, police shooting at other people and people shooting each other in the back. And I don’t understand. I don’t really get why anybody would want to do anything crazy like that. But I guess we live in a crazy world where some people are taught [racism] from their grandparents or their parents, and they can’t let some of this stuff go.”

Written By Jordan Heck

Dustin Skinner, the son of former NASCAR star Mike Skinner, has apologized for a troubling post on social media after a noose was found in Bubba Wallace's garage Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway. The post said, in part, "Frankly I wish they would've tied [the noose] to [Wallace] and drug him around the pits because he has single handedly destroyed what I grew up watching and cared about for 30 years now." It appears to be a Facebook comment, and the words have been condemned by the Skinner family.

By Judson Jones, CNN Meteorologist

(CNN) The current Saharan dust episode is leading to the worst dust storm in the Caribbean in decades. Over the weekend, Saharan dust moved into the Caribbean. By Monday, it had changed the tropical blue skies into a hazy brown-gray color. On Tuesday, this sunset enhancing, blue sky limiting, tropical threat reducing dust plume continues its 5,000-mile journey toward the US. But before it does, it is leaving these pristine islands with a few more days with one the most significant dust events seen in the Caribbean. It is definitely historic," Olga Mayol-Bracero, a researcher at the University of Puerto Rico told CNN Weather. "We knew we were going to be in an extraordinary situation." Many of her colleagues across the Caribbean said they have not seen air quality conditions this bad in their entire careers. Aerosols, measured in PM10, at Mayol-Bracero's research station in northeastern Puerto Rico, have never reached the levels they have seen the past few days. Records at this station go back 15 years. It is unusual that the dust is forecast to travel over central America and the US with such high concentrations, Claire Ryder, NERC Independent Research Fellow at the University of Reading, told CNN Weather.

By Chandelis Duster, CNN

(CNN) Law professors and faculty from George Washington University Law School, Attorney General William Barr's alma mater, said in a letter Tuesday he has "failed to fulfill his oath of office to 'support and defend the Constitution of the United States.'" The rebuke comes after continued fallout over the departure of Geoffrey Berman, the federal prosecutor ousted over the weekend by the Trump administration, and is the latest in a chorus of criticism over Barr's actions as attorney general. Barr received his Juris Doctor degree from the law school in 1977 and while serving as attorney general under then-President George H.W. Bush he received an honorary degree from the university in 1992. In a bi-partisan statement signed by 65 faculty and professors from the law school, the group wrote that Barr's actions as attorney general "have undermined the rule of law, breached constitutional norms, and damaged the integrity and traditional independence of his office and of the Department of Justice." Signatories to the letter include president and CEO of the National Bar Association Alfreda Robinson and interim dean of the school Christopher Alan Bracey. "[Barr] obfuscated and misled the American public about the results of the Mueller investigation. He wrongfully interfered in the day-to-day activities of career prosecutors, and continues to do so, bending the criminal justice system to benefit the President's friends and target those perceived to be his enemies," the letter read.

'You see these animals literally taking over our cities, burning down churches, this isn't America'

Speaking at the his father's campaign rally in Tulsa, the president's son Eric Trump referred to Black Lives Matter protesters as "animals". Telling supporters that there is no family other than the Trumps that will work harder for them, he said they will preserve "the moral fabric of the country". He continued: "Because when you watch the nonsense on TV, when you see these animals literally taking over our cities, burning down churches, this isn't America." "They represent the smallest fraction of our society", he added, saying that Americans do not support that kind of behaviour. Standing with his wife, Lara, Mr Trump Jr went on to say that they will also protect religious liberty.

By David Slotnick

The European Union is planning to reopen its borders on July 1, allowing some travelers in for the first time since the closure as the coronavirus pandemic worsened in March. However, Americans might not be welcome. The EU is considering barring Americans from entering the bloc because the United States has not adequately controlled the spread of COVID-19, The New York Times reported on Tuesday, citing draft lists of travelers who would be allowed. Travelers from Russia and Brazil would also be blocked from entering EU countries under the lists, according to The Times. The move would be a major blow to America's prestige and world image, despite the Trump administration's claims that the US's outbreak is under control. The US has had more than 2.3 million coronavirus cases and 120,000 deaths, more than any other country. In early March, the Trump administration barred travel to the US from much of Europe, citing outbreaks in northern Italy, Germany, and elsewhere in the European Union. The prohibition has not been lifted, even as Europe has largely contained its outbreaks. The European border closure, which came later in March, applied to visitors from most countries outside the bloc, not specifically Americans. However, the new ban, expected to be announced before July 1, calls out several countries that have handled outbreaks poorly and seen increases in cases.

CBS News

Faced with growing pressure to crack down on an "occupied" protest zone following two weekend shootings, Seattle's mayor said Monday that officials will move to wind down the blocks-long span of city streets taken over two weeks ago. Mayor Jenny Durkan said at a news conference that the violence was distracting from changes sought by thousands of peaceful protesters seeking to address racial inequity and police brutality. She said the city is working with the community to bring the "Capitol Hill Occupied Protest" zone to an end. "The cumulative impacts of the gatherings and protests and the nighttime atmosphere and violence has led to increasingly difficult circumstances for our businesses and residents," Durkan said. "The impacts have increased and the safety has decreased."

By Marty Johnson

Protections for law enforcement officers were removed from Georgia's first-ever hate crime bill by Republicans in the state Senate on Tuesday, one day after they first put them in. “We’ve had ongoing discussions with the minority party for the large part of two days and within our own Republican caucus and we’ve reached a compromise that I think everybody will be pleased with,” state Sen. Bill Cowsert (R) said, ABC News reports. The bill, originally passed last year by the Georgia House last year, would institute harsher penalties for hate crimes. Georgia is only one of four states in the country that doesn't have a law explicitly against hate crimes. There has been a renewed push for state lawmakers to pass such a law since February, when Georgia man Ahmaud Arbery was shot and killed by a group of white men while jogging.

By Kate Gibson

U.S. consumers should not use any of nine brands of possibly toxic hand sanitizer that may contain methanol, or wood alcohol, a substance that's potentially dangerous when absorbed through the skin or ingested, the Food and Drug Administration warned. The agency's alert comes at a time when hand sanitizers are in especially heavy demand due to the coronavirus pandemic that has public health officials urging consumers to frequently wash their hands. In issuing its warning Friday, the FDA said the Mexico-based manufacturer Eskbiochem SA de CV had rebuffed its request that it remove the "potentially dangerous products" from the U.S. market. Agency tests found samples of one product, Lavar Gel, contained 81% methanol and those of CleanCare No Germ contained 28%.

By Evan Perez and Chandelis Duster, CNN

Washington (CNN) Geoffrey Berman, the federal prosecutor ousted over the weekend by the Trump administration, recently refused to sign a letter from the Justice Department that criticized New York City's coronavirus restrictions that affect religious institutions, a person briefed on the matter said. Attorney General William Barr wasn't aware of the dispute, and it had nothing to do with the ouster of Berman, the person said. The letter was sent Friday from the Justice Department. As CNN has reported, tensions between Berman and Barr, and other officials at Justice headquarters in Washington, had built over the years and they had planned last year to remove him before backing off when the investigation into Rudy Giuliani's associates became public. Berman's refusal to sign the letter was first reported by The Wall Street Journal. His departure came a day after he refused Barr's request that he resign. In a curt letter to Berman on Saturday, Barr told him President Donald Trump had agreed to remove him and conceded that Berman's deputy would succeed him.

By Daniel Dale

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump has responded to former national security adviser John Bolton's sharply critical book about Trump -- which Bolton describes as "a book about how not to be president" -- with his own criticism of Bolton's character and career. Bolton departed the Trump administration in September 2019; Trump says he was fired, Bolton says he resigned. On Thursday, Trump tweeted, "President Bush fired him also. Bolton is incompetent!"

Facts First: President George W. Bush did not fire Bolton as ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton left the Bush administration in 2006 at the expiry of his recess appointment, knowing that he could not get confirmed by the Senate in 2007. After Bolton announced his pending departure, Bush said he was "not happy" Bolton was leaving and that Bolton "deserved to be confirmed" because "he did a fabulous job for the country." Bush told Bolton in front of reporters: "We're going to miss you in this administration. You've been a stalwart defender of freedom and peace. You've been strong in your advocacy for human rights and human dignity. You've done everything that can be expected for an ambassador."

By - AFP

Social media posts claim the Hells Angels and another motorcycle gang joined forces to remove anti-fascist movement Antifa from Seattle, where protesters established a police-free autonomous zone after protests prompted by the death of George Floyd. This is false; the Hells Angels' most well-known member Sonny Barger denounced the claim as untrue, and the images used to back the claim on social media are old. A photo of a biker gang featured in a June 12 tweet shared more than 10,000 times bears the caption: "Hells Angels and Mongols riding together on their way to Seattle to scrap with Antifa Terrorists."

By Paul Vercammen and Hollie Silverman, CNN

Compton, Cali. (CNN) A march for a Los Angeles man killed by sheriff's deputies last week ended with a clash between police and protesters in Compton Sunday. Earlier in the day, family members of Andres Guardado gathered in Gardena to commemorate his life and call for justice in his killing. After making the 3.8 mile trek to the sheriff's station in Compton, tensions between protesters and deputies boiled over. As deputies called for a large group to back up, many fled only to be tear gassed and struck with rubber bullets on the steps of the sheriff's office. One demonstrator, who gave the name Five Kisses, said she marched today to show unity between brown and Black people, and ask for answers in Guardado's death.

By David Edwards

A councilman in Fort Wayne, Indiana has reportedly submitted a letter of resignation after complaining about “uneducated” protesters. “As uneducated as they are, obviously, on local government, they do vote,” Council Member Larry Brown said during a county council meeting on Thursday. “And, unfortunately, they also breed. But um, they do vote, and they’re gonna be an uneducated voter.” Brown later offered his “sincere apology” for the remark but it was not enough. On Monday, the councilman submitted his resignation after community leaders called for him to step down.

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.)

"I'm deeply disappointed that one of our employees involved himself in this type of illegal activity, especially when this is an infringement on someone's First Amendment right to freedom of speech," Sheriff Bill Ayub said.
By Janelle Griffith

A sheriff's office employee and an investigative assistant with the district attorney's office in Ventura County, California, were among three men who have been arrested after they were caught on video damaging a roadside Black Lives Matter sign on private property, authorities said. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office identified the men as Darrin Stone, Craig Anderson and Jeffrey Moore, all of Thousands Oaks. For the last three weeks, the sign — a tarp with the letters BLM painted on it — has been secured to a fence on Westlake Boulevard and has been damaged or removed several times, the sheriff's office said. The owner of the sign placed a surveillance camera near it to capture images of anyone damaging or removing it. The sheriff's office said it recognized one of its employees, Stone, 60, in footage the owner posted online of a man ripping through the sign with a knife on June 13 and June 19 and initiated a criminal investigation. Stone was off duty at the time of both incidents.

By Eric Levenson and Amanda Jackson, CNN

(CNN) In a now-viral video, an activist sharply criticized a Louisiana school board member who defended naming a school after Robert E. Lee -- and who then appeared to be online shopping while at a hearing on the topic. "You sit your arrogant self in here and sit on there shopping while the pain and the hurt of the people of this community is on display because you don't give a damn and you should resign," the activist, Gary Chambers Jr., told board member Connie Bernard at the hearing. "You should walk out of here and resign and never come back because you are the example of racism in this community," he added. "You are horrible."

BY Alexander H. Stephens

In his March 21, 1861, Cornerstone Speech, Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens presents what he believes are the reasons for what he termed was a "revolution." This revolution resulted in the American Civil War.  Stephens's speech is remembered by many for its defense of slavery, its outlining of the perceived differences between the North and the South, and the racial rhetoric used to show the inferiority of African Americans. A few weeks after the speech, on April 12, 1861, Confederate forces fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, initiating the American Civil War. When perfect quiet is restored, I shall proceed. I cannot speak so long as there is any noise or confusion. I shall take my time I feel quite prepared to spend the night with you if necessary. I very much regret that everyone who desires cannot hear what I have to say. Not that I have any display to make, or anything very entertaining to present, but such views as I have to give, I wish all, not only in this city, but in this State, and throughout our Confederate Republic, could hear, who have a desire to hear them.

By Ariana Freeman

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday called for an investigation into Attorney General William Barr's decision to remove the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Barr initially said Geoffrey Berman was stepping down, but Berman said he had not resigned, leading Barr to say that President Trump had fired him. "I am calling for a three-pronged investigation that involves three entities: First, the Judiciary Committee, second, the Office of Professional Responsibility at DOJ and third, the Inspector General's Office at DOJ," Schumer said at his weekly press conference at his midtown Manhattan office. Schumer said the "real unanswered question" is "why did the president and Mr. Barr do it?" Schumer pointed to Barr not giving a reason, and asked if it could be related to any of the Southern District of New York's investigations.

By Ganesh Setty and Hollie Silverman, CNN

(CNN) A statue of President Theodore Roosevelt in front of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City will be removed, a statement from New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's office said Sunday. Following the museum's request to remove the statue, which features the nation's 26th President on a horse with a Native American man standing on one side and an African man standing on the other, the mayor's office announced the approval. The announcement comes as several state's grapple with how to handle removals of confederate monuments and other controversial statues. "The American Museum of Natural History has asked to remove the Theodore Roosevelt statue because it explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior," de Blasio's office said in a statement to CNN. "The city supports the museum's request. It is the right decision and the right time to remove this problematic statue."

By Harriet Alexander For Dailymail.com

New York Police Department has suspended an officer for slamming a black man to the ground on Sunday and putting him in a chokehold - eight days after Governor Andrew Cuomo banned the tactic. The man, who gave his name to officers as Ricky Bellevue, was standing with two white men on the boardwalk at Rockaway Beach at 8.45am. The two white men were filming the officers, jeering at them and encircling them. When Bellevue, 35 - who is black - gets close to the officer bodycamera footage shows him being flung to the floor. In his left hand he held a white plastic bag, but a policeman said he grabbed something, perhaps with his right hand, and approached the officers. The footage is unclear. Bellevue then tells a cop: 'You scared, you scared?' As he approaches the officer, one of the white men turns to Bellevue and says: 'Yo, n***** what the f***?' One of the belligerent men tries to hold Bellevue back, but the officer lunges forward and grabs him, taking him down. A scuffle then ensues.

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.

Warren G. Harding’s comments about race and equality were remarkable for 1921
By James D. Robenalt

It was just three days after the horrific violence in Tulsa, where hundreds of African Americans had been killed and the city’s segregated black neighborhood — including 35 square blocks of prosperous businesses — had been destroyed by rampaging whites. Some buildings had even been firebombed from planes. President Warren G. Harding spent the weekend worrying over how to respond to the massacre. Finally, he decided to accept a commencement invitation from Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the nation’s first degree-granting historically black institution. He would use that moment in 1921 to seek healing and harmony — and several months later in Alabama, he would go much further with daring remarks about equality. That was how a Republican president addressed racially fraught events nearly a century ago.

"The Eighth Illinois National Guard Regiment, which during the Great War came to be known as the 370th U. S. Infantry, was the only regiment in the entire United States Army that was called into service with almost a complete complement of colored officers from the highest rank of Colonel to the lowest rank of Corporal."
By Emmet J. Scott

Soldiers of the 370th
The men of the 370th fought with distinction in France and Belgium during the Great War, mostly alongside French poilus because the U.S. Army was segregated. Many officers in the American high command, including General Pershing, thought that black soldiers should only be used as truck drivers and laborers. They also did not appreciate the fact that the unit's officers were black. Nevertheless, the soldiers fought hard. The Germans called them "Black Devils."

BY EMMETT J. SCOTT, AM., LL.D. - Special Adjutant to Secretary of War

Two weeks ago, Bubba Wallace successfully pushed for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and properties.

Steve Lydon Says Decision Was Made 'Out Of Care And Concern, And Without The Comfort Of Time'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Ramsey County officials are responding to a discrimination lawsuit that alleges correctional officers of color were restricted from Derek Chauvin. On Saturday evening, it was announced that eight correctional officers of color filed charges of discrimination against Ramsey County with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. An attorney representing the officers say the officers work at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center. She says supervisors at the facility prohibited all correctional officers of color from entering or working on the floor where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was being held. According to Ramsey County officials, the incident in question took place on Friday, May 29 when Superintendent Steve Lydon was notified by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that they would be arriving in 10 minutes with Derek Chauvin to book and hold. Ramsey County officials said it’s important to note that Chauvin was set to arrive after three nights of “rioting and chaos” due to the murder of George Floyd. “Recognizing that the murder of George Floyd was likely to create particularly acute racialized trauma, I felt I had an immediate duty to protect and support employees who may have been traumatized and may have heightened ongoing trauma by having to deal with Chauvin,” Lydon said. “Out of care and concern, and without the comfort of time, I made the decision to limit exposure to employees of color to a murder suspect who could potentially aggravate those feelings.”

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 Jack Brewster Forbes Staff

Eric Trump, President Trump’s middle son and a campaign surrogate, promoted QAnon–whose followers the FBI has deemed “conspiracy theory-driven domestic terrorists”—in an Instagram post ahead of the president’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday, providing a massive platform for the right-wing conspiracy for about two hours to his 1.5 million followers.

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.

Heard on Morning Edition
By Tim Mak

The Transportation Security Administration withheld N95 masks from staff and exhibited "gross mismanagement" in its response to the coronavirus crisis – leaving employees and travelers vulnerable during the most urgent days of the pandemic, a senior TSA official alleges in a new whistleblower complaint. On Thursday evening, the Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal agency that handles whistleblower complaints, said it had found "substantial likelihood of wrongdoing" in the complaint and ordered the Department of Homeland Security to open an investigation. TSA Federal Security Director Jay Brainard is an official in charge of transportation security in the state of Kansas and has been with the agency for almost 20 years. He told NPR that the leadership of his agency failed to protect its staff from the pandemic, and as a result, allowed TSA employees to be "a significant carrier" for the spread of the coronavirus to airport travelers. "We did not take adequate steps to make sure that we were not becoming carriers and spreaders of the virus ourselves," Brainard says. "I believe absolutely that that contributed to the spread of the coronavirus."

By Nicole Chavez and Jennifer Henderson, CNN

(CNN) Prosecutors in central Texas are investigating whether there was evidence tampering in the death of Javier Ambler, a Black man who died last year while being arrested. The Williamson County District Attorney's office announced Friday it was investigating "the possible tampering with evidence 'by personnel from Williamson County Agencies who have had contact or communications with the television show, Live PD.'" Javier Ambler died last year after he told Williamson County, Texas, sheriff's deputies that he could not breath during an arrest. Earlier this month, authorities released body camera footage of the March 2019 incident, following months of records requests by Austin TV station KVUE and the Austin American-Statesman. A production crew from the A&E show "Live PD" was at the arrest scene, having ridden with some of the officers. The footage never aired and neither the network "nor the producers of 'Live PD' were asked for the footage or an interview by investigators from law enforcement or the district attorney's office," A&E has said.

By Liz Sawyer Star Tribune

Eight minority Ramsey County corrections officers have filed discrimination charges with the state’s Department of Human Rights after they were barred from guarding or having any other contact with former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin last month. Chauvin was booked at the county jail the same day he was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd. As Chauvin arrived, all officers of color were ordered to a separate floor, and a supervisor told one of them that, because of their race, they would be a potential “liability” around Chauvin, according a copy of racial discrimination charges obtained by the Star Tribune. “I understood that the decision to segregate us had been made because we could not be trusted to carry out our work responsibilities professionally around the high-profile inmate — solely because of the color of our skin,” wrote one acting sergeant, who is black. “I am not aware of a similar situation where white officers were segregated from an inmate.”

The wave of violence a century ago against Black Americans echoes how today, "people feel they have little to lose, and so much at stake," one historian said.
By Erik Ortiz

Racial strife flaring across the United States. Black Americans standing up to societal structures in unpredictable ways. And people enduring months of a deadly pandemic infecting millions worldwide, shuttering businesses and heightening fears of a lengthy economic downturn. That was 1919, during what would later be coined the "Red Summer," when communities across America were reeling from white mobs inciting brutality against Black people and cities were still wrestling with a third wave of the so-called Spanish flu pandemic that emerged the previous year. The story line parallels with today: violence against Black people, leading to mass demonstrations and calls to end systemic racism, converging with a months-long coronavirus pandemic. Such commonality is not lost on historians and scholars of African American history.

Lawmakers and voting rights experts say Election Day this week will likely mirror what happening during Georgia's primaries
By Chris Riotta

Kentucky lawmakers have warned the state was heading towards a disastrous primary election this week, as ballot problems, voter confusion and a severe shortage of polling places threatened to suppress turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials on both sides of the political aisle released a joint statement condemning US District Court Judge Charles Simpson’s ruling against a case that argued having just one polling site in most of the state’s 120 counties would result in voter suppression. “We believe the judge disregarded evidence from our expert witness that one location will suppress the vote, particularly among African Americans,” read the statement, co-authored by Jason Nemes, a Republican state representative, and Keisha Dorsey, a Democratic councilwoman for Louisville Metro. The lawmakers were both behind the lawsuit, which demanded an increase in statewide polling locations.

By Chauncey Alcorn CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) Ben & Jerry's just became one of the first major businesses to explicitly support efforts to defund police, posting a Juneteenth message that called on Americans to "dismantle the old system and build a new one that guarantees freedom and justice for all." The Vermont-based ice cream company posted a detailed breakdown on its website of what the movement to defund police means. It explains the racist roots of American policing and argues that defunding police "offers the best opportunity in generations to completely transform our model of policing and create stronger, safer communities where Black Americans and people of color can finally experience and celebrate true freedom." "'Defund the police' means that we stop spending our tax dollars on so many of the discredited, dangerous, and racist parts of policing and instead invest that money in community-driven solutions that foster real health, peacekeeping, and safety," the company says.

“The city of Phoenix cannot ignore that the mayor is, in fact, a criminal,” the protesters who was hit claims
By Igor Derysh

A city council meeting in Phoenix, Ore., grew contentious this week after Mayor Chris Luz was accused of being the man who drove into Black Lives Matter protesters earlier this month. A video posted to YouTube shows the moment a man in a bright yellow car blared his horn and drove into protesters during a June 1 march in nearby Medford. The incident is one of at least 19 in which cars have driven into demonstrators nationwide at the protests against police brutality. Medford police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident, Sgt. Jason Antley confirmed to The Washington Post. Mikala Johnson, the protester hit by the vehicle, confronted Luz at a city council meeting on Monday. The Post reported that the meeting was "marred by armed militia members, who protesters complained were intimidating them outside the chambers." "The city of Phoenix cannot ignore that the mayor is, in fact, a criminal. There is absolutely no excuse for the actions that you took that day, Chris," Johnson said, according to the report. "Chris, you assaulted me."

Almost two dozen candidates who have embraced QAnon conspiracy theories are running for Congress and six are already on the November ballot.
By Dareh Gregorian

President Donald Trump, who’s suggested that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the JFK assassination, that President Barack Obama was born in Kenya, and that a George Floyd protester whose skull was fractured after he was shoved by a police officer was acting, will have some like-minded company on the ballot with him in November. A half-dozen Republican congressional candidates who will be on the ballot on Nov. 3 have promoted the QAnon conspiracy theory that Trump is leading a secret battle against a sprawling and powerful liberal child sex trafficking ring — and more could be joining them. A survey by the progressive site Media Matters found 53 candidates running for Congress in 2020 have promoted QAnon. Thirty have already dropped out or been defeated in primaries, and most are Republicans running in solid Democratic areas. But one candidate in Georgia has emerged as the favorite to win her conservative district in Georgia.

The actual Confederate States of America was a repressive state devoted to white supremacy.
By Stephanie McCurry

Americans are now debating the fate of memorials to the Confederacy—statues, flags, and names on Army bases, streets, schools, and college dormitories. A century and a half of propaganda has successfully obscured the nature of the Confederate cause and its bloody history, wrapping it in myth. But the Confederacy is not part of “our American heritage,” as President Donald Trump recently claimed, nor should it stand as a libertarian symbol of small government and resistance to federal tyranny. For the four years of its existence, until it was forced to surrender, the Confederate States of America was a pro-slavery nation at war against the United States. The C.S.A. was a big, centralized state, devoted to securing a society in which enslavement to white people was the permanent and inherited condition of all people of African descent. The Confederates built an explicitly white-supremacist, pro-slavery, and antidemocratic nation-state, dedicated to the principle that all men are not created equal. Emboldened by what they saw as the failure of emancipation in other parts of the world, buoyed by the new science of race, and convinced that the American vision of the people had been terribly betrayed, they sought the kind of future for human slavery and conservative republican government that was no longer possible within the United States. This is the cause that the statues honor.

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.

“We believe in America and we believe in democracy. But Donald Trump is not representing the noble ideals of either”
By Daniel Kreps

Tom Petty’s family decried Donald Trump’s use of “I Won’t Back Down” at his Tulsa rally Saturday, sending a cease-and-desist notice to the president’s campaign. “Trump was in no way authorized to use this song to further a campaign that leaves too many Americans and common sense behind,” Petty’s estate and rights holders — daughters Adria and Annakim, ex-wife Jane and widow Dana  — said in a statement soon after Trump’s Oklahoma rally. “Both the late Tom Petty and his family firmly stand against racism and discrimination of any kind. Tom Petty would never want a song of his used for a campaign of hate. He liked to bring people together.”

By Dakin Andone and Alta Spells, CNN

(CNN) A police officer in Fairfax County, Virginia, faces up to three years in prison in connection with his arrest and use of a stun gun on a black man who cried out, "I can't breathe." Fairfax County police released bodycam footage of the incident, which appears to show Officer Tyler Timberlake using a stun gun on the man without provocation. In a news conference Saturday night, Chief of Police Col. Edwin C. Roessler Jr. said the footage -- dated Friday, June 5 -- showed the officer violating the department's use-of-force policies and committing "criminal acts" that "violate our oath of office" and "ignore the sanctity of human life." "The video also erodes the public's trust of police officers, not only in Fairfax County," Roessler said, "but throughout this world. These acts are unacceptable." The release of the footage comes at a time of heightened tension across the country following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Four now-former officers face charges in that case. Floyd's death catalyzed nationwide protests demanding justice for Floyd and other African Americans who died at the hands of police.

Opinion by John Avlon

(CNN) More than 155 years after the end of the Civil War, America is finally having a more complete moral reckoning with the Confederacy. The issue is the legacy of white supremacy. Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens spelled it out in a March 1861 speech: "Our new government is founded upon ... the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition." This is a matter of hate, not heritage. And today we're seeing Confederate statutes toppled across the country and Confederate flags banned from NASCAR races. Leading military figures say the time has come to rename military bases that were named after Confederate generals — even as President Donald Trump makes plain his opposition. But as the nation confronts the ugliest aspects of its history, we need to recognize that there is a fundamental difference between statues of American presidents like Abraham Lincoln and statues of American traitors like Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Progress is being made. In Charleston, South Carolina, Mayor John Tecklenburg announced Wednesday that the city would take down the statue of slavery and secession defender John C. Calhoun and put it in a museum. This is overdue and all to the good. Some of these statues were put up by the sons and daughters of Confederates, perhaps trying to find a measure of dignity in defeat while also aiming to literally recast history. Others were erected in the years after the Supreme Court ordered desegregation in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 to send a message of Southern defiance.

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 Christopher Condon, opinion contributor

Most of us have now seen the video of the tragic death of George Floyd. Pinned to the ground by police officer Derek Chauvin, he starts to plead for his life and even cries out for his mother. This scene resulted from an accusation of counterfeiting by a shopkeeper. Flloyd threatened no one, killed no one, and robbed no one. An unfortunate fact is that killings like this occur across our nation often. It is disturbingly easy to compare the death of Floyd with the death of Eric Garner six years ago. It would be overly simple to ascribe police killings entirely to race, but it would be dishonest to omit it. As Floyd died in broad daylight on camera with witnesses, Chauvin was initially just dismissed from the Minneapolis Police Department. Prosecutors asked for patience as they looked into it, and the police union sought an investigation before rushing to judgment, despite the striking clarity of the video. Indeed, no other American would receive such deference at work. We must see this as nothing other than a mockery of the ideals that our democracy was founded on.

By Christian Davenport - The Washington Post

After a top NASA official improperly contacted a senior Boeing executive about its bid to win a contract potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the company attempted to amend its solicitation past the deadline for doing so, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That raised alarm bells inside the space agency, where officials were concerned that Boeing was attempting to take advantage of inside information. Ultimately, the matter was referred to the NASA Inspector General, and NASA’s leadership last month forced Doug Loverro to resign from his position as the associate administrator of NASA’s human spaceflight directorate. Boeing did not win one of the lucrative contracts to build a system capable of landing astronauts on the moon. But the IG investigation could be another headache for a company under fire for having an unusually cozy relationship with federal regulators, especially if it identifies wrongdoing on the part of Boeing senior executives. The company already is reeling from two fatal crashes of its 737 Max airplanes that killed a total of 346 people and from the bungled test flight in December of its Starliner space capsule. A person with direct knowledge of the matter said, “I can tell you with 100 percent confidence that no laws were broken. What we are talking about are conversations that occurred outside the normal, dictated channels, but didn’t violate the sanctity of the procurement process.”

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.

Demonstrations held across US against backdrop of protests fuelled by deaths of African Americans at hands of police.

Protesters brought down Confederate statues as anti-racism rallies were held across the United States to mark the Juneteenth holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the country. Demonstrations were held in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington on Friday against a backdrop of weeks of protests fuelled by the deaths of African Americans at the hands of police. In a stark illustration of the tensions roiling the nation, President Donald Trump issued a solemn White House statement commemorating Juneteenth, while also threatening protesters on Twitter ahead of his controversial rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday. Juneteenth marks the day - June 19, 1865 - when a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas and informed slaves that they were free, two months after the Civil War had ended and two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln had issued the Emancipation Proclamation.

On Election Day a 100 years ago, a white mob killed as many as 60 people after a Black man went to the polls to vote.

On Election Day a century ago, a white mob swept through a tiny Florida citrus town after a Black man showed up at the polls to vote. Over two days of terror, the mob set fire to homes and drove Black residents from their community. It was one of the bloodiest days in American political history, with the number of deaths remaining in question - some estimates as high as 60. That dark episode, until recently largely forgotten, came to be known as the 1920 Ocoee Election Day Riots. Others remember it as a massacre, one of the many acts of racial violence perpetrated against Black citizens over the decades. As the centennial approaches, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has before him a bill that would require schools to do more to highlight the day in their history classes. If signed by the governor, it would order state officials to identify parks, buildings and other facilities that could be renamed in honour of those who died because of the racial hatred that welled up on that day in the tiny community west of Orlando.

The Ocoee massacre was a white mob attack on African-American residents in northern Ocoee, Florida, which occurred on November 2, 1920, the day of the U.S. presidential election. The town is in Orange County near Orlando. As many as 60 or 70 African Americans may have been killed during the riot, and most African-American-owned buildings and residences in northern Ocoee were burned to the ground. Other African Americans living in southern Ocoee were later killed or driven out on threat of more violence. Ocoee essentially became an all-white town. The riot has been described as the "single bloodiest day in modern American political history". The attack started after efforts to suppress black voting. In Ocoee and across the state, various black organizations had been conducting voter registration drives for a year. Blacks had essentially been disfranchised in Florida since the turn of the 19th century. Mose Norman, a prosperous African-American farmer, tried to vote but was turned away twice on Election Day. Norman was among those working on the voter drive. A white mob surrounded the home of Julius "July" Perry, where Norman was thought to have taken refuge. After Perry drove away the white mob with gunshots, killing two men and wounding one who tried to break into his house, the mob called for reinforcements from Orlando and Orange County. The whites laid waste to the African-American community in northern Ocoee and eventually killed Perry. They took his body to Orlando and hanged it from a lightpost to intimidate other blacks. Norman escaped, never to be found. Hundreds of other African Americans fled the town, leaving behind their homes and possessions.

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 Chris James, CNN

(CNN) A group of young Black men stands at attention. Clad in black, they are practicing military drills at BS Roberts Park in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"Original salute! Left face! Back at attention!" They're preparing for a Juneteenth weekend tinged with tension, in a small city that has garnered national attention. Just a stone's throw from where these men are practicing, President Donald Trump will take the stage on Saturday for his first rally since the Covid-19 outbreak. The men are all Tulsa natives following the tenets of the original Black Panther movement, which was created in 1966 as a force to create social reform. In that vein, they are advocating against the oppression of Black people. Although the small group is comprised of fewer than a dozen men and not affiliated with any national movement, they hope to keep the peace by employing de-escalation tactics if the rally descends into chaos. "This is unity, this is brotherhood. All of us come from these streets out here," Akono Bey, one member of the group, told CNN. "All of us have dealt with the same problems. We all want better for our children out here. And the only way to get better is to do better." As Tulsa braces for Trump's visit, civic leaders and others here are mindful of the city's troubled history with racial violence while also cautiously hopeful for the potential of the Black Lives Matter movement. Many are concerned about Trump's visit yet also curious if now is the moment that Tulsa will reckon with its complex racial history.

By Colin Dwyer

Another Confederate monument has fallen — this time in a city where such memorials were understandably rare to begin with: the nation's capital. Protesters on Friday night toppled a statue of Confederate Gen. Albert Pike, the only outdoor Confederate memorial in the city. They yanked it down with rope and later set it ablaze as law enforcement looked on. It was an abrupt end for a controversial monument, which has attracted criticism and often outright confusion from residents. Born in Massachusetts, the nativist attorney and author fought for the Confederacy and spent much of his time after the Civil War supporting the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The international fraternal organization commissioned the statue in his honor around the turn of the 20th century. But, lately, even the Freemasons haven't resisted calls to have it removed. Last year the District's nonvoting congressional delegate, Eleanor Holmes Norton, introduced legislation seeking its removal — which, due to D.C.'s unique position, requires federal approval. The bill has so far languished in the House. President Trump, however, made it clear that he was upset to see it fall. "The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn," he tweeted. Trump also tagged the city's mayor, Muriel Bowser, a Democrat with whom he has clashed repeatedly in recent weeks. "These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country!" There is little love lost between the president and the mayor.

A guide to the city’s fraught past as Trump holds a rally there the day after Juneteenth
By DeNeen L. Brown

The city where President Trump will hold his first political rally in months sits on the banks of the muddy Arkansas River on land where the Cherokee, Creek and Osage nations once reigned. Tulsa has a fraught racial history that begins with the Trail of Tears in the 19th century and ends with the city’s plan to dig for possible mass graves from a 1921 race massacre. Trump’s appearance on the day after Juneteenth — when black America celebrates the end of slavery — is a reminder of that pain. Here’s a timeline of Tulsa’s past:

1830 — The Indian Removal Act is signed by President Andrew Jackson, pushing 60,000 Native Americans, including the Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Choctaw, and Chickasaw, off their lands in the southeast United States. The Native Americans are forced by federal troops to walk hundreds of miles to what is now Oklahoma. Historians say more than 15,000 died of exposure, starvation and exhaustion on what is known as the Trail of Tears.

Timothy Mellon called safety net programs "Slavery Redux." He is heir to one of the nation's oldest family fortunes
By Roger Sollenberger

A number of Republican candidates for Senate and Congress accepted recent campaign donations from Timothy Mellon, a GOP megadonor and heir to the Mellon family fortune, who used derogatory stereotypes to describe Black Americans in his 2015 autobiography. Mellon, the 77-year-old founder of a railway shipping company and scion of one of America's wealthiest industrial-age families, has given $40 million to three GOP super PACs and tens of thousands of dollars to various Republican candidates and their PACs, according to Federal Election Commission records. FEC records reveal that Mellon contributed to the current campaigns of Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Michigan GOP Senate candidate John James, as well as to current congressional campaigns and PACs supporting Reps. Steve Scalise, R-La., and Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., among others. Mellon wrote in his self-published memoir — "The Intriguing Story of Tim Mellon" — that Black people were "even more belligerent" after the civil rights movement, and that safety net programs amounted to "Slavery Redux." People on federal assistance, he wrote, were "slaves of a new Master, Uncle Sam."

By Kelly Mena, CNN

Washington, DC (CNN) Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts has told local government officials that they won't get federal coronavirus relief funding if they require individuals to wear face masks in government buildings. Ricketts, a Republican, made the statement on Monday, the same day he set as the deadline for county courthouses and offices to be opened while encouraging but not requiring the use of face masks. Nebraska has allocated $100 million for reimbursements to local governments for direct expenses incurred in response to the Covid-19 emergency. "It's really their option, if they don't want to follow the guidelines, they won't be eligible for the CARES Act money but that's certainly their prerogative to do that," said Ricketts on Monday at his daily coronavirus briefing. In late May, Ricketts issued guidance for how the state's 93 courthouses and offices would reopen that included specific directions that "customers may be encouraged to wear face coverings, but may not be refused service for failure to do so." The May guidelines however did allow counties to require social distancing and disinfecting procedures. A study out last week found that wearing a mask is the most effective way to stop person-to-person spread of the virus which is mainly via airborne transmission, according to the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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 Annalisa Merelli

Overnight on May 31 and June 1, 1921, in a period of just about 12 hours, the single largest incident of racial violence in American history occurred in the Greenwood district of Tulsa, Oklahoma. “More than a thousand African American homes and businesses were looted and burned to the ground; you had a thriving community occupying more than 35 square blocks in Tulsa that was totally destroyed,” Scott Ellsworth, the author of Death in a Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, told Quartz. “It looked like Hiroshima or Nagasaki afterwards.” In a recently discovered account of the massacre, Buck Colbert Franklin, then a lawyer in Greenwood, paints a harrowing picture. “I could see planes circling in mid-air. They grew in number and hummed, darted and dipped low. I could hear something like hail falling upon the top of my office building,” he wrote. “Down East Archer, I saw the old Mid-Way hotel on fire, burning from its top, and then another and another and another building began to burn from their top.” The destruction of Greenwood began as an attempted lynching of a Black teenager and turned into full-blown destruction perpetrated by a white mob. As many as 300 people were killed, more than 10,000 remained homeless, and according to the Tulsa Race Riot Report of 2001, an estimated $1,470,711 was incurred in damage—equal to about $20 million today.

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.”

White-presenting Latinos should use this time to reconcile with their privilege and acknowledge that black people are already part of their community, said a young Afro-Latinx.
By Nicole Acevedo

Ana Sanz, 26, marched for about 10 miles with a sprained ankle on Monday in Washington, D.C., to protest the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and to demand accountability for the dehumanization of black people at the hands of law enforcement. But Sanz, an Afro-Latinx from Washington who works with women overcoming domestic and sexual violence, said it's also time for something else — for her fellow Latinos to confront the racism and anti-blackness within the community. Proximity to "Eurocentricity and whiteness is how our ancestors survived" through oppression, a painful legacy that still prevails and needs to be eradicated, Sanz said. Although she was shaken by military-grade helicopters that felt like a "tornado," she said, the turbulent protests did not stop long-overdue discussions about anti-black Latino racism and discrimination. White-presenting Latinos should use this time to "reconcile with the privilege" their light skin gives them in systems tainted with white supremacy and figure out ways to use it in a productive way, Sanz said.

Salon also confirms Giuliani was linked to Lev Parnas by a lawyer who shared his client in a money-laundering probe
By Roger Sollenberger

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani told Fox News host Ed Henry — inaccurately — on Wednesday that more Black people kill police officers in America than police officers kill Black people. Giuliani made the false claim in response to Henry's questions about the progressive "defund the police" movement. "That's a terrible, terrible overreaction to what's been created as almost a hysterical reaction to a single incident," Giuliani claimed. "And not just a single incident — some instances of police wrongdoing where they actually are unjustified in the use of force." "As the president pointed out, and as we all know logically, 99% — if not more — of police contact with the public is appropriate," said President Donald Trump's personal attorney, who advises municipalities in developing countries on how to set up emergency management systems, an operation which many legal experts view as a vehicle for corruption. "Either no use of force — or in many cases, the use of force saved their lives," Giuliani elaborated.

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.”

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