June 2020 News

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

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. We have been resolving technical issues with the site and regret the interruption in our coverage earlier this month.

June 9

Top Stories

washington post logoworld health organization logo CustomWashington Post, After criticism, WHO clarifies stance on asymptomatic transmission, William Wan and Miriam Berger​, June 9, 2020. The organization said an earlier statement calling asymptomatic transmission of coronavirus “very rare” was a “misunderstanding.” But the comment had already been seized upon by conservatives and others to bolster arguments against social distancing and face masks.

washington post logoWashington Post, Problems with voting machines, long lines in Georgia as primary voting begins amid pandemic, Amy Gardner and Michelle Ye Hee Lee​, June 9, 2020. In the five states holding primaries today, in-person polling places have been limited or eliminated, and officials have made it easier to vote by mail.

Lines snaked out the doors, some polling locations didn’t open on time, and others had no working voting machines in several counties in the first hours of voting in Georgia’s primary elections Tuesday, a potential preview of how new voting procedures Democratic-Republican Campaign logosbrought on by the coronavirus pandemic could affect the presidential election in November.

“This seems to be happening throughout Atlanta and perhaps throughout the county. People have been in line since before 7:00 am this morning,” Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms tweeted barely 30 minutes after polls opened Tuesday.

She added: “If you are in line, PLEASE do not allow your vote to be suppressed. PLEASE stay in line. They should offer you a provisional ballot if the machines are not working.”

Voters in the Atlanta area reported arriving before polls opened and standing in line for hours, with election officials processing ballots painfully slowly because they couldn’t get new touch screen machines to work.

washington post logocovad 19 photo.jpg Custom 2Washington Post, Puerto Rico, 14 states hit highest 7-day average of new infections, Kim Bellware and Jacqueline Dupree, June 9, 2020. The highest percentages of new cases are coming from places with much smaller populations than the metro hubs that were inundated at first.U.S. Police Protests

washington post logoWashington Post, Editorial: House Democrats’ sprawling bill provides a good start toward police reform, Editorial Board, June 9, 2020 (print ed.). Reading through the Justice in Policing Act, the police reform bill that House Democrats released Monday, one is struck by how many of its proposals have been on the table, discussed but not embraced, for years, and certainly since protests in Ferguson, Mo. Six years have passed, lives have been lost, and the federal government has yet to prioritize police reform.

Theoretically, sprawling federal reform should not be necessary, because states and localities conduct most policing. In practice, federal standards would encourage and demand more from state and local officials who have resisted change.

Hearings on the bill will begin Wednesday. It would impose new restrictions on police behavior, creating a national use-of-force standard that insists that violence be a last resort, permissible only to prevent death or serious bodily injury, and that officers try to de-escalate potentially dangerous situations. The legislation would ban chokeholds, mandate body cameras and curtail the transfer of surplus military equipment to police departments.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump sides with conspiracy theories over Black Lives Matter protesters, Philip Bump, June 9, 2020. It wasn’t clear how much of the president’s focus on antifa was opportunistic and how much derived from a belief that antifa is a force jeopardizing the union. In a single, bizarre tweet, we got our answer.

djt economist cover aug 19 2017The White House communications team has gone to great lengths to present President Trump’s position on the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests as evenhanded and sympathetic. He has twice offered scripted responses to the protests that approximate the expected tone of a president faced with roiling unrest, including his comments from the White House Rose Garden on June 1 when he declared that he was “an ally of all peaceful protesters.”

That federal officials were simultaneously using tear gas, batons and explosive devices to clear a nearby park of peaceful protesters was simply a coincidence.

Efforts to present Trump as understanding of the protests, though, conflict with the president’s obvious and visceral dislike of what is happening and his determined effort to cast the protests as an extension of violent far-left opposition to American ideals.

Trump keeps insisting that the worst effects of the early demonstrations were a function of “antifa,” a loosely knit movement that opposes fascism and racism. Antifa is a useful enemy for Trump in the moment, allowing him to avoid criticizing black protesters and to identify the opposing wing of American politics as dangerous. That the role of antifa has been limited has not prevented Trump from blaming it broadly.

U.S. Elections, Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Large majority of Americans back protests and say police need to change, poll finds, Scott Clement and Dan Balz, June 9, 2020. Americans overwhelmingly support the nationwide protests that have taken place since the killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis, and they say police forces have not done enough to ensure that blacks are treated equally to whites, according to a Washington Post-Schar School poll.

President Trump receives negative marks for his handling of the protests, with 61 percent saying they disapprove and 35 percent saying they approve. Much of the opposition to Trump is vehement, as 47 percent of Americans say they strongly disapprove of the way the president has responded to the protests.

The poll highlights how attitudes about police treatment of black Americans are changing dramatically. More than 2 in 3 Americans (69 percent) say the killing of Floyd represents a broader problem within law enforcement, compared with fewer than 1 in 3 (29 percent) who say the Minneapolis killing is an isolated incident.

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: The GOP has gone from tea party libertarianism to Trumpian authoritarianism, Max Boot, June 9, 2020. In 2014, Tom Cotton ran for the U.S. Senate proclaiming: “I believe in less government and more freedom.”

djt maga hatSeven days ago, amid massive anti-racism protests accompanied by scattered looting, the Republican senator from Arkansas demanded the deployment of at least five Army divisions to the streets. “No quarter for insurrectionists, anarchists, rioters, and looters,” he wrote, employing a military term for “take no prisoners.”

There was no conceivable justification for such a draconian move. But Cotton’s panicky, premature demand is symbolic of the Republican Party’s transition from tea party libertarianism to Trumpian authoritarianism.

washington post logoWashington Post, Liberty’s Jerry Falwell Jr. apologizes for tweet; director of diversity resigns, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, June 9, 2020. The tweeted images, which Falwell deleted and apologized for on Monday, were intended to mock Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) but upset many.

World News

washington post logoWashington Post, North Korea says it will no longer talk to South, dialing up pressure, Min Joo Kim and Simon Denyer, June 9, 2020. The escalation comes as Kim Yo Jong asserts her authority in the regime and attempts to extract concessions from Seoul.

North Korean flagNorth Korea said it would shut telephone hotlines with South Korea on Tuesday and ultimately sever all communications with its neighbor, hardening its policy as it attempts to gain concessions from Seoul.

The escalation came five days after Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, took charge of relations with South Korea and threatened to shut a joint liaison office and factory park in the border town of Kaesong.

Kim Yo Jong, who has been taking an increasingly high-profile role in Pyongyang, had demanded that Seoul prevent activists from sending leaflets across the border intended to promote democracy and undermine the nuclear-armed regime. In an attempt to salvage ties with the North, the South Korean government pledged to seek a legislative ban on the leaflets, angering human rights activists and others who questioned Seoul’s commitment to freedom of expression.

More On Police Protests, Violence

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Agency to remove most of fence near White House that has turned into a memorial wall, Staff report, June 9, 2020. Protesters have converted fencing — meant to bar access to Lafayette Square — into a crowdsourced memorial wall, filled with posters and names of black men and women who have died during police encounters.

washington post logoWashington Post, Newly released video shows N.J. trooper fatally shooting unarmed black man in traffic stop tussle, Meryl Kornfield, June 9, 2020. The New Jersey attorney general is investigating the fatal shooting of Maurice Gordon.

New Jersey’s attorney general released police dash-camera footage Monday that captured the fatal shooting of a 28-year-old unarmed black man by a white state trooper last month.

Maurice Gordon of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., had been pulled over by Sgt. Randall Wetzel on May 23 for allegedly speeding. Then, his car became disabled in the left shoulder of the Garden State Parkway in Bass River, N.J., according to the attorney general’s office, which is investigating the shooting. While they waited for a tow truck to arrive, Wetzel told Gordon to sit in his police cruiser to stay out of the way of traffic.

During a half-hour of dash-cam footage, the stop appeared routine. Wetzel got Gordon’s information and called a tow truck. The trooper offered to drive Gordon to a car dealership and offered him a mask.

“I can give you a ride wherever you’re trying to go,” Wetzel told Gordon.

After 20 minutes of sitting in the patrol car, Gordon unfastened his seat belt and appeared to get out of the car. Wetzel then yelled “Get in the car” several times while they seemed to tussle outside the cruiser.

The attorney general’s office said Gordon twice tried to enter the driver’s seat of Wetzel’s patrol car. The first time, Wetzel pepper-sprayed him, and during the second instance Wetzel pulled Gordon out of the driver’s seat and, during a struggle, shot him six times.

June 8

Top Stories

washington post logoWashington Post, Ex-officer held on $1 million bail as Democrats unveil police reform bill, Holly Bailey and Toluse Olorunnipa​, June 8, 2020.​ Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who kept his knee on George Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes as he struggled to breathe and ultimately died, made his first court appearance Monday — hours after congressional Democrats unveiled broad legislation aimed at reforming policing nationwide.

Chauvin, 44, was formally charged with second-degree murder without intent, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with bail set at a minimum of $1 million.

The appearance came immediately after a weekend of peaceful protests in which massive and diverse crowds of demonstrators demanded change, but it was unclear whether Monday’s legal and legislative developments would satisfy those who have taken to the streets in recent days.

But as Floyd’s memorial service in Houston began Monday, the impact of his death continued to reverberate around the country. The debate shifted from Chauvin’s widely condemned — and now criminally charged — arrest tactic to the hotly debated issue of whether American policing requires a top-to-bottom overhaul. While Black Lives Matter protesters have called on lawmakers to “defund the police” and decried systemic racism in law enforcement, others — led by President Trump — have sought to brand the movement as extreme and argued that policing does not need broad reform.

washington post logoWashington Post, What video and other records show about the clearing of protesters outside the White House, Dalton Bennett, Sarah Cahlan, Aaron C. Davis and Joyce Lee, June 8, 2020. Drawing on footage captured by dozens of cameras, as well as police radio communications and other records, The Post reconstructed the events outside Lafayette Square, including the roles of the agencies involved and the tactics and weaponry they used.

U.S. 2020 Elections / Politics

Palmer Report, Opinion: These new Biden-Trump poll numbers are nothing short of stunning, Bill Palmer, June 8, 2020. Realistically, presidential general election polling exists within a fairly narrow range. Because so many joe biden 2020 button CustomAmericans are already locked into one side or the other for various ideological reasons, each candidates starts with about 40%. That means neither candidate can get above 60%. And when you factor in protest votes, neither side can get above about 55%.

bill palmer report logo headerIn other words, a presidential election basically exists in the 40% to 55% range. Theoretically, a fifteen point lead is the largest you can have. It’s why a four point is considered small, for instance, but an eight point lead is considered large. For one candidate to have a fifteen point lead, the other candidate would have to be a radioactive hyena with rabies.

That brings us to today’s new poll numbers from CNN, which have Joe Biden at 55% and Donald Trump at 41%. Wait a minute here. We just said that, in theory, no one can go any higher than about 55% or any lower than about 40%. So these new poll numbers mean that Trump is so uniquely hated, he’s testing the limits of just how unpopular a general election candidate can be. This is nothing short of stunning.

 washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Democrats, stop worrying about losing. Focus on how you’re likely to win, Eugene President Donald Trump officialRobinson, June 8, 2020. If you’re a president running for reelection, and 8 out of 10 voters believe “things in the country are out of control,” you are losing. Bigly.

The RealClearPolitics average of all recent polls has Biden up by 8 points — a massive lead given the closeness of our recent elections.

Stop worrying about potential ways you could lose, Democrats. Start registering new voters, building a massive get-out-the-vote machine and hiring top-shelf lawyers. Focus on the ways you are very likely to win.

ny times logoNew York Times, Biden Walks a Cautious Line as He Opposes Defunding the Police, Jonathan Martin, Alexander Burns and Thomas Kaplan, June 8, 2020. As public opinion shifts, Joe Biden has tried to balance protesters’ calls for a law enforcement overhaul while not alienating moderate voters.

washington post logoWashington Post, Joe Biden let police groups write his crime bill. Now, his agenda has changed, Michael Kranish, June 8, 2020. Biden’s long history as one of the most reliable allies of law enforcement groups threatens a cornerstone of his presidential campaign.

As Sen. Joe Biden struggled 26 years ago to put together a massive crime bill, he relied on a man named Tom Scotto, who had become a fixture in his Capitol Hill office. Day after day, Scotto walked into Biden’s sanctum and convinced him to up the ante, asking for billions of dollars for 100,000 police officers, which in turn required a major expansion of prisons across the country.

“There wasn’t one thing when he said, ‘No,’ ” Scotto recalled in an interview.

Scotto, however, was not a member of Biden’s staff. He was the president of the National Association of Police Organizations, representing about 220,000 police department employees, the nation’s second-largest such group. As Scotto worked alongside Biden in writing the bill, which became law, he personified the bond that the senator from Delaware proudly maintained with the law enforcement community’s power brokers.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: By bashing Romney, White House reveals how worried it is about protests, Philip Bump, June 8, 2020. Instead of declining to engage in nitpicking with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah), particularly on such an emotional issue, the White House decided to jump in with both feet.

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump to restart rallies in upcoming weeks, campaign says, Josh Dawsey and Felicia Sonmez​, “Americans are ready to get back to action and so is President Trump,” Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale said in a statement, even as the coronavirus pandemic continues its sweep across the U.S.

washington post logoDemocratic-Republican Campaign logosWashington Post, Minuscule number of potentially fraudulent ballots in states with universal mail voting undercuts Trump claims about election risks, Elise Viebeck, A Washington Post analysis found that state officials identified just 372 possible cases of fraud out of about 14.6 million votes in five elections in which ballots were all cast by mail.

More On Police Brutality Protests

ny times logoNew York Times, American Cities Are Swiftly Rethinking Police Budgets, Dionne Searcey, John Eligon and Farah Stockman, June 8, 2020. As tens of thousands have demonstrated against police violence over the past two weeks, calls have emerged for fundamental changes to American policing. Elected officials are considering efforts ranging from defunding police departments to requiring more accountability.

 ny times logoNew York Times, Defying Police Unions, New York Lawmakers Ban Chokeholds, Luis Ferré-Sadurní, Jeffery C. Mays and Ashley Southall, June 8, 2020. Leaders in New York began to approve an expansive package of bills targeting police misconduct, despite longstanding opposition from law enforcement groups.

washington post logoWashington Post, Visitors in Houston pay respects to Floyd, say his death ‘touched the world,’ Arelis R. George Floyd, left, and Derek ChauvinHernández and Brittney Martin​, June 8, 2020.​ At the Fountain of Praise Church where Floyd’s remains lay, thousands endured the heat Monday to wait in a line that was several hundred people long. So many arrived that they had to be shuttled from a shopping center about a half-mile away to enter the line near the church.

washington post logoWashington Post, How D.C.’s mayor went from a bland bureaucrat to a fresh voice of the resistance, Paul Schwartzman and Fenit Nirappil​, June 8, 2020. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser drew national attention when she had the city paint “Black Lives Matter” on the street leading to the White House. At home, however, she has faced criticism for increasing funding for police and for policies that critics say fuel gentrification.

World News

washington post logoindia flag mapWashington Post, Coronavirus cases are rising in India. Now holy places are reopening their doors, Joanna Slater, June 8, 2020. India is home to some of the world’s largest and most distinctive religious places, including temples, mosques, churches, shrines, ashrams and synagogues. All were ordered to close in late March.

ny times logoNew York Times, The Palestinian Plan to Stop Annexation: Remind Israel What Occupation Means, David M. Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon, June 8, 2020. Officials in the West Bank say they are willing to let the Palestinian Authority collapse if Israel applies its sovereignty over occupied territory.

The Palestinian Authority says it will cut the salaries of tens of thousands of its own clerks and police officers. It will slash vital funding to the impoverished Gaza Strip. And it will try any Israeli citizens or Arab residents of Jerusalem arrested on the West Bank in Palestinian courts instead of handing them over to Israel.

Desperate to deter Israel from annexing occupied territory, the Palestinians are taking a number of provocative steps to break off cooperation with Israel and force it to shoulder full responsibility, as a military occupier, for the lives of more than two million Palestinians on the West Bank.

While those measures may seem self-defeating, Palestinian leaders see them as powerful but reversible actions to get the Israelis and the international community to take them seriously and to back down — before, they say, it is too late.

U.S. Economy / Virus

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: The Outbreak Is Worsening Globally, the W.H.O. Warns, Staff reports, June 8, 2020. New daily cases hit a record high on Sunday, the World Health Organization said. President Trump wants to resume campaign rallies. The organization is warning countries that have seen improvement to remain vigilant. New York City tentatively starts to reopen, 100 days after its first case.

ny times logoNew York Times, We asked 511 epidemiologists when they expect to fly, hug and do 18 other everyday activities again, Margot Sanger-Katz, Claire Cain Miller and Quoctrung Bui, June 8, 2020.  Many epidemiologists are already comfortable going to the doctor, socializing with small groups outside or bringing in mail, despite the coronavirus. But unless there’s an effective vaccine or treatment first, it will be more than a year before many say they will be willing to go to concerts, sporting events or religious services. And some may never greet people with hugs or handshakes again.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Why covid-19 isn’t going away anytime soon, Staff reports, June 8, 2020. U.S. entered recession in February.

On Monday, 100 days after the first coronavirus case was confirmed there, the city that was once the epicenter of America’s coronavirus pandemic began to reopen. The number of cases in New York has plunged, but health officials fear that a week of protests on the streets could bring a new wave.

Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 workers returned to work throughout the city’s five boroughs.

“All New Yorkers should be proud you got us to this day,” de Blasio said at a news conference Monday morning at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, a manufacturing hub.

Here are some significant developments:

• Harsh nationwide lockdowns, while widely loathed by those undergoing them, may have saved millions of lives and prevented hundreds of millions of infections, according to a pair of studies published Monday in the medical journal Nature.

• The U.S. economy officially entered a recession in February, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, which announced that a 128-month expansion officially ended then. The World Bank estimates that global gross domestic product will shrink 5.2 percent in 2020 as the pandemic continues to disrupt business, travel and manufacturing.

• A Post review found that several large states are not following federal recommendations to report probable coronavirus cases and deaths. That is partly why government officials and public health experts say the virus’s true toll is above the U.S. tally of about 1.9 million cases and 109,000 deaths.

• Since the start of the pandemic, more than 30,000 nursing home residents have died of covid-19, state data shows. But new covid-19 protections are shielding those companies from lawsuits, and families are saying the protections hide the truth.

• Officials from the World Health Organization warned that the coronavirus pandemic is “far from over,” saying “this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Will the Jobs Report Destroy Jobs? Paul Krugman, June 8, 2020. An uptick, but the economy is still on life support.

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its report on the employment situation in May. The report was much better than most economists expected, showing a large gain in jobs and a fall in the unemployment rate.

The thing is, a good jobs report may be bad for future policy. Why? Because the U.S. economy is still very much on life support. And a bit of good news is all too likely to encourage the usual suspects to end that life support too soon, with dire effects just a few months from now.

Before I get there, let me address one widespread concern. Were the employment numbers rigged?

No, they weren’t. No doubt the Trump administration, which lies about everything, would fake the numbers if it could. And the Trump-appointed head of the Bureau of Labor Statistics is a Heritage Foundation hack, with a long history of making ludicrous claims about the effects of tax cuts, the burden of the estate tax, and more.

But the jobs report is prepared by a large, professional staff that takes its responsibilities seriously. And it contains much more than the headline numbers. It’s not the kind of thing that could be altered with a Sharpie, and any effort to fake it would have set off multiple alarm bells.

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: No, the Jobs Report Wasn’t Rigged. Here’s What Happened, Ben Casselman, June 8, 2020. Social media sites lit up with posts suspicious of the unemployment numbers. But economists say it would be all but impossible to manipulate them.

When the Labor Department reported on Friday that employers had added jobs in May and that the unemployment rate had unexpectedly fallen, economists were surprised.

Others had a different reaction: suspicion.

Social media sites over the weekend lit up with posts, some from Democratic politicians, saying the jobs numbers were misleading at best and possibly manipulated. “The trump folks fudged the figures,” Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and Democratic national chairman, said on Twitter.

For many, those suspicions seemed confirmed by a note, deep within the report, saying some workers had been improperly counted as employed rather than unemployed. If those workers had been classified correctly, the unemployment rate would have been about 16.4 percent in May, rather than the official rate of 13.3 percent (although it still would have been lower than in April).

But economists across the political spectrum say it would be all but impossible to manipulate the jobs numbers undetected. And while there is no question that the speed and severity of the economic collapse has made gathering and interpreting economic data unusually difficult, they say the Bureau of Labor Statistics — the Labor Department office that produces the jobs report — has done an admirable job both ensuring that the numbers are reliable and publicly identifying potential issues.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, James Bennet Resigns as New York Times Opinion Editor, Marc Tracy, June 7, 2020. A. G. Sulzberger noted “a significant breakdown in our editing processes” before the publication of an Op-Ed by a United States senator calling for a military response to civic unrest.

James Bennet resigned on Sunday from his job as the editorial page editor of The New York Times, days after the newspaper’s opinion section, which he oversaw, published a much-criticized Op-Ed by a United States senator calling for a military response to civic unrest in American cities.

“Last week we saw a significant breakdown in our editing processes, not the first we’ve experienced in recent years,” said A. G. Sulzberger, the publisher, in a note to the staff on Sunday announcing Mr. Bennet’s departure.

In a brief interview, Mr. Sulzberger added: “Both of us concluded that James would not be able to lead the team through the next leg of change that is required.”

At an all-staff virtual meeting on Friday, Mr. Bennet, 54, apologized for the Op-Ed, saying that it should not have been published and that it had not been edited carefully enough. An editors’ note posted late Friday noted factual inaccuracies and a “needlessly harsh” tone. “The essay fell short of our standards and should not have been published,” the note said.

June 3

Top Headlines

U.S. Media / Politics

World News

More On U.S. Floyd Protests, Reactions

Virus Victims, Solutions

U.S. Flynn / Russian Case

U.S. 2020 Elections

 

Top Stories

djt bible doug mills nyt june 1 2020 st johns

President Trump outside St. John’s Episcopal Church, which was damaged during a night of unrest near the White House (Photo Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times). “He did not pray,” said Mariann E. Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington. “He did not mention George Floyd, he did not mention the agony of people who have been subjected to this kind of horrific expression of racism and white supremacy for hundreds of years.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Protesters Dispersed With Tear Gas So Trump Could Pose at Church, Katie Rogers, June 3, 2020 (print ed.). The peaceful crowd was cleared for a photo session just after President Trump gave a speech threatening to use the military to stop violent protests.

People who gathered outside the White House to protest police brutality spent Monday waving signs and screaming for justice. They watched as police officers and National Guard units flooded Lafayette Square, delivering on a threat made by President Trump. And just before the city’s 7 p.m. curfew went into effect, they were hit with flash-bang explosions and doused with tear gas.

It was because the president, who spent part of the weekend in a secure bunker as protests roiled, wanted to have his picture taken holding a Bible at a battered church just beyond the gates.

That church, St. John’s — the so-called Church of the Presidents because every one since James Madison has attended — had been briefly set ablaze as the protests devolved on Sunday evening. After Mr. Trump’s aides spent much of Monday expressing outrage over the burning of a place of worship, Hope Hicks, a presidential adviser, eventually hatched a plan with others at the White House to have the president walk over to the building, according to an official familiar with the events.

As Mr. Trump delivered a speech in the Rose Garden vowing to send the military to states where governors could not bring rioting under control but calling himself “an ally of all peaceful protesters,” the sound of explosions and the yells of demonstrators could be heard. After receiving repeated warnings to disperse before the city’s curfew, the crowd was tear-gassed.

Mr. Trump began his walk to the church at 7:01 p.m. for a photo session that lasted about 17 minutes. On his way over, after protesters had been driven from the park, he was trailed by a group of aides, including Attorney General William P. Barr. Mr. Barr had strolled to the edge of the police line to observe the crowd in the minutes before the tear-gassing began.

In Lafayette Square, one of the visiting priests attending to St. John’s was sprayed with tear gas as she tried to help scared demonstrators leave the area, said Bishop Budde, who was not at the church when Mr. Trump visited.

Bishop Budde denounced the way the president held up a Bible during his visit, a move she interpreted as a political prop.

“The Bible is not an American document,” she said. “It’s not an expression of our country. It’s an expression of the human struggle to serve and love and know God.”

The president has been an infrequent visitor to St. John’s, but attended a church service there on the day of his inauguration.

June 2

washington post logojennifer rubin new headshotWashington Post, Opinion: We saw it with our own eyes: Trump wants to go to war against America, Jennifer Rubin, right, June 1, 2020. President Trump somehow imagined it was a good idea to unleash law enforcement on peaceful demonstrators before the 7 p.m. curfew Monday night as he stepped into the Rose Garden to give a knockoff version of Richard M. Nixon’s “law and order” message.

The president who called NFL protesters peacefully taking a knee “sons of bitches,” lied when he declared that he is a friend of peaceful demonstrators. The police firing rubber bullets and launching tear gas at protesters in Lafayette Square in front of the White House said otherwise. Then, as if the scene was not evidence enough of his desire to raise the level of violence, he pledged to deploy the U.S. military on U.S. soil, against U.S. civilians, if governors did not heed his incendiary advice to fill the streets with National Guard troops. It was later revealed that Trump instigated the assault on protesters specifically to make a gesture of walking to St. John’s church.

Nothing could be more representative of the dangerous narcissism of a president in over his head, resorting to threats of violence against a country he ostensibly is supposed to lead. The deliberate instigation of violence for his own photo op tells Americans how deeply twisted and deformed his character is.

Those who think our unhinged president’s recent mania about a murder two decades ago that never happened represents his moral nadir have missed the lesson of his life: There is no such thing as rock bottom. So, assume that the worst is yet to come. Which implicates national security: Abroad, anti-Americanism sleeps lightly when it sleeps at all, and it is wide-awake as decent people judge our nation’s health by the character of those to whom power is entrusted. Watching, too, are indecent people in Beijing and Moscow.

ny times logoNew York Times, U.S. Floyd Protest Live Updates: Scores of Officers and Protesters Injured on Seventh Day of Unrest, Staff reports, June 2, 2020. New York City Sets Earlier Curfew After Looting.

  • Scores of cities were on edge as people faced off with the police for a seventh straight night since George Floyd died
  • After another night of looting in Manhattan, an 8 p.m. curfew was declared for Tuesday.
  • At least five people have died, and others, including protesters and police officers, have been injured. Here’s the latest.

Tensions between protesters and the police intensified on Monday, the seventh day of protests over the death of George Floyd and generations of systemic racism. Amid the chaos, police officers were attacked in several cities, and President Trump threatened to deploy active-duty troops to stop the violence.

The arrest of hundreds of people and injuries of both officers and protesters came as thousands of protesters protested peacefully across the country, but as demonstrations also devolved into widespread looting overnight. Stores along some of Manhattan’s most prized shopping streets were ransacked, and broken glass littered Fifth Avenue. In Los Angeles, residents were warned overnight to avoid Hollywood because of looting “on foot and via caravans.”

A nation that was already reeling from a pandemic that has claimed more than 100,000 lives, sent the economy into a tailspin not seen since the Great Depression and forced millions to shelter at home for months is now confronting the most widespread civil unrest in half a century.

washington post logoWashington Post, Episcopal bishop on President Trump: ‘Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence,’ Michelle Boorstein and Sarah Pulliam Bailey, June 2, 2020 (print ed.).  The Right Rev. Mariann Budde, the Episcopal bishop of Washington, was seething.

President Trump had just visited St. John’s Episcopal Church, which sits across from the White House. It was a day after a fire was set in the basement of the historic building amid protests over the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police.

Before heading to the church, where presidents have worshiped since the days of James Madison, Trump gave a speech at the White House emphasizing the importance of law and order. Federal officers then used force to clear a large crowd of peaceful demonstrators from the street between the White House and the church, apparently so Trump could make the visit.

“I am outraged,” Budde said in a telephone interview a short time later, pausing between words to emphasize her anger as her voice slightly trembled. She said she had not been given any notice that Trump would be visiting the church and did not approve of the manner in which the area was secured for his appearance.

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

She excoriated the president for standing in front of the church — its windows boarded up with plywood — holding up a Bible, which Budde said “declares that God is love.”

U.S. Media / Politics

washington post logoWashington Post, Fact Check: Analysis: The central feature of Trump’s presidency: False claims and disinformation, Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly, June 2, 2020. Will future presidents return to trying to tell the truth?

For weeks, as the coronavirus silently spread through the United States, President Trump belittled the threat and repeatedly praised China for “transparency” and the World Health Organization for its handling of the outbreak. But when the death toll mounted and the scope of the public health crisis became too difficult to ignore, Trump reversed course.

“I always felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic,” he declared — then angrily blamed China for failing to contain the new virus and accused the WHO of helping a coverup. He later withdrew the United States from the WHO.

Likewise, when a distraught widower asked Twitter to remove Trump’s tweets insinuating that the man’s wife had been killed by MSNBC morning host Joe Scarborough, Trump ignored the plea and repeated the slander.

The president’s technique — refined over half a century in public life — is relentless and unforgiving: Never admit any error, constantly repeat falsehoods, and have no shame about your tactics.

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Where the Virus Is Growing Most: Countries With ‘Illiberal Populist’ Leaders, David Leonhardt and Lauren Leatherby, June 2, 2020. Brazil, Russia, Britain and the U.S. are all run by populist male leaders who cast themselves as anti-elite and anti-establishment.

The four large countries where coronavirus cases have recently been increasing fastest are Brazil, the United States, Russia and Britain. And they have something in common.

They are all run by populist male leaders who cast themselves as anti-elite and anti-establishment.

The four leaders — Jair Bolsonaro, Donald J. Trump, Vladimir V. Putin and Boris Johnson — also have a lot of differences, of course, as do their countries. Yet all four subscribe to versions of what Daniel Ziblatt, a government professor at Harvard and co-author of the book “How Democracies Die,” calls “radical right illiberal populism.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Mexico begins to lift coronavirus lockdown, but officials say the country is still ‘in danger,’ Mary Beth Sheridan, June 2, 2020 (print ed.). Mexico on Monday lifted a 70-day coronavirus lockdown, but the federal and local governments replaced it with a contradictory patchwork of measures as the country struggled to contain the outbreak.

The nation’s coronavirus czar, Hugo López-Gatell, took a hard line, saying that federal guidelines on opening businesses would barely budge. Only a few industries — construction, auto manufacturing and mining — would be added to the list of “essential” businesses allowed to operate, he said.

“It’s vital that society understands that the danger continues,” he said. Mexico has confirmed nearly 10,000 deaths directly linked to the novel coronavirus, with an unknown number of other people perishing without a test. The Mexico City region has been hit hardest. López-Gatell says it is starting to show signs of a decline in cases, but some scientists believe deaths could continue at elevated levels for weeks.

More On U.S. Floyd Protests, Reactions

ny times logoNew York Times, Lawmakers Begin Bipartisan Push to Cut Off Police Access to Military-Style Gear, Catie Edmondson, June 2, 2020 (print ed.). The effort to end a program transferring surplus military equipment to the police reflects a revived concern about excessive use of force by law enforcement.

With protests turning violent across the country, lawmakers are scrutinizing the Defense Department initiative — curtailed by former President Barack Obama but revived by President Trump — that furnishes police departments with equipment such as bayonets and grenade launchers. The move comes after several nights when officers wearing riot gear have been documented using pepper spray and rubber bullets on protesters, bystanders and journalists, often without warning or seemingly unprovoked.

The push stands in stark contrast to the reaction of Mr. Trump, who has often encouraged rough tactics by law enforcement and spent Monday complaining privately to governors that they were not handling protesters aggressively enough.

“Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming presence until the violence is quelled,” Mr. Trump said in remarks from the Rose Garden on Monday evening. “If a city or state refuses to take the actions necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”

On Capitol Hill, however, where Republicans often take their cues from the president, most lawmakers had a different message as they focused on the immediate catalyst for the protests: George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis who was killed after a police officer knelt on his neck for a prolonged period.

“In no world whatsoever should arresting a man for an alleged minor infraction involve a police officer putting his knee on the man’s neck for nine minutes while he cries out ‘I can’t breathe’ and then goes silent,” Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, said on Monday. “Our nation cannot deafen itself to the anger, the pain and the frustration of black Americans. Our nation needs to hear this.”

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Trump Takes Us to the Brink, Paul Krugman, right, June 1, 2020. Will weaponized racism destroy America? Last paul krugmanfall Bob Kroll, the head of the Minneapolis police union, appeared at a Trump rally, where he thanked the president for ending Barack Obama’s “oppression of police” and letting cops “put the handcuffs on criminals instead of us.”

The events of the past week, in which the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody led to demonstrations against police brutality, and these demonstrations were met by more police brutality — including unprecedented violence against the news media — have made it clear what Kroll meant by taking the handcuffs off. And Donald Trump, far from trying to calm the nation, is pouring gasoline on the fire; he seems very close to trying to incite a civil war.

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that America as we know it is on the brink.

How did we get here? The core story of U.S. politics over the past four decades is that wealthy elites weaponized white racism to gain political power, which they used to pursue policies that enriched the already wealthy at workers’ expense.

Until Trump’s rise it was possible — barely — for people to deny this reality with a straight face. At this point, however, it requires willful blindness not to see what’s going on.

I still see occasional news reports that describe Trump as a “populist.” But Trump’s economic policies have been the opposite of populist: They have been relentlessly plutocratic, centered largely on a successful effort to ram through huge tax cuts for corporations and the rich, and a so far unsuccessful attempt to take health insurance away from poor and working-class families.

Nor have Trump’s trade wars brought back the good jobs of yore. Even before the coronavirus plunged us into depression, Trump had failed to deliver major employment growth in coal mining or manufacturing. And farmers, who supported Trump by large margins in 2016, have suffered huge losses thanks to his trade wars.

So what has Trump really offered to the white working class that makes up most of his base? Basically, he has provided affirmation and cover for racial hostility.

And nowhere is this clearer than in his relationship with the police.

Virus Victims, Solutions

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Here’s What We’ve Learned So Far About the Coronavirus, Staff report, June 2, 2020. There are some things we’re pretty sure of: We’ll have to live with this for a long time. You should be wearing a mask. And other insights. We don’t really know when the novel coronavirus first began infecting people. But as we turn a page on our calendars into June, it is fair to say that Sars-Cov-2 has been with us now for a full six months.

At first, it had no name or true identity. Early in January, news reports referred to strange and threatening symptoms that had sickened dozens of people in a large Chinese city with which many people in the world were probably not familiar. After half a year, that large metropolis, Wuhan, is well-known, as is the coronavirus and the illness it causes, Covid-19.

Here are some things we think we know about coronavirus:

• We’ll have to live with this for a long time.
• You should be wearing a mask.
• American public health infrastructure needs an update.
• Responding to the virus is extraordinarily expensive.
• We have a long way to go to fix virus testing.
• We can’t count on herd immunity to keep us healthy.
• The virus produces more symptoms than expected.
• We can worry a bit less about infection from surfaces.
• We can also worry less about a mutating virus.
• We can’t count on warm weather to defeat the virus.

U.S. Flynn / Russian Case

ny times logoNew York Times, Analysis: Flynn’s Dismissal of Russian Interference and the Kremlin’s Savvy, Mark Mazzetti, June 2, 2020. Newly declassified transcripts show the seeds of Russia’s overtures to the Trump administration as both sides sought to downplay Moscow’s election sabotage.

Russian spy services had just carried out a complex campaign to disrupt an American presidential election. But the man who was set to become the White House national security adviser, speaking to Russia’s ambassador, referred to that effort only as “the cyberstuff.”

The ambassador suggested that the “very deplorable” sanctions that the United States imposed on Russia in late 2016 were born out of the Obama administration’s anger about the election results, and even said that they were aimed at hurting the incoming president, Donald J. Trump. The American agreed.

In the transcripts of the phone calls between two men — Michael T. Flynn and Sergey I. Kislyak — is the kindling of a controversy that fanned into a blaze that has consumed so much of the Trump presidency.

The discussions, declassified and released on Friday, illuminate not only the Trump administration’s dismissive attitude toward overwhelming evidence of the Russian sabotage effort, but also how the Kremlin worked to manipulate Mr. Trump’s advisers by convincing them that the president’s political enemies had concocted a “Russia hoax.”

Eighteen months later, Mr. Trump stood next to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and said he believed Mr. Putin’s denials that the Kremlin was involved in the election sabotage. “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia, Mr. Trump said at a summit in Helsinki, Finland.

Mr. Flynn was not such a difficult target for a Russian manipulation effort, given his inclination to see common cause with Russia as well as his hostility toward the Obama administration. President Barack Obama had removed Mr. Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, and Mr. Flynn famously led a chorus of “lock her up” chants at the 2016 Republican National Convention in a reference to Hillary Clinton.

During the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump had spoken frequently about wanting to improve American relations with Russia.

Mr. Kislyak “played Flynn like a fiddle, particularly when Flynn astonishingly suggested that the U.S. and Russia should ratchet down tensions” after the United States punished Russia for its election interference, said Marc Polymeropoulos, who once oversaw the C.I.A.’s clandestine operations in Europe and Eurasia.

For a former head of an intelligence agency, he said, Mr. Flynn “showed a stunning lack of counterintelligence savvy or sophistication in dealing with an adversary” that, Mr. Polymeropoulos said, is “never to be trusted and who operates under the concept of a ‘zero sum game.’”

In justifying his decision to drop charges against Mr. Flynn for lying to the F.B.I. about what transpired during the Kislyak calls, Attorney General William P. Barr called the conversations “laudable,” saying that Mr. Flynn was trying to keep Russia from escalating tensions with the United States.

U.S. 2020 Elections

washington post logogeorge f willWashington Post, Opinion: Trump warns that he will dispatch troops if local officials do not crack down, George F. Will, right, June 1, 2020. Those who think our unhinged president’s recent mania about a murder two decades ago that never happened represents his moral nadir have missed the lesson of his life: There is no such thing as rock bottom.

So, assume that the worst is yet to come. Which implicates national security: Abroad, anti-Americanism sleeps lightly when it sleeps at all, and it is wide-awake as decent people judge our nation’s health by the character of those to whom power is entrusted. Watching, too, are indecent people in Beijing and Moscow.

washington post logoWashington Post, In Pennsylvania, officials prepare for civil unrest to disrupt primary, Amy Gardner and Natalie Pompilio, June 2, 2020. Eight states plus the District are holding primaries Tuesday. Several have struggled with demand for absentee ballots and poll worker shortages.

ny times logoNew York Times, What Pennsylvania’s ‘Dry Run’ Election Could Reveal About November, Nick Corasaniti, June 2, 2020. Both political parties are treating Tuesday’s primary as a moment to test their outreach, turnout and voting strategies ahead of the presidential election in the battleground state.

tom wolf o CustomEvery weekend since Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania, right, issued a statewide stay-at-home order, on April 1, millions of cellphones across the commonwealth have buzzed with text messages from the state Democrats, checking on the status of voters’ mail-in ballots.

During that period, state Republicans called two million phones around the state to try to mobilize support, and the Republican National Committee sent applications for mail-in ballots to thousands of targeted voters there.

With Pennsylvania holding an important primary election on Tuesday, both parties are also treating it as their biggest chance to stage a statewide “dry run” for organizing and voting before the November presidential vote in one of the nation’s more crucial battleground states.

The parties are in new territory this election season — not only because of Covid-19 and the protests over George Floyd’s death, including in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but also because of a new law mandating that anyone who votes by mail in the primary will be sent a ballot for the November election. Party officials and affiliate groups are racing to ramp up and test their voter mobilization efforts, given that the race between President Trump and Joseph R. Biden Jr. this fall is likely to involve obstacles wrought by the coronavirus.

June 1

Top Stories

Virus Victims, Responses

U.S. Anti-Brutality Protests, Looting

World News

U.S. Courts, Injustice 

U.S. 2020 Elections

Media News

Top Stories

minneapolis cnn fire may 28 2020

washington post logoWashington Post, Trump rebukes governors, urges them to use force against unruly protests, Robert Costa, Seung Min Kim and Josh Dawsey, June 1, 2020. Some governors say president is inflaming tensions. The remarks by President Trump came during a conference call with the state leaders.

Donald Trump (Gage Skidmore portrait)President Trump on Monday berated the nation’s governors on a conference call, describing them as “weak” in the face of growing racial unrest and urging them to try to “dominate” unruly protests.

Trump also called on the governors to take back the streets and use force to confront protesters. He said if they did not, they would look like “fools,” alarming several governors on the call as they communicated privately.

“If you don’t dominate you’re wasting your time,” Trump said.

The Washington Post obtained a recording of the call.

Trump told the governors that “you have to use the military” and “we have a wonderful military,” and he mused about the Occupy Wall Street movement and said it was a “disgrace” that was ended by governors and mayors being tough.

gretchen whitmer o horizontal CustomThe president said that people arrested at the protests should serve 10-year prison sentences.

“The president repeatedly and viciously attacked governors, who are doing everything they can to keep the peace while fighting a once-in-a-generation global pandemic,” Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D), shown at left in a file photo, said in a statement. “The president’s dangerous comments should be gravely concerning to all Americans, because they send a clear signal that this administration is determined to sow the seeds of hatred and division, which I fear will only lead to more violence and destruction. We must reject this way of thinking.”

jay pritzker CustomTrump and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D), right, had a testy exchange. Pritzker called out the president’s rhetoric. The president replied that he does not like Pritzker’s rhetoric, either, and that Pritzker mishandled his state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

washington post logoWashington Post, Analysis: Trump’s inability to speak convincingly to anyone but his base is a unique liability in the moment, Philip Bump​, ​June 1, 2020. The president’s demonstrated disinclination to do so is a problem of its own.

djt economist cover aug 19 2017These are the moments that define presidencies. Overlapping crises in which the foundation of the country seems to quiver. Americans in fear. Americans enraged.

It’s in these moments that we’ve so often seen elected leaders speak to the public, assuring them specifically that tensions would fade and offering a path to do so. Presidents, speaking in front of the familiar Oval Office windows, assuring the country that the turbulence would smooth and the country would endure.

President Trump has not done so. The Washington Post reported late Sunday that this was in part because he wasn’t ready to.

“Some of his advisers calculated that he should not speak to the nation because he had nothing new to say and had no tangible policy or action to announce yet,” our Philip Rucker reported.

There’s almost nothing that Trump could say. He has no experience in attempting to appeal to audiences other than his core base of political support. He has never demonstrated any interest in doing so.

washington post logoWashington Post, As Trump attacks voting by mail, GOP builds 2020 strategy around limiting its expansion, Amy Gardner, Shawn Boburg and Josh Dawsey, June 1, 2020.  President Trump’s persistent attacks on mail-in voting have fueled an unprecedented effort us mail logoby conservatives to limit expansion of the practice before the November election, with tens of millions of dollars planned for lawsuits and advertising aimed at restricting who receives ballots and who remains on the voter rolls.

The strategy, embraced by Trump’s reelection campaign, the Republican National Committee and an array of independent conservative groups, reflects the recognition by both parties that voting rules could decide the outcome rnc logoof the 2020 White House race amid the electoral challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Helping drive the effort is William Consovoy, a veteran Supreme Court litigator who also serves as one of Trump’s personal lawyers. Consovoy’s Virginia-based law firm is handling a battery of legal actions on behalf of the RNC, several state GOPs and an independent group called the Honest Election­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­s Project, which is connected to a Trump adviser.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates on George Floyd Protests: Overnight Mayhem Follows Peaceful Rallies, Staff Reports, June 1, 2020. Police and Protesters Clash on Sixth Day of Turmoil. Peaceful protests descended into chaos in major U.S. cities in the sixth day of american flag upside down distressunrest since the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis.

A man was killed in Louisville, Ky., after the National Guard and the police were shot at and returned fire.

The White House went dark as protesters set fires nearby, and thousands again defied curfews to demonstrate against police brutality. Reporters for The Times were on the ground in dozens of cities across the country. Here’s what they saw.

Fires burned outside the White House, the streets of New York City were gripped by mayhem and stores in Santa Monica, Calif., were looted after another day of peaceful protests descended into lawlessness in major cities across the United States.

On the sixth day of unrest since the death of George Floyd last week in Minneapolis, hundreds were arrested as streets seethed with unrest. Even as businesses braced for looting, stores were ransacked. In Manhattan, the owners of the upscale Chanel store had boarded up its windows, only to wake on Monday to find that thieves had found their way inside.

The National Guard was deployed in more than two dozen states to assist overwhelmed police departments, and dozens of mayors extended curfews.

washington post logoWashington Post, Live Updates: Minnesota governor extends curfew, Staff reports, Independent autopsy concludes asphyxia caused George Floyd’s death, June 1, 2020. Trump views protesters’ violence as ‘unacceptable,’ White House press secretary says. Minneapolis truck driver may have panicked in midst of protest crowd, official says.

ny times logoNew York Times, Protests Could Set Off a Second Coronavirus Wave, Experts Warn, Roni Caryn Rabin, Updated June 1, 2020. Across the country, mayors, public health experts and other officials worry that even though many protesters are wearing masks, the risk of new coronavirus cases will increase as thousands gather.

Mass protests against police brutality that have brought thousands of people out of their homes and onto the streets in cities across America are raising the specter of new coronavirus outbreaks, prompting political leaders, physicians and public health experts to warn that the crowds could cause a surge in cases.

Virus Victims, Responses

washington post logoWashington Post, Coronavirus fallout will haunt U.S. economy for years, costing it $8 trillion through 2030, CBO says, Jeff Stein, June 1, 2020. The stark illustration of the pandemic’s potential economic impact comes one week after White House officials confirmed they would not release their own updated projections this summer.

Fallout from the coronavirus pandemic will shrink the size of the U.S. economy by roughly $8 trillion over the next decade, according to new projections released by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday.

In a letter to U.S. lawmakers, the CBO said the U.S. economy will grow by $7.9 trillion less from 2020 to 2030 than it had projected in January. That amounts to a 3 percent decline in U.S. gross domestic product compared to its initial estimate.

The stark illustration of the pandemic’s potential economic impact comes one week after White House officials confirmed they would not release their own updated projections this summer in their annual “mid-session” budget review.

The pandemic will hamper U.S. economic growth by reducing the amount of consumer spending and closing numerous businesses, the CBO said. Part of the impact will be mitigated by the more than $2 trillion the federal government has already approved in emergency spending for households and businesses.

ny times logoNew York Times, Virus Global updates: Infections Spike and Wane Unevenly Across the U.S., Staff reports, June 1, 2020. The virus has persisted on a stubborn but uneven path, with meaningful progress in some cities and alarming new outbreaks in others.Hong Kong has banned an annual Tiananmen Square vigil, citing the virus. Protests in the United States have raised concerns about a second wave of infections.

ny times logoNew York Times, States Warn That Virus May Doom Climate Projects, Christopher Flavelle, June 1, 2020. A billion-dollar program to protect cities from climate change is at risk of failing because the pandemic.

Connecticut is preparing to build a first-of-its-kind underground flood wall. Virginia has planned an intricate system of berms, pump stations and raised roads to keep the flood-prone city of Norfolk dry. Louisiana has broken ground on a new community for people forced to flee a village on its sinking coast, the country’s first government-resettled climate migrants.

Projects in 13 cities and states, which were part of the Obama administration’s push to protect Americans from climate change after the devastation from Hurricane Sandy, are now in jeopardy because of the coronavirus pandemic, state and local officials warn. And they need Republicans in Congress to save those projects.

On Monday, officials are expected to tell lawmakers that the coronavirus will prevent them from meeting the conditions of a $1 billion Obama-era program for large-scale construction projects that defend cities and states against climate-related disasters. That money must be spent by the fall of 2022.

U.S. Anti-Brutality Protests, L:ooting

washington post logoWashington Post, Live DC/VA/MD Updates: Police, National Guard sweep protesters from Lafayette Square ahead of curfew, Staff reports, June 1, 2020. Trump speaks in front of St. John’s church after protesters pushed out from area. Bowser welcomes federal law enforcement to protect federal land after Trump vows aggressive action in D.C. Crowd of 1,000 marches through downtown Baltimore.

ny times logoNew York Times, How Looters Ransacked Lower Manhattan on Sunday, Ali Watkins, Derek M. Norman and Nate Schweber, June 1, 2020. As the protesters moved north, fringe groups hung back, setting fires, breaking windows and grabbing goods from a string of luxury boutiques in SoHo.

All Sunday night, the scene repeated itself as protesters moved through Lower Manhattan. After the main marchers would advance, fringe groups would hang back, and then the shattering glass would begin.

By morning, the devastation in Manhattan was unlike anything New York had seen since the blackout of 1977. Block after block of boutiques in the Flatiron district had their windows shattered and’ their goods looted.

All down Broadway and through the side streets of SoHo, the destruction was widespread and indiscriminate, from chain drugstores to the Chanel boutique, from the Adidas outlet to Dolce & Gabbana.

Looters moved from storefront to storefront, picking through the rubble to fill garbage bags with shoes, clothes, electronics and other goods. The SoHo outpost of Bloomingdale’s was ransacked.

The police said that more than 400 people were arrested in New York overnight on Sunday, mostly for looting and burglary.

ny times logoNew York Times, Live Updates: Military helicopter uses ‘show of force’ on protesters, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, June 1, 2020. As scores of protesters made their way into Washington D.C’s Chinatown district, a Blackhawk helicopter with U.S. Army markings descended to rooftop level, kicking up dirt, debris and snapping trees that narrowly missed several people. The maneuver, often conducted by low flying jets in combat zones to scare away insurgents, is known as a show of force.

In this case it was successful. The crowd quickly dispersed into surrounding blocks, and minutes later the helicopters returned for another pass.

Biden and Clinton condemn Trump’s photo op at church: Democratic political leaders wasted no time in condemning President Trump’s photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, for which hundreds of peaceful protesters were cleared out with tear gas.

In a tweet, Joe Biden, Trump’s rival in November’s election, attacked the president for “using the American military against the American people” in order to set up a photo for himself.

Hillary Clinton characterized the situation as “a horrifying use of presidential power against our own citizens.” She wrote, “Tonight the President of the United States used the American military to shoot peaceful protestors with rubber bullets & tear gas them. For a photo op.”

Palmer Report, Opinion: Anderson Cooper blurts out “Oh my God” after learning the real reason for Donald Trump’s deranged military stunt, anderson cooper tulane wBill Palmer, June 1, 2020. This evening Donald Trump had the U.S. military fire tear gas on peaceful protesters outside the White House, so he could give an idiotic speech and then walk across the street and take a photo outside St. John’s church. Now Trump’s real motivation is surfacing, and let’s just say that it’s about as small minded as you might have expected.

bill palmer report logo headerWhile Anderson Cooper was hosting his CNN show tonight, one of his guests reported on air that Trump staged the entire stunt of walking to the church solely because he didn’t like how he’d been mocked for hiding in an underground bunker. When Cooper heard the news, he blurted out “Oh my God” and then added “We’re in trouble.”

Anderson Cooper is speaking for us all. Donald Trump has virtually no muscle left at this point, and he can’t send the military to the states without the approval of the governors, which he doesn’t have. But all that said, Trump is an increasingly unhinged maniac who’s unraveling in real time, even as the nation is barely holding itself together.

World News

ny times logoNew York Times, Poor Countries Face a Debt Crisis ‘Unlike Anything We Have Seen,’ Mary Williams Walsh and Matt Phillips, June 1, 2020. Dozens of countries that borrowed from private investors have debt payments coming due as their economies have crashed because of the virus.

The low interest rates of the past decade led to an unlikely alliance between poor countries and international investors. Governments, state-owned companies and other businesses were able to raise money relatively cheaply to finance their growth, while investors searching for better returns than they were getting at home gobbled up that debt. As a result, developing countries owe record amounts of money to investors, governments and others outside their borders: $2.1 trillion for countries ranked as “low income” and “lower-middle income” by the World Bank, including Afghanistan, Chad, Bolivia and Zimbabwe.

Now, the pandemic is fraying that alliance. Economic activity has ground to a halt, closing ports, shutting factories, canceling flights and emptying resorts. Governments are on the hook for billions of dollars in interest and principal repayments — payments suddenly made more expensive by volatility in the currency markets at the same time that their public health costs are skyrocketing. And their investors are not in a forgiving mood.

justin trudeau twitterPolitico via Yahoo News, Trudeau: Russia’s return to the G-7 not acceptable, Andy Blatchford, June 1, 2020. Justin Trudeau, right, says inviting Russia back to the G-7 table would be unacceptable, even as Donald Trump plans to open the 2020 summit’s doors to Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. president proposed Saturday to expand the group by adding four non-member nations, including Russia. The other countries on Trump’s longer invitee list were India, Australia and South Korea.

The group suspended Russia’s membership in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea in Ukraine.

Asked about Trump’s proposal, the Canadian prime minister told reporters Monday that Russia should not be welcomed back. The U.K. also said Monday that it would veto any such plan.

“Its continued disrespect and flaunting of international rules and norms is why it remains outside of the G-7 and it will continue to remain out,” said Trudeau, who later added in French: “It will not be acceptable to accept it within the G-7.”

Trudeau has urged Putin, Russia’s president, in the past to play a more positive role in the world.

U.S. Courts, Injustice 

washington post logoWashington Post, Judge Sullivan says he is not required to ‘rubber stamp’ DOJ’s bid to dismiss Flynn case, Ann E. Marimow and Carol D. Leonnig, Former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s lawyers want the D.C. federal court to immediately dismiss the case after the Justice Department abandoned its prosecution.

Michael Flynn Harvard 2014U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan should not be required to act as a “mere rubber stamp” for the government’s unusual move to undo the guilty plea of President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the judge’s lawyers told a federal appeals court in Washington on Monday.

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

The judge must evaluate Flynn’s dramatically different claims, Sullivan’s lawyer Beth Wilkinson told the court: “What, if anything, should Judge Sullivan do about Mr. Flynn’s sworn statements to the court, where he repeatedly admitted to the crime and to the voluntariness of his guilty plea, only to now claim that he never lied to the government and was pressured and misled into pleading guilty?”

The filing from Sullivan, defending his investigation into the Justice Department’s reversal, is the latest development in the extraordinary case. It comes after Flynn’s lawyers asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to immediately order Sullivan to get rid of the matter and accused him of bias.

Judge puts Justice Department’s move to drop charges against Michael Flynn on hold

The Justice Department joined Flynn in a separate filing Monday urging the appeals court to quickly bring the case to a close. The executive branch, not the judiciary, has the “power to decide when — and when not — to prosecute potential crimes” and Sullivan cannot independently initiate criminal charges, the filing says.

Federal rules do not give the judge the authority to “stand in the way of a dismissal the defendant does not oppose,” according to the filing. Those who signed the filing include Solicitor General Noel Francisco, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski, Acting U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin and Jocelyn Ballantine — the remaining career prosecutor on Flynn’s case, who did not sign the government’s May 7 motion to dismiss the case.

With the government and Flynn now on the same side, Sullivan defended the decision to appoint retired federal judge John Gleeson to argue against the department’s position. Gleeson is also charged with examining whether Flynn should face a criminal contempt hearing for perjury after pleading guilty to a crime that he and the Justice Department now say did not happen.

djt william barr doj photo march 2019

In an open letter, some two thousand former Justice Department employees wrote Attorney General William Barr, shown above at right with Donald Trump, had “once again assaulted the rule of law” in moving to drop the case against Michael Flynn, as reported by the Washington Post.

ny times logoNew York Times Magazine, William Barr’s State of Emergency, Mattathias Schwartz, June 1, 2020. The attorney general has long held an expansive view of presidential power. With multiple crises converging in the run-up to the 2020 election, he is busy putting his theories to work.

Now nearing the end of his career, Barr did not take his current job for the glory. He had already been attorney general once, in President George H.W. Bush’s administration, winning him a reputation as a wise old man — a reputation that, in the eyes of some, his tenure in the Trump administration has tarnished. Nor is he doing it for the money. His time in corporate America earned him tens of millions of dollars in compensation and stock options, and his bearing is still that of a Fortune 500 counsel, cozy manners wrapped around a harder core.

One has to assume that Trump is keeping a close eye on the 70-year-old Barr right now. The powers of the attorney general, as the executive branch’s rule interpreter and law enforcer, peak during moments of social unrest. Barr knows these powers well: He led the Justice Department through the Los Angeles riots of 1992, when Bush invoked the Insurrection Act and deployed thousands of soldiers and Marines. (Later, Barr said the L.A. riots were “opportunistic” gang activity and not “the product of some festering injustice.”) Like Trump, Barr is a stalwart believer in the righteousness of the police; those communities that fail to give the police “respect and support,” he said in a December speech, “might find themselves without the police protection they need.” Last summer, Barr dropped the department’s federal case against the New York police officer who killed Eric Garner during an arrest in 2014.

Barr’s role also gives him influence over three major political fronts heading into November.

william barr new oFirst, there is Trump’s fight to open the nation’s economy, which could depend in no small part on Barr’s interpretation of federal authority and willingness to twist governors’ arms. Then there are the mechanics of the vote itself, a topic of great partisan controversy about which the Justice Department has shown a growing willingness to weigh in. Finally, there is the ongoing investigation led by John Durham, the United States attorney in Connecticut, into the origins of the F.B.I.’s Russia probe in the run-up to the 2016 election, the findings of which are widely expected to be announced before November.

ny times logoNew York Times, Campaign Funds for Judges Warp Criminal Justice, Study Finds, Adam Liptak, right, June 1, 2020. Judges in Harris adam liptakCounty, Texas, were far more likely to appoint lawyers who had donated to their campaigns to represent poor criminal defendants.

Nearly 60 years ago, the Supreme Court decided the case of Clarence Gideon, a Florida drifter accused of breaking into a poolroom who was tried and convicted without a lawyer. In a unanimous ruling, Gideon v. Wainwright, the court transformed criminal justice in America, announcing that poor people accused of serious crimes were entitled to lawyers paid for by the government.

But the court did not say how the lawyers should be chosen, and many states settled on a system that invites abuses: They let the judge appoint the defendant’s lawyer.

That system has long been criticized for promoting cronyism and dampening the zeal of lawyers who want to stay in the good graces of judges.

A new study documents a more troubling objection. Elected judges, the study found, tend to appoint lawyers who contribute to their campaigns.

“Campaign finance is perverting the criminal justice system,” said Neel U. Sukhatme, a professor at Georgetown Law and an author of the study.

Drawing on six sets of data, the study examined Harris County in Texas, which is home to Houston and is the third most populous county in the nation, with more than four million residents. There is reason to think the problem identified by the study is widespread, as the same basic incentives exist in many jurisdictions.

washington post logoWashington Post, Supreme Court upholds Puerto Rico oversight board from constitutional challenge, Robert Barnes, June 1, 2020. The court’s ruling avoids a disruption of other home-rule laws, in the District of Columbia and elsewhere.

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the financial oversight board Congress created to fix Puerto Rico’s catastrophic economic problems.

The court held that the process for appointing members of the board did not violate the Constitution, as a lower court had held.

Because the duties of the Financial Oversight and Management Board are primarily local, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote for the court, their appointments did not meet the constitutional requirement of Senate confirmation.

The question involved whether such members should be considered officers of the United States whose work was more federal or local.

U.S. 2020 Elections

washington post logoWashington Post, Opinion: Republican senators, it’s not too late to help save your country, Fred Hiatt (Post Editorial Page Editor),  June 1, 2020. If Trump is reelected, history will remember you far less kindly. Five years ago, could any of you have imagined excusing a leader who praised white supremacists, called his former opponent a criminal and a “skank,” mocked the weight and appearance of your fellow leaders?

Could you have imagined tolerating a president who sought to bend law enforcement, diplomacy and intelligence collection to his personal needs and whims?

So why not hang together, announce you are voting for Biden, and help save your country? Explain that the president has left you no other honorable choice. You can still campaign for a Republican majority in the Senate to act as a check on a Democratic administration and its judicial picks. At best, you might help save your party and rescue your country.

Palmer Report, Opinion: President Obama comes out swinging after Donald Trump’s insane speech, Bill Palmer, June 1, 2020. Donald Trump stepped into the White House Rose Garden and threatened to send U.S. military troops to murder Americans in their own streets. He can’t actually do this, because even the Insurrection Act states that governors must ask the president to send troops. But even Trump’s bluff was enough to send chills down the spine of every reasonable American, because it’s more clear than ever that Trump isn’t an American.

bill palmer report logo headerMoments after Trump finished speaking, President Obama came out swinging. He tweeted the words of George Floyd’s brother Terrence Floyd: “Let’s do this another way. Let’s stop thinking our voice don’t matter and vote. Not just for the president…educate yourself and know who you’re voting for. And that’s how we’re going to hit ’em.”

In so doing, President Obama is reminding us that there is only one true way out of this nightmare: voting Donald Trump out of office in record numbers.

 Tara Reade (AP photo by Donald Thompson)

ny times logoNew York Times, Tara Reade’s Tumultuous Journey to the 2020 Campaign, Jim Rutenberg, Stephanie Saul and Lisa Lerer, Updated June 1, 2020. To better understand Ms. Reade, shown above, who accused Joe Biden of sexual assault, The Times interviewed nearly 100 people and reviewed court records and her writings.

Last spring, after years of strife with friends and neighbors and a constant struggle for money, Tara Reade was making a fresh start in a new town, Grass Valley, Calif., near the outskirts of Tahoe National Forest.

But trouble would find her in Grass Valley, too. Work would be hard to come by. Her car would be repossessed. Rent would fall into arrears. Acquaintances who tried to help would accuse her of failing to repay the money they had lent her, of skipping out on bills and misleading them, just as others had done in the places she had left behind.

It was a messy life, played out in obscurity.

Then came accusations from several women that former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. had made them uncomfortable by touching or kissing them inappropriately in public settings.

Ms. Reade was reminded of her own experience with Mr. Biden, as a junior aide in his Senate office in 1993, and she went public in her local paper. Mr. Biden, she said, would rest his hands on her shoulder and run a finger along her neck. After he requested that she serve drinks at a reception because he “liked my legs,” she said, she refused, only to be marginalized and ultimately forced out.

Eleven months later, after alleging behavior that in her own telling fell short of “sexual misconduct” — it was “about abuse of power,” she said then — she would level a much more serious charge, of sexual assault, which Mr. Biden flatly denies.

Now Ms. Reade’s own back story has been caught up in the churn of #MeToo-era politics, as rising questions about her credibility add fuel to the social-media combat between Mr. Biden’s defenders and detractors.

ny times logoNew York Times, In Seeking to Hold Michigan, Trump Can Be His Own Worst Enemy, Jonathan Martin and Kathleen Gray, June 1, 2020 (print ed.). The state provides a case study in how President Trump’s impulsive and insulting statements can undermine his push for re-election.

Democratic-Republican Campaign logosEven before the coronavirus infected more than 56,000 residents and left it with the second-worst unemployment rate in the country, Michigan was shaping up to be the most difficult state for Mr. Trump to win a second time. Now his prospects there appear dimmer — in part because of his own conduct.

Michigan amounts to a one-state case study on how Mr. Trump’s impulsiveness, inattention to detail and penchant for personal insults have eroded his political standing and diminished his chances to win re-election.

In addition to his ultimatum over federal funding, Mr. Trump has ridiculed a half-dozen of the state’s female leaders, proposed cutting support for the Great Lakes and suggested a beloved former lawmaker from Michigan is in hell.

Media News

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New York Times, Fall Is Now Jam-Packed for Book Publishers. That Could Be a Problem, Alexandra Alter, June 1, 2020. Books scheduled for release this spring and summer are now on track for fall, when authors will be fighting for attention in the midst of a presidential election and an ongoing crisis.

Delaying a book’s publication is a calculation that authors and publishers throughout the industry have made and wrestled with in recent months, as the pandemic has devastated the retail landscape and led to canceled tours, book fairs, literary festivals and media appearances. As publishers scramble to limit the economic fallout and sales declines driven by the epidemic, hundreds of books that were scheduled to come out this spring and early summer have been postponed, in some cases until next year. 

ny times logoNew York Times, Commentary: Record Ratings and Record Chaos on Cable News, Ben Smith, June 1, 2020 (print ed.). Cable networks are facing threats, and opportunities, in a national crisis. Now, Fox is fighting back and CNBC is looking to the right. CNN is defined by Jeff Zucker, and he may run for mayor.

fox news logo SmallIf Twitter is the twisted heart of America’s public conversation, cable news is its aorta, carrying fear and anger, as the rapper and activist Killer Mike put it last week, into the body politic. The coronavirus pandemic and the new urban crisis have made it impossible to look away, and journalists have at times become targets for the police. In this extraordinary news moment, the primacy of this supposedly dying medium has never been clearer, its ratings higher than ever.

msnbc logo CustomBut behind the scenes, chaos and uncertainty are also reaching record highs. I spent last week speaking to homebound executives, producers and on-air talent at the three cable news networks and found them wrestling in wildly different ways with an exceptional news moment that does not fit into cable’s familiar boxes: the coronavirus story, the economic crisis, and the protests and fires in the streets of American cities.

washington post logoWashington Post, Ryan Grim helped push the Tara Reade story into the mainstream. What does he think of it now? Paul Farhi, June 1, 2020. The Washington editor of the Intercept has been both hero and scourge for various factions of liberals.

The past few weeks haven’t been kind to Tara Reade, the woman who has accused former vice president Joe Biden of sexual assault. Several of Reade’s former landlords and acquaintances say she manipulated and deceived them. Lawyers say she inflated her résumé as a prosecution witness in several criminal cases, and a district attorney in California is investigating whether she perjured herself. Her attorney quit on her after just two weeks.

Ryan Grim is unmoved.

Grim — a journalist whose work has given prominence and credence to Reade’s allegations, which Biden has firmly denied — thinks the latest revelations don’t really change the story’s basic contours.

“It’s messy and getting messier,” he said last week. Those “who don’t believe her, or don’t want to believe her, have plenty to cling to. People who do believe her, or who want to believe her, do as well, though many people in the middle have shifted to the doubtful camp as more questions have arisen.”

As Washington bureau chief of the Intercept, he was among the first journalists to showcase Reade’s latest allegations of abusive treatment when she worked in Biden’s office. And when, shortly thereafter, she alleged on a podcast that Biden had sexually assaulted her in 1993, Grim was noisy in his efforts to call attention to the story — both on Twitter, where he has more than 150,000 followers, and in interviews discussing each twist and turn.

New reporting puts focus on Tara Reade’s inconsistencies

He also broke an important piece of the story last month when he uncovered a recording of Reade’s late mother calling in to CNN in 1993 and telling host Larry King about unspecified “problems” her daughter had working for “a prominent senator.” The call “isn’t conclusive, but it buttresses [Reade’s] credibility,” Grim said in a webcast interview. “It adds to the pile of evidence” supporting Reade, who had previously said she told her mother about the alleged assault when it happened.

Biden partisans have accused Grim and the Intercept of promoting the story to boost Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Biden’s last rival for the Democratic nomination, who remained in the race until mid-April and would be the likeliest benched candidate to see his hopes resurrected if Biden dropped out. (Biden’s campaign representatives declined to comment.)

Critics note that the Intercept — co-founded in 2014 by Pulitzer-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald and eBay founder Pierre Omidyar — is known for taking whacks at the Democratic establishment and championing the party’s insurgent wing.

Grim has been attacked by Neera Tanden, a former Obama administration official who is the president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal-leaning think tank. “We’ve had story after story that demonstrates massive inconsistencies at best and lies at worst by Reade. And silence by @ryangrim, who pushed this story online for weeks,” she tweeted May 21. Tanden went on to accuse him of being among a group of journalists “who spend years pushing a certain candidate, he loses the primary, and then those journalists push stories to torpedo the candidate who won.”

Grim fired back by calling Tanden “delusional” and defending his coverage of the primaries — maintaining that, far from seeing him as an ally, Sanders supporters have attacked him for his tough reporting on their candidate.

washington post logoWashington Post, Misinformation about extent of D.C. unrest surges across Twitter, Craig Timberg, Elizabeth Dwoskin and Fenit Nirappil​, June 1, 2020. Misinformation about the extent of the unrest in Washington, D.C. and false claims about widespread communications outages burgeoned on Twitter Monday, making the #DCblackout hashtag into a nationwide trend on the platform.

Started by an account with just three followers, the hashtag exploded in popularity, generating about half a million tweets in its first nine hours after being created. The thread swelled with untrue claims that authorities had somehow blocked protesters from communicating from their smartphones in order to crack down on the unrest, which included looting and some fires.

Several Twitter accounts shared images of a major fire burning out of control near the Washington Monument, but others noted that the image appeared to have been copied from the television show “Designated Survivor.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Facebook employees blast Zuckerberg’s response to Trump posts, Rachel Siegel, June 1, 2020. Facebook’s stance on the president’s post stands in stark contrast to Twitter, which for the first time limited the public’s ability to view or share his tweet.

As protests swept the nation over the weekend, several Facebook employees publicly chastised CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his hands-off approach to a divisive post on the demonstrators by President Trump — one that Twitter took the unprecedented step of flagging as inflammatory on its site.

“I am not proud of how we’re showing up,” tweeted Jason Toff, director of product management. “The majority of co-workers I’ve spoken to feel the same way. We are making our voice heard.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Police injure, arrest reporters covering unrest, Paul Farhi and Elahe Izadi, June 1, 2020 (print ed.). Even when displaying a press badge, some were hit with pepper spray or rubber bullets. “I have never been fired at by police,” said one startled war correspondent, “until tonight.”

 

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