CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of conformed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,831,821 and the death toll stands at 106,181, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that the U.S. should have 100 million doses of one candidate Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year. Meanwhile, at least 15 West Point cadets who returned to the military academy for President Trump’s upcoming commencement speech have tested positive for COVID-19. The cadets had all been sent home in March during the pandemic, but they returned to campus after President Trump unexpectedly announced in April that he would deliver a commencement speech on June 13. The president’s move was criticized by many officials as a “reckless” political stunt.
ANOTHER DAY OF PROTESTS… Protesters returned to streets across America yesterday for an eighth straight day of demonstrations targeting law-enforcement’s treatment of African-Americans. Earlier in the day, Trump pressed governors to put down the violence and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.” The state of Minnesota, meanwhile, has launched a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department over the death of George Floyd while he was in custody. Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights said they hope to reach agreement with the city to identify short-term ways to address the police department’s history of racial discrimination. Both sides emphasized that they hope to find long-term solutions for systemic change. Finally, James Miller, who served as the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration, resigned from his role on the Defense Advisory Board due to what he said was Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s visible support for law enforcement officers’ clearing of protesters in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Miller called what he saw as Esper’s support for suppressing the protest a violation of Esper’s oath of office.
TRUMP LOOKS TO MOVE GOP CONVENTION… President Trump announced last night that he wants to move the Republican convention out of Charlotte because North Carolina Roy Cooper could not provide assurances that he could fill the convention hall. In a letter to officials at the Republican National Committee, Cooper said the possibility of the coronavirus lingering in the state or re-emerging left him unable to determine whether he could allow for full attendance at the August 24-27 convention. The RNC had been pressing Cooper for more specific guidance on his plans for the convention.
DEA APPROVED TO SURVEIL PROTESTERS… Buzzfeed News reported yesterday that the Department of Justice has given the Drug Enforcement Administration approval to conduct “covert surveillance” on protesters taking to the streets over Minneapolis Police Department’s killing of George Floyd. The surveillance powers are reportedly being granted on a temporary basis. The DEA has also been given the power to gather intelligence on demonstrators and share it with local and state law enforcement.
PRIMARIES IN 8 STATES… Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King lost his seat yesterday, as he was defeated by Senator Randy Feenstra, who took advantage of King’s provocative and racially-charged statements. In other primaries of interest, Attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez defeated former CIA operative Valerie Plame to win the Democratic nomination in New Mexico’s the 3rd Congressional District. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was projected to win Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Montana and Rhode Island.
ACTOR COLE SPROUSE ARRESTED AT PROTEST… Actor Cole Sprouse has provided an account his arrest on Sunday at a Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Monica, California. Sprouse, who stars as Jughead Jones in the CW television series “Riverdale,” says his detention came after he participated in a peaceful demonstration. He claims that he and other demonstrators were given the option to leave the beachside city after a 4 p.m. curfew but were blocked by police officers who detained them with zip ties.
HENLEY SEEKS CHANGE TO COPYRIGHT LAW… Musician/songwriter Don Henley testified virtually before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee yesterday and asked for changes to a 1998 law that protect artists against online pirating. The law allows holders of copyrighted material to formally ask parties they believe have taken their content without permission to remove it. The parties can dispute the claim. If they comply promptly with the request, there are no legal consequences. Otherwise, they may be subject to criminal penalties. Henley said the law must be strengthened to make it more effective.
NBA PLANS TO RESUME SEASON… NBA owners are hopeful that they can reach agreement with players on a plan that would resume play on July 31 in Orlando. The plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding playoff position and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference. Commissioner Adam Silver will take the proposal to a vote of the NBA’s Board of Governors tomorrow, ESPN reported yesterday. Three-fourths of the league’s 30 teams would have to vote on the plan to pass it.