CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has topped 2 million and the death toll stands at 112,924, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report released yesterday expresses dire warnings about increasing infection numbers that are increasing by 36 percent per day. International health experts insist that the pandemic is far from over and some have even predicted another 100,000 Americans will die.
PROTESTS CONTINUE… Protests targeting police brutality continued in cities across the nation yesterday. The largest demonstrations included those in Portland and Seattle. A statue of Christopher Columbus was beheaded in Boston and protesters tore down a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Richmond. In Portsmouth, Virginia, about 80 miles from Richmond, protesters beheaded and then pulled down four statues that were part of a Confederate monument. In Minneapolis, where the killing of George Floyd in the hands of police sparked the protests,
Police Chief Medaria Arradondo announced the department would immediately withdraw from contract negotiations with the police union and would instead consult outside experts in creating a union contract that could be restructured to allow for reforms.
ADVISER SEEKS FLYNN PROSECUTION… Ex-judge John Gleeson argued in a court filing yesterday that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan can and should deny the federal government’s motion to dismiss charges against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Gleeson said, “The facts surrounding the filing of the Government’s motion constitute clear evidence of gross prosecutorial abuse.” Federal prosecutors took made an extremely unusual step by requesting that the court dismiss the case against Flynn after he had already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, prompting Sullivan to appoint Gleeson to counter the government’s case. Oral arguments for Flynn’s appellate case are scheduled for tomorrow.
TRUMP SCHEDULES RALLIES… President Trump raised eyebrows yesterday when he announced the scheduling of a campaign rally in Tulsa on June 19. The president’s first rally since the pandemic is scheduled on the anniversary of the emancipation of the last enslaved African-Americans and in a city where a racist massacre in 1921 destroyed the wealthiest Black community in the country and left dozens of community residents dead. Trump is planning more events in Florida, Texas and Arizona as well.
FORMER JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS SEEK BARR INVESTIGATION… A letter signed by more than 1,250 former Justice Department workers is urging Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz to investigate Attorney General William Barr’s involvement in the June 1 effort to push back peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square. Authorities used horses and tear gas to clear the crowd so President Trump could walk to a church for a photo op. Signers of the letter say that they were “deeply concerned” about the Justice Department’s actions in response to the protests. Barr has repeatedly defended the move and falsely claimed that the protesters were being violent.
‘LIVE PD’ PRODUCTION HALTED… A&E announced last night that it has halted production of “Live PD” amid nationwide protests over police brutality. The announcement came just a day after Paramount Network decided to cancel the long-running series “Cops.” A&E did not air “Live PD last weekend. The series has also come under fire this week amid a report that the show’s crew stood by and filmed a traffic stop in which a Black man died in the custody of Williamson County, Texas, sheriffs.
MORE MUSIC FESTIVALS CANCELLED… California state officials announced yesterday that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Stagecoach country music festival have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cancellations came after both festivals had been postponed to October. On Wednesday, organizers of Chicago’s Lollapalooza announced that the event had been cancelled and would be replaced by a virtual event.
CONFEDERATE FLAGS BANNED AT NASCAR EVENTS… NASCAR announced yesterday that it is prohibiting the display of Confederate flags at races. The ban applies to spectators as well as venues. The association released a statement explaining that, “The presence of Confederate flags at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors, and our industry.” On Wednesday, NASCAR’s only Black professional driver, Bubba Wallace, called for a ban on the flags. A T-shirt he wore at a race on Sunday read “I can’t breathe/Black Lives Matter.”