CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,996,098 and the nation’s death toll stands at 131,480, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. President Trump revealed yesterday that he plans to pressure state and local lawmakers to reopen schools in the fall months. Meanwhile, New York and New Jersey have added Delaware, Kansas and Oklahoma to their lists of states being put under quarantine rule. The rule requires travelers from the states to undergo 14 days of quarantine and also applies to travelers from 16 other states where positive test rates have exceeded 10-per-100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average or the positivity rate is 10 percent or greater.
U.S. MOVES TO WITHDRAW FROM W.H.O… The Trump administration has taken the first step toward withdrawing the U.S. from the World Health Organization by notifying Congress and the United Nations. The withdrawal comes amid a rising number of coronavirus cases throughout the nation. The notice of withdrawal lists the effective date as July 6, 2021.
FBI DIRECTOR WARNS OF CHINA ATTACKS… FBI Director Christopher Wray yesterday accused the Chinese government of carrying out espionage and cyberattacks against the U.S. as part of “one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.” During an address at the Hudson Institute, Wray admitted he didn’t know how much of an economic impact the attacks have had, but said “every figure I’ve seen is breathtaking.” Prior to Wray’s comments, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited national security concerns in threatening to ban TikTok as well as other Chinese social media apps.
DEUTSCHE BANK FINED… New York state regulators have fined Deutsche Bank $150 million for its role in enabling convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services Linda Lacewell said the bank failed to act on warning signs that Epstein was carrying out suspicious payments, among other violations. The bank processed millions of dollars in transactions that the department said should have prompted “additional scrutiny” because of Epstein’s criminal history, according to Lacewell.
DETAILS EMERGING IN TRUMP TELL-ALL BOOK… Journalists are reporting salacious details from their advance copies of the tell-all memoir written by President Donald Trump’s niece. In “Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,” Mary Trump claims that her uncle is a “narcissist” who now threatens the life of every American. She describes her uncle as a fraud and a bully to whom “lying was primarily a mode of self-aggrandizement meant to convince other people he was better than he actually was.” The author claims Trump hired a man to take his SAT prior to entering college, developed a world view forged by trauma at home and lacked the “ability to develop and experience the entire spectrum of human emotion.” When questioned about the revelations, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany offered,”I have yet to see the book but it’s a book of falsehoods.”
JOHNNY DEPP U.K. LIBEL TRIAL UNDERWAY… Johnny Depp’s libel trial in the U.K. got underway yesterday and brought him and ex-wife Amber Heard face-to-face for the first time in years. Depp is suing News Group Newspapers, owner of the Sun tabloid, and the tabloid’s executive editor, Dan Wootton, over a 2018 article which called him a “wife-beater.” Heard claimed to have been the victim of domestic abuse in over 13 incidents from 2013 to 2016, which Depp denies. The 57-year-old Depp and 34-year-old Heard met filming 2011’s “The Rum Diary” and were married for 15 months beginning in February 2015. Depp has filed a separate $50 million defamation suit against Heard in the U.S. over claims she made in an op-ed she wrote for the Washington Post.
TOM HANKS TALKS COVID… While promoting his upcoming film “Greyhound,” Tom Hanks has been relating the film with his recent battle with the coronavirus. The 63-year-old Hanks said during an appearance on the “Today” show yesterday that the struggle and survival in the film’s story line could just as easily apply to the current pandemic. The film, which premieres Friday on Apple TV+, tells the story about a U.S. Navy commander leading a convoy of Allied ships during World War II’s Battle of the Atlantic. Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, tested positive for COVID-19 in March but have since recovered. He encourages people to help stop the spread of the virus by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands.
ATLANTA DREAM CO-OWNER OPPOSES BLM… Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler, who co-owns the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, has expressed her opposition to the Black Lives Matter movement and wants the league to put an American flag on every jersey when play resumes later this month. Loeffler said in a letter she wrote to the league commissioner that the BLM movement “is totally misaligned with the values and goals of the WNBA and the Atlanta Dream, where we support tolerance and inclusion.” The letter prompted a number of current and former WNBA players to demand Loeffler’s removal as Dream co-owner.