The Rundown for May 29, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,721,750 and the death toll stands at 101,617, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Illinois, which is the only U.S. state to meet the White House’s five criteria for reopening for business, will reopen for business today. The reopening applies to both essential and non-essential businesses, although employers are still encouraged to allow working from home. Social gatherings of ten people or less are allowed. State parks will be open.

THIRD NIGHT OF PROTESTS… Protests sparked by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody spread to cities nationwide last night in the third straight night of violent demonstrations. Buildings were burned, stores looted and a police precinct was set ablaze in Minneapolis. Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed an executive order activating the National Guard. President Trump warned that “once the looting starts, the shooting starts.” Minneapolis police say the officer who kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes before his death, Derek Chauvin, was a 19-year veteran who had 18 prior complaints filed against him. Video captured by witnesses appears to contradict police claims that Floyd resisted arrest.

28 INDICTED FOR VIOLATING NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS… The Justice Department has accused 28 North Korean and Chinese nationals of violating U.S. sanctions to prevent Pyongyang from developing nuclear weapons. According to an indictment filed in February and unsealed yesterday, the accused allegedly laundered more than $2.5 billion through some 200 shell companies. The funds were then reportedly funneled into North Korea’s state-owned Foreign Trade Bank and used to fund North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

NSA WARNS OF RUSSIAN HACKERS… The U.S. National Security Agency issued a stern warning yesterday that the same Russian military hacking group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election and unleashed a devastating malware attack the next year has been exploiting a major email server program since last August or earlier. The NSA did not say who has been targeted but senior U.S. intelligence officials fear the hackers could threaten the integrity of the November presidential election. Officials say attackers gain access using specially crafted email and install programs, modify data and create new accounts to enter a compromised network.

2M MORE JOBLESS CLAIMS… Another 2 million American workers have filed for unemployment benefits, according to numbers released by the Labor Department. The new figure is 323,000 fewer than the previous week. More than 40 million American workers have now filed for unemployment benefits over the last 10 weeks. The Labor Department’s report claimed that the U.S. economy lost more than 25 million jobs for the month of April and unemployment was close to 15 percent.

ENTERTAINMENT
DENZEL WASHINGTON AIDS DETAINED HOMELESS MAN
… Video posted online yesterday shows actor Denzel Washington helping a homeless man during an encounter last week with Los Angeles police. In the video, Washington comforts the man and waits with him as he answers officers’ questions. LAPD said the man was released but did not clarify whether he had been arrested.

APPLE GREENLIGHTS HEDDY LAMAR SERIES… Apple announced yesterday that it has green lit the biographical series “Hedy Lamarr” for Apple TV Plus. Gal Gadot stars as Lamarr and serves as executive producer in the eight-episode series. The series will cover a 30-year period spanning from Lamarr’s escape from Vienna prior to World War II to her invention of a system that protected Allied torpedoes from German U-boat fire during the war and, finally, her downfall in the late 1950s. Lamarr starred in such films as “Algiers,” “Lady of the Tropics,” “Comrade X,” “Ziegfeld Girl,” “Samson and Delilah” and “The Story of Mankind.”

SPORTS
NFL APPROVES THREE NEW RULES
… NFL owners yesterday approved three new rule changes for the 2020 season and tabled a proposed change to the onside kick rule. The owners voted to make permanent the expansion of the automatic replay review system to include touchdowns and/or turnovers negated by penalty; expand the defenseless player protection to kick and punt returners; and prevent the manipulation of the game clock with multiple dead-ball fouls. Owners also ratified a change to the injured reserve return designation, allowing teams to bring three players back from IR rather than two.

MINOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYERS LOSING JOBS… ESPN reported yesterday that hundreds of minor league baseball players have been cut and hundreds more are expected to be let go amid an expected cancellation of the season. Owners of minor league teams have begun laying off front-office. Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said he would inform Minor League Baseball if and when players would be allowed to join their teams.

The Rundown for May 28, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,699,126 and the death toll stands at 100,411, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci warned yesterday that the latest scientific data shows that hydroxychloroquine is not an effective treatment despite the recommendation of President Trump. France banning the drug altogether yesterday and an internationally respected science journal published a 96,000-patient study that concluded the drug had no effect.

HONG KONG NOT CONSIDERED AUTONOMOUS… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo informed Congress yesterday that Hong Kong is no longer an autonomous region and isn’t entitled to special treatment under U.S. law. The declaration could have major implications for Hong Kong’s trade status under the Hong Kong Policy Act of 1992. The U.S. plans to treat the city the same as mainland China with regard to foreign policy and trade.

MORE PROTESTS IN MINNEAPOLIS… Protesters clashed with police for the second straight night in Minneapolis last night following the death of George Floyd in police custody. Protests were largely peaceful in the afternoon but police began firing tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters in the early evening. In Los Angeles, protesters gathered in front of City Hall and blocked traffic in both directions of the 101 freeway. Floyd’s death is currently under investigation by the FBI, the Minnesota Department of Criminal Apprehension, and the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office.

SUSPECTED KILLER IN CUSTODY AFTER MANHUNT… Authorities announced yesterday that the suspect in two killings and a kidnapping in Connecticut has been arrested in Maryland after a six-day manhunt. 23-year-old Peter Manfredonia was taken into custody without incident last night in Hagerstown, Maryland, after being found in the woods by a gas station. Police reportedly found a firearm they believe to be a murder weapon. The University of Connecticut senior is suspected of killing one man and seriously injuring another on Friday morning in Willington, Connecticut. He is also a suspect in the killing of a male acquaintance in Derby, Connecticut.

ROCKET LAUNCH POSTPONED… Yesterday’s launch of a SpaceX rocket carrying two NASA astronauts was aborted at the last minute due to weather conditions at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission was postponed until 3:22 p.m. Eastern on Saturday. When weather allows, the Crew Dragon capsule launch will be the first since 2011 to send American astronauts into orbit.

ENTERTAINMENT
NBC CLEARED IN GABRIELLE UNION COMPLAINTS
… NBC announced yesterday that an outside investigation of actress Gabrielle Union’s complaints of racism on the set of “America’s Got Talent” concluded that her allegations were unfounded. The outside review also found that Union’s claims had “no bearing” on the show’s decision to drop her as a judge. Union appeared on the show for one season before she and fellow freshman judge Julianne Hough weren’t asked to return. Union, who is black, contended she was fired because she had asked NBC and the show’s producers to respond to an environment that tolerated racist jokes and remarks.

ACTOR RICHARD HERD DIES… Actor Richard Herd, who was best known for his appearances on the TV sitcom “Seinfeld” and the films “Get Out” and “All the President’s Men,” died at his Los Angeles-area home on Tuesday of cancer-related causes, his wife, actress Patricia Crowder Herd, confirmed yesterday. He was 87. Herd portrayed Mr. Wilhem on 11 episodes of “Seinfeld.” His TV credits included “T.J Hooker” and “Star Trek.” Herd also appeared in the films “The China Syndrome,” “The Onion Field” and “Sgt. Bilko.”

SPORTS
NBA TEAMS CONTINUE REOPENING FACILITIES
… More than half of the NBA’s 30 franchises have reopened facilities for individual workouts. The Charlotte Hornets and Philadelphia 76ers have reopened their facilities this week and the Dallas Mavericks plan to reopen today. The NBA forbids having no more than four players in the facility at any one time and isn’t allowing head or assistant coaches to participate.

The Rundown for May 27, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,680,625 and the death toll stands at 98,902, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Amtrak yesterday asked Congress for an additional $1.5 billion in federal funds to help it maintain operations amid the effects of the pandemic. The company said it is taking “significant steps” to reduce its operating costs by about $500 million to offset revenue losses. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court declined to block a lower court’s order requiring the federal government to transfer medically vulnerable inmates in Ohio to safer conditions. Last month, a federal judge ordered the Elkton Federal Correctional Institution near Canton to identify prisoners who could be transferred to home confinement or safer prisons, or given compassionate release or furlough.

TWITTER FACT-CHECKS TRUMP… Twitter yesterday began placing labels indicating potentially harmful or misleading information on President Trump’s tweets. Two of Trump’s tweets alleging the widespread use of mail-in ballots in the 2020 election will be “substantially fraudulent” were flagged with a notice that directed users to “get the facts about mail-in ballots.” Twitter also announced it would not remove Trump tweets that falsely implicate MSNBC morning-show host Joe Scarborough in the death of a former congressional assistant.

THREE SENATORS OFF THE HOOK IN STOCK SCANDAL… The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the Justice Department is closed investigations into stock sales made by three senators shortly before financial markets bottomed out amidst the coronavirus pandemic. Senators Dianne Feinstein, Kelly Loeffler and James Inhofe were notified of the decision. The Justice Department is keeping open its insider-trading investigation into North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr, whose trades were worth up to $1.7 million. The FBI executed a search warrant for his cellphone earlier this month.

GLENN FINE RESIGNS FROM PENTAGON POST… Glenn Fine resigned yesterday as the Pentagon’s principal deputy inspector general, just a month after being removed as acting inspector general. His resignation will be effective June 1. Fine, who had been the acting inspector general since 2016, was removed by President Trump after serving as director of the new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee. Trump named Environmental Protection Agency’s inspector general Sean O’Donnell as acting Department of Defense inspector general while maintaining his EPA role.

4 MINNEAPOLIS COPS FIRED AFTER FATAL ENCOUNTER… Four Minneapolis Police Department officers were fired yesterday and public demonstrations ensued following the release of a video that appeared to capture an officer keeping his knee on the neck of a handcuffed African-American man who later died. Activists and the family of the deceased man, identified as George Floyd, have say the lethal use of police use was racially motivated. The Minneapolis Police Department says the four fired officers were responding a report of someone trying to pass a counterfeit bill at a grocery store and found a man matching the suspect’s description on the hood of his car. The FBI and Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension have joined the investigation of the fatal encounter.

ENTERTAINMENT
FX RENEWS ‘SUNNY
‘… FX announced yesterday that it is renewing the sitcom “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” for a 15th season. The series stars creators Rob McElhenney and Glenn Howerton, along with Charlie Day, Kaitlin Olson and Danny DeVito, and centers on the misadventures of a group of friends who run a bar together. The show first debuted in 2005.

DOOBIES POSTPONE 50TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR… Ongoing restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic are forcing the Doobie Brothers to postpone their 50th anniversary tour. The rock band plans to reschedule the tour to 2021. It will reunite Michael McDonald, Tom Johnston, Pat Simmons and John McFee for the first time in nearly 25 years.

SPORTS
NHL ANNOUNCES RE-OPENING PLANS
… The NHL yesterday announced plans yesterday to reopen team training camps by mid-July and hold a modified Stanley Cup playoffs in two “hub” cities. League officials say 24 of the NHL’s 31 teams will return to the ice for the playoffs. Each of the two conferences will conduct its games in a “hub” city to be selected from among Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver. The top four teams in each conference will play a round-robin series to determine seeding, while the conference’s remaining eight teams will play a best-of-five qualifying round, with the winners joining the top seeds for the playoffs’ first round. Game dates and series formats are yet to be announced and will depend on medical conditions and government regulations. Commissioner Gary Bettman also said the league intends to hold an 82-game season in 2020-21.

The Rundown for May 26, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus case in the U.S. has reached 1,662,302 and the death toll stands at 98,220, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. California Governor Gavin Newsom yesterday released guidelines for reopening houses of worship amid the coronavirus pandemic. The guidelines allow churches and other houses of worship to reopen if they are given approval from county health officials, but must limit attendance to 25 percent of capacity or 100 people, whichever is less. In order to reopen, churches in California must set physical-distancing guidelines, establish new cleaning and disinfection protocols, encourage all to wear face masks and set parameters for singing and group recitations.

AMERICANS REMEMBER FALLEN TROOPS… The ongoing coronavirus pandemic made for an especially somber Memorial Day tribute yesterday to those who died serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. The pandemic prompted the cancellation of many events throughout the nation. Ceremonies at some locations were scaled down and broadcast over the internet. President Donald Trump, who has been criticized for initially playing down the threat posed by the coronavirus, participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, laid a wreath of white roses at a veterans memorial near their Delaware home.

TRUMP THREATENS TO MOVE GOP CONVENTION… President Trump yesterday threatened to cancel plans to hold the Republican National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, next August unless Governor Roy Cooper guarantees that he’ll lift coronavirus-related restrictions. Vice President Mike Pence said during a television appearance that if North Carolina won’t issue the guarantee, the Republican National Committee will consider moving the convention to Texas, Florida or Georgia. Cooper says officials are working with the Republican National Committee to “review its plans as they make decisions” about how to hold the convention in Charlotte.

VIRGIN ROCKET FAILS IN TEST… A Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket failed a test mission over the Pacific yesterday for undisclosed reasons. The mission was reportedly ended just minutes after a Boeing 747 released the rocket. Virgin engineers vowed a second test will be launched in the near future.

MULTI-STATE MANHUNT FOR SUSPECTED KILLER… A multi-state manhunt is underway for a University of Connecticut student who killed two people and abducted another over the weekend. Police say 23-year-old Peter Manfredonia is suspected of killing a 62-year-old man and seriously injuring another man “with an edged weapon” on Friday morning in Willington, Connecticut. He is also a suspect in the killing of a 23-year-old male acquaintance in Derby, Connecticut, on Sunday. According to Pennsylvania State Police and the FBI, Manfredonia was last seen in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, on Sunday.

ENTERTAINMENT
BRIAN MAY RECOVERING FROM HEART ISSUES
… Queen lead guitarist Brian May has announced that he is recovering from a “small” heart attack and had three stents put in to relieve his congested arteries. The 72-year-old says he decided against undergoing triple bypass surgery. The guitarist also said his heart issues were discovered while he was being treated for an injury he suffered while gardening.

MARY-KATE OLSEN OFFICIALLY FILES FOR DIVORCE… Former child actress Mary-Kate Olsen has officially filed for divorce from Olivier Sarkozy in New York after the state lifted its moratorium on nonessential and nonemergency court filings. The 33-year-old Olsen first tried to file for divorce on April 17, but was informed New York courts were not accepting divorce filings. Earlier this month, she was denied in her request for an emergency order to petition for divorce. The couple married in November 2015 after dating for three years.

SPORTS
PATRICK EWING RECOVERING FROM CORONAVIRUS
… 11-time NBA All-Star and current Georgetown University men’s basketball coach Patrick Ewing is reportedly recovering at home after a weekend in the hospital for coronavirus treatment. News that Ewing had tested positive broke Friday. Ewing has been Georgetown’s head coach since 2017 after spending 15 years as an assistant coach for four NBA franchises.

The Rundown for May 22, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,576,886 and the death toll stands at 94,688, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A report released by disease modelers at Columbia University claimed about 703,975 cases and 35,927 deaths nationwide could have been avoided if preventative measures in place on March 15 had been enacted a week earlier. Columbia researchers also concluded that enacting preventative measures two weeks earlier would have prevented about 960,937 cases and 53,990 deaths.

U.S. WITHDRAWING FROM OPEN SKIES TREATY… President Trump announced yesterday that his administration is withdrawing the U.S. from the 35-nation Open Skies treaty allowing unarmed surveillance flights over member countries. The treaty was designed to help prevent against an accidental war with Russia. NATO allies and leaders of other countries friendly to the U.S. had urged Washington to remain attached. House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith warned that the decision “weakens our national security interests” and “abandons a useful tool to hold Russia accountable.”

RATCLIFFE CONFIRMED AS INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR… The Senate voted along party lines yesterday to confirm Texas Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe as the new national intelligence director. Ratcliffe will replace acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell. He told the Senate intelligence committee during his confirmation hearing earlier this month that he would make China and the origins of the novel coronavirus his primary focus. Democrats maintained he lacked qualifications and experience for the job.

UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS SWELL… The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits has swelled to nearly 39 million, the Labor Department announced yesterday. The total includes more than 2.4 million people who filed for unemployment last week. Last weekend, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell projected that U.S. unemployment could peak in May or June at 20 to 25 percent.

AGRICULTURE PRODUCERS GET HELP… The Department of Agriculture announced policy changes yesterday that will provide up to $1 billion in guaranteed loans to rural businesses and farmers in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Agricultural producers that are not eligible for USDA Farm Service Agency loans can now receive funding under the Business & Industry provisions included in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. The USDA will also provide 90 percent guarantees on B&I CARES Act Program loans, set the application guarantee at 2 percent of the loan, accept appraisals completed within two years of the loan application date, not require discounting of collateral for working capital loans and extend the maximum term for working capital loans to 10 years. The loans can only be used by rural businesses, including farmers, that were operating as of Feb. 15.

ENTERTAINMENT
LORI LOUGHLIN TO PLEAD GUILTY
… Federal prosecutors in Boston announced yesterday that actress Lori Loughlin and her fashion-designer husband Mossimo Giannulli will plead guilty to conspiracy charges in connection with the college admissions cheating scandal. The two are accused of conspiring to fraudulently secure admission for their daughters to the University of Southern California and are the 23rd and 24th parents to plead guilty in the case. The 55-year-old Loughlin is best known for her role in the TV sitcom “Full House.” As part of a plea agreement, she will serve a two-month jail sentence, pay a $150,000 fine and perform two years of supervised release and 100 hours of community service. Her 56-year-old husband agreed to to five months in prison, a $250,000 fine, two years of supervised release and 250 hours of community service.

ESAI MORALES JOINS ‘MISSION’ CAST… Esai Morales has replaced Nicholas Hoult in cast of the upcoming sequel “Mission: Impossible 7.” Hoult had been cast in a villain role earlier this year but backed out due to a scheduling conflict created by a delay in production. Tom Cruise reprises his Ethan Hunt character in the newest installment of the franchise. Morales has recently appeared in the TV series “How to Get Away With Murder,” “Titans” and “NCIS: Los Angeles.” He has also made recent appearances on “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Ozark.”

SPORTS
NFL CONSIDERS ONSIDES-KICK RULE CHANGE
… NFL owners could be voting on a radical rule change proposed by the Philadelphia Eagles that would give teams an alternative to the onside kick. Instead of trying to recover an onside kick, teams would have the option of attempting to convert a fourth-and-15 play from their own 25-yard line. If they get the 15 yards, they get a first down and keep possession of the ball. If they don’t get the 15 yards, the other team would take over possession from wherever the play ended. The rule would take effect in the 2020 season. It would require the votes of 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners to pass.

The Rundown for May 25, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,642,021 and the death toll stands at 97,698, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A federal court upheld California’s restrictions on church services, ruling that the state’s decision to close places of worship amid the COVID-19 pandemic does not “infringe upon or restrict practices because of their religious motivation” nor does it “impose burdens only on conduct motivated by religious belief” in a selective manner.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMPOSES BRAZIL TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS… The Trump administration announced last night that it will impose travel restrictions on foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the last 14 days. With about 350,000 confirmed cases, the South American nation has become the world’s second major hotspot for coronavirus infections. The restriction will not affect trade between the two countries.

U.S. ‘CONSPIRACIES AND LIES’ ANGER CHINA FOREIGN MINISTER… China Foreign Minister Wang Yi says Chinese-U.S. tensions have been intensified by the spreading “conspiracies and lies” about the coronavirus. Wang accused the U.S. of using the coronavirus as a political tool in its attacks on China. President Trump has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the pandemic and Wang urged the U.S. to “stop wasting time and stop wasting precious lives” in its response to the pandemic.

ECONOMIC ADISER TALKS UNEMPLOYMENT NUMBERS… Senior White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday that he expects unemployment rates to increase in the coming months and possibly remain in double digits in November. Hasset said that the unemployment rate, which topped 14.7 percent, could surpass 20 percent by the end of the month. In a report released on Thursday, the Labor Department reported that the number of people filing for new unemployment benefits in the last nine weeks is nearing 40 million. Unemployment rates have already exceeded 20 percent in Hawaii, Michigan and Nevada.

FLORIDA ‘PAY-TO-VOTE’ LAW RULED UNCONSTITUTIONAL… Voting-rights advocates are celebrating a federal judge’s ruling yesterday that Florida’s “pay-to-vote” law that prevents felons from voting if they cannot pay court fines and fees is unconstitutional. The ruling stemmed from a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union last year after Governor DeSantis signed the bill into law. In issuing the ruling, U.S. District Judge Robert L. Hinkle noted that there is no system in place that keeps track or informs Florida felons of how much they owe.

ENTERTAINMENT
FUTURE TOPS ALBUM CHART
… Future’s new release, “High Off Life,” sold 153,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Polo G’s “The Goat” opened at No. 2 after selling 99,000 units. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” jumped into third place after selling 65,000 copies. Drake’s “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” slipped into fourth place with 58,000 units sold. DaBaby’s “Blame It On Baby” sold 44,000 copies to cap the top five.

‘THE WILLOUGHBYS’ FIND THEIR AUDIENCE… Netflix’s animated family feature, “The Willoughbys,” has been watched by 37.6 million households since its April 22 premiere. The series, which is narrated by Ricky Gervais, centers on siblings who devise a scheme to get rid of their parents. The series’ voice actors include Will Forte, Alessia Cara, Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, Maya Rudolph and Terry Crews.

SPORTS
NEW YORK SPORTS TEAMS RETURN TO FACILITIES… The Brooklyn Nets announced yesterday that they will open their training center for voluntary workouts tomorrow. The announcement followed New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement that all professional sports teams in the state can return to their facilities. Other New York-based teams have yet to announce their re-opening plans. Major League Baseball, NBA and NHL owners have been negotiating with players union officials over plans to resume play.

The Rundown for May 21, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,551,668 and the death toll stands at 93,431, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. All 50 states now have taken some steps to reopen. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a 60-page document offering guidance for reopening schools, mass transit and nonessential businesses. The plan outlines a “three-phased approach” for reducing social distancing and proposes the use of six “gating” indicators to assess when to move through another phase.

SUPREME COURT BLOCKS MUELLER MATERIAL FROM HOUSE… The Supreme Court yesterday temporarily blocked a lower court order requiring the Justice Department to turn over to the House grand jury material gathered by former special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigators in their probe of President Trump’s Russia dealings. The stay requires the Justice Department to file a formal appeal by June 1. The House Judiciary Committee has sought the documents for more than a year. The lower courts said that grand jury records in the past have been turned over to Congress as part of impeachment investigations. The Trump administration argues that the case presents “serious separation of powers concerns” and should be examined by the High Court.

APPEALS COURT HALTS TEXAS MAIL VOTE… A court ruling that allowed Texas to expand its mail-in voting amid the coronavirus was put on hold yesterday by a U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling. The three-judge panel sided with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in stopping the expansion from taking effect while it’s under review. The action reverts Texas’ qualifications limiting absentee ballots to voters who are 65 years or older. Texans under 65 can only qualify for a mail-in ballot if they cite a disability or illness, if they’ll be out of the county during the election period, or are confined in jail.

MICHIGAN FLOODING… Rising floodwaters unleashed by two dam failures left parts of the central Michigan town of Midland under five feet of water yesterday and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 residents. Days of heavy rain caused the Tittabawassee River to overflow its banks and breach the Edenville and Sanford dams on Tuesday. Dow Chemical reports that floodwater has mingled with chemical pools at its Midland plant, prompting fears of contamination. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer called the destruction in Midland County “devastating” and asked for federal assistance.

MICHAEL COHEN TO BE RELEASED… President Trump’s ex-lawyer Michael Cohen is scheduled for release from prison to home confinement today. The 53-year-old Cohen, who is serving a three-year sentence for lying to Congress and campaign finance fraud, was originally due to be freed in November 2021. Fears of the coronavirus prompted his early release. Cohen admitted lying to Congress about a Trump Tower project in Moscow and committing campaign finance violations for making hush money payments to women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. Cohen also pled guilty to tax and bank fraud charges unrelated to Trump.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR DIES IN ATTEMPTED MURDER-SUICIDE
… Actor Hagen Mills, who’s best known for his appearance in the 2016 FX pilot “Baskets,” died in an attempted murder-suicide on Tuesday night in Mayfield, Kentucky, authorities confirmed yesterday. Police found his body after responding to the report of gunfire at a home. Investigators say Mills held his 4-year-old daughter and her grandmother hostage and then opened fire on the baby’s mother upon her arrival. After shooting the mother several times, Mills reportedly turned the gun on himself. The mother survived her wounds and is listed in stable condition at a hospital. The child and grandmother were not harmed. Among his other acting roles, Mills played Buck Barrow in the 2013 television movie “Bonnie & Clyde: Justified.”

LITTLE RICHARD LAID TO REST… Little Richard was laid to rest at a private service in in Huntsville, Alabama, yesterday. The pioneering Rock ‘N Roller was 87 when he died from bone cancer on May 9. Born Richard Penniman, he sold more than 30 million records worldwide and is best remembered for the hit songs ”Tutti Frutti, “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

SPORTS
NCAA LIFTS ACTIVITY BAN FOR THREE SPORTS… The NCAA Council yesterday voted to lift its moratorium on athletic-related activities for football and men’s and women’s basketball. The vote allows for voluntary athletic activities for the threes ports to run through June. The moratorium was set to expire on May 31.