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.

The Rundown for May 20, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… At least 20,260 new coronavirus cases and 1,574 Covid-19-related deaths were reported in the U.S. yesterday, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There are now at least 1,528,568 cases nationwide and the death toll stands at 91,921. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield issued an order yesterday extending health restrictions on people migrating to the U.S. through Mexico and Canada “until he determines the serious danger from COVID-19 has ceased.” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the Canada-U.S. border would be limited to essential workers until June 21. A federal judge yesterday ruled that all Texas voters, regardless of age, qualify for mail-in ballots during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. District Judge Fred Biery agreed with individual Texas voters and the Texas Democratic Party that voters would face irreparable harm if existing age eligibility rules for voting by mail were to remain in place.

TRUMP FRAUD SUIT GREENLIGHTED… A federal judge has given the go-ahead to a lawsuit accusing President Trump, his three eldest children and his company of collaborating with marketing company ACN in promoting a pyramid scheme. Trump attorneys were denied in their request for a stay. Plaintiffs claim President Trump, along with his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric, and daughter Ivanka, are guilty of fraud, false advertising, and unfair competition in their dealings with ACN. It claims the Trumps didn’t disclose their relationship with ACN and made millions by telling investors they would have a “reasonable probability of success” if they joined the scheme.

SENATE PANEL APPROVES RATCLIFFE… The Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday approved Texas Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe as national intelligence director. The 8-7 was along party lines. Ratcliffe’s nomination advances to a full Senate vote following the 8-7 vote. The 54-year-old Ratcliffe has represented Texas’s 4th District since 2015 and has been a member of the House intelligence committee. He would be the first permanent director of national intelligence since Dan Coats resigned last July.

HOUSE DEMS SEEK MUELLER GRAND JURY EVIDENCE… House Democrats are seeking access to secret grand jury evidence gathered by former special counsel Robert Mueller during the Justice Department’s Russia investigation. A brief they’ve filed with the Supreme Court seeks to determine if President Trump committed an impeachable offense. Mueller said in his report that the investigation found several “episodes” of possible obstruction. House general counsel Douglas Letter says the committee’s investigation into Trump’s activities “is ongoing.”

EVACUATIONS FOLLOW DAM BREAKS IN MICHIGAN… Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer has declared a state of emergency for Midland County following the breach of two dams last night. Whitmer warned that the city of Midland’s downtown area could be under nine feet of water today. Officials say about 3,500 homes and 10,000 people have so far been evacuated. There were no immediate reports of deaths or injuries.

EXECUTION IN MISSOURI… A 64-year-old man convicted of killing an 81-year-old woman in 1991 was executed in Missouri last night. Walter Barton was administered a lethal injection hours after the Supreme Court refused to hear his case. He was convicted in the death of trailer park operator Gladys Kuehler after being tried five times in the killing. The first two trials ended in a mistrial and hung jury. The next two led to convictions but both were overturned. The final trial again led to a conviction and a death sentence.

ENTERTAINMENT
HELLA MEGA TOUR DELAYED… The North American Hella Mega tour featuring Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy has been delayed until summer 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The three bands announced that they will soon announce summer 2021 dates at the same venues. Green Day was forced to postpone a number of concert dates throughout Asia due to the pandemic. Weezer recently delayed the release of its upcoming album.

‘GREYHOUND’ TO BE STREAMED… The Tom Hanks-fronted World War II drama ”Greyhound” has a new home in Apple TV Plus. The streaming service announced yesterday that it has purchased worldwide rights from Sony Pictures but didn’t disclose a release date. The film is based on C.S. Forester’s novel “The Good Shepherd.” Set in the early days of World War II, it centers on a Navy captain who leads an international convoy of 37 Allied ships in his first command on a U.S. destroyer.

SPORTS
NFL REOPENING FACILITIES… A limited number of NFL teams reopened their training facilities yesterday. The Cowboys, Falcons, Texans, Cardinals, Chiefs and Colts were expected to be among teams returning to their buildings. The Bengals are scheduled to reopen today. The Jaguars have set May 26 for their reopening, while the Broncos are also targeting next week. The Packers, Ravens, Dolphins, Vikings, Titans, Buccaneers, Browns, Panthers, Saints, Eagles and Packers also aren’t affected by government-imposed lockdowns during the coronavirus pandemic but haven’t announced when they’ll reopen.

The Rundown for May 19, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… At least 21,551 new coronavirus cases and 785 deaths were reported in the U.S. yesterday, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The number of infections in the country has reached 1,508,308 and the death toll stands at 90,347. A judge in Oregon issued an injunction blocking more than 10 executive orders issued by Governor Kate Brown. Baker County Circuit Court Judge Matt Shirtcliff ruled the governor exceeded her authority by limiting activities such as church services and business operations for longer than 28 days. Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom said some counties may be able to move to the second stage of re-opening. Hospitalizations have declined by 8 percent and tens of millions of masks have been distributed statewide, Newsom said.

TRUMP THREATENS PERMANENT END TO WHO FUNDING… President Trump late Monday threatened to permanently withdraw U.S. funding from the World Health Organization if it does not “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days.” Trump was highly critical of WHO’s response to the coronavirus pandemic in a letter he sent to the organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Last month, Trump temporarily halted funding to the organization.

POMPEO DEFENDS INSPECTOR GENERAL’S FIRING… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday denied knowing that the state department’s inspector general he had fired on Friday was investigating Pompeo over alleged misuse of staff as well as an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. The secretary of state told The Washington Post that he urged the president to remove State Department Inspector General Steve Linick because Linick was “undermining” the state department’s work. President Trump acknowledged firing Linick at Pompeo’s request and admitted not knowing the reason. Linick became the fifth inspector general to be removed by Trump, prompting allegations that he’s trying to evade accountability.

RUBIO TO CHAIR SENATE PANEL… Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday selected Florida Senator Marco Rubio to serve as the acting intelligence committee chairman. The selection follows last week’s withdrawal of Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, who is facing an FBI investigation into insider trading. Investigators are looking into details surrounding Burr’s sale of hundreds of thousands of dollars in stock after receiving a confidential briefing on coronavirus. On Thursday, agents seized Burr’s cellphone and data from an online cloud account.

PENSACOLA SHOOTER WAS AL QAEDA ASSOCIATE… Federal investigators announced yesterday that the Saudi military trainee who killed three U.S. sailors and wounded several others in a terror attack last year on a military base in Pensacola, Florida, was a longtime associate of al Qaeda who had communicated with operatives from the group as recently as the night before the shooting. The al Qaeda connection was after the FBI broke through the encryption protecting the Saudi attacker’s iPhones. The trainee, Mohammed Alshamrani, was killed by law enforcement during the attack.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘EDDIE HASKELL’ ACTOR DIES… Former Ken Osmond, who is remembered for playing Eddie Haskell on “Leave It to Beaver,” died of undisclosed causes in Los Angeles yesterday. He was 76. Osmond’s six-season run on “Leave It to Beaver” sprang from what was supposed to be a guest appearance in a 1957 episode. Osmond left acting to join the Los Angeles Police Department in 1970 and retired after being shot in 1980.

ACTOR GREGORY TYREE BOYCE FOUND DEAD… Authorities in Las Vegas have confirmed that the bodies of actor Gregory Tyree Boyce and his 27-year-old girlfriend were found in their condominium last week. The 30-year-old Boyce had a memorable role in the 2008 “Twilight” film. According to the Clark County coroner, the cause of death is pending a toxicology report.

SPORTS
GOVERNORS TALKS SPORTS RE-OPENING… The governors of New York, California and Texas made announcements yesterday that brought that professional sports could soon resume in their respective states. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he is encouraging major sports teams to prepare for reopening without fans. California Governor Gavin Newsom later said that sports could resume without fans in his state as soon as the “first week or so of June.” Texas Governor Greg Abbott said professional sports without fans could resume at the end of May. Governors in Florida and Arizona previously announced that their states were open to the resumption of professional sports.

The Rundown for May 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,467,065 and the death toll stands at 88,709, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday morning during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that plans to reopen businesses, schools and other facilities do not rely entirely on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Azar also told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that the Trump administration’s plan to prepare 300 million doses of a vaccine by the end of the year was a goal and “not a pledge.”

FED CHIEF TALKS RECOVERY… Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell conceded in an interview that aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes” last night that it may take more than a year for the economy to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Powell said the path to economic recovery could begin in early 2021. The Fed chief is expected to repeat his call for increased spending amid the crisis when he appears before Congress tomorrow.

POMPEO INVESTIGATION PRECEDED INSPECTOR GENERAL FIRING… Congressional officials told NBC News yesterday that State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was removed from his job Friday after investigating reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations for Pompeo and his wife, among other personal errands. The officials said they are working to learn whether Linick had any other ongoing investigations into Pompeo. President Trump announced on Friday that he was firing Linick because he no longer had the “fullest confidence in him.”

AIR FORCES LAUNCHES ROCKETS… The Air Force yesterday successfully launched its Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral. The rocket is carrying a X-37B space plane for a secretive mission. It will deploy a satellite into orbit and also test power-beaming technology on its sixth mission in space.

FIRST NAMED STORM TARGETS NORTH CAROLINA… Tropical Storm Arthur was expected to bring heavy rain and minor flooding to North Carolina’s Outer Banks today. National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a tropical storm warning. Arthur became the first named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season when it formed Saturday in waters off Florida. The storm produced top sustained winds of 45 miles per hour as it tracked off the Southeast coast yesterday.

ENTERTAINMENT
DIRECTOR LYNN SHELTON DIES… Hollywood is mourning the passing of director Lynn Shelton, who died Friday in Los Angeles of a previously undiagnosed blood disorder. She was 54. Shelton was best known for the films “Humpday” and “Your Sister’s Sister” and the series “Little Fires Everywhere.” Her partner, comedian Marc Maron, said Shelton collapsed Friday after having been ill for a week.

ACTOR GENO SILVA DIES… Actor Geno Silva died earlier this month from complications related to dementia. He was 72. Silva had memorable roles in the films “Scarface” and “Mulholland Drive.” His credits include “Amistad,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Man Apart.”

SPORTS
BILLS’ DEFENSIVE TACKLE ARRESTED… Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver was arrested on DWI and weapons charges in Montgomery County, Texas. Oliver was pulled over after a witness called 911 to report a vehicle weaving in and out of lanes. Police say he had an open beer between his legs while behind the wheel of a pickup. A pistol was also found in the truck.

The Rundown for May 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,384,930 and the death toll stands at 83,947, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC yesterday released six “decision trees” aimed at helping schools, workplaces, camps, childcare centers, mass transit systems, bars and restaurants decide on whether it’s safe to reopen. Six one-page “decision tool” documents use traffic signs and other graphics to tell organizations what they should consider before reopening.

VACCINE EXPERT TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS… Vaccines expert Dr. Rick Bright told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday that the Trump administration’s hopes of developing a coronavirus vaccine within 18 months are likely too optimistic. Bright, who was removed last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, warned that Americans face “the darkest winter in modern history” if proper preparations aren’t taken. He said he was “alarmed” at a lack of plans from federal agencies and the administration and complained that his warnings about supply shortages were ignored multiple times. Bright also noted “There were some attempts to bypass” a vetting process for hydroxychloroquine, which the administration hyped.

SENATE VOTES TO EXTEND FISA… The Senate voted 80-16 yesterday to approve a 2-1/2-year extension of parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act following its expiration two months ago. The measure must be approved by the House and it’s not known when a vote would be taken. The Senate version amended House legislation passed in March to improve legal protections for those subject to surveillance.

SENATOR BURR LEAVES SENATE PANEL POST… North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr announced yesterday that he will step down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the end of today’s session amid the investigation into his mass selloff in stock at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. FBI agents seized Burr’s cellphone on Wednesday as they examine Burr’s transactions around the same time the intelligence committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings. Though he told the public the virus would not cause much harm, he warned private audiences that the effects would be disastrous. The sales saved him millions of dollars in potential losses. Meanwhile, Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is reportedly complying with federal law enforcement and financial authorities about the sales of millions of dollars of stock owned by her and her husband at the outset of the outbreak.

MICHIGAN CANCELS SESSION AMID ARMED PROTESTERS… The Michigan state legislature canceled yesterday’s session and closed the Capitol rather than face heavily armed anti-lockdown protesters who showed up to demand the easing of shelter-in-place restrictions. Members of a militia group gathered on the Capitol steps in Lansing instead. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has faced recent death threats over her stay-at-home order, which has been extended until the end of May.

ENTERTAINMENT
MARY-KATE OLSEN MUST WAIT FOR DIVORCE… A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice yesterday rejected former “Full House” actress Mary-Kate Olsen’s emergency petition for a divorce from her husband of five years. The 33-year-old Olsen filed papers Wednesday claiming that her 50-year-old husband, Pierre Olivier Sarkozy, was trying to evict her from their apartment by Monday. The judge in the case decided that it wasn’t an essential matter.

CHESNEY WON’T TOUR… Kenny Chesney announced yesterday that he will not tour in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country singer says he’s pushing back all dates of his planned “Chillaxification” Tour to 2021. Chesney had planned to play NFL stadiums nationwide this year.

SPORTS
NFL PLAYERS WANTED FOR ARMED ROBBERY… Florida authorities yesterday obtained felony arrest warrants for New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Miramar police say multiple witnessed accused the two of committing an armed robbery at a cookout on Wednesday night. According to the warrant, Baker pulled out a handgun after a fight broke out. He, Dunbar and two other men allegedly then robbed people at the party of thousands of dollars in cash, watches and other valuables. The two players face four counts each of armed robbery with a firearm. Baker faces an additional four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The warrants note the suspects will be denied bond when taken into custody.

The Rundown for May 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number or reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,364,061 and the death toll stands at 82,246, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wisconsin’s state Supreme Court ruled 4-3 yesterday to strike down Governor Tony Evers’ stay-at-home order. Evers issued the order in March and last month extended it to May 26. Republicans asked the Supreme Court to block the extension on the grounds that it required legislative approval.

JUDGE ADDS OBSTACLE TO FLYNN CASE… U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan has thrown another obstacle into the Justice Department’s effort to drop the prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn despite his earlier guilty plea. Judge Sullivan yesterday appointed former mafia prosecutor and retired Eastern District of New York district court judge John Gleeson to present arguments against the government’s request for dismissal. Sullivan directed Gleeson to recommend whether Flynn should face a criminal contempt charge for perjury. Flynn had admitted under oath at two different court proceedings that he was guilty of lying to the FBI before reversing course in January and denying he had lied.

SENATE BLOCKS INTERNET-PRIVACY AMENDMENT… The Senate yesterday narrowly blocked an amendment that would have prevented law enforcement from collecting information on Americans’ internet habits without a warrant. In the 59-37 vote, the amendment sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines and Democrat Ron Wyden fell just one vote short of the 60 votes it needed for inclusion in legislation to renew three surveillance tools used in national security investigations that expired two months ago. Senators voted 77 to 19 on a separate amendment, sponsored by Republican Senator Mike Lee and Democrat Patrick Leahy, allowing outside legal analysts to serve as independent advisers for the court that oversees surveillance-related warrants.

INVESTIGATORS SEIZE SENATOR BURR’S CELL PHONE… Federal agents used a warrant to seize Richard Burr’s cellphone as part of an investigation into his stock sales, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. Burr, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has already complied with an associated warrant for his cellphone records as investigators try to determine whether his actions constitute insider trading. The senator, along with his brother-in-law, dumped millions in stock after a closed-door Senate briefing on the coronavirus in February. Though he told the public the virus would not cause much harm, he warned private audiences that the effects would be disastrous. The sales saved him millions of dollars in potential losses.

REPUBLICANS RECLAIM CALIFORNIA HOUSE SEAT… Republican Mike Garcia has defeated Democrat Christy Smith in the special election for the California Congressional District 25 House seat left vacant when former California Democratic Representative Katie Hill resigned amid controversy last year. Garcia will finish out Hill’s term before a rematch with Smith in November’s general election. He ran on a platform of promises to lower taxes, “defeat socialism” and “build the wall,” while casting Smith as a liberal career politician.

ENTERTAINMENT
WITHERSPOON TO STAR IN NETFLIX FILMS… Netflix announced yesterday that Reese Witherspoon will star in the romantic comedy films ”Your Place or Mine” and “The Cactus.” Witherspoon will reportedly produce the films through her Hello Sunshine banner. She will co-produce “Your Place or Mine” with Aggregate Films’ Jason Bateman and Michael Costigan and “The Cactus” with Lauren Neustadter.

MELISSA ETHERIDGE’S SON DIES… The 21-year-old son of Melissa Etheridge died yesterday. Etheridge released a statement blaming opioid addiction for the death of Beckett Cypher. He was one of two children the 58-year-old singer had with former partner Julie Cypher, both conceived with sperm from Rock and Roll Hall of Famer David Crosby.

SPORTS
NCAA EXTENDS NBA DRAFT DECLARATION DEADLINE… The NCAA announced yesterday that it is “indefinitely” extending the deadline for college basketball prospects to decide whether they want to keep their names in consideration for the NBA Draft. Previously, college players who entered their names for draft consideration faced a June 3 deadline to withdraw from the draft if they wished to return to college. NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt says a decision on the new withdrawal date for college players will be made once the NBA has determined a timeline for the pre-draft process.