The Rundown for July 1, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,634,432 and the nation’s death toll stands at 127,410, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared yesterday at a Senate hearing and warned that the U.S. could see as many as 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily “if things don’t turn around.” Fauci encouraged governors to follow the CDC’s reopening guidelines and urged residents to wear masks and practice social distancing. As a result of the nation’s inability to manage the pandemic, the European Union left the U.S. off its list of nations whose residents will be allowed to come and go for leisure or business travel beginning today. Finally, Nebraska Republican Governor Pete Ricketts yesterday threatened to withhold $100 million of federal funding allocated to counties in his state if they mandate residents wear a face mask to protect against the coronavirus.

PRIMARIES… Amy McGrath yesterday was declared the winner of last Tuesday’s Senate Democratic primary in Kentucky. The former Marine fighter pilot held off state representative Charles Booker, whose campaign came on strong at the end. McGrath will challenge Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell in November’s election. Meanwhile, three states held primaries yesterday… In Colorado, former two-term governor John Hickenlooper defeated former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic senate primary and will face incumbent Republican senator Cory Gardner in the fall. Also in Colorado, five-term U.S. Republican Congressman Scott Tipton was ousted by primary challenger Lauren Boebert in the race for the state’s third congressional district seat… In Utah, former NFL player Burgess Owens defeated bested state representative Kim Coleman to win the Republican nomination for the state’s 4th Congressional District. Owens will face Democrat Ben McAdams in November’s election… In Oklahoma, state senator Stephanie Bice and businesswoman Terry Neese will face off against each other on August 25 to determine the GOP candidate for the 5th Congressional District. The winner will take on Democratic incumbent Kendra Horn for the seat in November. Horn easily defeated primary challenger Tom Guild yesterday.

RUSSIAN BOUNTIES FOR AMERICANS… The New York Times reported yesterday that large financial transfers between a Russian intelligence agency and a bank account linked to the Taliban were evidence of an alleged scheme in which Russia offered bounties to militants to kill U.S. soldiers. The newspaper cited three unnamed officials who said that intercepted electronic data supported the information Taliban detainees had provided U.S. intelligence officials during interrogations. The information also was included in President Trump’s written daily intelligence briefing in February, contradicting his denial on Sunday that he was briefed about the alleged scheme.

FOREIGN ELECTION HELP… Senate Republicans have removed from the National Defense Authorization Act language that would have required presidential campaigns to report offers of foreign election help. The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Virginia Senator Mark Warner said Republicans forced the removal of the election-reporting provision as a condition to include the intelligence bill on the must-pass defense policy legislation. Earlier this month, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 8-7 to approve an amendment from Warner and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine that required campaigns to notify federal authorities about any foreign offers.

JUDGE SIDES WITH CHALLENGE TO ASYLUM-RESTRICTIONS RULE… A federal court last night upheld a challenge to the Trump administration’s asylum restrictions. Asylum seekers had argued that the “Third-Country Asylum Rule,” which was jointly published by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, wrongly violated the Immigration and Nationality Act. The challenge specified a 2019 rule that requires seekers to ask for asylum closer to home. U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Kelly, a Trump appointee, agreed that the administration did not abide by the federal Administrative Procedure Act, which requires that Americans have enough time and opportunity to weigh in on such rule changes.

ENTERTAINMENT
CARL REINER DIES
… Legendary Hollywood actor, writer, producer and director Carl Reiner died at his Beverly Hills home Monday night of natural causes, family members announced yesterday. He was 98. Reiner’s career spanned more than 400 film and television appearances over seven decades. He rose to fame in the 1950s in Sid Caesar’s “Show of Shows” and went on to create “The Dick Van Dyke Show” in the 1960s. Reiner continued working into his 80s and 90s with roles in the films “Ocean’s Eleven” and “Toy Story 4,” along with the television sitcom “Two and a Half Men.”

OZARK’ RETURNS TO NETFLIX… Netflix confirmed yesterday that it is bringing back the crime drama series “Ozark” for a fourth and final season. Season 4 will be split into two parts consisting of seven episodes each. The series stars Jason Bateman, Laura Linney, Julia Garner, Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner in the story about a family that relocates to the Ozarks after the father’s money laundering scheme goes wrong. “Ozark” has received 14 Emmy nominations since its premiere in 2017.

SPORTS
NBA COMMISSIONER TALKS SEASON
… NBA commissioner Adam Silver said yesterday that he remains “pretty confident” about the NBA’s plan to safely resume play but admits that a coronavirus spread in the NBA community could stop play again. During an appearance on TIME 100 Talks, Silver said league officials haven’t defined what constitutes a significant spread but will continue working with a panel of scientists, doctors and experts. The San Antonio Spurs and Denver Nuggets have closed their practice facilities after members of their organization tested positive.

The Rundown for June 30, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,590,582 and the nation’s death toll stands at 126,141, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey yesterday issued an executive order shutting down bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks in the state among a surge in cases. Additionally, the order prohibits gatherings of more than 50 people ahead of the 4th of July weekend, delays the start of in-person school instruction to August 17 and pauses the issuing of special-event licenses until July 27. Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak signed a directive extending Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan until the end of July after 37 percent of the state’s 17,894 positive cases occurred in the last two weeks. Also yesterday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced malls in the state that seek to reopen under the state’s Phase 3 status must have air conditioning filters that can help reduce air particulates that could spread the coronavirus.

CONGRESS WANTS ANSWERS ABOUT RUSSIAN BOUNTIES… A bipartisan group of congressional leaders is demanding the Trump administration explain what it knew about reports U.S. intelligence concluded Russia offered bounties to Taliban fighters to kill American troops. The White House briefed a group of House Republican lawmakers on the matter yesterday, leaving Democrats to call on Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and CIA Director Gina Haspel to provide all-member briefings to Congress. The New York Times reported yesterday that President Trump received a written briefing in February on possible Russian bounties and that the investigation into the matter is focused on the killings of three Marines in a truck bombing last year.

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN LOUISIANA ABORTION LAW… The Supreme Court yesterday struck down Louisiana’s law regulating abortion clinics. Chief Justice John Roberts sided with four more liberal colleagues in ruling that the law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals violates abortion rights the court first announced in the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision. Dozens more challenges state-imposed restrictions have yet to be heard in the courts.

WHITE HOUSE OPPOSES INFRASTRUCTURE BILL… The White House came out in opposition yesterday to a $1.5 trillion proposal from congressional Democrats to boost U.S. infrastructure over the next decade, calling into question the source of new spending. The Democratic-controlled House is set to begin debate today on the measure, which includes a massive boost in spending on roads, bridges, public transit, rail, ports and airports as well as water systems, schools and broadband internet. A final vote is expected later this week ahead of Congress’ September 30 deadline to reauthorize surface transportation spending.

‘GOLDEN STATE KILLER’ TAKES PLEA DEAL… The 74-year-old retired California police officer who was given the nickname “Golden State Killer” after being accused of committing multiple murders and attacks throughout California during the 1970s and ’80s took a plea deal yesterday to avoid the death penalty. Joseph DeAngelo Jr. pleaded guilty in Sacramento to 13 counts of first-degree murder and more than 25 other counts, including kidnapping, weapons and burglary charges in several California counties. He was linked to at least 13 DNA evidence collected from genealogy databases uploaded by family members was used to arrest DeAngelo in April 2018.

ENTERTAINMENT
JOHN LEGEND TO HEADLINE MACY’S 4TH OF JULY SHOW
… John Legend has signed on to headline Saturday’s 2020 Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular in New York. Entertainment will include performances by Lady A, the Killers, Tim McGraw, Brad Paisley and the Black Eyed Peas. Today co-host Craig Melvin will host the event, which airs at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.

BROADWAY REMAINS DARK… Broadway will remain dark through the rest of the year, as theater owners and producers are issuing refunds for tickets to shows through January 3. The Broadway League said it doesn’t know for sure when shows will open but producers say they don’t expect any openings before late winter or early spring. “The Minutes,” a play by Tracy Letts, is scheduled to open March 15, while David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” is slated to start April 14.

SPORTS
PLAYERS OPTING OUT WHEN PLAY RESUMES
… Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan has tested positive for the coronavirus and won’t be with the team when the NBA season resumes next month in Orlando, Florida. Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie also has tested positive but it’s not known whether he’ll be able to play… In major league baseball, Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond announced yesterday that he will opt out of playing this season. Earlier yesterday, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake and Washington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross announced that they are also won’t be playing.

The Rundown for June 29, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached
2,548,991 and the death toll stands at 125,803, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar warned during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union” yesterday that the “window is closing” for the U.S. to control the pandemic. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced yesterday that he is ordering seven counties across the state to close bars immediately. Newsom also recommended eight other counties to take the same action.

TRUMP DENIES KNOWLEDGE OF RUSSIA-TALIBAN DEAL… President Trump denies knowing anything about an arrangement in which Russian military officials reportedly offered to secretly pay Taliban fighters for killing American troops in Afghanistan. The New York Times reported that two U.S. officials learned months ago of a Russian intelligence unit offering the bounties. American spies and special forces commandos reportedly told their superiors about the plot as early as January after discovering a Taliban outpost rife with U.S. currency. According to the report, American intelligence officials told the president about the findings in March and offered a number of options for reprimanding Russia, but Trump sought no retaliation. The Washington Post reported that U.S. forces suffered 10 deaths in 2018, 16 in 2019 and two so far this year due to hostile gunfire or bombs but it is unknown how many of the deaths resulted from the Russian bounty program.

TRUMP SHARES ‘WHITE POWER!’ TWEET… President Trump drew widespread condemnation yesterday after retweeting a video in which a man driving a golf cart with a Trump 2020 sign and Trump flag yells “white power!” The video was shot at a large retirement community in Florida where Trump supporters clashed with supporters. South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott called the clip “terrible” and “inappropriate.” The president undid the retweet.

MISSISSIPPI TO CHANGE FLAG… Lawmakers in Mississippi voted yesterday to remove the Confederate battle emblem from their state flag. The removal comes more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design. Republican Governor Tate Reeves has vowed to sign the bill and if he does, a commission would design a new flag that cannot include the Confederate symbol and that must have the words “In God We Trust.” Voters will be asked to approve the new design in the November 3 election.

GAS PRICES JUMP BY 6 CENTS A GALLON… The average price for a gallon of regular-grade gasoline increased by 6 cents over the past two weeks to $2.22 per gallon, according to a nationwide survey of gas stations released yesterday. The Lundberg Survey found that the most expensive gas was in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it cost $3.15 per gallon. The cheapest gas was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where a gallon of gas cost $1.78.

ENTERTAINMENT
STONES WON’T LET TRUMP PLAY THEIR MUSIC
… The Rolling Stones are threatening President Trump with legal action over his use of their songs at his rallies despite cease-and-desist directives. In a statement released yesterday, that band claims its legal team is working with music-rights organization BMI to stop use of their material in Trump’s re-election campaign events. BMI has notified the Trump campaign that if it plays Stones music again at an event, it will be in breach of its licensing agreement.

LIL BABY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Lil Baby’s “My Turn” topped the Billboard 200 chart for the fourth time after selling 70,000 copies. Bob Dylan’s “Rough and Rowdy Ways” opened in second place with 53,000 units sold. A Boogie Wit da Hoodie’s “Artist 2.0” leaped into third place on sales of 43,000 copies. DaBaby’s “Blame It On Baby” slipped into fourth place on sales of 37,000 equivalent album units. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” capped the top five with 36,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
PATRIOTS SIGN CAM NEWTON
… ESPN reported last night that former NFL MVP Cam Newton has agreed on a one-year deal with the New England Patriots. ‬‪Newton was released by the Carolina Panthers on March 24 after nine seasons with the team that picked him as the No. 1 overall selection in 2011. He joins Jarrett Stidham and Brian Hoyer atop New England’s quarterback depth chart following Tom Brady’s free-agent signing with Tampa Bay… In other Patriots news, the team will lose a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and pay a $1.1 million fine with its video crew will not allowed to record games during the 2020 season. The sanctions are punishment for a the team employing a video crew that got caught filming from the Cincinnati Bengals’ press box during the Bengals’ home game against the Cleveland Browns last season.

The Rundown for June 26, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,422,310 and the death toll stands at 124,416, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned that at least 23 million people may have been infected, based on findings that there are actually 10 other infections for every one that’s reported. Officials in Texas announced yesterday that the state is halting any further phases to re-open amid recent increases in cases and hospitalizations. Public-health officials at Johns Hopkins University released a statement declaring they were “stunned and troubled” that West Virginia’s health commissioner, Dr. Cathy Slemp, was asked to resign. Her departure came a day after Governor Jim Justice blamed Slemp for using outdated numbers on active coronavirus cases in some areas of the state.

SUPREME COURT ALLOWS DEPORTATIONS… The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the Trump administration can deport some people seeking asylum without allowing them to appeal before a federal judge. The 7-2 ruling applies to people who fail their initial asylum screenings, making them eligible for quick deportation, or expedited removal. The case stemmed from a ruling in the case of a man who said he fled persecution as a member of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority but failed to persuade immigration officials that he faced harm if he returned to Sri Lanka.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SEEKS TO INVALIDATE ACA… The Justice Department last night filed its opening brief asking the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. The Trump administration argues in the brief that “the remainder of the ACA cannot survive” because the law’s individual mandate is no longer operative. Justices will hear arguments in the case sometime next term, possibly after the November election.

HOUSE PASSES POLICE REFORM BILL… The House voted 236-181 yesterday to pass a police reform bill. Democrats got support from three Republicans in passing the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which would weaken “qualified immunity” and make it easier for abuse victims to sue police officers and for officials to fire and prosecute officers over misconduct. It would also ban chokeholds and “no-knock” search warrants at a federal level by basing funding to state and local governments on whether those tactics are banned and would require bias training and more data sharing regarding police use of force. On Wednesday, Democrats in the senate blocked a Republican-backed police reform package.

BORDER MILITARIZATION EXTENDED… The Pentagon announced yesterday that it plans to continue the formal militarization of the southern border through September 2021. Some 2,600 active-duty and 2,400 National Guard personnel are currently deployed at the border. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has authorized 4,000 troops to continue “detection and monitoring, logistics, and transportation support” missions for Customs and Border Protection forces.

ENTERTAINMENT
THE DIXIE CHICKS DROP ‘DIXIE’ FROM NAME
… The Dixie Chicks announced yesterday that they are dropping the “Dixie” from their name and will be known simply as The Chicks. The name change is being made to disassociate the band from the Confederacy amid a nationwide reckoning over racial injustice. The band’s website and social media channels have all been updated to include the new name.

BIEBER FILES DEFAMATION SUIT… Justin Bieber has filed a defamation lawsuit against two social media users who accused him of sexual assault in 2014 and 2015, respectively. The 26-year-old pop star is seeking $10 million each from the two defendants for making “malicious” claims. Lawyers for Bieber say they have “indisputable documentary evidence” that proves the accusations to be “outrageous, fabricated lies.”

SPORTS
NFL PREPARES FOR TRAINING CAMPS
… NFL executive vice president/general counsel Jeff Pash announced yesterday that the league has advised teams to expect training camps to start next month. Most teams will require players to report by July 28. The league has canceled its annual Hall of Fame Game, which was originally scheduled for August 8. League officials are considering the preseason prior to the September 10 regular-season opener.

Wilkie C. Mahoney, West Coast Whiz Bang: A Guest Post by Bob Sarber

Happy birthday to an old family friend…

(Travalanche)

Comedy writer Wilkie C. Mahoney has one champion on this world, and a fierce one it is. Journalist Bob Sarber knew him personally as a family friend when he was growing up. Nine months ago, when such a thing was still possible, Bob told me story after story about Wilkie as he drove me along the Pacific Coast Highway to show this Eastern dude the California country he knows and loves so well. It all culminated with a talk at the History Center of San Luis Obispo County, drawn from Bob’s research on Mahoney for a projected book, which we chronicled here. At any rate, Bob is the only person to write a Travalanche entry on Wilkie Mahoney, which he has generously done. The foregoing is from his pen:  

Wilkie Mahoney was was born the family homestead in San Miguel, California, on this day in 1897. His name frequently…

View original post 808 more words

The Rundown for July 25, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,381,538 and the nation’s death toll stands at 121,979, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The 36,000 positive cases reported nationally yesterday was a record daily high. The nation’s three most populous states — California, Texas and Florida — have been among those reporting record highs. Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday announced that everyone who goes to a state-run testing site will be given a free set of three-ply surgical masks. Meanwhile, dozens of Secret Service officers and agents who worked at President Trump’s rally in Tulsa last weekend have been ordered to self-quarantine after two of their colleagues tested positive.

APPEALS COURT ORDER FLYNN CASE DISMISSAL… The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday ordered a judge to dismiss the case against former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Following the panel’s 2-1 ruling, Judge Neomi Rao, a Trump appointee, wrote that there is not sufficient reason to question the Department of Justice’s decision to dismiss. Flynn had pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in 2017 as part of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.

HOUSE PANEL HEARS WILLIAM BARR TESTIMONY… Former Deputy Attorney General Donald Ayer called Attorney General William Barr “the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law” during a House Judiciary Committee hearing yesterday. The hearing was to convened examine Barr’s actions, including his handling of the Mueller report and his role in forcing out Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Aaron Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney formerly detailed to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, testified that prosecutors involved in the trial of Trump’s longtime friend Roger Stone were under “heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice” to give Stone “a break” by requesting a lighter sentence. John Elias, an official in the Justice Department’s antitrust division, told the panel that Barr ordered staff to investigate marijuana company mergers simply because he “did not like the nature of their underlying business.” Barr announced yesterday that he has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on July 28.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT BROADENS ASSANGE CHARGES… The U.S. Department of Justice has broadened its 18 charges of conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. An indictment released yesterday alleges that Assange recruited a well-known hacking group to attack and infiltrate the computer systems of multiple members of NATO. Assange is currently jailed in the United Kingdom while awaiting extradition to the U.S.

AHMAUD ARBERY KILLERS INDICTED… A Georgia grand jury yesterday indicted the three men involved in the fatal shooting of a 25-year-old Black man who was jogging through a neighborhood. A Glynn County grand jury returned an indictment charging Travis McMichael, Greg McMichael, and William R. Bryan in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. Charges include malice and felony murder, aggravated assault, false imprisonment and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment.

ENTERTAINMENT
HBO MAX BRINGS BACK GONE WITH THE WIND
… HBO Max is bringing back the 1939 Southern war epic “Gone With the Wind” two weeks after removing it due to its romantic depiction of the antebellum South and stereotypical Black characters. TCM host and University of Chicago cinema and media studies professor Jacqueline Stewart narrates a disclaimer that precedes the film’s airing on the streaming service. HBO Max is offering the film with, “extras” that include the vides “Gone With the Wind: A Complicated Legacy” and “Hattie McDaniel: What a Character!”

‘BREAKING BAD,’ ‘SAUL’ FEATURED IN AMC SCHEDULE… AMC revealed yesterday that it will be adding new “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” content to its July schedule. The network will also air special marathons and films starring Bryan Cranston. All 10 Season 5 episodes of “Better Call Saul” will air July 9. Two films featuring “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston, “Godzilla” and “Wakefield,” will air back to back on July 6.

SPORTS
HOCKEY HALL-OF-FAMERS
… The Hockey Hall of Fame has announced a six-member class for 2020. First-ballot inductees Jarome Iginla and Marian Hossa will be enshrined with defensemen Kevin Lowe and Doug Wilson, goaltender Kim St-Pierre in the women’s category and Edmonton Oilers general manager Ken Holland in the builder category. Iginla will join Grant Fuhr as the only two Black players honored for their on-ice accomplishments.

SACRAMENTO KINGS PLAYERS TEST POSITIVE… Sacramento Kings players Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len have tested positive for coronavirus. At least one other player on the team reportedly also is infected. The Kings, with a 28-36 record, are one of the 22 NBA teams scheduled to resume games on July 30 in Orlando, Florida.

The Rundown for June 24, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the U.S. has reached 2,347,022 and the nation’s death toll stands at 121,228, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci told members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee yesterday that parts of the U.S. are beginning to see a “disturbing surge” in coronavirus infections and that he expects there will be a vaccine ready by early next year. Cases have been growing by at least 5 percent in 26 states and hospitalizations have been increasing as well.

PRIMARY VOTING… Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears to have held off former longtime CNBC correspondent and anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera in yesterday’s Democratic primary election for New York’s 14th Congressional District. Voting went more smoothly than anticipated in Kentucky after the state dramatically reduced the number of polling places from 3,700 to fewer than 200, due to massive shortages of poll workers. Former Marine fighter pilot Amy McGrath was leading state representative Charles Booker by just over 8 points in a race to determine which Democrat will face off against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in November. With 54 percent of precincts reporting, McGrath carried 45 percent of the vote to Booker’s 36.5 percent. In North Carolina, 24-year-old first-time political candidate Madison Cawthorn defeated President Trump-endorsed Lynda Bennett in the state’s GOP congressional primary. Joe Biden won yesterday’s presidential primaries in New York and Kentucky, raising his delegate haul to more than 2,300 after topping the 1,991 needed to clinch the Democratic nomination earlier this month. Biden’s rival, Bernie Sanders, suspended his campaign on April 8 but remains on the ballot.

CHINESE BOUGHT ACCESS TO TRUMP AND GOP… The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that people connected to the Chinese government used political donations to gain influence with President Trump and the Republican Party as early as 2017. The donations reportedly totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars and were directed at Trump’s re-election campaign. In return, the Chinese donors were provided seats at Republican fundraisers and in GOP leadership meetings. The Chinese nationals gathered intelligence that it then shared with Chinese national-security figures, according to the report. The Journal noted that there is no evidence that Trump was aware of the Chinese contributions, which were a violation of federal law.

LOUISVILLE COP FIRED… The Louisville Metro Police Department has fired one of the officers involved in the March fatal shooting death of 26-year-old Breonna Taylor. “I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Police Chief Robert Schroeder wrote in a dismissal letter to Detective Brett Hankison. Taylor, an emergency medical worker, was killed on March 13, when officers entered her home looking for illegal drugs. Officials claimed the officers knocked on the door and announced themselves, and only started shooting after they were “immediately met by gunfire” from Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. But Taylor’s family said in a lawsuit that the officers did not identify themselves, and that Walker — a licensed gun owner — thought someone was trying to break in. Chief Schroeder found that Hankison violated two standard operating procedures: obedience to rules and regulations and use of deadly force.

WALMART WON’T DISPLAY MISSISSIPPI FLAG… Walmart announced yesterday it will no longer display the Mississippi state flag at stores throughout the state. The flag is the last of any state’s to display the Confederate emblem in a state that has the highest percentage of African-American residents in the country. Walmart has already removed all Confederate items for sale online and in-store. The Mississippi flag flies at state buildings, the state capitol building and municipal buildings across the state.

ENTERTAINMENT
RON JEREMY ARRESTED
… Pornography icon Ron Jeremy, whose legal name is Ronald Jeremy Hyatt, was charged yesterday with three counts of forcible rape and one count each of forcible oral copulation and sexual battery. The 67-year-old Jeremy is accused of sexually assaulting four women in West Hollywood since 2014, according to prosecutors. Jeremy faces a possible maximum sentence of 90 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged. His arraignment was initially scheduled for yesterday afternoon, but was continued to Friday. Jeremy remains in jail with bail set at $6.6 million.

COSBY APPEAL ACCEPTED… The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has accepted Bill Cosby’s appeal of his 2018 conviction on charges of drugging and raping a woman at his Pennsylvania home in January 2004. The court limited its review to two key issues from Cosby’s appeal, in which he objected to the conduct of his two trials. The 82-year-old Cosby is serving a three-to-10 year sentence in a state prison.

SPORTS
MLB READY FOR 60-GAME SEASON
… Major League Baseball owners and players union yesterday agreed to terms on safety and testing protocols, paving the way for a 60-game season that is scheduled to start on July 24. As part of the modified season, each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division. Most teams are expected to conduct preseason training in their home cities. Two new rules have been instituted for the 2020 season to promote player health and safety: The designated hitter will be used in both leagues and extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.

The Rundown for June 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,312,302 and the nation’s death toll stands at 120,402, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Over the past two weeks, at least 18 states have shown a rise in hospitalizations. Texas reached a record-high number of cases for an 11th consecutive day yesterday but Governor Greg Abbott says he does not anticipate a return to lockdown. Florida topped 100,000 cases yesterday, prompting Governor Rick Scott to vow a crackdown on businesses that don’t follow social-distancing guidelines.

PROTESTERS, POLICE CLASH NEAR WHITE HOUSE… Police sprayed a “chemical irritant” to break up a crowd that had tried to topple a bronze statue of former President Andrew Jackson near the White House yesterday. Hundreds of protesters had gathered at Lafayette Square statue and try to down the statue with ropes. There was a series of clashes between protesters and police after authorities tried to remove tents set up nearby. Later in the evening, the Secret Service made the highly unusual move of asking journalists to leave the White House grounds.

HOUSE PANEL TO SUBPOENA WILLIAM BARR… House Judiciary Committee chairman Jerry Nadler announced last night that the panel is preparing to subpoena Attorney General William Barr for testimony on July 2. Committee members have been facing increasing pressure to question Barr following his abrupt firing of Geoffrey Berman as the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York last weekend. Barr has yet to testify before the committee since his confirmation early last year. He initially defied a request to appear after Democrats said they intended to use committee counsel to question him.

TRUMP EXTENDS AND EXPANDS VISA POLICY… President Trump plans to sign an executive order that extends the 60-day pause on the granting of new green cards through the end of the year and expands the suspension of certain visa types. The White House described the order as a move to “free up more jobs for Americans.” An administration official said that the Trump administration is “hopeful that these are steps that will see broad bipartisan support,” but it already has been criticized by immigration advocates who consider it uses the cover of a pandemic to implement long-standing policy goals on restricting legal immigration into the country.

SOLDIER ARRESTED… The Justice Department has indicted a 22-year-old U.S. Army soldier from Louisville on charges that he gave classified information about U.S. troops stationed overseas to a European-based White Supremacist group. Ethan Melzer is accused of sending sensitive information including his unit’s location, movements and security to members of a London-based neo-Nazi and white supremacist group called Order of the Nine Angels. Melzer’s relationship with the group known for it their violent, anti-Semitic and Satanic beliefs, began last year. A document obtained by FBI investigators describes attacks and murders of U.S. personnel in April 2020.

ENTERTAINMENT
DIRECTOR JOEL SCHUMACHER DIES
… Hollywood director Joel Schumacher, who worked on a variety of films, died yesterday after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 80. Schumacher’s credits included “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “The Lost Boys,” “Dying Young” and the dark satire “Falling Down.” He was perhaps best known for directing “Batman Forever” and “Batman & Robin” in the 1990s.

MICHAEL KEATON IN TALKS TO RETURN AS BATMAN… Michael Keaton is reportedly in talks to return to the role of Batman. He would appear alongside Ezra Miller in the upcoming movie “The Flash.” Keaton first played Batman/Bruce Wayne in the 1989 blockbuster “Batman.” Keaton also played Batman in 1992’s “Batman Returns.”

SPORTS
MLB MOVES ONE STEP CLOSER TO SEASON
… Major league baseball owners and players have agreed to proceed with a 2020 season under the terms of an agreement previously reached in late March. Owners voted unanimously yesterday to proceed with a 60-game 2020 season and give commissioner Rob Manfred the power to implement a schedule of his choosing. Players have been asked whether they will be able to report to training in their respective cities by July 1 and whether their union will agree on the operating manual of health and safety protocols. Their answers are due by the end of today.

FBI JOINS INVESTIGATION OF NOOSE AT TALLADEGA… FBI agents have joined the investigation into the discovery of a noose in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama over the weekend. Investigators hope to determine whether there are violations of federal hate-crime laws. Wallace, who is the only Black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series, has been outspoken in support of Black Lives Matter and the ban on Confederate flags. Yesterday, all 40 Talladega drivers and their crews walked with with him helped push his car to the front of the field.

The Rundown for June 22, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,279,879 and the death toll stands at 119,969, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Health officials note that an increasing number of young people are testing positive across the South. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday announced plans to more closely monitor businesses not following coronavirus guidelines as total cases in the state rose more than 49 percent in the past two weeks.

BARR FACING SCRUTINY OVER FIRING… Attorney General William Barr is facing increasing scrutiny following last Friday’s firing of the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer yesterday called for an investigation into the removal of Geoffrey Berman. Barr initially claimed that Berman had resigned, but Berman disputed the claim and prompted Barr to explain that President Trump had fired him. Democratic Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, yesterday called the firing “totally inappropriate.” New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, said his panel would investigate the dismissal but expressed doubt that the Republican-led Senate would agree to any sanctions.

SHOOTINGS IN MINNEAPOLIS, SYRACUSE… A shooting in Minneapolis led one person dead and 11 others injured early yesterday. Police say there is no reason to believe the incident is related to the Minneapolis Police-involved killing of George Floyd and an investigation is ongoing… Police in Syracuse, New York, said yesterday that a shooting at a large gathering on Saturday night left at least nine people injured. The victims included a 17-year-old male who was shot in the head and is listed in critical condition. The other eight gunshot victims sustained injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

NEWSPAPER APOLOGIZES FOR DOOMSDAY AD… The editor of the Nashville Tennesseean has apologized for a “horrific” full-page advertisement purchased by a religious group that ran in yesterday’s paper. The ad warned that a nuclear device would be used in an Islamic-backed terrorist attack planned for next month in Nashville. The advertisement also claims Donald Trump “is the final president of the USA” and features a photo of Trump and Pope Francis.

PROTEST TARGETS DEPUTY-INVOLVED FATAL SHOOTING… Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Compton station yesterday and demanded justice for Andres Guardado, an an 18-year-old security guard fatally shot by a deputy on Thursday. The sheriff’s office claims Guardado was carrying a loaded firearm and running from officers when he was shot but the dead man’s family members dispute the claim. Investigators say the deputies weren’t wearing body cameras and surveillance footage is being processed. Yesterday’s protest turned violent when deputies used flashbangs, pepper balls and smoke grenades to clear demonstrators.

ENTERTAINMENT
D.L. HUGHLEY TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19
… Comedian D.L. Hughley revealed yesterday that he tested positive for COVID-19 after collapsing onstage in Nashville Friday night during a comedy club performance. The 57-year-old Hughley said he was treated for exhaustion and dehydration after losing consciousness. Hughley says he had been asymptomatic to that point and must now quarantine in a hotel room.

LIL BABY TOPS ALBUM CHART… Lil Baby’s “My Turn” sold 72,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Lady Gaga’s “Chromatica” finished in second place with 44,000 units sold. DaBaby’s “Blame It on Baby” jumped into third place on sales of 40,000 copies. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding sold 38,000 units to finish fourth. Drake’s “Dark Lane Demo Tapes” capped the top five with 36,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
MLB PLAYERS CANCEL VOTE ON PROPOSAL
… Major League Baseball players withdrew from a scheduled vote yesterday on the a 60-game proposal owners offered on Saturday. The withdrawal followed a letter commissioner Rob Manfred emailed to MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark offering to cancel expanded playoffs and the universal designated hitter for 2021 if a full season isn’t played in 2020. The players wanted more time to consider the tweaks to the proposal.