The Rundown for July 28, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 4,290,263 and the nation’s death toll stands at 148,011, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Health officials say outbreaks in Arizona, Florida and Texas appear to be slowing down as more people practice social distancing and states mandate face masks… Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech announced yesterday that they are ready to start a combined Phase 2/3 global trial of a coronavirus vaccine candidate. The trial will enroll up to 30,000 participants between the ages of 18 and 85 at about 120 clinical sites around the world, including in 39 states in the U.S.

SENATE REPUBLICANS UNVEIL RELIEF PLAN… Senate Republicans yesterday unveiled their $1 trillion pandemic relief plan. The proposal includes $100 billion for schools and stimulus payments of up to $1,200 to most Americans. The faces stiff opposition as it heads to the floor for debate. Democrats have called it “totally inadequate” and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said it was “too little, too late.”

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION SEEKS SOCIAL MEDIA REGULATION… The Trump administration is urging the Federal Communications Commission to develop plans to regulate social media platforms. Yesterday, the Commerce Department sent the FCC a petition for rulemaking and asks the agency for clarification on a rule that provides online companies immunity from legal liability for the actions of their users. The petition also asks whether the rule protects social media’s content moderation decisions, the conditions under which content moderation and editorial decisions shape content to a degree that the law no longer protects them and what obligations social media companies have to disclose their moderation practices.

PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE MOVED… The first 2020 U.S. presidential debate has been moved to Cleveland after the University of Notre Dame announced yesterday that it was withdrawing as host due to the health precautions it might entail. The September 29 event will be co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic. The debate between Republican incumbent President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger former Vice President Joe Biden will be held in the university’s Samson Pavilion.

6 MAYORS WANT FEDS OUT OF THEIR CITIES… Mayors of six major cities joined yesterday in asking Congress to halt the deployment of federal forces to their cities. The mayors of Portland, Chicago, Seattle, Albuquerque, New Mexico; Kansas City, Missouri; and Washington, D.C., say in a letter they sent to leaders of both parties in the House and Senate that the move has escalated tensions. Federal agents in Portland, Oregon, have drawn national attention for nabbing demonstrators in unmarked cars, beating military veterans, and tear-gassing activist mothers.

ENTERTAINMENT
‘ELLEN DeGENERES SHOW’ INTERNALLY INVESTIGATED
… “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” is the subject of an internal investigation by WarnerMedia following numerous accounts of workplace problems. Variety reported that executives from show producer Telepictures and distributor Warner Bros. Television sent a memo to staffers last week saying they have engaged WBTV-owner WarnerMedia’s employee relations group and a third party firm, who will interview current and former staffers about their experiences on set. Former employees of DeGeneres’s series have reportedly accused its producers of fostering an environment filled with “racism, fear and intimidation.”

ROBERT PLANT TO RELEASE ANTHOLOGY… Former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant is planning to release an anthology set featuring 30 songs from his 11-album career as a solo artist. “Digging Deep: Subterranea” is scheduled for release on October 2. The anthology includes collaborations with Patty Griffin, Jimmy Page, Phil Collins, Buddy Miller, Nigel Kennedy and Richard Thompson, among others.

SPORTS
MLB

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred informed owners yesterday that there are currently no plans to cancel or pause the just-underway 2020 regular season. Instead, teams will “redouble health directives” and “reinforce on-field behavior prohibitions.” Concern was raised yesterday after at least 14 players and coaches for the Miami Marlins tested positive following a weekend series with the Phillies. The outbreak forced postponement of last night’s Miami-Baltimore and Philadelphia-N.Y. Yankees games.

NL
SAN DIEGO 6 – Arizona 2
… Fernando Tatis Jr.’s bases-clearing triple highlighted a five-run bottom of the fourth inning for the Padres.

Chi. Cubs 8 – CINCINNATI 7… The Cubs built a 7-0 lead after 5-1/2 innings and hung on to edge the Reds. Anthony Rizzo belted his third homer.

Milwaukee 6 – PITTSBURGH 5 (11 innings)… Eric Sogard doubled home Brock Holt with the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th inning and the Brewers made it stand in a rain-delayed win. Ryan Braun’s two-run game-tying double capped a four-run ninth.

AL
OAKLAND 3 – L.A. Angels 0
… Chris Bassitt and five relievers combined on the shutout. Mark Canha homered for the Athletics.

Kansas City 14 – DETROIT 6… Maikel Franco belted two of the Royals’ six home runs in their pounding of the Tigers. Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler, Salvador Perez and Brett Phillips also went deep.

HOUSTON 8 – Seattle 5… Alex Bregman’s 100th career homer was a three-run shot that helped power the Astros past the Mariners. Jose Altuve added a solo shot.

CLEVELAND – Chi. White Sox (ppd)… Rain in Cleveland forced postponement of last night’s Indians-White Sox game. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader today.

INTERLEAGUE
Toronto 4 – WASHINGTON 1
… Teoscar Hernandez drilled two of the Blue Jays’ four solo homers in the win over the Nationals.

TAMPA BAY 14 – Atlanta 5… Hunter Renfroe homered twice and knocked in four runs as the Rays romped over the Braves. Jose Martinez, Joey Wendle and Mike Zunino also circled the bases.

N.Y. Mets 7 – BOSTON 4… The Mets got home runs from Michael Conforto, Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith in downing the Red Sox. Michael Wacha allowed just a run on five hits over five innings.

N.Y. Yankees – PHILADELPHIA (ppd)… Last night’s Yankees-Phillies game was postponed due to COVID-19 fears.

MIAMI – Baltimore (ppd)… Last night’s Marlins-Orioles game was postponed due to COVID-19 fears.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
NL

the Chi. Cubs (Alec Mills) are at Cincinnati (Tyler Mahle)…
Pittsburgh (Derek Holland) hosts Milwaukee (Josh Lindblom)…
San Diego (Zach Davies) is at San Francisco (Jeff Samardzija)

AL
the Chi. White Sox (Dylan Cease; Carlos Rodon) are at Cleveland (Aaron Civale; Adam Plutko) for a doubleheader…
Detroit (TBD) hosts Kansas City (TBD)…
the L.A. Angels (Patrick Sandoval) are at Seattle (Justus Sheffield)…

INTERLEAGUE
Toronto (Tanner Roark) is at Washington (Austin Voth)…
Tampa Bay (Yonny Chorinos) hosts Atlanta (Kyle Wright)…
the N.Y. Yankees (J.A. Happ) are at Philadelphia (Jake Arrieta)…
Texas (Kyle Gibson) hosts Arizona (Merrill Kelly)…
N.Y. Mets (TBD) are at Boston (Matt Hall)…
Minnesota (Homer Bailey) hosts St. Louis (Carlos Martinez)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Walker Buehler) are at Houston (Framber Valdez)…
Oakland (Daniel Mengden) hosts Colorado (Antonio Senzatela)….

NBA REGULAR SEASON RESUMES THURSDAY

NHL STANLEY CUP QUALIFIERS BEGIN SATURDAY

The Rundown for July 27, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 4,233,927 and the nation’s death toll stands at 146,934, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Florida surpassed New York in total cases after reporting more than 9,000 new cases yesterday. More than one-third of the cases reported in the state have been among people between the ages of 15 and 34, with outbreaks in jails, farms and nursing homes, the Florida Department of Health department reported.

KUDLOW TALKS CORONAVIRUS RELIEF PACKAGE… White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said yesterday that the next federal coronavirus relief package will include direct stimulus payments and an extension on the federal eviction moratorium. During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Kudlow said $1 trillion package that Republicans are scheduled to introduce today will include a $1,200 stimulus check, temporary and reduced unemployment benefits, funds to help schools reopen, $16 billion in funding for testing and tax incentives for companies to rehire employees. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows later confirmed that the White House and Senate Republicans have reached “an agreement in principle” on the bill.

PROTESTS TURN VIOLENT… Ongoing demonstrations against systemic racism and police brutality turned violent in several cities over the weekend. Protesters continue to square off against federal agents outside a courthouse in Portland, Oregon, and police in Seattle reported the arrest of at least 45 people on Saturday night for assaults on officers, obstruction and failure to disperse. Twenty-one Seattle officers were injured in clashes with protesters. A march against police violence turned deadly in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night when a 28-year-old man was fatally shot by a person who had driven aggressively through a crowd.

THE LATE JOHN LEWIS HONORED… The late civil rights leader and U.S. congressman from Georgia John Lewis was honored at services that included a vigil at the Alabama state Capitol in Montgomery last night. Yesterday morning, Lewis’ body was carried by horse-driven carriage across the rose petal-covered Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, 55 years after he was clubbed there by police officers trying to halt a 1965 peace march. Lewis died on July 17 at age 80 following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

HANNA STRIKES TEXAS… Hanna, the first hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, brought high winds and more than a foot of rain to part of the Texas Gulf Coast yesterday. She made landfall on Padre Island and near Port Mansfield as a Category 1 hurricane on Saturday but was downgraded to a tropical storm. Officials report flooded streets, widespread power outages and destroyed boats.

ENTERTAINMENT
OLIVIA de HAVILAND DIES
… Legendary actress Olivia de Havilland died Saturday, her representatives confirmed yesterday. She was 104. De Havilland was nominated for five Oscars and won best actress honors for 1947’s “To Each His Own” and 1950’s “The Heiress.” She earned a Best Supporting Actress nomination for her portrayal of Melanie “Mellie” Hamilton in the 1939 classic “Gone with the Wind.”

JUICE WRLD REMAINS TOP ALBUM CHART… Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” sold 162,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart. Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon” stayed in second place after selling 138,000 units. The Chicks’ (formerly the Dixie Chicks) first album since 2006, “Gaslighter,” debuted at No. 3 after selling 84,000 copies. The original Broadway cast recording of “Hamilton: An American Musical” slipped into fourth place on sales of 78,000 units. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” capped the top five with 57,000 copies sold.

SPORTS
MLB
NL
San Francisco 3 – L.A. DODGERS 1
… The Giants held off the Dodgers to claim a split of the four-game series.

Miami 11 – PHILADELPHIA 6… Brian Anderson and Miguel Rojas connected for three-run homers to help power the Marlins past the Phillies.

Pittsburgh 5 – ST. LOUIS 1… Colin Moran and Jose Osuna homered for the Pirates. Starter Mitch Keller limited the Cardinals to a run on two hits over five innings.

CHI. CUBS 9 – Milwaukee 1… Tyler Chatwood allowed just a run on three hits over six innings. Willson Contreras doubled home a run and homered.

Arizona 4 – SAN DIEGO 3… The Diamondbacks did all their scoring in their final two at-bats to edge the Padres. Ketel Marte lifted a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the top of the ninth inning.

Atlanta 14 – N.Y. METS 1… Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies both had three hits with a homer and three RBIs as the Braves blasted the Mets.

AL
TAMPA BAY 6 – Toronto 5
(10 innings)… Kevin Kiermaier lined a two-run triple in the bottom of the 10th inning to lift the Rays over the Blue Jays.

CLEVELAND 9 – Kansas City 2… Jose Ramirez went 3-for-5 with two homers and four RBIs to lead the Indians in their romp over the Royals.

Baltimore 7 – BOSTON 4… Rio Ruiz and Anthony Santander blasted two-run homers for the Orioles.

Seattle 7 – HOUSTON 6… Kyle Lewis’ tie-breaking two-run single in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference in the Mariners’ win over the Astros.

Minnesota 14 – CHI. WHITE SOX 2… Jake Cave unloaded a grand slam for the Twins. Nelson Cruz went 4-for-5 with two homers and seven RBIs.

OAKLAND 6 – L.A. Angels 4… The Athletics put up five runs in the bottom of the first inning and coasted past the Angels.

INTERLEAGUE
N.Y. Yankees 3 – WASHINGTON 2
… Gleyber Torres homered with a runner aboard in the top of the seventh inning and singled home a tie-breaking run in the eighth for the Yankees.

Detroit 3 – CINCINNATI 2… C.J. Cron connected for a tie-breaking two-run homer in the top of the ninth inning and the Tigers held on to edge the Reds.

Colorado 5 – TEXAS 2… Trevor Story homered twice and knocked in three runs for the Rockies.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE
NL
Arizona (Luke Weaver) is at San Diego (Joey Lucchesi)…
Cincinnati (Wade Miley) hosts the Chi. Cubs (Jon Lester)…
Milwaukee (Adrian Houser) is at Pittsburgh (Steven Brault)

AL
the L.A. Angels (Griffin Canning) are at Oakland (Chris Bassitt)…
Cleveland (Aaron Civale) hosts the Chi. White Sox (Dylan Cease)…
Kansas City (Mike Montgomery) is at Detroit (Michael Fulmer)…
Houston (Josh James) hosts Seattle (Kendall Graveman)

INTERLEAGUE
Toronto (Trent Thornton) is at Washington (Anibal Sanchez)…
Tampa Bay (Tyler Glasnow) hosts Atlanta (Mike Foltynewicz)…
the N.Y. Yankees (J.A. Happ) are at Philadelphia (Jake Arrieta)…
Miami (Pablo Lopez) hosts Baltimore (Asher Wojciechowski)…
the N.Y. Mets (Michael Wacha) are at Boston (Josh Osich)

The Rundown for July 24, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 4,034,102 and the death toll stands at 144,242, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… President Trump announced yesterday that the Jacksonville, Florida, component of the Republican National Convention is being cancelled due to surging coronavirus cases in the state. Trump said he’ll appear in telerallies and online events rather than at a large gathering. The event was scheduled for August 25 to August 27… The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday released guidelines for school re-openings. Students should wear masks, wash their hands frequently and socially distance, the CDC urged.

JOHN LEWIS TO LIE IN STATE… House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced yesterday that civil rights icon and U.S. Congressman from Georgia John Lewis will lie in state at the Capitol Rotunda next week. The public will be invited to pay their respects 6 p.m to 10 p.m. Monday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday. Lewis died Friday after a battle with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.

FEDERAL USE OF FORCE INVESTIGATED… Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced yesterday that he’s opening an investigation into the use of force by federal law enforcement agents on protesters in Portland and Washington, D.C. A referral from the U.S. Attorney’s office in Oregon prompted the probe, Horowitz said. Federal law enforcement officials arrived in Portland earlier this month to quell Black Lives Matter protests in the city. More than 40 protesters reportedly have been grabbed off the street by unidentified officers in unmarked vehicles.

MICHAEL COHEN TO BE RELEASED FROM PRISON…. President Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen is expected to be released from prison today after a judge yesterday ordered him freed. U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein found that the Justice Department had ordered him back to prison earlier this month as retaliation against him for planning to release a book critical of Trump before November’s election. In ordering Cohen’s release, the judge found his First Amendment rights had been violated. The 53-year-old Cohen sued federal prison officials and Attorney General William Barr on Monday, claiming he was imprisoned for writing the book: “Disloyal: The True Story of Michael Cohen, Former Personal Attorney to President Donald J. Trump.” Cohen pleaded guilty on August 21, 2018, to eight counts including campaign finance violations, tax fraud, and bank fraud. He was sentenced to three years in federal prison on December 12, 2018, and was furloughed in May.

JUDGE RULES FEDS CAN’T ARREST PROTEST OBSERVERS… A federal judge yesterday issued a temporary restraining order that prevents federal officers from arresting legal observers and journalists at the Black Lives Matter protests in Portland unless a crime has been committed. U.S. District Court Judge Michael Simon’s order will remain in place for 14 days. It also allows journalists to ignore dispersal orders from authorities.

ENTERTAINMENT
TAYLOR SWIFT RELEASES ALBUM
… Taylor Swift made a surprise announcement yesterday when she revealed that she would be releasing a new album at midnight. “Folklore” contains 16 tracks and features Bon Iver, Aaron Dessner of The National and frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff. Swift also said she would release the music video for the song “Cardigan.”

LUKE COMBS RESCHEDULES TOUR… Luke Combs has rescheduled the remaining dates of his “What You See is What You Get” tour. He announced yesterday that the tour will resume June 22, 2021, in Albuquerque. Combs launched the tour in February and it was supposed to run into December. The coronavirus pandemic prompted the tour’s postponement.

SPORTS
MLB
INTERLEAGUE

WASHINGTON 4 – N.Y. Yankees 1… The World Series-champion Nationals opened major league baseball’s abbreviated 60-game season by downing the Yankees in a game called in the sixth inning due to rain. Starter Gerrit Cole allowed a run on one hit over five innings. Giovanni Stanton homered with a runner aboard in the top of the first inning and single home a run in the fifth.

NL
L.A. DODGERS 8 – San Francisco 1
… Enrique Hernandez lined a two-run single during a five-run bottom of the seventh inning and added a two-run homer in the eighth as the Dodgers pulled away from the Giants. Dustin May got the start for the Dodgers after scheduled starter Clayton Kershaw complained of stiffness in his back and will begin the season on the 10-day injured list.

TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
NL

Atlanta (Mike Soroka) is at the N.Y. Mets (Jacob deGrom)…
the Chi. Cubs (Kyle Hendricks) host Milwaukee (Brandon Woodruff)…
Miami (Sandy Alcantara) is at Philadelphia (Aaron Nola)…
St. Louis (Jack Flaherty) hosts Pittsburgh (Joe Musgrove)…
Arizona (Madison Bumgarner) is at San Diego (Chris Paddack)…
the L.A Dodgers (Ross Stripling) hosts San Francisco (Jeff Samardzija)

AL
Toronto (Hyun-Jin Ryu) is at Tampa Bay (Charlie Morton)…
Cleveland (Shane Bieber) hosts Kansas City (Danny Duffy)…
Baltimore (Tommy Milone) is at Boston (Nathan Eovaldi)…
the Chi. White Sox (Lucas Giolito) host Minnesota (Jose Barrios)…
Seattle (Marco Gonzalez) is at Houston (Justin Verlander)…
Oakland (Frankie Montas) hosts the L.A. Angels (Andrew Heaney)

INTERLEAGUE
Detroit (Matthew Boyd) is at Cincinnati (Sonny Gray)…
Texas (Lance Lynn) hosts Colorado (German Marquez)

MLB EXPANDS PLAYOFFS FOR 2020 SEASON… Major League Baseball owners and players agreed yesterday to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16 teams for the 2020 season. As reported by ESPN, all second-place teams in the six divisions will now qualify for the playoffs. The seventh and eighth playoff teams in each league will be determined by best record. The first round of the playoffs, scheduled for September 29-October 2, will be four three-game series in each league with all games played at the higher seed’s home stadium. The rest of the rounds will be their customary length: The two division series in each league will be five-game series, while the American League and National League Championship Series and World Series will be seven-game series.

The Rundown for July 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,970,906 and the death toll stands at 143,190, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. California recorded a record-high 12,804 new cases yesterday to surpass New York as the nation’s leader… Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz have issued executive orders mandating the wearing of masks. Ohio’s mandate begins today at 6 p.m. and requires everyone over the age of 10 to wear a mask in public places. Minnesotans must wear masks at all indoor public areas beginning Saturday… Democratic senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Ben Cardin of Maryland yesterday introduced legislation that addresses the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The COVID-19 Health Disparities Action Act would require the Trump administration to develop an action plan to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 to provide targeted testing, contact tracing and outreach efforts directed at communities of color… Senate Republicans announced last night that they have “reached a fundamental agreement” with the White House on a coronavirus relief bill that they hope to release today. House Democrats have passed a $3.4 trillion bill and pressuring the GOP-led Senate to move quickly on new aid as cases and deaths rise.

TRUMP SENDING FEDERAL AGENTS TO MORE CITIES… President Trump yesterday said his administration is sending a “surge” of federal law enforcement officials to combat violence in Chicago and Albuquerque, The action is part of the Justice Department’s controversial Operation Legend. Officers from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be sent to the cities. On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she would push back against the deployment of federal officers in the city. Attorneys representing the State of Oregon yesterday argued for a restraining order against federal agents deployed to quell protests in Portland. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who accuses federal agents of arresting protesters without probable cause, whisking them away in unmarked cars and using excessive force. Democratic mayors of 15 cities have condemned the use of the agents in a letter to Attorney General William Barr.

HOUSE VOTES TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES… The House voted yesterday to pass legislation that would require the removal of statues of people who served the Confederacy or otherwise defended slavery. The 305-to-113 vote carried the support of every house Democrat, 72 Republicans and one libertarian. The legislation calls for statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederacy to be removed from display in the Capitol complex and would order states to replace such statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection. It also calls for the removal of statues of John C. Calhoun, Charles Ayock and James P. Clarke for defending slavery, segregation and white supremacy.

U.S.-CHINA TENSIONS ESCALATE… U.S.-China tensions heightened yesterday after the State Department ordered China to close its consulate in Houston and the FBI accused China’s San Francisco consulate of harboring a military-linked fugitive. The Houston consulate must be shut down by tomorrow, the State Department said, as punishment for Beijing allegedly “stealing” intellectual property. Later, federal prosecutors claimed a scientific researcher charged last month with visa fraud remains holed up at the San Francisco consulate. Tang Juan allegedly lied about her connection to the Chinese military in order to obtain entry into the U.S.

ARREST IN FLORIDA MURDERS OF 3… Authorities in Polk County, Florida, have announced the arrests of three people in connection with the fatal shootings of three Florida men who’d gone fishing together on Friday night. 26-year-old Tony “TJ” Wiggins is being held on charges of first-degree murder; tampering with evidence; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. His 27-year-old girlfriend and 21-year-old brother have been arrested on charges of accessory after the fact of a capital felony.

ENTERTAINMENT
SINGER/ACTRESS ANNIE ROSS DIES
… Jazz singer and actress Annie Ross, who was best remembered for her song “Twisted,” died at her home in Manhattan on Tuesday of complications from emphysema and heart disease, her former manager confirmed yesterday. She was 89. As an actress, she had memorable roles in two Robert Altman films, 1992’s “The Player” and 1993’s “Short Cuts.” Her film credits included “Superman III” and “Throw Momma From the Train.” Ross was named a Jazz Master in 2010 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

HBO RENEWS ‘PERRY MASON’… HBO announced yesterday that it is renewing the drama series “Perry Mason” for a second season. The series stars Matthew Rhys as the titular defense attorney in 1930s Los Angeles. Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Tatiana Maslany and John Lithgow were among the first season’s cast.

SPORTS
MLB OPENS ABBREVIATED 2020 SEASON
… Major League Baseball’s 2020 60-game shortened season gets underway tonight with a pair of games. The World Series-champion Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees in the opener. Max Scherzer gets the start for the Nationals; he’ll be opposed by Gerrit Cole in a matchup of righthanders. First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m. Eastern. The later game features the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting their longtime rival San Francisco Giants. Lefthander Clayton Kershaw will make his ninth opening-day start in 10 years for the Dodgers. He’ll be opposed by Giants’ righthander Johnny Cueto. Gametime is 10:08 p.m. Eastern. Both games air on ESPN… The Dodgers made headlines with agreeing to a 12-year $365 million contract with Mookie Betts. The contract carries him through the 2032 season. L.A. obtained the 27-year-old centerfielder over the winter in a trade that sent outfielder Alex Verdugo and shortstop Jeter Downs to the Boston Red Sox. Betts batted .295 with 29 homers and 80 RBIs for the Red Sox last season. He was voted the 2018 AL MVP when he hit .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBIs. Betts has won four straight Gold Glove awards and three Silver Sluggers in the last four years.

The Rundown for July 7, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,938,624 and the nation’s death toll stands at 130,306, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci noted yesterday that the average age of new coronavirus patients has dropped by roughly 15 years compared with only a few months ago. During a Q&A discussion with National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, Fauci said that the resurgence of cases in the U.S. is an extension of the original outbreak, not a second wave.

TREASURY DEPT. DISCLOSES PPP LOAN RECIPIENTS… The Treasury Department yesterday released names of more than 650,000 companies that received loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. Loans totaling $521 billion were intended to help companies to pay their employees amid the pandemic. Much of the money ended up in the hands of restaurants, small businesses and organizations, but some of the beneficiaries were called into question. They included groups that opposed government spending and taxes, companies with ties to lawmakers and their families, Washington, D.C., strategy firms and Kanye West’s fashion brand.

PIPELINES GET SHUT DOWN… Work on the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines was brought to a halt by two court rulings yesterday. The Supreme Court denied the Trump administration’s request to allow for construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline to continue in upholding a lower court’s decision that blocked a key environmental permit. A federal judge in Washington ordered the Dakota Access pipeline shut down for additional environmental review. Pipeline owner Energy Transfer announced plans to appeal. Yesterday’s rulings came a day after backers announced they were pulling out of the $8 billion Atlantic Coast gas pipeline in the Southeast.

ONLINE-ONLY CLASSES THREATEN INTERNATIONAL-STUDENT VISAS… International students in the U.S. on student visas must leave the U.S. or face possible deportation if their college or university switches to online-only classes in the fall because of the coronavirus pandemic. In announcing the policy, Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that students on F-1 and M-1 visas “may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States.” Students on F1 visas who attend schools that provide a mixture of online and in-person classes will be permitted to take some online courses.

STATE OF EMERGENCY IN GEORGIA… Georgia Governor Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency yesterday following a 4th of July weekend in which the shootings of 30 residents left five people dead. The order authorizes the deployment of 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops at state buildings and increases law-enforcement patrols. The Guardsmen will be assigned to protect state buildings, including the Capitol, the governor’s mansion and the headquarters for the Department of Public Safety.

ENTERTAINMENT
CHARLIE DANIELS DIES
… Country music star Charlie Daniels died yesterday after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke. He was 83. Daniels, who was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry, was best known for his song “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” Prior to achieving fame, Daniels was a session musician best known for his work with Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr and Leonard Cohen.

DISNEY ANNOUNCES KAEPERNICK DOCUMENTARY SERIES… The Walt Disney Co. announced yesterday that it is entering a partnership between ESPN Films and Colin Kaepernick for an exclusive documentary series on the former NFL player’s football career and racial activism. According to ESPN, the series will tell “scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social injustice and the quest for equity.” Disney will carrie the project across all its platforms, including Walt Disney Television, ESPN, Hulu, Pixar and The Undefeated.

SPORTS
MLB REVEALS SEASON SCHEDULE
… Major League Baseball announced yesterday that its 2020 regular season will get underway with a pair of games on July 23. The defending World Series-champion Washington Nationals will host the New York Yankees in the opener and the San Francisco Giants visit the rival Los Angeles Dodgers in the nightcap. A full slate of 14 games will be played the next day.

CHIEFS EXTEND MAHOMES… The Kansas City Chiefs announced yesterday that they have reached agreement with Super Bowl MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes on a 10-year contract extension that binds him with the team through the 2031 season. The deal is worth a reported $450 million. ESPN reported that the extension includes a $140 million injury guarantee and no-trade clause.

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.

The Rundown for June 19, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,191,052 and the death toll stands at 118,434, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Florida set another new coronavirus case record yesterday with a jump of 3,207 new cases. The day before, California set a new record with 4,165 new cases. As hospitals in Florida complained about a shortage of ICU beds, Governor Ron DeSantis attributed the spike to increased testing. California Governor Gavin Newsom encouraged his state’s residents to wear face masks and social distance when leaving home. He said the state is closely monitoring the counties facing case increases. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, meanwhile, threatened to withhold $100 million in federal funds from the state’s local governments if they require residents to wear masks. Ricketts has encouraged people to wear a mask “but does not believe that failure to wear a mask should be the basis for denying taxpayers’ services,” his office explained. Finally, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci warned yesterday that American “anti-science bias” has presented great difficulty in curbing the pandemic.

SCOTUS BLOCKS TRUMP DECISION TO END DACA… The Supreme Court voted 5-4 yesterday to block the Trump administration’s effort to end the DACA program, which allowed non-citizens brought into the U.S. illegally as children to apply for protection from deportation. Justices found that the decision to end the program was arbitrary and capricious in rejecting White House arguments that DACA is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end the program. It appears unlikely that the Trump would be able to challenge the program before November’s presidential election.

PENTAGON TOP FOREIGN POLICY OFFICIAL RESIGNS… Defense Secretary Mark Esper confirmed yesterday that the Pentagon’s top official overseeing international security affairs has resigned. Kathryn Wheelbarger announced her departure after the White House canceled her nomination for a prominent senior role. Wheelbarger became the second Pentagon official to resign this week, following acting comptroller Elaine McCusker, who stepped down on Tuesday. Both women say their nominations for new jobs were denied over concerns about their loyalty to President Trump.

FACEBOOK REMOVES TRUMP CAMPAIGN ADS… Facebook announced yesterday it has removed 88 ads produced by President Trump’s re-election campaign that featured a symbol that violated its policy against organized hate. The ads called on supporters to sign a petition in support of Trump’s call to make Antifa a terrorist organization, even though there has been of the unofficial group during recent social unrest. The ads featured a red, upside-down triangle featured was similar to one used by Nazis for political prisoners in concentration camps.

ATLANTA COPS CALLING IN SICK TO PROTEST… An unknown number of Atlanta police officers called in sick yesterday to protest the murder charges filed against a since-fired white member of the force who fatally shot a Black man in the back during a foot pursuit outside a Wendy’s restaurant last week. The Atlanta Police Department insists it still has the manpower to protect the city. However, just one officer showed up for work yesterday morning in Zone 6, which covers much of Atlanta’s east side and which several dozen are assigned to patrol.

ENTERTAINMENT
STADIUM TOUR RESCHEDULED
… Def Leppard, Motley Crue and Poison have rescheduled their planned North American summer stadium tour to 2021. The tour was originally scheduled to begin Sunday in San Antonio but will now start June 19, 2021, in Nashville. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts will join the three bands on the tour.

WOODSTOCK ORGANIZERS SUE FINANCIER… Woodstock 50 organizers are suing the Japanese advertising firm Dentsu over last year’s failed attempt to produce a 50th anniversary festival. In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in New York Supreme Court, organizers claim that Dentsu and its subsidiary agreed to finance the festival but then manufactured an excuse to breach their agreement, thereby depriving the organizers of millions in revenue. Plaintiffs are seeking tens of millions of dollars from Dentsu.

SPORTS
BASEBALL OWNERS REJECT 70-GAME PROPOSAL
… Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred quickly rejected a proposed a 70-game regular-season schedule the players union submitted yesterday. In offering a proposal that included expanded playoffs in 2020 and 2021, MLBPA executive director Tony Clark expressed confidence that it could bring both sides closer on an agreement to resume a 2020 season. Manfred was angered earlier in the week after his face-to-face negotiations with Clark failed to produce a deal.

NBA PLAYERS CAN OPT TO WEAR ‘SMART RINGS’… The NBA sent out a memo yesterday announcing that players will be offered the chance to wear a titanium “smart ring” that monitors their temperature as a coronavirus precaution once the season resumes. The league is currently planning to start a modified season on July 30 with games at Walt Disney World in Orlando. The league said players who wear the smart ring would help prevent the spread the virus to other players.

The Rundown for June 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the U.S. has reached 2,163,290 and the nation’s death toll stands at 117,717, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. 10 states have reported record seven-day high averages of new cases since the pandemic began. The states include Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina and Texas. Despite the uptick in the number of cases and hospitalizations in his state, Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday announced he was barring cities from implementing any rules that would require face coverings.

BOLTON BOOK EXCERPTS… Multiple media outlets that obtained advanced copies of former national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book,”The Room Where It Happened,” reported that it contains some damaging details about the Trump White House. Bolton, who served as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019, said at last June’s G20 Summit in Osaka, Trump pleaded with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help him win the 2020 re-election by purchasing more U.S. farm products. Among other claims, Bolton says Trump tried to halt criminal investigations to help “dictators he liked” and there were multiple instances when Trump sought to intervene in law enforcement matters for political reasons. Bolton also noted that Trump was apparently not aware that Britain is a nuclear power and didn’t know that Finland is not part of Russia. Bolton says he reported cases of Trump’s potential abuses of power to Attorney General Bill Barr. Last night, the Justice Department stepped up its effort to block publication of the book by filing an emergency request. The new filing came in the same civil lawsuit the Justice Department filed the day before seeking to recoup whatever earnings Bolton made from the book. A second tell-all book about Trump by his niece, Dr. Mary Trump, is scheduled for release next week. The president is reportedly looking into suing his niece, who was the source behind a New York Times Pulitzer-winning exposé on Trump’s tax schemes.

ATLANTA COPS CHARGED… Prosecutors have filed 11 charges, including felony murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon against Garrett Rolfe, the white Atlanta police officer who fatally shot a Black man twice in the back last week during a foot pursuit outside a Wendy’s restaurant. Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard said yesterday that Brooks was not a deadly threat and that the officer kicked the wounded black man and offered no medical treatment for over two minutes as he lay dying on the ground. At the time of the shooting, 27-year-old Rayshard Brooks was holding a taser he had snatched from officers but held no darts and he was beyond its effective range anyway, Howard said. A second Atlanta police officer, Devin Brosnan, is facing three charges, including aggravated assault and violation of oath, for his role in the deadly encounter. Both officers have been fired and have until 6 p.m. today to surrender themselves.

AUNT JEMIMA, UNCLE BEN’S TO CHANGE BRANDS… Weeks of civil unrest has prompted the makers of Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s rice to rebrand the products. Quaker Oats said it will replace the image of an old Black woman in its Aunt Jemima’s line because it was “based on a racial stereotype.” Mars, which owns Uncle Ben’s, said it would find a replacement for the 70-year-old image of an old man on the label, which was rooted in slavery and servitude. Quaker also announced a pledge of $400 million toward initiatives to oppose racial injustice.

NEW YORK MAKES JUNETEENTH A HOLIDAY… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday signed an executive order recognizing Juneteenth as a paid holiday for state employees to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in the U.S. The governor also vowed to propose legislation next year making June 19 a permanent state holiday. The legislature is already considering a bill that honors the day in 1865 when news of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation reached slaves in Galveston, Texas, who became among the last to be freed by a proclamation that had taken effect on January 1, 1863. Texas was the first state to make it a state holiday in 1980. On Tuesday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam proposed making Juneteenth a state holiday there.

ILLINOIS GOVERNOR SIGNS VOTER LEGISLATION… Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation yesterday to expand the state’s vote by mail availability and make election day a state holiday. The legislation also extends early voting hours at permanent polling places and improves the signature verification process. Voters who submit their application for a VBM ballot by October 1 will receive their VBM ballot by October 6.

ENTERTAINMENT
DANNY MASTERSON ARRESTED ON RAPE CHARGES
… Actor Danny Masterson, best known as the star of “That ’70s Show,” was arrested in Los Angeles yesterday and charged with the forcible rape three women in separate incidents between 2001 and 2003. Masterson posted bond at L.A. County Jail and is scheduled for arraignment in September. He faces 45 years to life in prison if convicted.

D’ELIA FACING ONLINE SOLICITATION ACCUSATIONS… Multiple women have stepped forward on Twitter yesterday with claims that comedian and actor Chris D’Elia sexually harassed them when they were underage. The women accused D’Elia of grooming them and soliciting them for nude photos or sexual encounters. One Twitter user posted screenshots of DM conversations she said she had with D’Elia when she was 16 years old in 2014. D’Elia responded to the accusations by denying any wrongdoing and promising “to do better.”

SPORTS
MLB OWNERS PROPOSE 60-GAME SEASON
… Negotiations between major league baseball owners and the players union appear to have taken a significant step toward the resumption of a 2020 season. ESPN reported that the owners yesterday submitted to the union a proposal that calls for a 60-game season at full prorated pay. The season would reportedly begin July 19 and include an expanded playoff format.

The Rundown for June 17, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,137,731 and the death toll stands at 116,963, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Eight states have reported cases surging 50 percent over the past seven days compared with the previous week. The states are South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas, Wyoming, Montana and Arizona. Meanwhile, White House officials are reportedly fuming over the Food and Drug Administration decision to rescind its “emergency use authorization” for chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment on Monday. The decision left the Trump administration with a stockpile of 66 million doses of the drugs.

SENATE PANEL CONSIDERS POLICE BRUTALITY… Members of the Senate judiciary committee yesterday listened to testimony regarding policing amid ongoing national protests against racism and police brutality. Two separate panels discussed on policing in the black community and made recommendations. Earlier yesterday, President Trump signed into law the Safe Policing for Safe Communities order, which contains measures requiring police departments to ban the use of chokeholds to receive certification for federal grants and moves to create a national registry to track officers with multiple instances of the use of excessive force. It also promotes the use of mental health professionals to help police deal with issues of homelessness and addiction.

TRUMP ADMIN SUES TO BLOCK BOLTON BOOK… The Trump administration has filed suit to block the publication of former national security adviser John Bolton’s upcoming book discussing his time in the White House. Administration officials yesterday cited “national security” in asking a federal judge to prevent next Tuesday’s scheduled release of “In the Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir.” The Justice Department alleges that the book is a breach of Bolton’s employment agreement with the White House. Bolton served as Trump’s national security adviser from April 2018 to September 2019.

WHITE HOUSE SEEKS TROOP REDUCTION IN GERMANY… The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the White House is seeking a substantial reduction of U.S. military personnel in Germany. A cut of 9,500 of the approximately 34,000 U.S. troops stationed in the country is the current tentative planning figure, according to a U.S. defense official. A formal order is expected soon. CNN reported that U.S. and NATO officials were caught off-guard by the size and timing of the reduction and expressed fear that it would strike a major blow to solidarity within the NATO alliance.

U.S. TO IMPOSE SYRIA SANCTIONS… The U.S. plans to impose sanctions against Syria today as part of an effort to force the Middle East country to comply with U.N.-led negotiations to end its nearly decade-long civil war. U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft, said during a teleconference call with the U.N. Security Council yesterday that the sanctions would “prevent the Assad regime from securing a military victory” and to steer it and its allies back toward the U.N.-led political peace process.

CALIFORNIA UTILITY ADMITS GUILT IN FIRE DEATHS… California utility company PG&E has pleaded guilty to the deaths of 84 people in the 2018 Camp Fire. The state’s deadliest and most destructive was blamed on PG&E’s faulty equipment. In return for its guilty plea, the utility will pay a fine of no more than $3.5 million and cover the $500,000 costs of the investigation, but there will be no jail time for executives. In yesterday’s court hearing, a judge read the name of each victim aloud to the company chief executive.

ENTERTAINMENT
KIMMEL TO HOST EMMY AWARDS
… Jimmy Kimmel has agreed to return as host of the 72nd Emmy Awards show. ABC Entertainment and the Television Academy announced yesterday that Kimmel will be back at the mic on September 20 after previously hosting the 64th and 68th Emmy Awards. The nominees for the 72nd Emmy Awards are scheduled to be announced July 28.

STEFANI RETURNS TO ‘THE VOICE’… Pop music star Gwen Stefani announced yesterday that she is returning as a coach for the NBC’s “The Voice.” Other mentors confirmed for Season 19 of the singing competition include Blake Shelton, John Legend and Kelly Clarkson. No premiere date has been announced.

SPORTS
EXPERT RECOMMENDS EARLY END TO BASEBALL SEASON
… As major league baseball owners and players remain at odds over proposals to open the 2020 season, they should also focus on an earlier ending date to avoid a second coronavirus wave, according to the nation’s top infectious diseases expert. In an ESPN interview, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, advised against playing baseball deep into October. “I would try to keep it in the core summer months and end it not with the way we play the World Series, until the end of October when it’s cold,” Dr. Fauci said. Owners have proposed ending the regular season on September 27 as originally scheduled and confining the postseason to October.