CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,763,395 and the death toll stands at 140,477, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Florida yesterday recorded its fifth straight day of more than 10,000 new cases and reported a record number of 2,700 hospitalizations within a week. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said yesterday that the Navy has sent teams of medical and support professionals to support hospitals in Harlingen, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is pushing back against bipartisan efforts to ramp up funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for coronavirus contact tracing and testing. White House officials argue that there is sufficient funding still remaining from the March stimulus law. Specifics of the bill are expected to be unveiled next week.
TRUMP WON’T COMMIT TO ELECTION RESULTS… President Trump yesterday declined to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election. During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump told show host Chris Wallace that he will “have to see” about the results and made the baseless claim that mail-in voting will “rig the election.” During the interview, Trump also defended his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, belittled political rival Joe Biden and discredited National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.
HOUSE DEMS WANT PORTLAND INVESTIGATION… House Democrats are calling for the Inspectors General of the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to open investigations into reports that federal law enforcement agents have been unlawfully arrested protesters in Portland, Oregon. Reports claim that federal law enforcement agents began using unmarked vehicles to nab protesters last Tuesday. A joint letter signed by several congress members warns that “The Attorney General of the United States does not have unfettered authority to direct thousands of federal law enforcement personnel to arrest and detain American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.” Co-signers of the letter include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney. Yesterday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the presence of federal troops and enforcement officers is actually leading to “more violence and more vandalism.”
WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGES POMPEO COVER-UP… A whistleblower who has complained about alleged misconduct by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was blocked from pursuing the issue by top department officials who were covering for Pompeo, according to a copy of the complaint released yesterday. The whistleblower, a State Department employee, also promised new evidence to support allegations against Pompeo. The State Department admitted that it redacted large sections of the four-page report it released following a lawsuit filed by the watchdog group American Oversight. The State Department said its redactions were necessary due to an “ongoing investigation.”
GUNMAN OPENS FIRE AT FEDERAL JUDGE’S HOME… The 20-year-old son of a federal judge was fatally shot and the judge’s husband was critically wounded after a gunman opened fire at the family’s home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, yesterday afternoon. Authorities say the gunman approached the house dressed as a delivery driver and began shooting after the husband opened the door. Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark was reportedly in the basement at the time and was not injured. Salas most recently has been presiding over an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failed to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
GUNMAN OPENS FIRE AT FEDERAL JUDGE’S HOME… The 20-year-old son of a federal judge was fatally shot and the judge’s husband was critically wounded after a gunman opened fire at the family’s home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, yesterday afternoon. Authorities say the gunman approached the house dressed as a delivery driver and began shooting after the husband opened the door. Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark was reportedly in the basement at the time and was not injured. Salas most recently has been presiding over an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who accuse the company about making false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failing to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.
SHOOTINGS IN PEORIA… Authorities in Peoria, Illinois, say 13 people were shot at a gathering of almost 200 people early yesterday. Police say that there were multiple shooters involved in what appeared to be the “result of a dispute between groups of people,” but the suspects have not been identified. The victims’ injuries were described as non-life-threatening.
JUICE WRLD TOPS ALBUM CHART… Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” sold 497,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Last week’s champ, Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon,” dropped into second place with 110,000 units sold. The original Broadway cast recording of “Hamilton: An American Musical” dropped to No. 3 with 95,000 copies sold. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” finished fourth after selling 58,000 units. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” remained at No. 5 on sales of 34,000 copies.
LINKIN PARK DOESN’T WANT SONG IN TRUMP VIDEO… Linkin Park announced yesterday that it has issued a cease and desist letter over the use of one of the band’s songs in a video promoted by President Trump and White House due to a copyright violation. The version of the song “In The End” used in the video was a cover that featured Jung Youth, complained separately over the weekend. Twitter removed the video due to a copyright violation. Earlier this month, Neil Young objected to Trump playing several of his songs during a July 4 event at Mount Rushmore.
NFL PLAYERS QUESTION SAFETY PROTOCOLS… The NFL is meeting some resistance as it plans to open training camp this week. Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and other high-profile players went on social media yesterday to question the league’s plans for the 2020 season. Players are demanding that owners listen to medical experts as they finalize safety protocols. The players’ union and owners continue to negotiate proposals.