The Rundown for June 6, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,872,660 and the death toll stands at 108,211, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The Centers for Disease Control predicted that the U.S. death toll from COVID-19 could reach between 118,000 and 143,000 by June 27. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York City is still on track to begin “phase one” reopening on Monday.

PROTESTS CONTINUE… Protests targeting racism and police brutality continued yesterday in cities throughout the nation. Ongoing skirmishes between protesters and law enforcement has resulted in more than 10,000 arrests. A number of security personnel are also under scrutiny for overly aggressive responses to protesters. Two Buffalo police officers were suspended for shoving a 75-year-old man to the ground and leaving him there with a bloody scalp. Bloody clashes also occurred in New York, Los Angeles and other cities. President Trump is being blamed for the administration’s militant response to the protests and continues to be condemned by former military leaders. Retired Army general and former chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Martin Dempsey told NPR, “The idea that the president would take charge of the situation using the military was troubling to me.” Retired Marine General John Allen, who commanded the NATO International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces – Afghanistan, told CNN’s Jake Tapper: “I’ve fought in overseas wars. I never believed the Constitution to be under threat until recently.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday sent a letter to President Trump expressing concern about “increased militarization” and calling for full identification of all law enforcement and military agencies involved. The American Civil Liberties Union and others have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, alleging officials violated the civil rights of protesters who were forcefully removed from Lafayette Park near the White House on Monday by police using chemical agents so that President Trump could walk to a nearby church to have a photo taken of him holding a Bible. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Washington and claims that Trump, Attorney General William Barr and other officials “unlawfully conspired to violate” the protesters’ rights when clearing the park.

GEORGE FLOYD MOURNED AT FUNERAL… The man whose death at the hands of Minneapolis police was mourned yesterday at a funeral service that attracted Hollywood celebrities, musicians and political leaders. The service at North Central University honoring 46-year-old George Floyd was just a few blocks away from a court where a judge set bail at $750,000 each for three of the four fired police officers charged with aiding and abetting murder in Floyd’s death on May 25. The fourth officer, Derek Chauvin, is facing murder charges.

AHMAUD ARBERY CASE HEADED TO TRIAL… An investigator testified in court yesterday that one of three white men charged in the Georgia killing of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery used a racial slur after shooting shooting him. At a hearing that determined that the case would go to trial, prosecutors claimed Arbery had been “chased, hunted and ultimately executed.” A Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents said defendants William Bryan, Travis McMichael and his father, Gregory McMichael, pursued Arbery in pickup trucks and tried to box him in as he was jogging in their neighborhood. Both McMichaels are charged with murder and aggravated assault. Bryan, a neighbor who recorded the cellphone video that prompted the arrests, was charged with murder and attempting to illegally detain and confine

HUNTER BIDEN CLEARED IN UKRAINE… Hunter Biden, the son of presidential candidate Joe Biden, has been cleared of wrongdoing related to his work in Ukraine. Ukrainian Attorney General Ruslan Ryaboshapka made the announcement following the audit of thousands of old case files. Republicans had accused the younger Biden of corruption in the case that became a key issue in the impeachment of President Trump

TENNESSEE, TEXAS VIE FOR MAIL-IN VOTING… A Tennessee court ruled last night that all eligible voters in the state may vote by mail for the entire year, including in the November presidential election. According to the Tennessee Secretary of State’s office, absentee voting is available to voters who fall under specific categories, such as seniors, the sick and disabled who can’t access polling stations, out-of-country travelers, out-of-state students and those who will miss the vote due to jury duty, among others… In Tennessee, U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals extended its order blocking a lower court’s sweeping ruling that would have allowed all Texas voters to qualify to vote by mail during the pandemic. The ruling effectively eliminates the possibility that Texas voters will be able to legally request mail-in ballots solely because they fear a lack of immunity to the new coronavirus will put them at risk if they vote in person.

STATES SUE TO BLOCK DeVOS SEXUAL-ASSAULT POLICY… Attorneys general in more than a dozen states joined yesterday in filing a federal lawsuit to block Education Secretary Betsy DeVos’ new policy guiding schools and colleges in the handling of sexual assault cases. The lawsuit alleges that DeVos’ policy undercuts existing mandates in Title IX, the 1972 law barring discrimination based on sex in education. The suit also notes that DeVos’ order to implement the rules by August 14 is impracticable during a pandemic. Joining in the lawsuit are attorneys general in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and California, with backing from a total of 17 states and the District of Columbia.

ENTERTAINMENT
STURGILL SIMPSON LIVESTREAM
… Country singer Sturgill Simpson will perform a live stream concert tonight as a gesture of thanks to fans who donated to his recent fundraiser. The one-hour livestream will air at 8 p.m. ET from Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. It will stream on nugs.tv and Simpson’s Twitch account and YouTube channel. Simpson recently helped raise $250,000 for the MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund, Equity Alliance Nashville Tornado Relief and the Special Forces Foundation.

GABRIELLE UNION SUES… Actress Gabrielle Union yesterday filed a complaint with the state of California against NBC and the producers of “America’s Got Talent.” The complaint filed with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing claims Union was harassed and discriminated against because of her race and that she experienced retaliation for reporting the incident. Union, who is black, says she was exposed to racist jokes and remarks from judges, along with criticism of her hair. The complaint also alleges that NBC Entertainment Chairman Paul Telegdy called Union’s agents to issue unspecified threats, shared confidential information on the controversy with celebrities that the show was looking to hire and sought to undermine an investigation of Union’s issues.

SPORTS
MLB PLAYERS REJECT OWNERS’ RESTART PLAN
… The Major League Baseball Players Union yesterday “resoundingly rejected” the owners’ plan to begin the season, according to a statement from the union. The two sides discussed the issue during a two-hour conference call that included the union’s executive board and player leaders. On Wednesday, one the owners rejected the players’ proposal to play 114 games with full prorated salaries. Talks now appear to be at a standstill.

The Rundown for June 4, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,851,520 and the death toll has topped 107,175, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. There were 19,699 new cases and 995 virus-related deaths reported yesterday. Meanwhile, the Trump administration has selected five companies as the most likely to produce a Covid-19 vaccine.

PROTESTS CONTINUE… Protests continued at cities across the nation yesterday as demonstrators targeted police killings of African-Americans and called for peace. More military leaders have stepped forward to criticize President Trump’s handling of domestic unrest and its threat to the Constitution. Defense Secretary Mark Esper yesterday said he opposes the use of the military against protesters in defiance of Trump’s threat to deploy federal troops to “dominate the streets.” Trump’s former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, who resigned in 2018 over the commander-in-chief’s Syria policy, expressed support of protesters in a scathing interview published in The Atlantic. Mattis singled out Trump’s “bizarre photo op” Tuesday at St. John’s Episcopal Church after police cleared out the area by tear-gassing peaceful protesters as the president approached. The former Defense chief called it “an abuse of executive authority” and accused Trump of a “deliberate effort” to divide citizens rather than unite them.” Trump has been trying to pin violent episodes that have marred the protests on the non-existent “antifa” organization while the evidence of white-supremacy groups’ involvement continues to mount. Yesterday, three Nevada men with ties to a right-wing extremist group advocating the overthrow of the U.S. government were arrested on terrorism-related charges. Federal prosecutors say the three men conspired to spark violence during recent protests in Las Vegas. Also yesterday, prosecutors charged three more police officers in the death of George Floyd and filed a new, tougher charge against the officer at the center of the case. The most serious charge was filed against Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck. Chauvin is now facing a second-degree murder charge as well as charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. A full autopsy of Floyd was released yesterday and noted that he had previously tested positive for the coronavirus.

OBAMA HOSTS TOWNHALL… Former president Barack Obama yesterday made his first public remarks since protests broke out throughout the U.S. Addressing viewers on a live-streamed town hall, Obama said that the structural and societal challenges faced by people of color in the U.S. have been “thrown into high relief.” Nevertheless, the former president vowed that “as tragic as these past few weeks have been, as difficult and scary and uncertain as they’ve been, they’ve also been an incredible opportunity for people to be awakened to some of these underlying trends.” Obama did not mention President Trump during his roughly 15-minute-long presentation.

RAND PAUL BLOCKS ANTI-LYNCHING BILL… Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul yesterday blocked a bill that would have made lynching a federal hate crime. The bill drew bipartisan support and its sponsors put it up for a unanimous consent vote, but Paul’s opposition derailed it. Paul defended his position by claiming the bill would “conflate lesser crimes with lynching” and give those who inflict “minor bruising” a decade in prison.

ROBERT E. LEE STATUE TO BE REMOVED… Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans today to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Richmond. The removal would end a years-long effort by civil rights activists to take away what they consider a symbol of hate and sedition. Under Northam’s plan, the statue would be moved off its massive pedestal and put into storage until a new location is decided upon.

ENTERTAINMENT
BRUCE JAY FRIEDMAN DIES
… Screenwriter, playwright and author Bruce Jay Friedman died of undisclosed causes yesterday in New York. He was 90. Friedman’s screenwriting credits include the comedy films “Stir Crazy” and “Splash,” for which he shared an Oscar nomination. His acting credits included “You’ve Got Mail” and Woody Allen’s “Husbands and Wives.”

JOHN BOYEGA INSPIRES PROTESTERS WITH LONDON SPEECH… Lucasfilm hailed Disney actor John Boyega as a hero yesterday for a powerful speech he delivered at a Black Lives Matter protest in London. Boyega, who appeared last year in the Star Wars film “The Rise of Skywalker,” spoke about the death of George Floyd, racism and police violence. After expressing concern that his views could get him fired, he received commendations from Lucasfilm and is corporate partners.

SPORTS
MLB OWNERS REJECT PLAYERS’ OFFER
… Major League Baseball owners yesterday rejected the players’ offer for a 114-game regular season with no additional salary cuts. The owners also informed the players’ union that they don’t intend to offer a counterproposal Last week, owners proposed an 82-game regular season that would open June 30. The fear of a second wave of the coronavirus hesitant to extend the season into November.

The Rundown for June 3, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of conformed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,831,821 and the death toll stands at 106,181, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said yesterday that the U.S. should have 100 million doses of one candidate Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year. Meanwhile, at least 15 West Point cadets who returned to the military academy for President Trump’s upcoming commencement speech have tested positive for COVID-19. The cadets had all been sent home in March during the pandemic, but they returned to campus after President Trump unexpectedly announced in April that he would deliver a commencement speech on June 13. The president’s move was criticized by many officials as a “reckless” political stunt.

ANOTHER DAY OF PROTESTS… Protesters returned to streets across America yesterday for an eighth straight day of demonstrations targeting law-enforcement’s treatment of African-Americans. Earlier in the day, Trump pressed governors to put down the violence and demanded that New York call up the National Guard to stop the “lowlifes and losers.” The state of Minnesota, meanwhile, has launched a civil rights investigation into the Minneapolis Police Department over the death of George Floyd while he was in custody. Governor Tim Walz and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights said they hope to reach agreement with the city to identify short-term ways to address the police department’s history of racial discrimination. Both sides emphasized that they hope to find long-term solutions for systemic change. Finally, James Miller, who served as the Pentagon’s undersecretary of defense for policy during the Obama administration, resigned from his role on the Defense Advisory Board due to what he said was Secretary of Defense Mark Esper’s visible support for law enforcement officers’ clearing of protesters in Washington, D.C., on Monday. Miller called what he saw as Esper’s support for suppressing the protest a violation of Esper’s oath of office.

TRUMP LOOKS TO MOVE GOP CONVENTION… President Trump announced last night that he wants to move the Republican convention out of Charlotte because North Carolina Roy Cooper could not provide assurances that he could fill the convention hall. In a letter to officials at the Republican National Committee, Cooper said the possibility of the coronavirus lingering in the state or re-emerging left him unable to determine whether he could allow for full attendance at the August 24-27 convention. The RNC had been pressing Cooper for more specific guidance on his plans for the convention.

DEA APPROVED TO SURVEIL PROTESTERS… Buzzfeed News reported yesterday that the Department of Justice has given the Drug Enforcement Administration approval to conduct “covert surveillance” on protesters taking to the streets over Minneapolis Police Department’s killing of George Floyd. The surveillance powers are reportedly being granted on a temporary basis. The DEA has also been given the power to gather intelligence on demonstrators and share it with local and state law enforcement.

PRIMARIES IN 8 STATES… Iowa Republican Congressman Steve King lost his seat yesterday, as he was defeated by Senator Randy Feenstra, who took advantage of King’s provocative and racially-charged statements. In other primaries of interest, Attorney Teresa Leger Fernandez defeated former CIA operative Valerie Plame to win the Democratic nomination in New Mexico’s the 3rd Congressional District. Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden was projected to win Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Montana and Rhode Island.

ENTERTAINMENT
ACTOR COLE SPROUSE ARRESTED AT PROTEST
… Actor Cole Sprouse has provided an account his arrest on Sunday at a Black Lives Matter protest in Santa Monica, California. Sprouse, who stars as Jughead Jones in the CW television series “Riverdale,” says his detention came after he participated in a peaceful demonstration. He claims that he and other demonstrators were given the option to leave the beachside city after a 4 p.m. curfew but were blocked by police officers who detained them with zip ties.

HENLEY SEEKS CHANGE TO COPYRIGHT LAW… Musician/songwriter Don Henley testified virtually before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee yesterday and asked for changes to a 1998 law that protect artists against online pirating. The law allows holders of copyrighted material to formally ask parties they believe have taken their content without permission to remove it. The parties can dispute the claim. If they comply promptly with the request, there are no legal consequences. Otherwise, they may be subject to criminal penalties. Henley said the law must be strengthened to make it more effective.

SPORTS
NBA PLANS TO RESUME SEASON
… NBA owners are hopeful that they can reach agreement with players on a plan that would resume play on July 31 in Orlando. The plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding playoff position and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference. Commissioner Adam Silver will take the proposal to a vote of the NBA’s Board of Governors tomorrow, ESPN reported yesterday. Three-fourths of the league’s 30 teams would have to vote on the plan to pass it.

The Rundown for May 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rundown for May 21, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rundown for May 20, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rundown for May 19, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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