The Rundown for July 31, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 4,493,661 and the nation’s death toll stands at 152,040, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Yesterday’s deaths included former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, who had been an outspoken critic of masks and attended a President Trump rally in Tulsa without wearing one… White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN yesterday that it is impossible to know whether the U.S. is nearing the end of the pandemic or still in the early stages. He said the length of the pandemic will depend on how well Americans wear masks, socially distance and adhere to other guidelines.

ECONOMY POSTS RECORD DECLINE… The U.S. economy shrank by a shocking 32.9 percent annual rate in the second quarter—the biggest decrease since record-keeping began. The previous worst quarterly GDP plunge was a 10-percent decline in 1958. Meanwhile, the Labor Department announced that another 1.4 million workers filed jobless claims last week. It marked the 19th straight week that weekly jobless claims have topped a million.

FULL APPEALS COURT TO HEAR FLYNN CASE… The full Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit yesterday announced that it would reconsider a recent order dismissing the case against President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. The review will begin with oral arguments on August 11. Last month, a three-judge panel ordered the case dropped, ruling that there was no reason to question the Department of Justice’s surprise decision to dismiss it. U.S. District Judge Emmett Sullivan appealed that decision and asked for a hearing before the full court. Flynn admitted that he lied to FBI investigators who had been asking him about conversations he had with Russian envoy Sergey Kislyak and pleaded guilty in December 2017.

MICHAEL COHEN FREE TO WRITE BOOK… The Justice Department is ending its efforts to prevent President Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen from writing a tell-all book about Trump. Cohen, who had been serving the remainder of his three-year prison sentence under home confinement, was returned to prison early this month. He was released last week after the American Civil Liberties Union and a New York law firm filed suit alleging that Cohen’s rearrest amounted to retaliation for his plans to publish the book. The 53-year-old pleaded guilty in 2018 to charges of lying to a Senate committee about efforts to build a Trump Tower Moscow and coordinating hush-money payments to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL DOCUMENTS RELEASED…. High-profile lawyer Alan Dershowitz and Prince Andrew are accused of taking part in Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged sex ring of underage girls in court documents unsealed yesterday. The more than 600 pages of unsealed documents stem from a defamation lawsuit between Epstein’s associate Ghislaine Maxwell and a woman who has stepped forward as a victim of sex trafficking. The victim, Virginia Giuffre, said she had sex with Dershowitz “on numerous occasions while she was a minor, not only in Florida but also on private planes, in New York, New Mexico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.” Testimony also reveals that Dershowitz, in order to gain immunity for himself against rape charges, arranged Epstein’s 2007 sweetheart plea deal in which he pleaded guilty to two felony prostitution charges. Giuffre remembers seeing Bill Clinton at Epstein’s private island in the Caribbean but the former president hasn’t been linked to improper behavior. He has denied visiting the island. Maxwell remains jailed after pleading guilty earlier this month to charges that include sex crimes, conspiracy and perjury.

JOHN LEWIS FUNERAL… Three former presidents came together yesterday in joining others who honored the late civil rights leader and U.S. congressman from Georgia John Lewis at his funeral in Atlanta. The event capped a week of memorial services for Lewis, who died two weeks ago at age 80 after battling prostate cancer. “He, as much as anyone in our history, brought this country a little bit closer to our highest ideals,” former President Barack Obama said of Lewis in delivering the eulogy. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush also paid homage to Lewis.

L.A. CITY COUNCILMAN ACCUSED OF LEADING CRIMINAL ENTERPRISE… A Los Angeles city councilman is accused of leading a criminal enterprise and using his position at City Hall to enrich himself and his close associates. A federal grand jury yesterday returned a 34-count indictment against Jose Huizar as part of an ongoing corruption investigation. The 51-year-old Huizar was charged last month with one count of conspiracy to violate the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act. Prosecutors say he illegally accepted more than $800,000 in benefits from an unidentified Chinese billionaire who runs a multinational development firm and who owns a hotel in Huizar’s district. Huizar could face up to 30 years in federal prison if convicted on all charges. He is scheduled to appear via videoconference for his arraignment on Monday.

… Ellen DeGeneres has apologized to the staff of her daytime TV talk show following complaints of a difficult and unfair workplace. The apology came after Warner Bros. studio said “primary findings” revealed that an internal company investigation found some flaws in the show’s daily management. BuzzFeed News reported that one current and 10 former show employees complained about issues including being fired after taking medical or bereavement leave. One worker said she left because of comments about her race.

CINEMAX BRINGS BACK ‘WARRIOR’… Cinemax announced yesterday that it is bringing back the action-drama series “Warrior” for a second season in October. The series is based on writings by late actor and martial arts star Bruce Lee. It co-stars Olivia Cheng, Jason Tobin and Dianne Doan. The first season premiered in April 2019.

L.A. Dodgers 6 – ARIZONA 3
… The Dodgers got homers from A.J. Pollock, Cory Seager and Justin Turner in their defeat of the Diamondbacks.

San Diego 12 – SAN FRANCISCO 7 (10 innings)… The Padres came alive to score six runs in the top of the 10th inning and put away the Giants. Jurickson Profer stroked a two-run homer and singled home a run.

Chi. Cubs – CINCINNATI (ppd)… Rain in Cincinnati forced postponement of last night’s Cubs-Reds game. No makeup date has been announced.

N.Y. Yankees 8 – BALTIMORE 6
… Aaron Judge’s three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Yankees over the Orioles after they had blown a three-run lead.

Cleveland 2 – MINNESOTA 0… Indians starter Shane Bieber (2-0) pitched three-hit ball over eight innings and struck out 13 before reliever James Karinchak completed the shutout. Francisco Lindor provided all the offense Cleveland needed with a two-run homer in the top of the third inning.

Kansas City 5 – DETROIT 3… Bubba Starling’s two-run double in the top of the eighth inning proved to be the difference in the Royals’ win over the Tigers.

Seattle 8 – L.A. ANGELS 5… Jose Marmolejos blasted a three-run homer in the top of the first inning and Shed Long’s leadoff homer sparked a five-run ninth that carried the Mariners past the Angels.

Washington 6 – TORONTO 4
… Michael A. Taylor homered with a runner aboard and Kurt Suzuki doubled home two runs for the Nationals.

Boston 4 – N.Y. METS 2… Christian Vazquez homered twice and drove in three runs as the Red Sox doubled up on the Mets.

ATLANTA 2 – Tampa Bay 1… Braves starter Max Fried (1-0) took a perfect game into the fifth inning and got help from four relievers on a four-hitter as the Braves edged the Rays.

St. Louis (Jack Flaherty, 1-0) is at Milwaukee (Brett Anderson, 0-0)…
Atlanta (Sean Newcomb, 0-0) hosts the N.Y. Mets (Rick Porcello, 0-1)…
San Diego (Garrett Richards, 0-0) is at Colorado (Jon Gray, 0-0)…
the Chi. Cubs (Yu Darvish, 0-1) host Pittsburgh (Trevor Williams 0-1)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Tony Gonsolin, 0-0) are at Arizona (Zac Gallen, 0-0)

Boston (Ryan Weber, 0-1) is at the N.Y. Yankees (Jordan Montgomery, 0-0)…
Baltimore (Alex Cobb, 1-0) hosts Tampa Bay (Blake Snell, 0-0)…
the Chi. White Sox (Dallas Keuchel, 1-0) are at Kansas City (Kris Bubic, 0-0)…
Minnesota (Dobnek, 0-1) hosts Cleveland (Mike Clevinger, 0-0)…
Houston (Lance McCulors Jr., 1-0) is at the L.A. Angels (Matt Andriese, 0-0)…
Seattle (Taijuan Walker, 0-1) hosts Oakland (Sean Manaea, 0-1)

Cincinnati (Luis Castillo, 0-0) is at Detroit (Spencer Turnbull, 0-0)…
San Francisco (TBD) hosts Texas (Mike Minor, 0-1)

The NBA’s 2019-2020 season resumed last night with a pair of games played in Orlando…

Utah 106 – New Orleans 104… Rudy Gobert knocked down two free throws with 6.9 seconds left and the Jazz held on to down the Pelicans. Gobert finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell scored 20 points apiece.

L.A. Lakers 103 – L.A. Clippers 101… LeBron James scored the decisive bucket with 12.8 seconds remaining and finished with 34 points in the Lakers’ win. Anthony Davis led all scorers with 35 points.

Orlando vs. Brooklyn…
Portland vs. Memphis…
Washington vs. Phoenix…
Boston vs. Milwaukee…
San Antonio vs. Sacramento…
Houston vs. Dallas

the N.Y. Rangers vs. Carolina in Toronto…
Chicago vs. Edmonton in Edmonton…
Florida vs. the N.Y. Islanders in Toronto…
Montreal vs. Pittsburgh in Toronto…
Winnipeg vs. Calgary in Edmonton

The Rundown for July 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in he U.S. has reached 3,431,574 and the death toll stands at 136,466, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Alabama, Florida and North Carolina reported record daily increases in deaths yesterday. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said during an interview with medical journal yesterday that the U.S. could get the coronavirus pandemic under control in one to two months if every American wore a mask. “The time is now,” he warned. Meanwhile, the first COVID-19 vaccine tested in the U.S. has produced positive results in 45 volunteers who were administered the drug last March. The vaccine produced by the Biotech company Moderna reportedly produced coronavirus antibodies in all participants in the initial safety trial. A late-stage trial is scheduled to begin on July 27, when 30,000 will participate in 87 locations.

TRUMP RESCINDS VISA RULE… The Trump administration yesterday rescinded its rule that would have required international students to transfer or leave the U.S. if their schools held classes entirely online because of the pandemic. The rule faced widespread criticism following its announcement last week and was facing eight federal lawsuits and opposition from hundreds of universities. Its withdrawal was revealed at the start of a hearing in a federal lawsuit in Boston brought by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. U.S. District Judge Allison Burroughs said federal immigration authorities agreed to pull the July 6 directive and “return to the status quo.”

TRUMP IMPOSES CHINA SANCTIONS… President Donald Trump yesterday announced the signing of legislation that imposes sanctions on China in response to its interference with Hong Kong’s autonomy. Trump said the order also ends the preferential treatment that the U.S. has long afforded Hong Kong. In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced retaliatory sanctions against a handful of U.S. officials and entities, including Republican Senator Ted Cruz.

GHISLAINE MAXWELL HELD WITHOUT BOND… British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was ordered to be held without bail yesterday after pleading not guilty in a New York court to charges she conspired to traffic minors. Her trial was set for July 12, 2021. The 58-year-old Maxwell, an associate of the late financier Jeffrey Epstein, has denied helping him Epstein sexually exploit and abuse multiple minor girls as young as 14 from 1994 to 1997. The eight counts against her include conspiracy to entice minors to travel to engage in illegal sex acts, enticement of a minor to travel to engage in illegal sexual acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, transportation of a minor with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and perjury.

TUBERVILLE BEATS SESSION IN ALABAMA PRIMARY… Former Auburn University football coach Tommy Tuberville defeated former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in yesterday’s runoff for the Republican nomination for an Alabama U.S. Senate seat. With 92 percent of precincts reporting, Tuberville held a 61- to 39-percent lead. He moves on to face Democratic Senator Doug Jones in November. Jones ran unopposed in the primary.

… Viacom has announced that it is terminating its long-running relationship with Nick Cannon after the actor and TV show host allegedly spread anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on his podcast. The “Cannon’s Class” on June 30 featured Cannon’s interview of Professor Griff, a rapper who was fired from the group Public Enemy in 1989 for blaming Jews “for the majority of the wickedness in the world.” In the interview, the two shared conspiracy theories about the Rothschild banking family and claims that people of African descent are the “true” Jews.

NAYA RIVERA AUTOPSY RESULTS… Autopsy results released yesterday confirmed that “Glee″ star Naya Rivera died from accidental drowning in a Southern California lake. Authorities said the body showed no signs of traumatic injury or disease that might have contributed to the drowning at Lake Piru and there was no initial indication that drugs or alcohol may have played a role in her death. The results were consistent with the preliminary findings of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

… The Atlanta Braves have reportedly reached agreement with outfielder Yasiel Puig on a free-agent contract. The 29-year-old Puig was a 2014 All-Star for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He batted .267 in 149 games last season with the Cincinnati Reds and Cleveland Indians. The signing comes after Braves outfielder Nick Markakis announced earlier this month that he is opting out of the 2020 season.