The Rundown for July 1, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rundown for June 30, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rundown for July 25, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Rundown for June 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.

… 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.

… 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 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.

… 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.

… 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 June 1, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… At least 19,788 new coronavirus cases and 600 virus-related deaths were identified in the U.S. yesterday, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The number of cases reported in the nation stands at 1,790,191 and the death toll is listed at 104,383. Brazil remains a hotspot for the disease as its 514,000 cases are more than any country outside the U.S.

PROTESTS RAGE… Protests targeting the killings of black people at the hands of police flared across the nation again yesterday, as peaceful demonstrations mixed with pockets of violence. President Trump, who reportedly was taken to a bunker as protests neared the White House, expressed anger at the destruction and announced that the U.S. “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization” despite no evidence that the group is behind the violence. Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday declared a state of disaster and ordered thousands of additional troops and more than 1,000 National Guard members to support local law enforcement in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that two police officers have been fired after a video appeared to show them tasing two protesters and dragging them out of a car on Saturday. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered all retail stores to close immediately in order to “fully enforce” an 8 p.m. curfew. Former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited the site of Saturday night’s Wilmington, Delaware, protests. “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us.” he said.

TRUMP WON’T CONTROL NATIONAL GUARD… President Trump will not take the dramatic step for now of seeking control of the National Guard, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced yesterday. The National Guard says that it has activated about 5,000 soldiers and airmen in 15 states and the District of Columbia, but that “state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security.” During his appearance on CNN’s “Face the Nation,” O’Brien also attacked the World Health Organization as “corrupt” and vowed that the U.S. could better use its public-health funds.

MINNESOTA AG TAKING OVER GEORGE FLOYD CASE… Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said yesterday that he is turning over the George Floyd case to Attorney General Keith Ellison. The former congressman will assist Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and the two are expected to begin work today. Floyd’s family had previously requested Ellison take over the case from Freeman. Minneapolis City Council on Saturday asked Walz to appoint Ellison as special prosecutor in this case.

SPACEX CAPSULE ARRIVES AT SPACE STATION… SpaceX yesterday delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Dragon capsule, carrying test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, pulled up to the station and docked automatically. It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the space station in its more than 20 years of existence.

… Actors Kendrick Sampson and John Cusack were among those who had contact with police at George Floyd protests over the weekend. Sampson, who stars in the HBO comedy-drama series “Insecure,” said he went to the emergency room after being struck by seven rubber bullets and police batons at a protest in Los Angeles. Cusack tweeted on Saturday that police approached him as he was filming a burning car and struck his bike.

GUNNA TOPS ALBUM CHART… Gunna’s new release, “Wunna,” sold 111,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” jumped into second place with 65,000 units sold. Last week’s champ, Future’s “High Off Life,” dropped to third place on sales of 61,000 copies. The 1975’s “Notes on a Conditional Form” opened in fourth place on sales of 54,000 units. Polo G’s “The Goat” capped the top five with 52,000 copies sold.

… The Major League Baseball Players Association yesterday delivered a return-to-play proposal to team owners. According to ESPN, the proposal includes a 114-game season, deferred salaries in the event of a canceled postseason and the option for all players to opt out of a potential 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. Players rejected a previous plan presented by owners. Both sides are hopeful that an agreement could be in place as early as this week.

JR SMITH PUMMELS VANDAL… A video posted online yesterday shows free-agent NBA guard JR Smith beating up a man who allegedly broke the window of Smith’s truck during the protests in Los Angeles over the weekend. The video shows Smith kicking the man when he is on the ground and then punching him when he gets up and runs away. Smith said he was parked in a residential area and not near any stores where looting took place during the protests.

The Rundown for May 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,342,594 and the death toll stands at 80,820, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force testified remotely before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee yesterday. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned governments not to “jump over” various checkpoints and “prematurely open.”

TRUMP LAWYER TRIES TO PROTECT FINANCIAL RECORDS… President Trump’s personal lawyer argued before the Supreme Court yesterday that the president should not be subject to the same laws as ordinary citizens. Attorney Jay Sekulow, who is trying to prevent three financial institutions from complying with subpoenas for the president’s financial records, claimed that the president is a branch of government and is immune to subpoenas. Three House committees and the New York City district attorney have subpoenaed two banks and an accounting firm for Trump’s financial records.

JUDGE IN FLYNN’S CASE GRANTS TIME FOR CHALLENGES… The judge in Michael Flynn’s court case is delaying an immediate decision on the Justice Department’s request to withdraw the case and will allow time for outside parties to file amicus briefs in challenging the government’s position. Flynn pleaded guilty last year to lying to the FBI about his contacts with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak but sentencing was delayed when he sought to change his guilty plea. U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan yesterday said he would set a schedule for parties to submit their challenges at a later date.

HOUSE DEMS UNVEIL $3T RELIEF PACKAGE… House Democrats yesterday unveiled a $3 trillion coronavirus relief package that includes another round of direct payments to Americans. A vote on the measure is scheduled for Friday. It is expected to carry a party-line vote, meaning it faces an uphill battle in the GOP-controlled Senate if it’s passed in the Democratic-led House. Republicans claim they don’t see an imminent need for another emergency relief package.

BIDEN WINS NEBRASKA PRIMARY… Joe Biden moved a step closer toward his bid to become the Democratic presidential nominee yesterday by winning the Nebraska primary. He was projected to pick up at least another 20 delegates out of the 33 up for grabs, giving him 1,444 of the 1,991 needed to clinch the nomination. President Trump won the Republican primary, and Senator Ben Sasse won the Republican primary for his seat. In-person voting was conducted, although voters were encouraged to vote early by mail.

ACTOR NICK CORDERO AWAKE AND CONSCIOUS… Actor Nick Cordero is awake and conscious after about three weeks in a medically-induced coma due to complications from coronavirus, his wife announced on social media yesterday. Cordero had entered the hospital on March 30 for and was intubated on April 1. One of his legs had to be amputated as the result of a blood clot. Cordero made his Broadway debut in 2012’s musical hit “Rock of Ages” before earning a Tony nomination in 2014 for “Bullets Over Broadway.” He appeared in the 2017 comedy remake “Going in Style” and his TV appearances included “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

EILISH GRANTED RESTRAINING ORDER… A judge in Los Angeles has granted Billie Eilish a temporary restraining order against a man who trespassed on her parents’ property on several occasions. The 18-year-old pop star sought the protection in papers filed on Monday. The man, identified as 24-year-old Prenell Rousseau, has been to stay 200 yards away from Billie and her family members. He allegedly turned up at the house seven times last week and on one occasion tried to gain entrance through a door. A hearing is scheduled for June 1.

NBA PRIORITIZES SAFETY IN PLANS TO RETURN… ESPN reported last night that a virtual meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver left participants in a Board of Governors call feeling positive about the league’s momentum toward a resumption of play this season. Owners and executives praised the league’s progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and willingness to communicate with the players union. In a discussion centered on safety concerns, the league established a goal of getting team officials and players comfortable with the idea that a positive test for the coronavirus upon a return would not force another shutdown.

The Rundown for April 14, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has risen to 581,918 and the death toll stands at 23,608, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. President Trump declared during a press conference that he has the authority over state and local governments in deciding when to lift social-distancing guidelines and reopen the economy. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called Trump’s “total” authority claim untrue. Cuomo also announced that his state is partnering with New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Rhode Island in a regional task force to help coordinate re-openings in the northeast. A similar alliance formed on the West Coast, where the governors of Washington, Oregon and California reached a working agreement.

SUPREME COURT TO HEAR CASES REMOTELY… The Supreme Court announced yesterday that justices will hear oral arguments in several cases over a six-day period next month via telephone conference. President Donald Trump’s financial documents, religious freedom and the Electoral College will be among the cases argued. The Supreme Court has closed its doors in adherence to the federal social-distancing guidelines.

SANDERS ENDORSES BIDEN… Just five days after dropping out of the presidential race, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders yesterday endorsed former rival Joe Biden. “We need you in the White House,” Sanders told Biden on a live stream that Biden hosted. Biden is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to challenge President Trump.

UPSET IN WISCONSIN SUPREME COURT RACE… Judge Jill Karofsky pulled off an upset of incumbent state supreme court justice Daniel Kelly, according to Wisconsin election results released yesterday. The liberal challenger’s victory comes as the state supreme court is expected to rule in numerous voting rights cases leading up to November’s presidential election, including a case in which 200,000 voters could be purged from voter rolls. Results also confirmed Joe Biden won the Wisconsin Democratic presidential primary.

33 DEAD AFTER EASTER STORMS… The death toll from severe storms that struck the Southeast on Sunday rose to at least 33 people yesterday. At least 11 deaths were reported in Mississippi and South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced that nine people died in his state. Eight deaths were reported in Georgia. States of emergency have been declared in Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama.

STEPHANOPOULOS TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… “Good Morning America’ anchor revealed on yesterday morning’s show that he has tested positive for coronavirus. Stephanopoulos said the diagnosis came across as “no surprise” since his wife, the actress and author Ali Wentworth, tested positive two weeks ago. Stephanopoulos said he has yet to experience symptoms.

‘AMAZING RACE’ GETS MAY 20 PREMIERE DATE… CBS announced yesterday that Season 32 of “The Amazing Race” will premiere with a two-hour episode on May 20. The new season will feature returning host Phil Keoghan and kicks off in Los Angeles. The 11 teams of contestants will visit Trinidad and Tobago, France, Germany, Kazakhstan, Brazil and other countries during the season.

KARL-ANTHONY TOWNS’ MOTHER LOSES BATTLE WITH CORONAVIRUS… The mother of Minnesota Timberwolves two-time All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns has died due to complications from the coronavirus, family members announced yesterday. Jacqueline Cruz-Towns was 58. Towns revealed on March 25 that she was in a medically induced coma and had been placed on a ventilator. Towns’ father was hospitalized for treatment of the virus and expected to survive.

The Rundown for April 13, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… Pope Francis called for the world to come together in the face of the coronavirus pandemic during an Eastern morning service in a nearly empty St. Peter’s Basilica. The service was live-streamed to millions of viewers throughout the world. The number of coronavirus cases nationwide has topped a half-million and the death toll is at least 21,300, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The number of fatalities pushed the U.S. above every other country in the world. People in recent days have been dying at the rate of roughly 2,000 deaths a day, officials said.

FAUCI DISCUSSES PANDEMIC… National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed hope yesterday that a rollback on coronavirus restrictions could begin in some places as early as next month. During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Fauci acknowledged that a quicker response to the outbreak could have saved lives. Fauci also said he had confidence in state governors to decide when to begin lifting restrictions.

MAJOR PORK PRODUCER CLOSES… One of the country’s largest pork processing facilities has announced that it is closing until further notice amid the coronavirus pandemic and warned that its closure puts the country’s meat supply at risk. Smithfield, based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, accounts for 4 to 5 percent of the country’s pork production and employs about 3,700 people. During a press conference on Saturday, South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem said that Smithfield employees accounted for more than half of the active coronavirus cases in the state, with about 240 of its employees sick. Meat processors in Iowa and Pennsylvania have also shut down because of sick workers.

OPEC REACHES OIL-PRODUCTION DEAL… Leaders of oil-producing countries agreed to a deal yesterday that will slash oil production by 9.7 million barrels a day starting May 1. OPEC has been seeking to cut production in order to stabilize oil prices, which have fallen to 18-year lows in recent weeks. Saudi Arabia and Russia have engaged in a price war that has flooded the oil market.

ALABAMA CAN’T BAN ABORTION, JUDGE RULES… A federal judge ruled yesterday that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state’s response to coronavirus. The preliminary injunction issued by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson allows abortion providers to decide whether a procedure can wait. Abortion rights advocates are also fighting efforts in Texas, Ohio and other states to prohibit abortion services during the coronavirus pandemic.

STORMS BATTER SOUTH… Strong storms pounded the South yesterday and left thousands of residents without power. The National Weather Service reported that tornadoes touched down in northwest and north-central Louisiana, damaging buildings and toppling trees. The storm spanned southeast Arkansas, across wide swaths of Mississippi and Alabama and into western Georgia.

DISNEY CELEBRATION LIVE-STREAM CANCELED… Today’s free stream of the previously recorded “Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway” has been canceled due to a union dispute. The program was a fundraising effort to support Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS’ COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund. “Celebrating 25 Magical Years of Disney on Broadway” was taped on November 4.

THE WEEKND REMAINS ATOP ALBUM CHART… The Weeknd’s “After Hours” sold 90,000 copies to remain atop the Billboard 200 album chart for a third week. Rod Wave’s “Pray 4 Love” finished in second place after selling 72,000 units. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” remained in third place on sales of 69,000 copies. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” jumped into fourth place with 48,000 units sold. Sam Hunt’s “Southside” sold 46,000 copies to cap the top five.

NBA DISCUSSES RETURN… ESPN reported yesterday that NBA executives and trainers have been discussing a 25-day plan for the season to resume. The plan reportedly includes an 11-day series of workouts and a 14-day training camp. Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the league won’t even be able to make any decisions until next at the earliest and it is not known whether the 2019-20 season will be completed.

The Rundown for March 20, 2020

GOP SENATORS INTRODUCE CORONAVIRUS AID PACKAGE… Senate Republicans last night introduced a $1 trillion coronavirus-relief package. The plan includes cash payments of up to $1,200 for individuals and $2,400 couples, with the sum increasing by $500 for each child for taxpayers beneath a certain income threshold. It would also extend the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, allowing corporations to delay estimated tax payments until Oct. 15 and employers and self-employed people to delay payroll taxes.

U.S. IMPLEMENTS TRAVEL ADVISORY… The State Department implemented a Level Four travel advisory yesterday in advising all U.S. citizens abroad to return home unless they are prepared to remain in place “for an indefinite period.” The advisory also urged citizens in the U.S. to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of the coronavirus. The advisory follows last week’s ban on incoming travel from 30 countries.

NATIONAL COUNTERTERRORIST CENTER OFFICIALS REMOVED… Acting National Counterterrorism Center director Russell Travers and his acting deputy, Peter Hall, were fired Wednesday night, according to a report in yesterday’s Washington Post. Travers had been on the job since last year and reportedly opposed plans to make personnel cuts at the center. Hours before, President Trump announced his intention to nominate Pentagon special operations and counterterrorism official Christopher Miller as the full-time NCTC director.

TULSI GABBARD ENDS PRESIDENTIAL BID… Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard announced yesterday that she is suspending her Democratic presidential campaign and endorses Joe Biden as the party’s nominee. Gabbard said Biden is the best candidate to take on Trump. She said she will now direct her time to fighting the coronavirus.

UNEMPLOYMENT FILINGS SPIKE… Figures released yesterday by the Labor Department reveal that filings for unemployment benefits spiked last week and have reached a two-year high. The Labor Department reported that claims rose by 70,000 to 281,000 last week as workers have been laid off amid the coronavirus pandemic. The filings were the most since September 2017.

CONAN O’BRIEN PLANS RETURN… Conan O’Brien is planning his return to the air. On March, he will resume releasing new episodes of his late-night talk show. O’Brien’s staff will remain at home, and the show will be cobbled together with O’Brien on an iPhone and guests via Skype. Other late-night talk-show hosts have adopted drastic measures as well. Jimmy Fallon has produced 10-minute “At Home” shows while Jimmy Kimmel and David Spade have delivered monologues from their homes. On Monday, Stephen Colbert delivered a 10-minute monologue from his bathtub.

DANIEL DAE KIM TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS… Daniel Dae Kim is the latest Hollywood star to be diagnosed with coronavirus. The 51-year-old Korean-American actor posted on social media that he became symptomatic at home in Hawaii after spending several weeks in New York shooting the TV show “New Amsterdam.” Kim says his condition is “not 100 percent” but “close.”

NBA NEWS… The coronavirus continues to make its way through the NBA. Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart revealed yesterday that he has tested positive while two unidentified Los Angeles Lakers players also announced positive tests. The Denver Nuggets announced that an unnamed member of the organization has been diagnosed with the virus.

MLB NEWS… The Boston Red Sox announced yesterday that starting pitcher Chris Sale will undergo Tommy John surgery. Sale decided to undergo the procedure now out of fear that delaying it could have caused him to miss significant time in the 2021 season. The 30-year-old Sale didn’t pitch after experiencing elbow soreness last August. He went 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts on the season.

NFL NEWS… New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton yesterday became the first person connected to the NFL to have reported catching the coronavirus. The 56-year-old Payton said he didn’t feel great this past Sunday and took a test Monday. He said he came forward with his diagnosis in an effort to get people to take the situation seriously.

The Arizona Cardinals have signed linebacker De’Vondre Campbell to a one-year deal.

The Carolina Panthers have signed wide receiver Keith Kirkwood to a one-year deal.

The Cincinnati Bengals have agreed to terms with cornerback Mackensie Alexander on a one-year contract. The Cincinnati Bengals plan to sign cornerback Torry McTyer to a one-year deal.

The Cleveland Browns have signed cornerback Kevin Johnson and defensive tackle Andrew Billings to one-year contracts.

The Denver Broncos are waiving former Super Bowl MVP quarterback Joe Flacco after a failed physical.

The Los Angeles Rams have released running back Todd Gurley and linebacker Clay Matthews.

The Miami Dolphins have re-signed safety Adrian Colbert to a one-year deal.

The Minnesota Vikings have re-signed kicker Dan Bailey.

The New England Patriots have signed guard Joe Thuney to a franchise tender.

The New York Giants have signed quarterback Colt McCoy to a one-year deal.

The Philadelphia Eagles have sent a 2020 third-round pick and 2020 fifth-round pick to the Detroit Lions in exchange for cornerback Darius Slay.

The Washington Redskins are planning to sign tight end Logan Thomas.