The Rundown for June 12, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 2,023,385 and the death toll stands 13,818, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. A new modeling study by Cambridge and Greenwich universities found that 100-percent face mask use could crush second and third coronavirus waves. The masks don’t have to be top-of-the-line surgical or respirator masks, the study found. Homemade coverings that catch only 50 percent of exhaled droplets would provide a “population-level benefit.”

PROTESTS CONTINUE… Protests targeting police brutality and racial equality continued in cities nationwide yesterday. In Seattle, Mayor Jenny Durkan defended the city’s decision to let demonstrators create an “autonomous zone” despite President Trump calling the protesters “terrorists” and threatening to send federal resources to disrupt them. Louisville, Kentucky’s Metro Council voted unanimously yesterday to ban the use of “no-knock” search warrants. The “Breonna’s Law” bill was named after Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency technician who was killed by police during a drug raid on her home in March. No drugs were found, her family claims in a lawsuit.

MILLEY APOLOGIZES FOR PHOTO-OP… Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley apologized yesterday for taking part in President Trump’s walk across Lafayette Plaza to a church photo op on June 1. “I should not have been there,” the U.S.’s to military official said in a prerecorded commencement address to National Defense University. Police and National Guard officers fired rubber bullets and tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from the square and make room for the president to walk. “My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics,” Milley offered. He also said he was outraged at the “senseless, brutal killing” of George Floyd. Last week, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper, who also appeared in the photo-op, said that he also shouldn’t have been there and claimed that he didn’t know where he was going when Trump led him to the church.

JACKSONVILLE TO HOST GOP CONVENTION… The Republican National Committee made it official yesterday when it announced that the Republican Convention is being moved to Jacksonville, Florida. The convention was set to take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, but the state’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper would not promise to grant the request of the RNC to allow 19,000 delegates and attendees into the Spectrum Arena. The announcement came on the same day that Florida reported 1,698 new coronavirus cases in its highest daily tally yet.

MNUCHIN DOESN’T WANT TO SAY WHERE PPP LOANS ARE GOING… Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said during a Senate committee hearing yesterday that he didn’t want to identify borrowers from the Paycheck Protection Program and the amounts they receive. Mnuchin said the information would be “proprietary,” and “confidential” in many cases. His claim contradicted the PPP loans applications’ premise that such data will “automatically” be released.

COP SHOOTER DEAD… A gunman believed to have murdered a transient and opening fire on law-enforcement officers was fatally shot by law-enforcement officers in Paso Robles, California, yesterday. 26-year-old Mason James Lira, a transient, had wounded a San Luis Obispo, California, sheriff’s deputy and targeted others in a series of attacks. Authorities say Lira had two stolen handguns and a box of ammunition at the time of his death. According to his father, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, Asperger’s syndrome and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In a separate case north of Paso Robles, authorities say an Air Force sergeant allegedly scribbled far-right extremist phrases in blood after he killed a Northern California sheriff’s deputy and wounded two others in an ambush last weekend. 32-year-old Steve Carillo was charged with 19 felonies following the incident near Santa Cruz.

… Kelly Clarkson cited irreconcilable differences in filing for divorce from her husband, Brandon Blackstock, after seven years of marriage. The 38-year-old Clarkson submitted the filing on June 4 in Los Angeles. The couple has a 5-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son together.

NAME CHANGE FOR LADY ANTEBELLUM… Lady Antebellum announced yesterday that it is changing its name to Lady A due to the word antebellum’s association with the pre-Civil War south and slavery. Members of the country band said that their original name came from the antebellum style home their first photos were taken. The band also pledged a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through their LadyAID fund.

… The NFL yesterday pledged to donate $250 million to social-justice programs over a 10-year period. The funding is intended to “combat systemic racism and support the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans,” according to a league official. The NFL will collaborate with players to focus on specific reforms and leverage its media properties to increase the awareness of social-justice issues.

The Rundown for June 8, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,942,363 and the death toll stands at 110,514, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. CNN reported yesterday that the federal government’s current supply of remdesivir, the only drug known to work against Covid-19, is on pace to expire at the end of the month. The government’s last shipment of the drug will go out the week of June 29. The company that makes the drug, Gilead Sciences, is ramping up to make more, but it’s unclear how much will be available this summer.

DEMONSTRATIONS SPREAD… Demonstrations targeting the recent police killings of African-Americans spread across major cities and small towns across the U.S. yesterday as the movement spanned its second weekend. The spreading of the protests comes as Minneapolis, Los Angeles and other cites have lifted curfews restricting protests. Yesterday, a veto-proof majority of the Minneapolis City Council voted to defund the city’s police department. On Friday, the city council approved a measure banning police from using choke holds and other neck restraints and requiring MPD officers to immediately report any instances of unauthorized use of force by fellow officers and attempt to intervene. Officials in some cities also have announced plans to review use-of-force policies, including those pertaining to less-than-lethal weapons used for crowd control at protests.

TRUMP BACKS OFF MILITARY CRACKDOWN ON PROTESTS… Federal and local leaders have begun easing restrictions and deployment of military forces in response to nationwide protests. President Trump announced on Twitter yesterday that he had ordered the National Guard to withdraw from Washington, D.C., but warned that they can “quickly return” if demonstrations once again escalate. On Thursday, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser called for Trump to withdraw all extraordinary law enforcement and military presence from the city. Similar calls came from New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

COLIN POWELL BLASTS TRUMP… Former Secretary of State and retired Army general Colin Powell yesterday became the fourth former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to condemn President Trump’s decision to use active-duty soldiers to confront protesters. Powell said the move was a clear indication that the president had “drifted away from the Constitution.” Last week, retired Navy Admiral Mike Mullen called Trump’s desire to use active-duty forces to suppress protests “sickening,” Retired Army General Martin Dempsey called it “dangerous” and “very troubling” and retired Air Force General Richard Myers said the tear-gassing of protesters outside the White House on Monday night filled him with “just absolute sadness.”

AIR FORCE SERGEANT SUSPECTED IN KILLINGS… Officials confirmed yesterday that an active-duty Air Force sergeant who killed a sheriff’s deputy on Saturday is also suspected in the killing of a federal security guard in Oakland last week. 32-year-old Steven Carrillo joined the 60th Security Forces Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in June 2018, an Air Force spokesman said. Investigators are examining possible links between the two killings. Both incidents involved a white van.

… Lady Gaga’s new release, “Chromatica,” sold 274,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 chart and give the singer her sixth No. 1 album. Jimmy Buffett’s “Life on the Flip Side” opened in second place with 75,000 units sold. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” dropped to third place on sales of 62,000 copies. Last week’s champ, Gunna’s “Wunna,” slipped to No. 4 after selling 49,000 units. Future’s “High Off Life” capped the top five with 44,000 copies sold.

TBS ORDERS COMEDY COMPETITION SHOW… TBS has placed a seven-episode order for a competition series called “Tournament of Laughs.” Former “Saturday Night Live” castmember Jason Sudeikis has signed on to host the show, which is set to premiere on June 21. The series will feature 32 comedians who will compete remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

… Former NFL wide receiver Reche Caldwell was shot and killed in Tampa Saturday evening, authorities confirmed yesterday. Attackers jumped out of a bush to rob Caldwell and shot him in the leg and chest, according to his girlfriend. Investigators said only that they do not believe the attack was random. Caldwell played six NFL seasons with the Chargers, Patriots and Redskins after being drafted in the second round in 2002.

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.

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.

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 18, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of reported coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,467,065 and the death toll stands at 88,709, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said yesterday morning during an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” that plans to reopen businesses, schools and other facilities do not rely entirely on the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. Azar also told CBS News’ “Face the Nation” that the Trump administration’s plan to prepare 300 million doses of a vaccine by the end of the year was a goal and “not a pledge.”

FED CHIEF TALKS RECOVERY… Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell conceded in an interview that aired on CBS’ “60 Minutes” last night that it may take more than a year for the economy to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Powell said the path to economic recovery could begin in early 2021. The Fed chief is expected to repeat his call for increased spending amid the crisis when he appears before Congress tomorrow.

POMPEO INVESTIGATION PRECEDED INSPECTOR GENERAL FIRING… Congressional officials told NBC News yesterday that State Department Inspector General Steve Linick was removed from his job Friday after investigating reports that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made a staffer walk his dog, pick up his dry cleaning and make dinner reservations for Pompeo and his wife, among other personal errands. The officials said they are working to learn whether Linick had any other ongoing investigations into Pompeo. President Trump announced on Friday that he was firing Linick because he no longer had the “fullest confidence in him.”

AIR FORCES LAUNCHES ROCKETS… The Air Force yesterday successfully launched its Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral. The rocket is carrying a X-37B space plane for a secretive mission. It will deploy a satellite into orbit and also test power-beaming technology on its sixth mission in space.

FIRST NAMED STORM TARGETS NORTH CAROLINA… Tropical Storm Arthur was expected to bring heavy rain and minor flooding to North Carolina’s Outer Banks today. National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a tropical storm warning. Arthur became the first named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season when it formed Saturday in waters off Florida. The storm produced top sustained winds of 45 miles per hour as it tracked off the Southeast coast yesterday.

DIRECTOR LYNN SHELTON DIES… Hollywood is mourning the passing of director Lynn Shelton, who died Friday in Los Angeles of a previously undiagnosed blood disorder. She was 54. Shelton was best known for the films “Humpday” and “Your Sister’s Sister” and the series “Little Fires Everywhere.” Her partner, comedian Marc Maron, said Shelton collapsed Friday after having been ill for a week.

ACTOR GENO SILVA DIES… Actor Geno Silva died earlier this month from complications related to dementia. He was 72. Silva had memorable roles in the films “Scarface” and “Mulholland Drive.” His credits include “Amistad,” “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” and “Man Apart.”

BILLS’ DEFENSIVE TACKLE ARRESTED… Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Ed Oliver was arrested on DWI and weapons charges in Montgomery County, Texas. Oliver was pulled over after a witness called 911 to report a vehicle weaving in and out of lanes. Police say he had an open beer between his legs while behind the wheel of a pickup. A pistol was also found in the truck.

The Rundown for May 15, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,384,930 and the death toll stands at 83,947, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC yesterday released six “decision trees” aimed at helping schools, workplaces, camps, childcare centers, mass transit systems, bars and restaurants decide on whether it’s safe to reopen. Six one-page “decision tool” documents use traffic signs and other graphics to tell organizations what they should consider before reopening.

VACCINE EXPERT TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESS… Vaccines expert Dr. Rick Bright told the House Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday that the Trump administration’s hopes of developing a coronavirus vaccine within 18 months are likely too optimistic. Bright, who was removed last month as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, warned that Americans face “the darkest winter in modern history” if proper preparations aren’t taken. He said he was “alarmed” at a lack of plans from federal agencies and the administration and complained that his warnings about supply shortages were ignored multiple times. Bright also noted “There were some attempts to bypass” a vetting process for hydroxychloroquine, which the administration hyped.

SENATE VOTES TO EXTEND FISA… The Senate voted 80-16 yesterday to approve a 2-1/2-year extension of parts of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act following its expiration two months ago. The measure must be approved by the House and it’s not known when a vote would be taken. The Senate version amended House legislation passed in March to improve legal protections for those subject to surveillance.

SENATOR BURR LEAVES SENATE PANEL POST… North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr announced yesterday that he will step down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee at the end of today’s session amid the investigation into his mass selloff in stock at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. FBI agents seized Burr’s cellphone on Wednesday as they examine Burr’s transactions around the same time the intelligence committee was receiving daily coronavirus briefings. Though he told the public the virus would not cause much harm, he warned private audiences that the effects would be disastrous. The sales saved him millions of dollars in potential losses. Meanwhile, Georgia Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler is reportedly complying with federal law enforcement and financial authorities about the sales of millions of dollars of stock owned by her and her husband at the outset of the outbreak.

MICHIGAN CANCELS SESSION AMID ARMED PROTESTERS… The Michigan state legislature canceled yesterday’s session and closed the Capitol rather than face heavily armed anti-lockdown protesters who showed up to demand the easing of shelter-in-place restrictions. Members of a militia group gathered on the Capitol steps in Lansing instead. Governor Gretchen Whitmer has faced recent death threats over her stay-at-home order, which has been extended until the end of May.

MARY-KATE OLSEN MUST WAIT FOR DIVORCE… A Manhattan Supreme Court Justice yesterday rejected former “Full House” actress Mary-Kate Olsen’s emergency petition for a divorce from her husband of five years. The 33-year-old Olsen filed papers Wednesday claiming that her 50-year-old husband, Pierre Olivier Sarkozy, was trying to evict her from their apartment by Monday. The judge in the case decided that it wasn’t an essential matter.

CHESNEY WON’T TOUR… Kenny Chesney announced yesterday that he will not tour in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The country singer says he’s pushing back all dates of his planned “Chillaxification” Tour to 2021. Chesney had planned to play NFL stadiums nationwide this year.

NFL PLAYERS WANTED FOR ARMED ROBBERY… Florida authorities yesterday obtained felony arrest warrants for New York Giants cornerback Deandre Baker and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar. Miramar police say multiple witnessed accused the two of committing an armed robbery at a cookout on Wednesday night. According to the warrant, Baker pulled out a handgun after a fight broke out. He, Dunbar and two other men allegedly then robbed people at the party of thousands of dollars in cash, watches and other valuables. The two players face four counts each of armed robbery with a firearm. Baker faces an additional four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The warrants note the suspects will be denied bond when taken into custody.

The Rundown for May 6, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. has topped 1.2 million and more than 71,000 patients have died, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced yesterday that barbershops and nail and hair salons can reopen on Friday, May 8, and gyms could reopen on May 18 with restrictions. The announcement came after Texas recorded more than 2,000 coronavirus cases over May 2 and May 3 in the highest two-day increase since the coronavirus crisis began.

WHITE HOUSE CLOSING CORONAVIRUS TASK FORCE… Vice President Mike Pence announced yesterday that the White House’s coronavirus task force will wrap up its work around Memorial Day. Members of the task force have begun discussing a transition plan with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Pence said. White House officials say task force doctors will “continue to play an important advisory role” after more states reopen.

WHISTLEBLOWER SLAMS WHITE HOUSE CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE… Dr. Rick Bright, who helped lead the government’s coronavirus vaccine efforts, slammed the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic in an extensive whistleblower complaint he filed yesterday. Dr. Bright claims his removal last week as director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority was the result of politics and White House cronyism. He claims that his early warnings about the coronavirus were ignored and that superiors responded with skepticism and surprise when he raised urgent concerns about shortages of critical supplies. The 89-page complaint alleges that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar pressured Bright to allow the distribution of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, which was in clinical trials before the Food and Drug Administration warned against its use due to the risk of heart problems.

RATCLIFFE QUESTIONED AT CONFIRMATION HEARING… Texas Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe faced tough questions from members of the Senate Intelligence Committee yesterday on the first day of his confirmation hearing to become director of national intelligence. Senators from both parties asked Ratcliffe how he’d respond to pressure by Trump, who has been critical of U.S. intelligence agencies. The nominee vowed that he would not let politics cloud his judgment.

2 AMERICANS CAPTURED IN MADURO-ASSASSINATION PLOT… Two American mercenaries are among 13 men captured in Venezuela and accused of conspiring to assassinate Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro. The captured Americans were identified as employees of Florida-based security company Silvercorp USA. The company’s owner has confirmed that the two captives were taking part in an operation that sought an insurrection against Maduro as part of a deal with U.S.-backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

TOM CRUISE IN TALKS WITH NASA OVER SPACE-SHOT FILM… NASA confirmed yesterday that it is working with Tom Cruise to film the first movie shot in space. NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine says a film shot aboard the space station could inspire a new generation of engineers and scientists. SpaceX is reported to be involved in the project.

APPEALS COURT REDUCES QUINCY JONES JUDGMENT… A California appeals court yesterday overturned most of a 2017 jury verdict that awarded Quincy Jones $9.4 million in royalties and fees from the Michael Jackson estate over the use of Jones-produced Jackson hits in the concert film “This Is It” and two Cirque du Soleil shows. The 2nd District Court of Appeal ruled that the jury misinterpreted a contract and removed some $6.9 million that jurors had said Jones was owed for his production of “Billie Jean,” “Thriller,” and other Jackson hits. The court kept intact $2.5 million of the award. Jones had sought $30 million from the estate when he first filed the lawsuit in 2013.

FAVRE DRAGGED INTO MISSISSIPPI AUDIT… NFL Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre’s name has turned up in an audit of the state of Mississippi’s Department of Human Services. The audit resulted in the indictment of Human Services Director John Davis and others charged with embezzling about $4 million. Records showed Favre received two payments from the state totaling $1.1 million. In exchange for the money, the former quarterback was supposed to speak and appear at multiple events but never did. Favre isn’t facing any criminal charges.

The Rundown for May 5, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 1,152,372 and the number of deaths has risen to 67,456, according to figures released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California Governor Gavin Newsom said some of the state’s retail businesses could begin reopening with modifications by the end of this week if certain criteria are met. Further guidance on the state’s next phase of reopening is scheduled to be released on Thursday.

CORONAVIRUS DEATH TOLL RISES IN PROJECTIONS… Relaxed social-distancing guidelines in several states have prompted a prominent coronavirus model to nearly double its projection of how many Americans are expected to die of the coronavirus to 135,000. Researchers of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington previously estimated a death toll of 72,433. They say that the “increase in mobility” is causing an “increase in mortality.” Meanwhile, the New York Times reported yesterday that the Trump administration is privately projecting that the number of deaths related to the coronavirus will steadily increase to as much as 3,000 a day by early June.

WHITE HOUSE PREVENTS TASK FORCE TESTIMONY…. The White House is facing widespread criticism for prohibiting all coronavirus task force members from testifying before Congress this month. The Trump administration has already blocked National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci from testifying before a House subcommittee scheduled for this week. The White House argued in a statement that it would be “counterproductive” for Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, to appear at the House subcommittee hearing. However, he is set to testify at the Republican-led Senate hearing next week.

TREASURY DEPARTMENT. TO BORROW $3T… The Treasury Department announced yesterday that it plans to borrow nearly $3 trillion to support the U.S. economy this fiscal quarter. The $2,999 billion will come from privately-held net marketable debt between April and June. The Treasury added that it borrowed $477 billion in the first quarter of 2020 and plans to borrow $677 billion in the third quarter.

J. CREW FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY… J. Crew yesterday became the first national retailer to file for bankruptcy since the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic. J. Crew and parent company Chinos Holdings filed under Chapter 11 in bankruptcy court in Virginia. More than 300 J. Crew and Madewell locations will remain open under $400 million in debtor-in-possession financing from existing lenders, according to a company statement. As part of the deal, lenders will convert about $1.7 billion in J. Crew debt into equity.

CAGE TO STAR IN ‘JOE EXOTIC’ SERIES… Actor Nicolas Cage has signed on to play “Tiger King” star Joe Exotic in an eight-episode scripted series. Cage will also serve as executive producer. The series will reportedly dive into the personal life of Joe Exotic as he maintains tigers, lions, and other big cats in an Oklahoma zoo.

DISNEY CRANKS UP ‘STAR WARS’… Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi has agreed to direct a new “Star Wars” movie. Waititi, who won a screenwriting Oscar for “Jojo Rabbit,” will also pen the script with Oscar-nominated 1917 writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Disney and Lucasfilm said that a new “Star Wars” series is also being developed for Disney Plus. The release dates for both projects have not yet been confirmed.

DON SHULA DIES… Don Shula, the National Football League’s all-time winningest coach, died at his home yesterday of natural causes. He was 90. Shula won 347 games in 33 years of coaching the Baltimore Colts and Miami Dolphins. His 1972 Dolphins team went 17-0 and defeated the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII. Miami repeated as Super Bowl the next season, downing the Minnesota Vikings 24-7 in Super Bowl VIII. Shula retired as coach after the 1995 season.

The Rundown for May 4, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. is at least 1,122,486 and the number of dead has risen to 65,735, according to figures released last night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Trump warned Americans during a virtual town hall hosted by Fox News last night that the pandemic could claim as many as 100,000 lives nationwide. At the same event, Vice President Mike Pence conceded that he should have worn a mask when visiting the Mayo Clinic last week. He faced harsh backlash for not adhering to the hospital’s policy.

RESPONSE COORDINATOR WORRIED ABOUT CORONAVIRUS PROTESTS… White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said during an appearance on “Fox News Sunday” yesterday that she finds the anti-lockdown protests “devastatingly worrisome” because demonstrators are not practicing social distancing measures and could help spread the disease. Protesters turned out in at least 10 states on Friday to protest restrictions imposed among the pandemic. Crowds have been small at all but a couple of the events but Dr. Birx said it’s important that Americans “protect each other at the same time we’re voicing our discontent.”

INTELLIGENCE REPORT ACCUSES CHINA OF ‘CONCEALING SEVERITY’… A Department of Homeland Security intelligence report obtained by the Associated Press says China “intentionally concealed the severity” of the coronavirus in the early days of the outbreak so the country could hoard medical supplies such as face masks and gloves. According to the report, China sought to hide information in January from the World Health Organization that the virus “was a contagion” so it could stock up on protective equipment. AP consulted the documents after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC’s “This Week” Sunday that there is a significant amount of evidence that the coronavirus “came from that laboratory in Wuhan.”

SEVEN STATES JOIN NORTHEAST CORONAIRUS CONSORTIUM… New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that six other states have joined his in a seven-state consortium for buying coronavirus-related medical supplies and testing equipment. Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Pennsylvania and Delaware have joined New York in forming the consortium. Meanwhile, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker criticized the White House for not taking steps earlier to ensure states have the supplies needed for coronavirus testing. Appearing on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Pritzker said he’s thankful for the 600,000 swabs the White House has promised him.

BIDEN WINS KANSAS PRIMARY… Joe Biden cruised to an easy win in Saturday’s Democratic presidential primary in Kansas and inched closer to the number of delegates he needs to clinch the party’s nomination. The former vice president now has 1,435 delegates on his way to the 1,991 he needs to win the nomination on the first ballot at the party’s national convention. Saturday’s vote was conducted exclusively by mail.

ACTOR SAM LLOYD DIES… Hollywood is mourning the passing of actor Sam Lloyd, who died Thursday at a Los Angeles hospital of complications from lung cancer. He was 56. Lloyd appeared in 95 episodes of “Scrubs” as lawyer Ted Buckland. His television credits include “Seinfeld,” “Modern Family” and “The West Wing.”

YOUNGBOY TOPS ALBUM CHART… YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s new release, “38 Baby 2,” sold 67,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. DaBaby’s “Blame It On Baby” slipped into second place after selling 56,000 units. Lil Uzi Vert’s “Eternal Atake” remained in third place on sales of 49,000 copies. The Weeknd’s “After Hours” dropped to fourth place on sales of 48,000 units. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” capped the top five with 41,000 copies sold.

CHIEFS SIGN UNDRAFTED QUARTERBACK… The Kansas City Chiefs added to their quarterback depth chart by signing undrafted rookie Shea Patterson from the University of Michigan. Patterson, who played at the University of Mississippi his first two seasons, threw for 8,800 yards in his four collegiate seasons. For the Wolverines last season, he threw for 3,061 yards with 23 touchdowns and eight interceptions.

The Rundown for May 1, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 1,056,000 yesterday and the death toll surpassed 63,000, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a news release declaring it has found no proof the coronavirus was manmade. The chief executive of British pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca told BBC radio that the company expects to know by July whether a coronavirus vaccine it’s working on with University of Oxford researchers will be effective.

COURT RULES AGAINST ‘SANCTUARY’ WITHOLDINGS… A U.S. appeals court yesterday ruled against the Trump administration’s effort to withhold millions of dollars from so-called “sanctuary” jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. The decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago upheld a pair of lower court rulings that blocked the administration from placing immigration-related conditions on law-enforcement grants. On Wednesday, Trump suggested he might restrict coronavirus aid to states and cities with “sanctuary” policies.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS JUMP BY 4 MILLION… Nearly 4 million more Americans filed for new unemployment claims last week, the Labor Department said yesterday. The new filings raise the number of claims to about 30 million. Analysts believe true unemployment numbers are even higher since the volume of applicants has overwhelmed jobless systems in several states.

LAWMAKERS SEEK SUPPORT OF USPS AID PROPOSAL… Lawmakers from both parties have joined in calling for emergency funding for the U.S. Postal Service. House oversight and reform committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and three U.S. congressmen sent a letter to congressional leaders seeking support for a proposal by the Postal Service Board of Governors for $75 billion in aid. The package would include $25 billion to offset coronavirus losses, $25 billion for projects to modernize the Postal Service and access to another $25 billion in borrowing authority.

4 CHILDREN DEAD IN BUGGY MISHAP… Authorities in Kentucky confirmed yesterday that four children were killed and one is missing in Bath County after their horse-drawn buggy was washed away while trying to cross a stream the night before. The Amish family of six was crossing a low water bridge when its horse was swept away by the current, according to police. The National Guard and state police joined in the search for the missing child.

MADONNA TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS ANTIBODIES… Madonna revealed yesterday that she has tested positive for coronavirus antibodies. The 61-year-old singer canceled the remainder of her “Madame X” tour last month over safety concerns. Earlier this month, she announced plans to team up with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation “to find a drug that will prevent or treat COVID-19.”

NETFLIX RELEASES SEINFELD COMEDY SPECIAL TRAILER… Netflix yesterday released a trailer for the upcoming Jerry Seinfeld comedy special “23 Hours to Kill.” Seinfeld’s first standup comedy special in 22 years premieres May 5. It was filmed at New York’s Beacon Theater prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

BENGALS RELEASE ANDY DALTON… The Cincinnati Bengals yesterday released veteran quarterback Andy Dalton, who had been the team’s primary signal-caller since his selection in the second round of the 2011 draft. During his nine seasons with the Bengals, the 32-year-old Dalton threw a franchise-record 204 touchdown passes leading the team to the postseason five times. His 31,594 passing yards are second only to Ken Anderson’s 32,838 in team history. Dalton’s departure comes a week after Cincinnati drafted Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Joe Burrow with the top overall pick.

NHL CONSIDERING RETURN-TO-PLAY PLANS… NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said yesterday that starting the 2020-21 season as late as December is among options on the table as the league how best to close the current season and transition into the following one. The NHL ended regular-season play on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Owners and the players union have begun discussions on Phase 2 of plans to reopen play.

The Rundown for April 30, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to 1,039,909 yesterday and the death toll jumped to 60,966, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. President Trump announced that the federal government will not be extending its social-distancing guidelines when they expire today. Trump said guidelines will be “fading out” because of work that governors are doing in their states. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis revealed yesterday that his state will begin lifting its coronavirus shelter-in-place order on Monday. Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that Los Angeles will become the first major city in America to offer wide-scale testing to all of its residents, with or without symptoms.

CORONAVIRUS DRUG SHOWS PROMISE… Scientists are excited about the results from an experimental drug that appears to be effective against the coronavirus. Officials say that in a study of 1,063 patients sick enough to be hospitalized, Gilead Sciences’s remdesivir shortened the time to recovery by 31 percent. The drug also might be reducing deaths, although that’s not certain from the partial results revealed so far. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci said, “What it has proven is that a drug can block this virus.”

AMASH CONSIDERING PRESIDENTIAL RUN… Michigan congressman Justin Amash is exploring a presidential run as the Libertarian candidate. Amash, a former Republican who switched to independent, said weeks ago that he was considering entering the race. He has been critical of President Trump and joined Democrats in calling for his impeachment inquiry.

COURT STRIKES DOWN KANSAS VOTER LAW… A federal appeals court yesterday declared unconstitutional the Kansas law that required proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote. The law took effect in 2013 but was later blocked by a federal trial judge. In explaining its ruling, a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach “failed to show that a substantial number of non-citizens successfully registered to vote.”

ECONOMY CONTRACTS… The nation’s economy suffered its most severe contraction in more than a decade in the first quarter of the year, the Commerce Department said yesterday. Official figures revealed that the economy sank at an annual rate of 4.8 percent, bringing the first contraction since 2014. The coronavirus pandemic “is causing tremendous human and economic hardship across the United States and around the world,” according to policymakers at the Federal Reserve.

U.S. TO PREVENT WEAPONS SALES TO IRAN… Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed yesterday that the U.S. will prevent Iran from buying conventional weapons once a United Nations embargo expires in October. The embargo is part of the 2015 multination accord aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapon capabilities in exchange for sanction relief. President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal, prompting Iran to restart banned nuclear activities.

FAA INVESTIGATES ANOTHER HARRISON FORD INCIDENT… Federal Aviation Administration investigators are looking into an incident involving actor Harrison Ford last week at a Los Angeles-area airport. Ford was allegedly piloting a small plane that wrongly crossed a runway where another aircraft was landing. There was no danger of a crash, investigators say. The 77-year-old Ford reportedly has acknowledged his mistake and apologized. Ford is known to FAA investigators. In 2017, he flew low over an American Airlines plane with 110 passengers and crew on board at John Wayne airport. In 2015, he crash-landed a vintage airplane on a Los Angeles golf course.

ACTOR IRRFAN KHAN DIES… Indian film star Irrfan Khan died yesterday of a colon infection after a battle with cancer. He was 53. American movie-goers saw in the films “Jurassic World,” “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Life of Pi.” His 2008 film “Slumdog Millionaire” won eight Oscars, including for Best Picture.

FORMER JAGUARS LINEBACKER TELVIN SMITH ARRESTED… Former Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith was arrested at his Jacksonville home last night and charged with one count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor. The 29-year-old Smith was later released on a $50,000 bond. ESPN reported that Smith is accused of having sex with a 17-year-old girl multiple times in August and September. Investigators reportedly found evidence in Smith’s car that linked him to the victim. Smith was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2017. He recorded a career-high 134 tackles in 2018 but announced after the season announced that he needed to take time off for his family and his health. He hasn’t played since.