The Rundown for July 23, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,970,906 and the death toll stands at 143,190, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. California recorded a record-high 12,804 new cases yesterday to surpass New York as the nation’s leader… Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Minnesota Governor Tim Waltz have issued executive orders mandating the wearing of masks. Ohio’s mandate begins today at 6 p.m. and requires everyone over the age of 10 to wear a mask in public places. Minnesotans must wear masks at all indoor public areas beginning Saturday… Democratic senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Ben Cardin of Maryland yesterday introduced legislation that addresses the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The COVID-19 Health Disparities Action Act would require the Trump administration to develop an action plan to address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 to provide targeted testing, contact tracing and outreach efforts directed at communities of color… Senate Republicans announced last night that they have “reached a fundamental agreement” with the White House on a coronavirus relief bill that they hope to release today. House Democrats have passed a $3.4 trillion bill and pressuring the GOP-led Senate to move quickly on new aid as cases and deaths rise.

TRUMP SENDING FEDERAL AGENTS TO MORE CITIES… President Trump yesterday said his administration is sending a “surge” of federal law enforcement officials to combat violence in Chicago and Albuquerque, The action is part of the Justice Department’s controversial Operation Legend. Officers from the FBI, U.S. Marshals Service, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be sent to the cities. On Tuesday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she would push back against the deployment of federal officers in the city. Attorneys representing the State of Oregon yesterday argued for a restraining order against federal agents deployed to quell protests in Portland. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, who accuses federal agents of arresting protesters without probable cause, whisking them away in unmarked cars and using excessive force. Democratic mayors of 15 cities have condemned the use of the agents in a letter to Attorney General William Barr.

HOUSE VOTES TO REMOVE CONFEDERATE STATUES… The House voted yesterday to pass legislation that would require the removal of statues of people who served the Confederacy or otherwise defended slavery. The 305-to-113 vote carried the support of every house Democrat, 72 Republicans and one libertarian. The legislation calls for statues of individuals who voluntarily served the Confederacy to be removed from display in the Capitol complex and would order states to replace such statues from the National Statuary Hall Collection. It also calls for the removal of statues of John C. Calhoun, Charles Ayock and James P. Clarke for defending slavery, segregation and white supremacy.

U.S.-CHINA TENSIONS ESCALATE… U.S.-China tensions heightened yesterday after the State Department ordered China to close its consulate in Houston and the FBI accused China’s San Francisco consulate of harboring a military-linked fugitive. The Houston consulate must be shut down by tomorrow, the State Department said, as punishment for Beijing allegedly “stealing” intellectual property. Later, federal prosecutors claimed a scientific researcher charged last month with visa fraud remains holed up at the San Francisco consulate. Tang Juan allegedly lied about her connection to the Chinese military in order to obtain entry into the U.S.

ARREST IN FLORIDA MURDERS OF 3… Authorities in Polk County, Florida, have announced the arrests of three people in connection with the fatal shootings of three Florida men who’d gone fishing together on Friday night. 26-year-old Tony “TJ” Wiggins is being held on charges of first-degree murder; tampering with evidence; possession of a firearm by a convicted felon; and possession of ammunition by a convicted felon. His 27-year-old girlfriend and 21-year-old brother have been arrested on charges of accessory after the fact of a capital felony.

ENTERTAINMENT
SINGER/ACTRESS ANNIE ROSS DIES
… Jazz singer and actress Annie Ross, who was best remembered for her song “Twisted,” died at her home in Manhattan on Tuesday of complications from emphysema and heart disease, her former manager confirmed yesterday. She was 89. As an actress, she had memorable roles in two Robert Altman films, 1992’s “The Player” and 1993’s “Short Cuts.” Her film credits included “Superman III” and “Throw Momma From the Train.” Ross was named a Jazz Master in 2010 by the National Endowment for the Arts.

HBO RENEWS ‘PERRY MASON’… HBO announced yesterday that it is renewing the drama series “Perry Mason” for a second season. The series stars Matthew Rhys as the titular defense attorney in 1930s Los Angeles. Juliet Rylance, Chris Chalk, Shea Whigham, Tatiana Maslany and John Lithgow were among the first season’s cast.

SPORTS
MLB OPENS ABBREVIATED 2020 SEASON
… Major League Baseball’s 2020 60-game shortened season gets underway tonight with a pair of games. The World Series-champion Washington Nationals host the New York Yankees in the opener. Max Scherzer gets the start for the Nationals; he’ll be opposed by Gerrit Cole in a matchup of righthanders. First pitch is set for 7:08 p.m. Eastern. The later game features the Los Angeles Dodgers hosting their longtime rival San Francisco Giants. Lefthander Clayton Kershaw will make his ninth opening-day start in 10 years for the Dodgers. He’ll be opposed by Giants’ righthander Johnny Cueto. Gametime is 10:08 p.m. Eastern. Both games air on ESPN… The Dodgers made headlines with agreeing to a 12-year $365 million contract with Mookie Betts. The contract carries him through the 2032 season. L.A. obtained the 27-year-old centerfielder over the winter in a trade that sent outfielder Alex Verdugo and shortstop Jeter Downs to the Boston Red Sox. Betts batted .295 with 29 homers and 80 RBIs for the Red Sox last season. He was voted the 2018 AL MVP when he hit .346 with 32 homers and 80 RBIs. Betts has won four straight Gold Glove awards and three Silver Sluggers in the last four years.

The Rundown for July 20, 2020

CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 3,763,395 and the death toll stands at 140,477, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. Florida yesterday recorded its fifth straight day of more than 10,000 new cases and reported a record number of 2,700 hospitalizations within a week. Texas Governor Greg Abbott said yesterday that the Navy has sent teams of medical and support professionals to support hospitals in Harlingen, Del Rio, Eagle Pass and Rio Grande City. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that the Trump administration is pushing back against bipartisan efforts to ramp up funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for coronavirus contact tracing and testing. White House officials argue that there is sufficient funding still remaining from the March stimulus law. Specifics of the bill are expected to be unveiled next week.

TRUMP WON’T COMMIT TO ELECTION RESULTS… President Trump yesterday declined to commit to accepting the results of the 2020 election. During an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump told show host Chris Wallace that he will “have to see” about the results and made the baseless claim that mail-in voting will “rig the election.” During the interview, Trump also defended his administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, belittled political rival Joe Biden and discredited National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

HOUSE DEMS WANT PORTLAND INVESTIGATION… House Democrats are calling for the Inspectors General of the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security to open investigations into reports that federal law enforcement agents have been unlawfully arrested protesters in Portland, Oregon. Reports claim that federal law enforcement agents began using unmarked vehicles to nab protesters last Tuesday. A joint letter signed by several congress members warns that “The Attorney General of the United States does not have unfettered authority to direct thousands of federal law enforcement personnel to arrest and detain American citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.” Co-signers of the letter include House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson and Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney. Yesterday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that the presence of federal troops and enforcement officers is actually leading to “more violence and more vandalism.”

WHISTLEBLOWER ALLEGES POMPEO COVER-UP… A whistleblower who has complained about alleged misconduct by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was blocked from pursuing the issue by top department officials who were covering for Pompeo, according to a copy of the complaint released yesterday. The whistleblower, a State Department employee, also promised new evidence to support allegations against Pompeo. The State Department admitted that it redacted large sections of the four-page report it released following a lawsuit filed by the watchdog group American Oversight. The State Department said its redactions were necessary due to an “ongoing investigation.”

GUNMAN OPENS FIRE AT FEDERAL JUDGE’S HOME… The 20-year-old son of a federal judge was fatally shot and the judge’s husband was critically wounded after a gunman opened fire at the family’s home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, yesterday afternoon. Authorities say the gunman approached the house dressed as a delivery driver and began shooting after the husband opened the door. Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark was reportedly in the basement at the time and was not injured. Salas most recently has been presiding over an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failed to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

GUNMAN OPENS FIRE AT FEDERAL JUDGE’S HOME…  The 20-year-old son of a federal judge was fatally shot and the judge’s husband was critically wounded after a gunman opened fire at the family’s home in New Brunswick, New Jersey, yesterday afternoon. Authorities say the gunman approached the house dressed as a delivery driver and began shooting after the husband opened the door. Judge Esther Salas of the U.S. District Court for New Jersey in Newark was reportedly in the basement at the time and was not injured. Salas most recently has been presiding over an ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who accuse the company about making false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies and failing to monitor “high-risk” customers including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein.

SHOOTINGS IN PEORIA… Authorities in Peoria, Illinois, say 13 people were shot at a gathering of almost 200 people early yesterday. Police say that there were multiple shooters involved in what appeared to be the “result of a dispute between groups of people,” but the suspects have not been identified. The victims’ injuries were described as non-life-threatening.

ENTERTAINMENT
JUICE WRLD TOPS ALBUM CHART
… Juice WRLD’s “Legends Never Die” sold 497,000 copies to debut atop the Billboard 200 albums chart. Last week’s champ, Pop Smoke’s “Shoot for the Stars Aim for the Moon,” dropped into second place with 110,000 units sold. The original Broadway cast recording of “Hamilton: An American Musical” dropped to No. 3 with 95,000 copies sold. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” finished fourth after selling 58,000 units. Post Malone’s “Hollywood’s Bleeding” remained at No. 5 on sales of 34,000 copies.

LINKIN PARK DOESN’T WANT SONG IN TRUMP VIDEO… Linkin Park announced yesterday that it has issued a cease and desist letter over the use of one of the band’s songs in a video promoted by President Trump and White House due to a copyright violation. The version of the song “In The End” used in the video was a cover that featured Jung Youth, complained separately over the weekend. Twitter removed the video due to a copyright violation. Earlier this month, Neil Young objected to Trump playing several of his songs during a July 4 event at Mount Rushmore.

SPORTS
NFL PLAYERS QUESTION SAFETY PROTOCOLS
… The NFL is meeting some resistance as it plans to open training camp this week. Drew Brees, Russell Wilson and other high-profile players went on social media yesterday to question the league’s plans for the 2020 season. Players are demanding that owners listen to medical experts as they finalize safety protocols. The players’ union and owners continue to negotiate proposals.