California governor continues rollback of reopening plans
White House doubles down on “Russian bounties” defense
Supreme court strikes down abortion restriction in major victory for campaigners
Florida scientist says state asked her to change data because reopen plan was ‘already made’
Trump retweets video of white couple pointing guns at protesters
Kim Gardner, head prosecutor for the city of St. Louis, Missouri, denounced on Twitter the couple who pointed guns at protestors who were walking by their mansion when protesting against racism and police brutality. Gardner also said that her office is working to investigate the incident.
Video of the scene went viral and was retweeted by Donald Trump.
The protestors marched past the mansion on their way to the mayor’s house, where they were calling for her resignation after she listed the names and addresses of several people who wrote letters to her asking her to defund the police in a Facebook live video. The mayor has since apologized and removed the video from Facebook.
The man who was seen pointing a rifle at the protestors has spoken about the incident, saying that he and his family were frightened by protestors who broke down iron gates that said “no trespassing” and “private street’.
St. Louis is known for its deep history of redlining, with a street that runs horizontally through the city gaining the nickname “Delmar Divide” for dividing the predominantly rich and white area of the city in the south from the predominantly black and poor residents to the north of the divide.
California governor continues rollback of reopening plans
The Guardian’s Mario Koran reports from California:
California is now in the midst of trying to “toggle back” on plans to reopen after case numbers and hospitalizations flare up in sections of the state, said California governor Gavin Newsom today.
Redflags have been raised on a number of metrics, including “disturbing trendlines” in positivity rates, hospitalizations and ICU admissions attributed to Covid-19.
Over the weekend, Newsom ordered closed bars and nightclubs in nine counties, including Los Angeles, which has nearly 100,000 cases — the most of any region of the state.
Particularly hard hit is Southern California’s Imperial County, where an outbreak is taxing the region’s hospital system. In recent weeks, health officials have had to move roughly 500 patients into neighboring regions, taxing their hospital systems, too.
Newsom today urged Imperial County to reissue a stay-at-home order that had been previously lifted, and leveled the threat of a heavier hand if they chose not to take the advice.
“If they are unsuccessful in building consensus around going back into the stay-at-home order frame, the state of California will assert itself and make sure that happens,” Newsom said.
Imperial County wasn’t the only area singled out. In Sacramento County, health officials are attributing a sudden spike to an increase in family gatherings. In San Bernardino, officials say an uptick is related to outbreaks in jails, combined with community spread.
Of particular concern within the state’s correctional system is San Quentin prison, where positive cases have topped 1,000. More than 40% of the prison’s population is deemed “medically vulnerable” and particularly susceptible to health complications from Covid-19.
Already the state has released roughly 3,500 inmates early, prioritizing release for medically vulnerable inmates, those with little time remaining on sentences and inmates convicted of non-violent crimes. Newsom said today another 3,500 have been identified as potentially eligible for early release, too.
A key question facing both state officials and inmates is securing housing for those in consideration for early release, and not making “a bad situation worse by releasing someone who’s not ready to be released”.
Reddit announced today that it will ban about 2,000 communities on its site that violate its new content policy that explicitly bans hate speech. The banned communities, called “subreddits” on the platform, include popular pages like r/The_Donald, which consisted of discussions and memes support Donald Trump, and r/ChapoTrapHouse, a left-wing forum.
The website’s new policy reads: “Remember the human. Reddit is a place for creating community and belonging, not for attacking marginalized or vulnerable groups of people. Everyone has a right to use Reddit free of harassment, bullying, and threats of violence. Communities and people that incite violence or that promote hate based on identity or vulnerability will be banned.”
Youtube, another website that has come under criticism for offering a platform to extremists, also said today that it will ban several prominent white supremacist channels, including those run by David Duke and Richard Spencer. The company said that those channels violated its bans on hate speech.
New Jersey governor Phil Murphy said that the state will not allow restaurants to accept customers for indoor dining, citing “knucklehead behavior” from people not practicing social distancing as the reason.
New Jersey began its reopening phase 2 June 15, allowing bars and restaurants to offer outdoor dining. Murphy unveiled over the weekend a plan to allow indoor dining at limited capacity as the next step, but on Monday said he will not go forward with the plan.
“We have seen spikes in other states driven, in part, by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments, where they are seated, and without face coverings, for significant periods of time,” he said. “We are also moved to take this step because of what we have seen in some establishments across the state of late.”
Local reporters said that crowds outs bars and restaurants, especially along the shores of the state, were huge, with few people wearing masks.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo said he is considering rolling back similar plans to reopen indoor dining in New York City, also because of reports that people are not practice social distancing in the state.
In a statement emailed to campaign supporters, the Trump campaign said today’s Supreme Court decision to strike down a Louisiana anti-abortion law “is disappointing to say the least” as it denied “women the protection they need in times of crisis”.
“Five unelected Supreme Court Justices decided to insert their political agenda in place of democratically determined policies. This case underscores the importance of re-electing President Trump, who has a record of appointing conservative judges, rather than Joe Biden, who will appoint radical, activist judges who will legislate from the courts,” said the statement.
It might be worth noting the obvious that all Supreme Court justices are “unelected” and are nominated by the president and confirmed by the Senate, including the two judges Trump himself appointed, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, who both voted to uphold the Louisiana law.
A statement from Joe Biden’s campaign struck a similar call to action, telling supporters that individual states have been passing restrictive abortion laws and that the candidate will “codify Roe v. Wade and my Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate a woman’s protected, constitutional right to choose.”
Barack Obama is struggling to complete his White House memoirs, according to the New York Times.
In a long piece about Obama’s developing role in the campaign to defeat Donald Trump at the polls in November, and quoting an “associate” of the 44th president, the paper quoted Obama as saying: “Let’s just say my golf game is going a lot better than my book.”
On leaving the White House in 2017, Obama and his wife, Michelle Obama, received a whopping $65m for his memoir and her autobiography. Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming, followed in 2018 and became a world bestseller.
“She had a ghostwriter,” Obama reportedly “told a friend who asked about his wife’s speedy work”.
“I am writing every word myself, and that’s why it’s taking longer.”
According to the Times, the book will not appear before the 2020 election and a manuscript of between 600 and 800 pages may be split into two volumes, in order for at least some of it to be on sale by Christmas.
The Art of the Deal, Crippled America or any other book “by” Donald Trump, this is not. As the Associated Press put it at the time of the book deal, “Barack Obama is widely regarded as one of the finest prose stylists among modern presidents, and his million-selling Dreams from My Father and The Audacity of Hope are considered essential to his rise to the White House.”
Hallie Golden reports from the self-proclaimed Capitol Hill Organized Protest (Chop) zone in Seattle:
A Fox News reporter has been accused ofpushing a protester on Monday morning at the occupied area in Seattle known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (Chop).
Derrick Drungo, an activist at CHOPwho witnessed the incident, told The Guardianthe reporter then got in his truck and protesters surrounded it, asking for an apology.Activists said the reporter’s personal securitydetailcame out and tried to pepper spray them, and the group moved a concrete barrier in front of the truck to stop him from leaving.
The reporter later got out of the car and another man with Fox tried to move the truck. While driving very slowly, the man hit Drungo.
“I got back in front of the car and the driver kept driving,” Drungo told the Guardian.
“My hands were up in the air, and he hit me six times. I told him to stop,” He added.
White House doubles down on “Russian bounties” defense
At a press briefing just now, reporters fired off questions to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany about reports that Trump had knowledge that Russia offered bounties to Taliban militants to fatally attack Western coalition troops, including some from the US.
Top administration officials, including members of Trump’s national security council, have been discussing the Russian bounty offer for months, the New York Times first reported.
McEnany doubled down on the Trump’s defense that he nor vice president Mike Pence were briefed on the Russian bounties and there is “no consensus” from the intelligence community that the news is true. Members of Congress are reportedly being briefed on the news this afternoon.
McEnany declined to answer specific questions on why Trump and Pence were not briefed on the bounties before.
The press secretary turned questions about the bounties into an opportunity to bash the New York Times and the Washington Post, who also reported on the bounties. McEnany repeated claims that the reports are “unverified” and part of the “failed Russia reporting of the New York Times”.
A vigil held in the memory of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old who black man who was killed by police in Aurora, Colorado, turned violent when police pepper began to pepper spray the crowd, saying that those at the vigil were unlawfully gathering in front of a police station.
Here’s a look at the scene:
Jacksonville, Florida, the city that is slated to host the Republican National Convention in August, announced that it will adopt a mandatory mask requirement for all indoor locations where social distancing is not possible.
That makes things a bit awkward since the Republican National Committee actually moved its convention to Jacksonville after the state it was supposed to be held in, North Carolina, said it would likely impose some restrictions to shrink the size of the convention. North Carolina governor Roy Cooper said he could not agree to guarantees Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee were seeking that would allow the convention to be the big, people-packed convention it was planned to be.
While it’s unclear how Trump and the Republican National Committee will respond to this, Trump and some fellow conservatives have made it clear that they do not like mandatory mask requirements.
Florida has seen a skyrocketing of new Covid-19 cases, surpassing 9,000 new cases in one day over the weekend. State and local leaders have had to roll back reopening measures because of the influx of new cases.
At a press conference today, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that New York City might have to delay going into its third phase of reopening, the start of reopening indoor dining at restaurant, because of reports that people are not following social distancing guidelines and visitors from states that have high infection rates may be coming into New York.
Cuomo said that most people – probably 95%, he said – have been wearing masks, but the state has to worry about the other 5% and how local law enforcement can step in if necessary.
Oh, and Cuomo also built a “mountain” to physically show how the number of cases in New York peaked and then went down… because why not?
As Seattle officials expect to start dismantling the occupied protest zone in Seattle, more violence has been reported from the area last night. Here’s more from Hallie Golden, who’s reporting from Seattle:
Seattle police are investigating a shooting that left one man dead and another in critical condition early Monday morning in the area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (Chop) in Seattle.
A spokesperson for Harborview Medical Center said that one victim arrived at the hospital by private vehicle at about 3:15 a.m., while the second was transported by medics and arrived at about 3:30 a.m.
Four other people have been shot in the area of the self-proclaimed police-free zone, which was founded about three weeks ago after a series of dangerous clashes between protesters and law enforcement culminated in police abandoning their precinct building in the area. Several people have been injured and a 19-year-old man was killed during these shootings.
On Friday, Mayor Jenny Durkan held an impromptu meeting with protesters in which she told them the city would remove the concrete barriers surrounding the protest zone, according to Converge Media, the only news organization allowed in. The barriers were expected to be removed Sunday, but now may be taken away Monday.
Many cities around the US are still seeing major protests against racism and police brutality. Seattle has seen one of the longest, most intense protests as protestors have barricaded themselves into a portion of the city, virtually creating an occupied zone. Today, Seattle officials said they will work on disassemble the protest area.
Here’s more from Hallie Golden, who’s reporting from Seattle:
Seattle officials are expected to clear concrete barriers surrounding the occupied area known as the Capitol Hill Organized Protest (Chop) on Monday, in what would be the city’s first major step to begin to dismantle the protest zone.
A large group of Seattle Department of Transportation crews tried to remove the barriers early Friday morning, but were stopped by several people sitting or lying on the ground in front of the equipment.
During an impromptu meeting with protesters later in the day on Friday, Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said that the city would clear the barricades Sunday, but would leave those directly outside the police’s east precinct, according to Converge Media, the only news organization allowed in the meeting. No crews arrived Sunday to remove the barricades.
The protest zone was founded about three weeks ago after police abandoned the precinct, following dangerous clashes between protesters and law enforcement. CHOP was initially home to hundreds of protesters, but in recent days those numbers have dwindled dramatically, likely in response to several shootings in the area.
Early on Monday morning, officials reported another shooting, which left one man dead and another in critical condition.
Although some people have moved their tents in recent days from Cal Anderson Park to the area surrounding the precinct, many others remain at the park. Questions remain about how protesters will respond to the city attempting to remove barricades, and what will happen to those still in the park.
The Supreme Court today also announced that it decided not to take on a case regarding federal executions.
The case puts an end to a lengthy battle that began when US attorney general William Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons to schedule federal executions for four inmates convicted of killing children, resuming federal executions for the first time since 2003.
Some of the inmates challenged the new procedures the Department of Justice was taking to get federal executions off the ground again, arguing that the government was circumventing proper methods in order to ensure inmates would be executed quickly.
For many years before his presidency, Donald Trump has been an advocate for the death penalty, infamously taking out a full-page ad in a New York newspaper saying that the Central Park Five, all who have been exonerated, should get the death penalty.
The supreme court’s third and last decision released today dealt a win to conservatives fighting against the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), a consumer-finance watchdog agency within the government created to protect consumers from abuse from banks and other financial institutions in the wake of the 2008 recession.
In its decision, the supreme court gave power to the president to fire whoever heads the bureau. The law that created the CFPB said that the Senate would confirm a director who would serve a five-year appointment and could only be fired for “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office”.
Trump, along with a firm that was being investigated by the CFPB for misleading financial practices, sued the government saying that the law too severely restricted the president’s power. The court today agreed with them, ruling 5-4 that the president has the right to remove the CFBP’s director “at will”.
People are noting that supreme court justice Brett Kavanaugh voted to uphold the restrictive abortions law, despite what Maine senator Susan Collins said about the judge when speaking about her decision to vote for his confirmation.
Collins said in 2018 that Kavanaugh has said before and told her personally many times that he respects Roe v Wade, the supreme court case that made abortion in the US a legal right, as precedent. “I have always been concerned about preserving Roe v Wade,” she said at the time.
And then there is, of course, this wonderful fun fact about today’s ruling.
While chief justice John Roberts ruled with the liberal judges this morning and struck down a restrictive abortion law, Roberts made it clear in his opinion for the court that his decision is based on his respecting a previous supreme court decision.
In 2016, the supreme court struck down a Texas law that was nearly identical to the Louisiana law the supreme court decided on today. When deciding that case, Whole Woman’s Health v Hellerstedt, Roberts actually voted against the majority, saying that the law was constitutional.
Reproductive rights advocacy groups are celebrating the supreme court’s decision that a Louisiana law that restricted abortion access is unconstitutional.
Supreme court strikes down abortion restriction in major victory for campaigners
The US Supreme Court just struck down a major abortion case. The court ruled that a Louisiana law that requires doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital, severely limiting access to abortion, is unconstitutional.
The court ruled the decision 5-4, with chief justice John Roberts siding with the court’s liberal justices to strike the law down.
Read more about the case and the court decision’s here: