Trump Administration, Week 180: Friday, 26 June – Thursday, 2 July 2020 (Days 1,253-1,259)

George Floyd protests on the Burnside Bridge in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, 2 June 2020.

Passages in bold in the body of the texts below are usually my emphasis, though not always. This is an ongoing project, and I update the site frequently during the day. Because I try to stay focused on what has actually happened, I usually let the news ‘settle’ for a day or so before posting. I hope readers will peruse the articles in full for a better understanding of the issues and their context; our democracy and our future depend on citizens who can distinguish between facts and falsehoods and who are engaged in the political process.

For independent global news, visit Democracy Now!

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 26 June 2020: U.S. Hits Another Record for New Coronavirus Cases. More than 45,000 new cases in the United States were reported on Friday, the third consecutive day with a record total. The New York Times, Friday, 26 June 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Friday, 26 June 2020: Stocks Slide as Texas Rolls Back Reopening, The New York Times, Friday, 26 June 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Florida confirms nearly 9,000 coronavirus cases in a single day, a new record, Miami Herald, Ben Conarck and Daniel Chang, Friday, 26 June 2020: “A record week of surging coronavirus numbers was only heightened on Friday, as state health officials confirmed 8,942 cases, nearly doubling the previous record of cases reported in a single day, two days earlier. Florida’s Department of Health on Friday morning confirmed the cases, bringing the state total to 122,960. The state also announced at least 39 new deaths, bringing the total of COVID-19 deaths north of 3,360.” See also, Texas and Florida governors order bars closed and impose new restrictions as cases surge. The actions by the close allies of Trump came as the White House downplayed the spikes as ‘hot spots.’ Politico, Caitlin Oprysko, Friday, 26 June 2020: “A pair of GOP governors on Friday moved to impose new mitigation measures in their states amid record numbers of new coronavirus infections, with both Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordering bars closed and Texas placing new restrictions on other businesses the governor said were linked to the virus’s resurgence. Texas and Florida are among around a dozen other states that have hit the brakes on reopening their economies amid a resurgence of the virus across the South and West affecting more than half of the states in the country. They’re the first that have had to reinstate restrictions as case soar. That both governors — who are close allies of President Donald Trump and were criticized for resisting calls to lock down their states in the pandemic’s early days — have not only pressed pause on reopening but reimposed some restrictions, speaks to the severity of the outbreaks in two of the most populous states in the country.”

Continue reading Week 180, Friday, 26 June – Thursday, 2 July 2020 (Days 1,253-1,259)

New Numbers Showing Coronavirus Spread Intrude on a White House in Denial. Both President Trump and Vice President Pence seem oblivious to the new chapter in the pandemic. The New York Times, Michael D. Shear and Maggie Haberman, Friday, 26 June 2020: “In the past week, President Trump hosted an indoor campaign rally for thousands of cheering, unmasked supporters even as a deadly virus spread throughout the country. He began easing up on restrictions that had been in place at the White House since Washington instituted a stay-at-home order in response to the coronavirus in March, and he invited the president of Poland to a day of meetings. Then, on Thursday, he flew to Wisconsin to brag about an economic recovery that he said was just around the corner. But by Friday, it was impossible to fully ignore the fact that the pandemic the White House has for weeks insisted was winding down has done just the opposite.” See also, Texas Governor Rolls Back Reopening as U.S. Coronavirus Cases Hit Record. Florida cases surge nearly 80% as country marks daily high of nearly 40,000 new cases. The Wall Street Journal, Talal Ansari, Stephanie Armour and Alex Leary, Friday, 26 June 2020: “Coronavirus cases surged in the U.S., outstripping a peak not seen since the worst day in April and prompting some states and cities that have reopened quickly or shunned shutdowns to reverse course. Texas and Florida, which had been among the last states to shut down and among the earliest to reopen, took steps to keep people at home. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott closed down bars across the state as Houston issued a stay-at-home order. Florida imposed new restrictions on bars as it recorded 8,933 new cases, a nearly 80% increase from 5,000 cases reported a day earlier. Four states—Florida, Texas, California and Arizona—accounted for nearly half of a record-breaking 39,972 confirmed new Covid-19 cases reported Thursday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The tally surpassed a previous high of 36,291 daily cases in late April.”

Vice President Mike Pence tries to put a positive spin on the coronavirus pandemic despite surging cases in the South and West, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Trump administration on Friday claimed ‘remarkable progress’ in fighting the coronavirus pandemic, despite a surge of cases in the South and West and as several Republican governors allied with President Trump are under pressure to impose stricter public health restrictions to gain control of outbreaks in their states. Vice President Pence held the first public briefing of the coronavirus task force in nearly two months and sought to deliver an upbeat message that was at odds with warnings from public health experts. The vice president dodged the question of whether people should wear masks in public, as his own administration recommends, and said campaign rallies that pack people together, in violation of public health guidance, will continue. Pence offered no new strategies to combat the rapidly spreading virus and minimized record daily case counts in several states as ‘outbreaks in specific counties.'” See also, Fact Check: As Cases Surge, Pence Misleads on Coronavirus Pandemic. The vice president falsely claimed that increased testing ‘is generating’ more cases, among other exaggerations and inaccurate claims. The New York Times, Linda Qiu, Friday, 26 June 2020.

Almost one-third of Black Americans know someone who died of covid-19, survey shows, The Washington Post, Amy Goldstein and Emily Guskin, Friday, 26 June 2020: “Nearly 1 in 3 black Americans know someone personally who has died of covid-19, far exceeding their white counterparts, according to a Washington Post-Ipsos poll that underscores the coronavirus pandemic’s profoundly disparate impact. The nationwide survey finds that 31 percent of black adults say they know someone firsthand who has been killed by the virus, compared with 17 percent of adults who are Hispanic and 9 percent who are white.”

Judge Rules the U.S. Must Release Children From Family Detention Centers. The order, which cited the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, applies to children held in the nation’s three family detention centers for more than 20 days. The New York Times, Miriam Jordan, Friday, 26 June 2020: “Citing the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, a federal judge in Los Angeles on Friday ordered the release of migrant children held in the country’s three family detention centers. The order to release the children by July 17 came after plaintiffs in a long-running case reported that some of them have tested positive for the virus. It applies to children who have been held for more than 20 days in the detention centers run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, two in Texas and one in Pennsylvania. There were 124 children living in those facilities on June 8, according to the ruling. In her order, Judge Dolly M. Gee of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California criticized the Trump administration for its spotty compliance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To prevent the virus from spreading in congregate detention facilities, the agency had recommended social distancing, the wearing of masks and early medical intervention for those with virus symptoms. ‘The family residential centers are on fire and there is no more time for half measures,’ she wrote.”

Trump Administration Asks the Supreme Court to Strike Down the Affordable Care Act, The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act — a move that, if successful, would bring a permanent end to the health insurance program popularly known as Obamacare and wipe out coverage for as many as 23 million Americans. In an 82-page brief submitted an hour before a midnight deadline, the administration joined Republican officials in Texas and 17 other states in arguing that in 2017, Congress, then controlled by Republicans, had rendered the law unconstitutional when it zeroed out the tax penalty for not buying insurance — the so-called individual mandate. The administration’s argument, coming in the thick of an election season — as well as a pandemic that has devastated the economy and left millions of unemployed Americans without health coverage — is sure to reignite Washington’s bitter political debate over health care.” See also, Trump administration asks Supreme Court to strike down Obamacare, The Washington Post, Meagan Flynn and Tim Elfrink, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court late on Thursday to overturn the Affordable Care Act, telling the court that ‘the entire ACA must fall.’ The administration’s argument comes as hundreds of thousands of Americans have turned to the government program for health care as they’ve lost jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) responded to the brief by saying there is ‘no moral excuse for the Trump Administration’s disastrous efforts to take away Americans’ health care.’ Dismantling the ACA would leave more than 23 million people without healthcare plans, according to a recent analysis by the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.” See also, Trump Administration Asks Supreme Court to Invalidate the Affordable Care Act, The Wall Street Journal, Stephanie Armour, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Trump administration urged the Supreme Court to invalidate the Affordable Care Act in a legal brief filed Thursday, putting health care at center stage in an election year already focused on the coronavirus pandemic’s impact. The Justice Department said the 2010 health law, a signature achievement of the Obama administration, is invalid because Congress in 2017 ended the financial penalty for not having health insurance, though it didn’t take effect until 2019…. Supreme Court consideration of the ACA won’t happen until the fall at the earliest, with any decision likely coming after Election Day.”

Some Top Democrats Go Further Than Biden on Diverting Police Funds, The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein, Friday, 26 June 2020: “A month after the killing of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis ignited a wave of nationwide protests, Democratic Party officials are expressing broad support for significantly reallocating funds away from police departments, with positions that go well beyond that of the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr Interviews with 54 Democratic National Committee members, convention superdelegates and members of a criminal justice task force convened by Mr. Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders found a near-unanimous sentiment that local governments should redirect more money toward social services, education and mental health agencies.”

After announcing modest police reforms, Trump pivots quickly to a law-and-order message in appeal to his base, The Washington Post, David Nakamura and Peter Hermann, Friday, 26 June 2020: “Over the past week, President Trump has promised an executive order to protect public monuments and statues from vandalism. He accused a Black Lives Matter leader of committing ‘treason.’ He threatened a federal crackdown on protesters and vowed ‘retribution’ against vandals, whom he labeled ‘terrorists.’ And he praised a version of New York City’s ‘stop-and-frisk’ policing strategy that was phased out years ago. Since signing an executive action on police reform on June 16 in the Rose Garden, Trump has shifted almost exclusively to ‘law-and-order’ rhetoric — while dropping almost any pretense of personally addressing the widespread public anger over police brutality that has sparked nationwide demonstrations. The president’s posture comes as he has sought to energize his conservative political base in response to polls that show diminishing public approval over his handling of both the racial justice protests and the coronavirus pandemic. After framing his police reform executive action as an effort to balance the interests of victims’ families and police officers, Trump has sided squarely with the law enforcement community, reinforcing widespread skepticism about his commitment to addressing complaints of racial bias and systemic abuses in police departments that have harmed African Americans.”

Supreme Court won’t force Texas to allow absentee ballots for all voters, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Supreme Court declined Friday to force Texas officials to offer mail-in ballots to all voters in the state because of the threat of the coronavirus, not just those over 65. The justices, without comment, turned down a request from the Texas Democratic Party to reinstate a district judge’s order that would affect the primary runoff elections in July and the general election in November. There were no noted dissents to the court’s order, but Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote that the case raised ‘weighty but seemingly novel questions’ regarding whether special conditions for those over a certain age violated the constitutional rights of younger voters. She said an emergency request like the one before the Supreme Court was not the right time to consider them. But she added that she hoped the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ‘will consider the merits of the legal issues in this case well in advance of the November election.'” See also, Supreme Court Turns Down Request to Allow All Texans to Vote by Mail, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Supreme Court said on Friday that it would not require Texas to let all eligible voters vote by mail. The Texas Democratic Party and several voters had urged the court to reinstate a federal trial judge’s injunction requiring state officials to allow all voters, and not just those who are 65 or older, to submit their ballots by mail. They relied on the 26th Amendment, which lowered the voting age to 18 and said the right to vote ‘shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of age.’ The court’s brief order gave no reasons, which is typical when the justices rule on emergency applications, and there were no noted dissents. Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued a statement saying that the question in the case raised ‘weighty but seemingly novel questions regarding the 26th Amendment.'”

Appeals court rules Trump broke the law by using military funds for the border wall, Los Angeles Times, Marya Dolan, Friday, 26 June 2020: “A federal appeals court decided 2-1 Friday that the Trump administration violated the law by using military money to build a wall at the southern border of Arizona, New Mexico and California. A panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals said the power of the purse belongs to Congress, and the administration lacked constitutional authority to transfer the military money toward the border project. Two Democratic appointees were in the majority. A Trump appointee dissented.” See also, Appeals Court Rejects Trump’s Diversion of Military Funds for Border Wall, The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Friday, 26 June 2020: “A federal appeals court in San Francisco ruled on Friday that the Trump administration did not have the authority to transfer $2.5 billion from the Pentagon to President Trump’s border wall without congressional approval, most likely sending the matter to the Supreme Court. The 2-to-1 decision, which sided with environmental groups that brought the lawsuit, is the latest in what has become a legal odyssey centered on Mr. Trump’s choice to seize billions of dollars for the wall even after Congress expressly forbid it. But the ruling will not immediately halt construction. Last July, the Supreme Court overturned a separate appellate decision and allowed the administration to move forward with wall building, using $2.5 billion originally allocated to counterdrug programs at the Defense Department.” See also, Federal appeals court says Trump can’t divert military funds for border wall, CNN Politics, Priscilla Alvarez, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The Trump administration doesn’t have the authority to divert Pentagon funds to construct additional barriers on the US-Mexico border, a federal appeals court ruled Friday, days after President Donald Trump’s visit to a section of the wall in Arizona. In a 2-1 ruling, the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals said that the transfer of $2.5 billion circumvented Congress, which holds the authority to appropriate money.”

Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says. The Trump administration has been deliberating for months about what to do about a stunning intelligence assessment. The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, and Michael Schwirtz, Friday, 26 June 2020: “American intelligence officials have concluded that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops — amid the peace talks to end the long-running war there, according to officials briefed on the matter. The United States concluded months ago that the Russian unit, which has been linked to assassination attempts and other covert operations in Europe intended to destabilize the West or take revenge on turncoats, had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year. Islamist militants, or armed criminal elements closely associated with them, are believed to have collected some bounty money, the officials said. Twenty Americans were killed in combat in Afghanistan in 2019, but it was not clear which killings were under suspicion.” See also, U.S. Intelligence finds Russian operation targeted coalition troops in Afghanistan, The Washington Post, Ellen Nakashima, Missy Ryan, John Hudson, and Shane Harris, published on Saturday, 27 June 2020: “A Russian military spy unit offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants to attack coalition forces in Afghanistan, including U.S. and British troops, in a striking escalation of the Kremlin’s hostility toward the United States, American intelligence has found. The Russian operation, first reported by the New York Times, has generated an intense debate within the Trump administration about how best to respond to a troubling new tactic by a nation that most U.S. officials regard as a potential foe but that President Trump has frequently embraced as a friend, said the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter.” See also, U.S. Intelligence Says Russian Spy Unit Paid Taliban to Attack Americans, The Wall Street Journal, Gordon Lubold and Warren P. Strobel, published on Saturday, 27 June 2020: “A Russian spy unit paid members of Afghanistan’s Taliban movement to conduct lethal attacks on U.S. troops in that country, according to a classified American intelligence assessment, people familiar with the report said.”

The European Union Plans to Bar Most U.S. Travelers When the Bloc Reopens on 1 July, The New York Times, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The European Union is ready to bar most travelers from the United States, Russia, and dozens of other countries considered too risky because they have not controlled the coronavirus outbreak, E.U. officials said Friday. By contrast, travelers from more than a dozen countries that are not overwhelmed by the coronavirus are set to be welcomed when the bloc reopens after months of lockdown on July 1. The acceptable countries also include China — but only if China allows European Union travelers to visit as well, the officials said. The list of safe countries was completed by E.U. senior diplomats in Brussels after tortuous negotiations on how to reopen the 27-member bloc to commerce and tourism under a common set of standards after months of lockdown.”

D.C. statehood is approved by U.S. House for the first time in history, The Washington Post, Jenna Portnoy, Friday, 26 June 2020: “For the first time since the establishment of the District of Columbia 230 years ago, the House of Representatives voted to declare the city as the nation’s 51st state, a legislative milestone that supporters say begins to right historic wrongs. The vote on Friday afternoon, which fell mostly along party lines, comes as the United States grapples with systemic racism that District officials say has led to the disenfranchisement of the 700,000 residents of the nation’s capital.” See also, In Historic Vote, House Approves Statehood for the District of Columbia, The New York Times, Emily Cochrane, Friday, 26 June 2020: “The House of Representatives voted nearly along party lines on Friday to grant statehood to Washington, D.C., the first time a chamber of Congress has approved establishing the nation’s capital as a state. The legislation, which is unlikely to advance in the Republican-led Senate, would establish a 51st state — Washington, Douglass Commonwealth, named in honor of Frederick Douglass — and allow it two senators and a voting representative in the House. The National Mall, the White House, Capitol Hill and some other federal property would remain under congressional jurisdiction, with the rest of the land becoming the new state. The vote was 232 to 180, with every Republican and one Democrat voting ‘no.’

Facebook Tightens Control on Speech as Ad Boycott Grows, The Wall Street Journal, Suzanne Vranica and Deepa Seetharaman, Friday, 26 June 2020: “Under mounting pressure from advertisers, Facebook Inc. said it would start labeling political speech that violates its rules and take other measures to prevent voter suppression and protect minorities from abuse. The new policies were announced Friday shortly after The Wall Street Journal reported that consumer-goods giant Unilever UL  is halting U.S. advertising on Facebook and Twitter Inc. for at least the remainder of the year, citing hate speech and divisive content on the platforms. Unilever’s move marked a significant escalation in advertisers’ efforts to force changes by the tech companies. In a live stream announcing the changes, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg didn’t mention Unilever or the ad boycott, but said he was ‘optimistic that we can make progress on public health and racial justice while maintaining our democratic traditions around free expression and voting.'”

 

Saturday, 27 June 2020, Day 1,256:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Saturday, 27 June 2020: U.S. States Backtrack on Reopening as Coronavirus Cases Climb, The New York Times, Saturday, 27 June 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

With Trump leading the way, U.S. coronavirus failures exposed by record surge in new infections, The Washington Post, Toluse Olorunnipa, Josh Dawsey, and Yasmeen Abutaleb, Saturday, 27 June 2020: “Five months after the novel coronavirus was first detected in the United States, a record surge in new cases is the clearest sign yet of the country’s historic failure to control the virus — exposing a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils. President Trump — who has repeatedly downplayed the virus, sidelined experts and misled Americans about its dangers and potential cures — now finds his presidency wracked by an inability to shepherd the country through its worst public health calamity in a century. The dysfunction that has long characterized Trump’s White House has been particularly ill-suited for a viral outbreak that requires precision, focus and steady leadership, according to public health experts, administration officials and lawmakers from both parties.”

Workers removed thousands of physical distancing stickers before Trump’s Tulsa rally, according to video and a person familiar with the set-up, The Washington Post, Joshua Partlow and Josh Dawsey, Saturday, 27 June 2020: “In the hours before President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, his campaign directed the removal of thousands of ‘Do Not Sit Here, Please!’ stickers from seats in the arena that were intended to establish social distance between rallygoers, according to video and photos obtained by The Washington Post and a person familiar with the event. The removal contradicted instructions from the management of the BOK Center, the 19,000-seat arena in downtown Tulsa where Trump held his rally on June 20. At the time, coronavirus cases were rising sharply in Tulsa County, and Trump faced intense criticism for convening a large crowd for an indoor political rally, his first such event since the start of the pandemic. As part of its safety plan, arena management had purchased 12,000 do-not-sit stickers for Trump’s rally, intended to keep people apart by leaving open seats between attendees. On the day of the rally, event staff had already affixed them on nearly every other seat in the arena when Trump’s campaign told event management to stop and then began removing the stickers, hours before the president’s arrival, according to a person familiar with the event who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.”

Biden Criticizes Trump Over Intelligence on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Michael Schwirtz, and Charlie Savage, Saturday, 27 June 2020: “Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. assailed President Trump on Saturday for failing to punish Russia for offering bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, while the White House denied that Mr. Trump had been briefed on the months-old classified intelligence assessment about Russia’s activities. Citing officials briefed on the matter, The New York Times reported on Friday that a Russian military intelligence unit secretly paid Taliban-linked militants to target coalition troops in Afghanistan, including Americans and that Mr. Trump had been briefed about it. The article also reported that the White House’s National Security Council discussed the problem at an interagency meeting in late March, but no response had yet been authorized. Mr. Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, portrayed that as shameful. ‘Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin,’ Mr. Biden said in a virtual town hall event held by a voter group, Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote.”

Princeton University Will Remove Woodrow Wilson’s Name From School, The New York Times, Bryan Pietsch, Saturday, 27 June 2020: “Princeton University will remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges, the university’s president said on Saturday — a move that comes four years after it decided to keep the name over the objections of student protests. The university’s board of trustees found that Wilson’s ‘racist thinking and policies make him an inappropriate namesake for a school or college whose scholars, students and alumni must stand firmly against racism in all its forms,’ Princeton’s president, Christopher L. Eisgruber, said in a statement. ‘Wilson’s racism was significant and consequential even by the standards of his own time,’ Mr. Eisgruber said. Wilson was the university’s president from 1902 to 1910 before becoming the U.S. president in 1913. Wilson had overseen the resegregation of federal government offices, including the Treasury Department. In a meeting in the Oval Office with the civil rights leader Monroe Trotter, Wilson said, ‘Segregation is not humiliating, but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen,’ according to a transcript of the meeting.” See also, Princeton says it will remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school, The Washington Post, Lori Aratani, Friday, 27 June 2020: “Princeton University’s board of trustees has voted to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of public and international affairs, saying the late president’s segregationist policies make him an ‘especially inappropriate namesake’ for a public policy school. ‘When a university names a school of public policy for a political leader, it inevitably suggests that the honoree is a model for students who study at the school,’ university president Christopher L. Eisgruber wrote in a letter to the Princeton community regarding Friday’s vote by the board of trustees. ‘This searing moment in American history has made clear that Wilson’s racism disqualifies him from that role. In a nation that continues to struggle with racism, this University and its school of public and international affairs must stand clearly and firmly for equality and justice.'”

Study of domestic terrorist violence by the Center for Strategic and International Studies finds the majority comes from the far right, The Guardian, Jason Wilson, Saturday, 27 June 2020: “Violence by far-right groups and individuals has emerged as one of the most dangerous terrorist threats faced by US law enforcement and triggered a wave of warnings and arrests of people associated with those extremist movements. The most recent in-depth analysis of far-right terrorism comes from the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). In a report released last week, the Escalating Terrorism Problem in the United States, CSIS analyzes 25 years of domestic terrorism incidents and finds that the majority of attacks and plots have come from the far right. The report says ‘the majority of all terrorist incidents in the United States since 1994, and the total number of rightwing attacks and plots has grown significantly during the past six years,’ with the far right launching two-thirds of attacks and plots in 2019, and 90% of those in 2020. The report adds: ‘Far-right terrorism has significantly outpaced terrorism from other types of perpetrators.’ The second most significant source of attacks and plots in the US has been ‘religious extremists’, almost all ‘Salafi jihadists inspired by the Islamic State and al-Qaida.'”

 

Sunday, 28 June 2020, Day 1,255:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Sunday, 28 June 2020: The Global Death Toll Now Tops 500,000. Vice President Mike Pence asserts that increased testing explains a surge in cases, but experts and evidence say otherwise. New York Times, Sunday, 28 June 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 28 June 2020: Arizona, Florida, and Texas are the latest coronavirus epicenters, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Michael Birnbaum, Meryl Kornfield, Siobhán O’Grady, Kareem Copeland, Marisa Iati, and Felicia Sonmez, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “Confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States surpassed 2.5 million on Sunday as a crushing new wave of infections continued to bear down throughout the country’s South and West. Across the nation, 40,587 new daily cases were reported. Florida, Texas and Arizona are emerging as the country’s latest epicenters after reporting record numbers of new infections for weeks in a row. Positivity rates and hospitalizations have also spiked. On Sunday, Arizona (3,857) and Georgia (2,225) hit new one-day case highs. Global cases of covid-19 exceeded 10 million, according to a count maintained by Johns Hopkins University, a measure of the power and spread of a pandemic that has caused vast human suffering, devastated the world’s economy and still threatens vulnerable populations in rich and poor nations alike.

Here are some significant developments:

  • Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) on Sunday downplayed concerns about Florida’s rising number of new coronavirus cases and attributed the state’s numbers to young people flouting social distancing rules.
  • As cases surge in parts of the United States, testing centers have been overwhelmed with an influx of patients, leading to long wait times and huge lines.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday the wearing of masks should be mandatory nationwide during the pandemic.
  • A record surge in new cases is the clearest sign yet of the historic failure in the United States to control the virus — exposing a crisis in governance extending from the Oval Office to state capitals to city councils.
  • The faltering response in the United States remains a subject of global shock and fascination, with one prominent French virologist saying Sunday the situation was ‘explosive.’

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

White House Blames Rise in Virus Cases on More Testing, as Experts Dispute the Claim, The New York Times, Chris Cameron and Sheila Kaplan, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “Vice President Mike Pence and the nation’s top health official, Alex M. Azar II, continued to assert on Sunday that reopenings in many states were not causing the sharp rises in coronavirus cases, but rather that increased testing was uncovering more and more infections. But their position was disputed by other public health experts, who said that broadened testing is revealing not only more total cases, but also a higher rate of positive cases. And Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, said of the Trump administration: ‘They’re basically in denial about the problem. They don’t want to tell the American people the truth.'”

Coronavirus Cases Pass 10 Million Globally, The Wall Street Journal, Arian Campo-Flores and Russell Gold, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “Coronavirus cases world-wide passed 10 million, with more than 500,000 deaths, as parts of the U.S. took steps to reverse their reopenings in response to surging case numbers, especially among young people. The U.S. recorded more than 42,000 cases Saturday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, lower than the record 45,255 recorded Friday, but the second straight daily total over 40,000.”

Trump thanked ‘great people’ shown in Twitter video in which a man chants ‘white power,’ CNN Politics, Veronica Stracqualursi and Sarah Westwood, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “President Donald Trump on Sunday morning widely shared a video he said is from the Villages, a retirement community in Florida, in which a man driving a golf cart with Trump campaign posters is seen chanting ‘white power.’ The President retweeted the video that showed the community’s Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters arguing with one another. The President thanked the ‘great people’ shown in the video. ‘Thank you to the great people of The Villages. The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!’ he wrote in the tweet.Roughly three hours later, the tweet no longer appeared in Trump’s timeline.” See also, Trump Retweets Racist Video Showing Supporter Yelling ‘White Power,’ The New York Times, Michael D. Shear, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “President Trump on Sunday retweeted a video of one of his supporters yelling ‘White power!,’ once again using the vast reach of his social media platforms to inflame racial divisions in a nation roiled by weeks of protests about police brutality against black people and demands for social justice reforms. The edited racist video shows a white man riding in a golf cart bearing ‘Trump 2020’ and ‘America First’ signs during what appears to be an angry clash over the president and race between white residents of a Florida retirement community. Mr. Trump deleted the tweet more than three hours after posting it. In response to a protester shouting ‘Where’s your white hood?’ and other taunts, the man in the golf cart pumps his fist in the air and says ‘White power!’ twice. The two-minute video continues to show profane exchanges between protesters and other Trump supporters riding on more golf carts. The president retweeted the video to his millions of followers just after 7:30 a.m., thanking ‘the great people of The Villages,’ the Florida retirement community where the clash apparently took place. He added: ‘The Radical Left Do Nothing Democrats will Fall in the Fall. Corrupt Joe is shot. See you soon!!!’ The tweet was widely criticized as racist and insensitive, and again demonstrated the president’s willingness use social media to amplify some of the most hateful commentary of some of his followers, even at a moment of national unrest.” See also, Trump promotes video of a supporter saying ‘white power,’ The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “President Trump promoted a video Sunday that includes a Trump supporter shouting ‘white power’ at counterprotesters, calling his supporters at the Florida retirement community where the demonstration occurred ‘great people.’ The tweet of the video has since been removed, and a White House spokesman said Trump had not heard the racist language when he sent the morning tweet. It is the latest example of the president and allies using language that smacks of racism or references white supremacist views or symbols. But that hasn’t quelled the outrage over the posting. ‘There’s no question: He should not have retweeted it; he should just take it down,’ Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.), the only black Republican senator, said Sunday morning, shortly before the tweet was deleted. ‘I think it’s indefensible,’ Scott said on CNN’s ‘State of the Union.'”

Spies and Commandos Warned Months Ago of Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops, The New York Times, Eric Schmitt, Adam Goldman, and Nicholas Fandos, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan, according to officials briefed on the matter. They believed at least one U.S. troop death was the result of the bounties, two of the officials said. The crucial information that led the spies and commandos to focus on the bounties included the recovery of a large amount of American cash from a raid on a Taliban outpost that prompted suspicions. Interrogations of captured militants and criminals played a central role in making the intelligence community confident in its assessment that the Russians had offered and paid bounties in 2019, another official has said. Armed with this information, military and intelligence officials have been reviewing American and other coalition combat casualties over the past 18 months to determine whether any were victims of the plot. Four Americans were killed in combat in early 2020, but the Taliban have not attacked American positions since a February agreement to end the long-running war in Afghanistan. The details added to the picture of the classified intelligence assessment, which The New York Times reported Friday has been under discussion inside the Trump administration since at least March, and emerged as the White House confronted a growing chorus of criticism on Sunday over its apparent failure to authorize a response to Russia. Mr. Trump defended himself by denying the Times report that he had been briefed on the intelligence, expanding on a similar White House rebuttal a day earlier. But leading congressional Democrats and some Republicans demanded a response to Russia that, according to officials, the administration has yet to authorize.”

Look away, Dixie: Mississippi to lose rebel emblem from flag, Associated Press, Emily Wagster Pettus, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “Mississippi lawmakers voted Sunday to surrender the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag, more than a century after white supremacist legislators adopted the design a generation after the South lost the Civil War. Spectators cheered and applauded after the historic votes in the House and Senate. Each chamber had broad bipartisan support for the landmark decision. Republican Gov. Tate Reeves has said he will sign the bill, and the state flag will lose its official status as soon as he acts. That could happen ‘in coming days,’ said his spokeswoman, Renae Eze. Mississippi has a 38% Black population — and the last state flag with the emblem that’s widely seen as racist. The state faced mounting pressure to change its flag as weeks of international protests against racial injustice in the United States have led to the toppling or removal of Confederate statues and monuments.” See also, Mississippi furls state flag with Confederate emblem after 126 years, Mississippi Today, Adam Ganucheau, Kayleigh Skinner, Bobby Harrison, and Geoff Pender, Sunday, 28 June 2020: “Lawmakers voted on Sunday to remove the Mississippi state flag, the last in the nation featuring the Confederate battle emblem, more than 126 years after it was adopted. The House and Senate passed a bill on Sunday that will immediately remove the state flag, and Gov. Tate Reeves said he would sign the bill into law. A nine-person commission will be appointed to develop a single new design by September, and Mississippi voters will approve or reject that design on the November 2020 ballot. In the meantime, Mississippi will have no official state flag.”

 

Monday, 29 June 2020, Day 1,256:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 29 June 2020: Some States Pause Plans to Reopen as Coronavirus Cases Soar.  54,000 deaths in the U.S. were linked to nursing homes. A top C.D.C. official warned, ‘We are not even beginning to be over this.’ At least 95 people who visited a Michigan bar have tested positive. The New York Times, Monday, 29 June 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Monday, 29 June 2020: ‘Extraordinarily Uncertain’ Outlook From Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, The New York Times, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Jerome H. Powell, the Federal Reserve chair, will tell lawmakers on Tuesday that the U.S. economy is bouncing back, but the path ahead remains dependent on the virus and the action of policymakers. ‘We have entered an important new phase and have done so sooner than expected,’ Mr. Powell said in remarks prepared for delivery to the House Financial Services Committee. He will note that consumer spending rebounded ‘strongly,’ but will warn that the outlook is ‘extraordinarily uncertain’ and hinges on whether efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic succeed. ‘The path forward will also depend on the policy actions taken at all levels of government to provide relief and to support the recovery for as long as needed,’ Mr. Powell will say.” Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday, 28 June 2020: As coronavirus spikes, Kansas and Oregon order face masks; Arizona closes bars, gyms, and theaters, The Washington Post, Brittany Sahmmas, Adam Taylor, Hamza Shaban, Samantha Pell, Michael Brice-Saddler, Steven Goff, Ruby Mellen, and Antonia Noori Farzan, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Arizona, among the latest epicenters of the novel coronavirus in the United States, saw another record high in hospitalizations on Monday. Because of the surge, Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ordered bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks there to close for at least 30 days, effective Monday night. The governors of Oregon and Kansas announced Monday that they will mandate face coverings for state residents. Jacksonville, Fla., where President Trump plans to pack a convention hall to accept the Republican nomination for reelection, also made mask-wearing mandatory. The news comes as the global community marked yet another grim milestone Sunday, with the confirmed worldwide death count from the novel coronavirus surpassing 500,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The director of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned Monday that although the outbreak began six months ago, it is far from over. ‘We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives,’ he said. ‘But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over.’
  • The Trump administration said Monday that it has coronavirus under control, but a resurgent outbreak in Sun Belt states continued to worsen.
  • coronavirus mutation has spread across the world, and scientists are trying to understand why. The mutation doesn’t appear to make people sicker, but a growing number of scientists worry that it has made the virus more contagious.
  • The U.S. House of Representatives on Monday passed the first significant expansion of the Affordable Care Act since its birth a decade ago, forcing Republicans to go on the record about healthcare during the pandemic.
  • Gilead Sciences, the maker of remdesivir, the first covid-19 treatment found to have worked in clinical trials, said it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for the typical patient with private insurance.
  • The chief executives of some the nation’s largest companies expect the economic fallout from the pandemic to extend through 2021, and nearly a third of them say the harm will last even longer.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Remdesivir, the First Coronavirus Drug, Gets a Price Tag, The New York Times, Gina Kolata, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Remdesivir, the first drug shown to be effective against the coronavirus, will be distributed under an unusual agreement with the federal government that establishes nonnegotiable prices and prioritizes American patients, health officials announced on Monday.The arrangement may serve as a template for distribution of new treatments and vaccines as the pandemic swells, said Ernst Berndt, a retired health economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan School of Management. Remdesivir will be sold for $520 per vial, or $3,120 per treatment course, to hospitals for treatment of patients with private insurance, according to the Department of Health and Human Services and Gilead Sciences, the drug’s manufacturer. The price will be set at $390 per vial, or $2,340 per treatment course, for patients on government-sponsored insurance and for those in other countries with national health care systems. The drug will be sold only in the United States through September, meaning American patients will receive almost the entirety of Gilead’s output, more than 500,000 treatment courses. H.H.S. and state health departments have been allocating the drug to hospitals nationwide based on need. After September, they will no longer have a role in determining where the drug is sent.” See also, Gilead sets price of coronavirus drug remdesivir at $3,120 as Trump administration secures supply for500,000 patients, The Washington Post, Hannah Denham, Yasmeen Abutaleb, and Christopher Rowland, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Gilead Sciences, the maker of the first covid-19 treatment found to have worked in clinical trials, remdesivir, said Monday it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for the typical patient with private insurance. Soon after the announcement, the Trump administration said it had secured nearly all of the company’s supply of the drug for use in U.S. hospitals through September, with a contract for 500,000 treatment courses, which it will make available to hospitals at Gilead’s price. Other developed countries will pay 25 percent less than the United States, a discount Gilead said reflects a need to make the drug as widely available as possible throughout the world. The company has licensed generic manufacturers to produce the drug for developing countries, which will receive the treatment ‘at a substantially lower cost,’ the company said. Gilead’s announcement settles a lingering question about a drug that has been shown to have a modest benefit but remains the only therapy authorized by the Food and Drug Administration to treat hospitalized patients with covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. A clinical trial sponsored by the government showed the drug — invented by Gilead but developed largely by taxpayer-funded agencies — sped up hospital recoveries by four days. It had no statistically significant impact on survival for covid-19 patients.” See also, Covid-19 Drug Remdesivir to Cost $3,120 for Typical Patient, The Wall Street Journal, Joseph Walker, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Gilead Sciences Inc. detailed its pricing plans for Covid-19 drug remdesivir, saying it will charge U.S. hospitals $3,120 for a typical patient. The drugmaker on Monday disclosed its pricing plans as it prepares to begin charging for the drug in July. The U.S. has been distributing remdesivir donated by Gilead since the drug was authorized for emergency use in May.” See also, US secures world stock of key Covid-19 drug remdesivir. No other country will be able to buy remdesivir, which can help recovery from Covid-19, for the next three months at least. The Guardian, Sarah Boseley, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “The US has bought up virtually all the stocks for the next three months of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19, leaving none for the UK, Europe or most of the rest of the world. Experts and campaigners are alarmed both by the US unilateral action on remdesivir and the wider implications, for instance in the event of a vaccine becoming available. The Trump administration has already shown that it is prepared to outbid and outmanoeuvre all other countries to secure the medical supplies it needs for the US.”

Goldman Sachs says a national mask mandate could slash infections and save the economy from a 5% hit, CNBC, Thomas Franck, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “A federal face mask mandate would not only cut the daily growth rate of new confirmed cases of Covid-19, but could also save the U.S. economy from taking a 5% GDP hit in lieu of additional lockdowns, according to Goldman Sachs. Jan Hatzius, Goldman’s chief economist, said his team investigated the link between face masks and Covid-19 health and economic outcomes and found that facial coverings are associated with sizable and statistically significant results.’We find that face masks are associated with significantly better coronavirus outcomes,’ Hatzius wrote in a note to clients. ‘Our baseline estimate is that a national mandate could raise the percentage of people who wear masks by 15 [percentage points] and cut the daily growth rate of confirmed cases by 1.0 [percentage point] to 0.6%. These calculations imply that a face mask mandate could potentially substitute for lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from GDP,’ the economist added.”

Republican leaders now say everyone should wear a mask, even as Trump refuses and has mocked some who do, The Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Seung Min Kim, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says there should be no stigma associated with covering one’s face as public health experts advise, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says doing so is essential to fully reopening the economy. The GOP-led city of Jacksonville — which President Trump recently selected to host many of the Republican National Convention festivities in part because of its relatively lax public health restrictions — is now mandating people wear masks in indoor public spaces. And even Sean Hannity and Steve Doocy, two of Trump’s most fervent and loyal boosters on Fox News Channel, have joined the chorus of mask advocates.”

Supreme Court Strikes Down Louisiana Abortion Law, With Chief Justice John Roberts the Deciding Vote, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday struck down a Louisiana law that could have left the state with a single abortion clinic, dashing the hopes of conservatives who were counting on President Trump’s appointments to lead the court to sustain restrictions on abortion rights and, eventually, to overrule Roe v. Wade. Instead, conservatives suffered a setback, and from an unlikely source. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. added his crucial fifth vote to those of the court’s four-member liberal wing, saying that respect for precedent compelled him to do so, even though he had voted to uphold an essentially identical Texas law in a 2016 dissent. In the past two weeks, the chief justice has voted with the court’s liberal wing in three major cases: on job discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers, on a program protecting young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers and now on abortion. While he has on occasion disappointed his usual conservative allies, notably on the Affordable Care Act and adding a citizenship question to the census, nothing in his 15-year tenure on the court compares to the recent run of liberal votes in major cases.” See also, Supreme Court strikes down restrictive Louisiana abortion law that would have closed clinics, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The Supreme Court struck down a restrictive Louisiana abortion law Monday, a dramatic victory for abortion rights activists and a bitter disappointment to conservatives in the first showdown on the controversial issue since President Trump’s remake of the court. As with other recent liberal victories at the court, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was key in the 5-to-4 decision. He joined the court’s liberals rather than his conservative colleagues, including Trump’s appointees, Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh. Roberts said the Louisiana law could not stand given the court’s 2016 decision to overturn a similar Texas law, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. ‘The legal doctrine of stare decisis requires us, absent special circumstances, to treat like cases alike,’ Roberts wrote in concurring with the decision. ‘The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons. Therefore Louisiana’s law cannot stand under our precedents.'”

Supreme Court Lifts Limits on Trump’s Power to Fire the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The president is now free to fire the director without cause. The New York Times, Adam Liptak and Alan Rappeport, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that the president is free to fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau without cause. The decision, rejecting a federal law that sought to place limits on presidential oversight of independent agencies, was a victory for the conservative movement to curb the administrative state. The ruling puts to rest a decade of doubt over whether the bureau and its leadership structure, in which the director is appointed by the president to a five-year term and cannot be dismissed without a substantial reason, were constitutional. While the narrow decision validates the agency’s existence, it could also open it to greater politicization, effectively turning its director into something akin to a cabinet member who serves at the pleasure of a president. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s five more conservative justices in the majority. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for the majority, said the Constitution did not allow powerful agency officials to be insulated from some kinds of executive oversight.” See also, Supreme Court makes it easier for president to fire consumer watchdog head, The Washington Post, Ann E. Marimow and Renae Merle, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday made it easier for the president to remove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s director but allowed the watchdog agency created after the global financial crisis to stand. In a divided decision, the court said the agency’s structure violates the Constitution’s separation-of-powers design. Its single-director configuration concentrates “significant governmental power in the hands of a single individual accountable to no one,” wrote Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., who was joined in part by the court’s other conservative justices. ‘. . . With no colleagues to persuade, and no boss or electorate looking over her shoulder, the Director may dictate and enforce policy for a vital segment of the economy affecting millions of Americans.’… Justice Elena Kagan, writing for the court’s liberals, said Congress should have the flexibility to impose limits on the president’s power to get rid of agency heads. She faulted the majority for second-guessing Congress, which created the agency to ‘address financial practices that had brought on a devastating recession, and could do so again. Today’s decision wipes out a feature of that agency its creators thought fundamental to its mission — a measure of independence from political pressure,’ Kagan wrote in her dissent.”

Federal Executions Can Restart After Supreme Court Declines a Case. The move clears the way for the executions of four men in the coming months after a 17-year gap during which no inmate on death row for federal crimes was put to death. The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday let stand an appeals court ruling allowing the Trump administration to resume executions in federal death penalty cases after a 17-year hiatus. The court’s order cleared the way for the executions of four men in the coming months. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor said they would have heard the case. Attorney General William P. Barr announced last summer that the federal government would end what had amounted to a moratorium on capital punishment. There are more than 60 prisoners on death row in federal prisons.” See also, Supreme Court won’t hear challenge to new federal death penalty procedure, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes and Mark Berman, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The Supreme Court on Monday turned down a challenge to new federal death penalty protocols, potentially clearing the way for the government to resume executions as soon as next month for the first time since 2003. The court, without comment, declined to take up the lawsuit filed by four death row inmates. As is customary, it gave no reason. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor indicated they would have accepted the case. Although this removes a significant barrier to restarting federal executions, it does not mean they will automatically proceed as scheduled. The individual inmates facing execution could file additional challenges, which could affect whether and when these sentences are carried out.”

Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 that Russia was offering bounties to the Taliban to kill Americans, Associated Press, James LaPorta, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Top officials in the White House were aware in early 2019 of classified intelligence indicating Russia was secretly offering bounties to the Taliban for the deaths of Americans, a full year earlier than has been previously reported, according to U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence. The assessment was included in at least one of President Donald Trump’s written daily intelligence briefings at the time, according to the officials. Then-national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.”

Officials Say Trump Got Written Briefing in February on Possible Russian Bounties, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Eric Schmitt, Nicholas Fandos, and Adam Goldman, Monday, 29 June 2020: “American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, two officials familiar with the matter said. The investigation into the suspected Russian covert operation to incentivize such killings has focused in part on an April 2019 car bombing that killed three Marines as one such potential attack, according to multiple officials familiar with the matter. The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious. But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically. Moreover, a description of the intelligence assessment that the Russian unit had carried out the bounties plot was also seen as serious and solid enough to disseminate more broadly across the intelligence community in a May 4 article in the C.I.A.’s World Intelligence Review, a classified compendium commonly referred to as The Wire, two officials said.”

Congress Unites to Demand Answers From Trump on Russian Bounties on U.S. Troops in Afghanistan, NPR, Philip Ewing, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Members of Congress in both parties demanded answers on Monday about reported bounties paid by Russian operatives to Afghan insurgents for targeting American troops. The stories appeared to have taken even the most senior lawmakers off guard, and they said they wanted briefings soon from the Defense Department and the intelligence community. ‘I think it is absolutely essential that we get the information and be able to judge its credibility,’ said Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee. The story is unfolding along two parallel tracks in Washington, based on two key questions: First, what actually has taken place — and have any American troops been killed as a result of Russian-sponsored targeted action? And second: Who knew what about the reporting on these allegations that has flowed up from the operational level in Afghanistan?”

Three Words. 70 Cases. The Tragic History of ‘I Can’t Breathe.’ The New York Times, Mike Baker, Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, Manny Fernandez, and Michael LaForgia, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The deaths of Eric Garner in New York and George Floyd in Minnesota created national outrage over the use of deadly police restraints. There were many others you didn’t hear about.”

Trump Shares Video of Armed White Couple Confronting Protesters, The New York Times, Annie Karni, Monday, 29 June 2020: “President Trump retweeted a video on Monday morning of a white man and woman brandishing a semiautomatic rifle and a handgun at peaceful black protesters in St. Louis over the weekend, amplifying a surreal scene that embodied the racial divisions roiling the country. Mr. Trump’s promotion of the St. Louis confrontation was the second time in two days that the president used his social media platforms — which he often credits with allowing him to circumvent mainstream news outlets — to exacerbate racial divisions as Americans have been protesting police brutality and demanding social justice reforms after the killing of George Floyd.” See also, Trump retweets video of white St Louis couple pointing guns at protesters, The Guardian, Martin Pengelly and Lois Beckett, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Donald Trump courted controversy on Monday – and perhaps sought to deflect attention from reports about Russia placing bounties on US soldiers in Afghanistan – by retweeting news footage of a white couple in St Louis, Missouri, who pointed guns at protesters marching for police reform. The president’s action came a day after he retweeted footage of protesters clashing in Florida in which a Trump supporter could be heard to say: ‘White power! White power!'” See also, St. Louis couple point guns at crowd of protesters calling for mayor to resign, The Washington Post, Teo Armus and Kim Bellware, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Two years ago, Mark and Patricia McCloskey made local headlines when they raised the curtain on the decades-long renovation of their palatial and historic St. Louis home. On Sunday, the home was the backdrop of a different attention-grabbing scene: Mark brandishing a semiautomatic rifle as protesters en route to the mayor’s home approached nearby. Patricia, a few feet away, was seen pointing a pistol at the crowd, her finger directly on the trigger. Reaction to photos and videos of the incident was swift: One video had been viewed more than 16 million times and counting as of Monday evening and captured the attention of President Trump, civil rights advocates and the St. Louis circuit attorney, who is now investigating the incident.”

Trump criticizes Princeton for removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school, The Washington Post, John Wagner, Monday, 29 June 2020: “President Trump on Monday criticized Princeton University for removing Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of public and international affairs and called a push to remove John Wayne’s name from a California airport ‘incredible stupidity.’ The president’s twin broadsides, in a morning tweet, marked his latest objections to efforts to update names of facilities amid a tense national debate on race relations in the wake of the death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police. In recent weeks, Trump has also expressed objections to removing Confederate statues, threatening lengthy jail sentences for protesters who forcibly do so, and to renaming military bases that commemorate Confederate generals.”

Reddit, Acting Against Hate Speech, Bans ‘The_Donald’ Subreddit, The New York Times, Mike Isaac, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Reddit, one of the largest social networking and message board websites, on Monday banned its biggest community devoted to President Trump as part of an overhaul of its hate speech policies. The community or ‘subreddit,’ called ‘The_Donald,’ is home to more than 790,000 users who post memes, viral videos and supportive messages about Mr. Trump. Reddit executives said the group, which has been highly influential in cultivating and stoking Mr. Trump’s online base, had consistently broken its rules by allowing people to target and harass others with hate speech. ‘Reddit is a place for community and belonging, not for attacking people,’ Steve Huffman, the company’s chief executive, said in a call with reporters. ‘The_Donald has been in violation of that.’ Reddit said it was also banning roughly 2,000 other communities from across the political spectrum, including one devoted to the leftist podcasting group ‘Chapo Trap House,’ which has about 160,000 regular users. The vast majority of the forums that are being banned are inactive.” See also, Twitch Suspends Trump’s Channel for ‘Hateful Conduct,’ The New York Times, Kellen Browning, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Twitch, the livestreaming platform, said on Monday that it was suspending President Trump’s channel for ‘hateful conduct,’ in what appeared to be the first deliberate suspension of one of Mr. Trump’s social media accounts. The site, which is owned by Amazon, said two recent streams on Mr. Trump’s channel violated its rules. One stream was of a rebroadcasted 2015 campaign event in which Mr. Trump made comments about Mexico sending drugs, crime and rapists over the border. The other was of his recent rally in Tulsa, Okla., where he talked about a ‘very tough hombre’ breaking into a woman’s house at 1 a.m. ‘Hateful conduct is not allowed on Twitch,’ a Twitch spokeswoman said in a statement. ‘In line with our policies, President Trump’s channel has been issued a temporary suspension from Twitch for comments made on stream, and the offending content has been removed.'” See also, Twitch and Reddit crack down on Trump-linked content as industry faces reckoning. The video streaming platform Twitch suspended Trump’s channel, while Reddit banned a forum popular with his supporters. Politico, Cristiano Lima, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Video streaming platform Twitch temporarily suspended President Donald Trump’s channel and social media site Reddit banned a longtime forum used by his supporters in separate actions Monday aimed at curtailing hateful content that come as the tech industry grapples with its handling of the president.”

House Democrats push through first bill in a decade expanding Affordable Care Act, The Washington Post, Amy Goldstein, Monday, 29 June 2020: “The House Monday passed the first significant expansion of the Affordable Care Act since its birth a decade ago, providing Democrats a high-wattage platform to castigate President Trump for his efforts to overturn the landmark law during a pandemic and an election year. The 234-179 vote, almost entirely along party lines, was a hollow exercise in terms of any chance the bill would become law and reshape federal health policy. Moments after the debate began, the White House announced the president would veto the legislation if it reached his desk, though a wall of Senate Republican opposition to the measure makes that a moot point. Still, the vote was laden with political implications. Less than five months before presidential and congressional elections, it forced Republicans to go on the record about the ACA and showed anew the parties’ highly charged ideological differences on health care — an issue that consistently polls as a prime concern among U.S. voters. Democrats portrayed themselves as champions of access to affordable care at a critical time. Republicans characterized the opposing party as authors of a failed law and proponents of tax increases.”

Iran issues arrest warrant for Trump over drone strike that Killed Qasem Soleimani, CNN, Nada AlTaher, Sam Kelly, and Tara John, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Iran has issued an arrest warrant for US President Donald Trump over the drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in January, the semi-official Fars news agency reported Monday. Trump is one of 36 people Iran has issued arrest warrants for in relation to the death of Qasem Soleimani, commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC), according to Fars, but the Tehran attorney general Ali Alqasi Mehr said Trump was at the top of the list. Mehr claimed Trump would be prosecuted as soon as he stands down presidency after his term ends, Fars reported.” See also, Iran Issues Arrest Warrants for Trump and 35 Others in Suleimani Killing, The New York Times, Megan Specia, Monday, 29 June 2020: “Iran has issued an arrest warrant for President Trump and 35 other people it says were involved in a drone strike that killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad this year and has asked for international help in detaining them, according to Iranian news reports. Tehran’s top prosecutor, Ali al-Qasimehr, said in the reports that those sought were involved in ‘directing the assassination’ of Gen. Qassim Suleimani, who was killed with other Iranian and Iraqi officials at the Baghdad airport on Jan. 3.

 

Tuesday, 30 June 2020, Day 1,257:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 30 June 2020: U.S. Hits Another Record for New Coronavirus Cases as Dr. Anthony Fauci Warns That a Resurgence in the South and West ‘Puts the Entire Country at Risk,’ The New York Times, Tuesday, 30 June 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Tuesday, 30 June 2020: Airbus Will Cut 15,000 Jobs, 10% of Its Work Force, the Largest Downsizing in Its History, The New York Times, Tuesday, 30 June 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, 30 June 2020: Massachusetts reports zero new covid-related deaths while infections soar in South and West, The Washington Post, Miriam Berger, Hamza Shaban, John Wagner, Brittany Shammas, Felicia Sonmez, Candace Buckner, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “Massachusetts on Tuesday reported zero coronavirus-related deaths and only 114 new cases, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. There were 133 current hospitalizations in Massachusetts as of Tuesday afternoon, down from around 4,000 at the state’s coronavirus peak in late April. The U.S. added 44,474 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, its second-highest day since the pandemic began. While six states reached new highs in single-day cases — Texas, Arizona, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Idaho and Alaska — 45 states reported seven-day averages of new cases that were greater than one week ago. At least 124,000 people have died of covid-19 in the United States. Nearly 10.3 million cases have been detected worldwide, with roughly 2.6 million infections reported in the U.S.

Here are some significant developments:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Dr. Anthony Fauci Says U.S. Could Reach 100,000 Coronavirus Cases a Day as Warnings Grow Darker. The government’s top infectious disease expert told a Senate panel that bars needed to be closed, and the Fed chairman cautioned that ‘a full recovery is unlikely’ until safety is restored. The New York Times, Sheryl Gay Stolberg and Noah Weiland, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “The government’s top infectious disease expert said on Tuesday that the rate of new coronavirus infections could more than double to 100,000 a day if current outbreaks were not contained, warning that the virus’s march across the South and the West ‘puts the entire country at risk.’ Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, offered the grim prediction while testifying on Capitol Hill, telling senators that no region of the country is safe from the virus’s resurgence. The number of new cases in the United States has shot up by 80 percent in the past two weeks, according to a New York Times database, with new hot spots flaring far from the Sun Belt epicenters.” See also, Dr. Anthony Fauci warns that the U.S. risks 100,000 new Covid-19 cases a day, Politico, Brianna Ehley, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “The government’s top infectious disease expert on Tuesday said the U.S. is ‘not in total control’ of the coronavirus pandemic and suggested 100,000 new infections a day are possible without more safeguards. Anthony Fauci, the director for the National Institute on Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told a Senate health committee hearing that the outbreak is moving in the ‘wrong direction’ and expressed alarm about spikes in states he said may have relaxed social distancing and lockdowns too early so they could restart their economies. ‘Clearly, we are not in control right now,’ Fauci said. He suggested new cases could soar to 100,000 a day, from the roughly 40,000 new cases now reported daily, if the U.S. can’t contain disease spread.” See also, As shaken cities and states pull back from reopening, Dr. Anthony Fauci sounds alarm on surging coronavirus, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Scott Wilson, and Annie Gowen, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “Staggered by the resurgent novel coronavirus, cities and states are reinstituting restrictions on bars, pools and large gatherings days ahead of July 4 celebrations as the top U.S. infectious-disease expert warned Tuesday that the pandemic is out of control in some places and soon could reach 100,000 cases a day. Nationally, new infections have topped 40,000 in four of the past five days during an accelerating outbreak that exceeds the worst days of April. The number of people hospitalized with covid-19, the disease the virus causes, is surging in seven states, according to data tracked by The Washington Post. In Texas, Arizona, Nevada, South Carolina, West Virginia, Georgia and California, seven-day averages are up at least 25 percent from last week.”

The US has 4% of the world’s population but 25% of its coronavirus cases, CNN Health, Scottie Andrew, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “The United States has long prided itself as the world’s shining beacon. But its current status is a much darker one: the globe’s leader in coronavirus cases. More than 125,000 people have died from Covid-19 in the US, and more than 2.5 million Americans have been infected. American life has been irrevocably altered by the worst pandemic in a century. And as the country struggles to reopen, cases of Covid-19 have surged again — this time in young people and in states that had previously avoided the brunt of the virus. Here, in dollars, percentages and — most tragically — lives, is the pandemic’s devastating toll on the US. The US leads the world in cases and deaths…. Over 1,000 Americans die every day in the US from coronavirus…. Nearly 80% of deaths occur in people over age 65…. The US has probably only counted about 10% of its coronavirus cases…. Nursing home deaths account for about 42% of all coronavirus deaths in the US…. Black Americans are more than twice as likely as Whites to die from coronavirus…. More than 47 million Americans have filed for unemployment…. The US economuy had its worst quarter since the 2008 recession…. And the worst isn’t over.”

South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem says ‘we will not be social distancing’ at July 3rd celebration with Trump at Mount Rushmore, NBC News, Rebecca Shabad, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the thousands of people who attend the July 3 celebration for Independence Day at Mount Rushmore with President Donald Trump will not be required to practice social distancing despite an increase in coronavirus cases across the country. ‘We will have a large event at July 3rd. We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks, if they choose to wear one. But we will not be social distancing,’ Noem, a Republican, said in an interview Monday night on Fox News’ ‘The Ingraham Angle.'”

European Union Formalizes Reopening, Barring Travelers From the U.S., The New York Times, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “The European Union will open its borders to visitors from 15 countries as of Wednesday, but not to travelers from the United States, Brazil or Russia, putting into effect a complex policy that has sought to balance health concerns with politics, diplomacy and the desperate need for tourism revenue. The list of nations that European Union countries have approved includes Australia, Canada and New Zealand, while travelers from China will be permitted if China reciprocates. The plan was drawn up based on health criteria, and European Union officials went to great lengths to appear apolitical in their choices, but the decision to leave the United States off the list — lumping travelers from there in with those from Brazil and Russia — was a high-profile rebuke of the Trump administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.” See also, European Union to Remain Closed to U.S. Travelers as Borders Open Up, The Wall Street Journal, Laurence Norman, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “Americans will remain barred from entering the European Union for nonessential travel even as the bloc starts to open up to as many as 15 countries from Wednesday, the EU said. Tuesday’s decision comes after days of wrangling between the bloc’s member states, which were divided over the economic benefits of opening up ahead of the summer tourist season amid concerns about a second wave of the coronavirus. With most European citizens banned from the U.S. and the health situation there deteriorating, it had not appeared likely U.S. citizens would be among the first group of people cleared to come to the bloc.”

Suspicions of Russian Bounties to Taliban-Linked Militants to Kill American and Coalition Troops in Afghanistan Is Bolstered by Data on Financial Transfers, The New York Times, Charlie Savage, Mujib Mashal, Rukmini Callimachi, Eric Schmitt, and Adam Goldman, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence. Though the United States has accused Russia of providing general support to the Taliban before, analysts concluded from other intelligence that the transfers were most likely part of a bounty program that detainees described during interrogations. Investigators also identified by name numerous Afghans in a network linked to the suspected Russian operation, the officials said — including, two of them added, a man believed to have served as an intermediary for distributing some of the funds and who is now thought to be in Russia.”

What Is Owed? It Is Time for Reparations. If true justice and equality are ever to be achieved in the United States, the country must finally take seriously what it owes black Americans. The New York Times, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “After years of black-led activism, protest and organizing, the weeks of protests since George Floyd’s killing have moved lawmakers to ban chokeholds by police officers, consider stripping law enforcement of the qualified immunity that has made it almost impossible to hold responsible officers who kill, and discuss moving significant parts of ballooning police budgets into funding for social services. Black Lives Matter, the group founded in 2013 by three black women, Patrisse Khan-Cullors, Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, after the acquittal of Trayvon Martin’s killer, saw its support among American voters rise almost as much in the two weeks after Floyd’s killing than in the last two years. According to polling by Civiqs, more than 50 percent of registered voters now say they support the movement…. It is hard in the midst of something momentous to pinpoint exactly what has caused it. What we’re seeing is most likely a result of unrelenting organizing by the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s the pandemic, which virtually overnight left staggering numbers of Americans without enough money to buy food, pay rent and sustain their businesses. For many white Americans who may have once, consciously or unconsciously, looked down upon this nation’s heavily black and brown low-wage service workers, Covid-19 made them realize that it was the delivery driver and grocery clerk and meatpacker who made it possible for them to remain safely sequestered in their homes — and these workers were dying for it. Black Americans, in particular, have borne a disproportionate number of deaths from both Covid-19 and law enforcement, and many nonblack protesters have reasoned that black people should not have to risk their lives alone in taking to the streets demanding that the state not execute its citizens without consequence. And as they did, white Americans both in the streets and through the screens of their phones and televisions got a taste of the wanton police violence that black Americans regularly face. They saw the police beating up white women, pushing down an elderly white man and throwing tear gas and shooting rubber bullets at demonstrators exercising their democratic right to peacefully protest. With so many Americans working from home or not working at all, they have had the time to show up to protests every day…. If black lives are to truly matter in America, this nation must move beyond slogans and symbolism. Citizens don’t inherit just the glory of their nation, but its wrongs too. A truly great country does not ignore or excuse its sins. It confronts them and then works to make them right. If we are to be redeemed, if we are to live up to the magnificent ideals upon which we were founded, we must do what is just. It is time for this country to pay its debt. It is time for reparations.”

Supreme Court says Montana program aiding private schools must be open to religious schools, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday said that states that provide assistance to private schools may not exclude some solely because they are religious, a major victory for those who want to see religious institutions play a more robust role in ‘school choice.’ Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., writing for a conservative majority in the 5-to-4 ruling, said the Montana Supreme Court was wrong to strike down a tuition assistance program passed by the legislature. It allowed tax incentives for scholarships to private schools, including religious ones, but the state court said that ran afoul of a state constitution provision forbidding public funds from going to religious institutions. The U.S. Constitution’s protection of religious freedom prevails, he said. ‘A state need not subsidize private education,’ Roberts wrote. ‘But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.'”

Thousands of U.S. judges who broke laws or oaths remained on the bench, Reuters Investigates, Michael Berens and John Shiffman, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “[T]housands of state and local judges across America … were allowed to keep positions of extraordinary power and prestige after violating judicial ethics rules or breaking laws they pledged to uphold, a Reuters investigation found. Judges have made racist statements, lied to state officials and forced defendants to languish in jail without a lawyer – and then returned to the bench, sometimes with little more than a rebuke from the state agencies overseeing their conduct. Recent media reports have documented failures in judicial oversight in South CarolinaLouisiana and Illinois. Reuters went further. In the first comprehensive accounting of judicial misconduct nationally, Reuters reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, reporters identified another 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined wayward judges but kept hidden from the public key details of their offenses – including the identities of the judges themselves. All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined.”

New York Judge Blocks Publication of Tell-All Book about Trump by His Niece Until a July Hearing, The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “A judge in Dutchess County, N.Y., on Tuesday temporarily blocked publication of a tell-all book by President Trump’s niece Mary L. Trump that is currently scheduled for release July 28. Judge Hal Greenwald of the New York State Supreme Court issued the temporary restraining order until a hearing on July 10 to decide whether Ms. Trump’s book, ‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,’ violated a confidentiality agreement she signed with other members of the Trump family in connection with a dispute over the estate of Fred Trump Sr., the president’s father. The judge acted in response to a court action filed by Robert S. Trump, the president’s brother, against Ms. Trump and Simon & Schuster, the book’s publisher. Ms. Trump is the daughter of Fred Trump Jr., who died in 1981 and was estranged from his family. A lawyer for Ms. Trump, Theodore J. Boutrous, vowed to appeal the decision.” See also, Publication of explosive tell-all book by Trump’s niece temporarily blocked by New York state judge, The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “A New York judge on Tuesday temporarily blocked the publication of Mary L. Trump’s scathing book about her uncle, President Trump, which describes him as the ‘world’s most dangerous man,’ saying no copies can be distributed until he hears arguments in the case. The order leaves it uncertain whether the book will be published as scheduled on July 28. Judge Hal B. Greenwald ordered a hearing next month on a request for an injunction by Trump’s brother Robert, who has argued that Mary Trump is not allowed to publish anything about her family as part of a settlement in an inheritance case.”

Facebook Bans Network With ‘Boogaloo’ Ties, The New York Times, Davey Alba, Tuesday, 30 June 2020: “Facebook said on Tuesday that it took down a network of accounts, groups and pages connected to an antigovernment movement in the United States that encourages violence. People and groups associated with the decentralized movement, called boogaloo, will be banned from Facebook and Instagram, which Facebook also owns, the company said. Facebook said it had removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 pages and 106 groups as a result of the decision. It is also designating boogaloo as a dangerous organization on the social network, meaning it shares the same classification as terrorist activity, organized hate and large-scale criminal organizations on Facebook.”

 

Wednesday, 1 July 2020, Day 1,258:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 1 July 2020: U.S. Reports Nearly 50,000 New Coronavirus Cases, Another Single-Day Record, The New York Times, Wednesday, 1 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Wednesday, 1 July 2020: Stock Markets Edge Higher, The New York Times, Wednesday, 1 July 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Wednesday, 1 July 2020: Daily reported coronavirus infections in the U.S. top 50,000 for the first time, The Washington Post, Derek Hawkins, Siobhán O’Grady, Hamza Shaban, Marisa Iati, Candace Buckner, Michael Brice-Saddler, Felicia Sonmez, Jacqueline Dupree, and Antonia Noori Farzan, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “New reported coronavirus infections in the U.S. topped 50,000 on Wednesday for the first time. California added 9,740 cases to its official tally — a new daily high for the state — bringing Wednesday’s national total to 52,788 cases. Texas, Arizona, North Carolina and Georgia also reported records for new cases. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday announced he was reviving parts of the state’s sweeping lockdown, ordering bars to close and a range of other service-sector businesses in 19 counties to cease indoor operations as infections soar in the state. And Pennsylvania has joined a growing list of states mandating that face masks be worn in public. The number of coronavirus infections in the United States swelled enormously last month as states tried to relax quarantine rules and reopen their economies. More than 800,000 new cases were reported in June — led by Florida, Arizona, Texas and California — bringing the nation’s officially reported total to approximately 2.6 million.

Here are some significant developments:
  • In 45 states, seven-day averages of new infections are higher than they were a week ago, according to a Post analysis, and health officials are nervously eyeing the July Fourth holiday amid the surge. Some beaches, including in South Florida, Texas and Los Angeles, have been closed for the weekend.
  • President Trump on Wednesday denied that he is opposed to wearing face masks, saying in an interview with Fox Business Network that he would wear one if he were in close proximity to other people. He also said again that he believes the virus is ‘going to sort of disappear.’
  • Autopsies have confirmed that the coronavirus does attack the lungs with the most ferocity. The pathogen was also found in the kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract and spleen and in the cells that line blood vessels. But the brain and heart yielded surprises.
  • Drug overdoses are surging nationwide as Americans struggle with isolation and poverty, and the pandemic disrupts the drug trade.
  • Oklahomans voted Tuesday to expand Medicaid over nearly a decade of opposition by Republican governors, making their state the first to widen the safety-net insurance program as the coronavirus pandemic steals jobs and health benefits.

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Coronavirus cases rose by nearly 50 percent last month, led by states that reopened first, The Washington Post, Anne Gearan, Derek Hawkins, and Siobhán O’Grady, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “Coronavirus infections in the United States surged nearly 50 percent in June as states relaxed quarantine rules and tried to reopen their economies, data compiled Wednesday showed, and several states moved to reimpose restrictions on bars and recreation. More than 800,000 new cases were reported across the country last month, led by Florida, Arizona, Texas and California — bringing the nation’s officially reported total to just over 2.6 million, according to data compiled by The Washington Post. States that took an aggressive approach to reopening led the country in infection spikes — along with California, the nation’s most populous state, where leaders have been more cautious. California on Wednesday reported 110 new deaths, more than any other state.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci Says Mixed Messaging on Wearing Masks Set U.S. Public Health Response Back, NPR, Jason Breslow, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “While conceding missteps in the federal response to the coronavirus, Dr. Anthony Fauci said Wednesday it is not too late to avoid the dire picture he outlined in congressional testimony of 100,000 coronavirus cases a day. The nation’s leading infectious disease experts said the conflicting advice offered by federal leaders around face masks in the early days of the pandemic helped sow distrust and continues to hamper the government’s ability to slow the outbreak. ‘We have to admit it, that that mixed message in the beginning, even though it was well meant to allow masks to be available for health workers, that was detrimental in getting the message across,’ Fauci said in an interview with Mary Louise Kelly of NPR’s All Things Considered. ‘No doubt about it.’ Despite the overwhelming consensus among public-health experts that face masks can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, face coverings have become a partisan issue, something critics of the federal response have blamed on what they say has been a confusing back-and-forth on the issue from the Trump administration.”

Yale study finds the official U.S. coronavirus death toll is ‘a substantial undercount’ of actual tally, CNBC, Berkeley Lovelace Jr., Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “The number of confirmed U.S. deaths due to the coronavirus is substantially lower than the true tally, according to a study published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Using National Center for Health Statistics data, researchers at Yale University compared the number of excess U.S. deaths from any causes with the reported number of weekly U.S. Covid-19 deaths from March 1 through May 30. The numbers were then compared with deaths from the same period in previous years. Researchers found that the excess number of deaths over normal levels also exceeded those attributed to Covid-19, leading them to conclude that many of those fatalities were likely caused by the coronavirus but not confirmed. State reporting discrepancies and a sharp increase in U.S. deaths amid a pandemic suggest the number of Covid-19 fatalities is undercounted, they said…. The study was supported by the National Institute of Health. The 781,000 total deaths in the United States in the three months through May 30 were about 122,300, or nearly 19% higher, than what would normally be expected, according to the researchers. Of the 122,300 excess deaths, 95,235 were attributed to Covid-19, they said. Most of the rest of the excess deaths, researchers said, were likely related to or directly caused by the coronavirus. Covid-19 affects nearly every system in the body, including the circulatory system, leading to an uptick in heart attacks and strokes that physicians now believe were indirectly caused by the virus. The number of excess deaths from any causes were 28% higher than the official tally of U.S. Covid-19 deaths during those months. The researchers noted the increase in excess deaths in many states trailed an increase in outpatient visits from people reporting an ‘influenza-like illness.'”

Federal officials raised concerns in June that the U.S. could enter a much worse recession later this year if coronavirus cases continue to surge, The Washington Post, Rachel Siegel, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “Federal Reserve officials raised concerns about additional waves of coronavirus infections disrupting an economic recovery and triggering a new spike in unemployment and a worse economic downturn, according to minutes released Wednesday by the central bank about its June 9-10 meeting. Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell has repeatedly said that the path out of this recession, which began in February, will depend on containing the virus and giving Americans the confidence to resume normal working and spending habits. But the notes from the two-day meeting reveal how interconnected Fed officials view a prolonged economic recession and the pandemic’s continued spread — and why Powell often asserts that lawmakers will need to do more to carry millions of Americans out of this crisis.”

Russia did pay extremists to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan, according to 3 separate Taliban sources, Business Insider, Mitch Prothero, Wednesday, 1 July 2020:

  • Sources in the Taliban — two current commanders and one former — have confirmed to Insider that Russia pays extremists in Afghanistan to attack US soldiers.
  • The practice was first reported by The New York Times, which cited US intelligence. President Donald Trump has sought to deny that the practice exists.
  • The Taliban sources were clear that this took place and said Iran and Pakistan do it too.
  • They emphasized that only fringe elements of the Taliban take part and said they did not support taking money from foreign powers in this way.
  • One said: ‘These are criminal groups that work alongside the Mujahideen and give us a bad reputation.’ Another said the practice was a necessary evil.

Federal Judge Strikes Down Trump administration’s Asylum Rule. A federal judge has ruled that a regulation that effectively barred many asylum seekers from obtaining protection in the United States violated federal law. It is the latest in a string of defeats. The New York Times, Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “A federal judge appointed by President Trump has ruled that the Trump administration must end a policy that effectively bars most Central American migrants fleeing poverty and persecution from obtaining asylum in the United States. The asylum rule in question prevents migrants from gaining protection in the United States if they fail to first apply for protection in a country en route to the southwestern border. But Judge Timothy J. Kelly of the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia said late Tuesday night that the Trump administration illegally put in effect the rule by not allowing the public to weigh in. The administration had argued that allowing for a public comment period after announcing the rule would have prompted migrants to rush to the border, a claim Judge Kelly did not accept. The ruling was only the latest in a string of defeats the Trump administration has been dealt by judges who decided that administration officials, in their haste to make policy, violated federal law laying out how regulations must be carried out or rolled back. The Supreme Court last month preserved Obama-era protections for about 700,000 young undocumented immigrants known as Dreamers, ruling that the administration had violated procedures in rolling back the rule. In April, an effort to roll back nutrition standards for school meals championed by the former first lady Michelle Obama, was reversed on similar procedural violations. In the environmental arena, federal courts have found at least five times that the Trump administration violated the Administrative Procedures Act by skipping steps when it tried to delay conservation rules that had already taken effect. The same factors may have cost the president his hard-fought rule to block asylum seekers.” See also, Federal Judge Rejects Trump Administration’s ‘Third Country’ Asylum Policy, Rule that denied asylum to nearly all Central Americans is found to have illegally bypassed mandatory comment period. The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Hackman, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “A federal judge in Washington, D.C., struck down the Trump administration’s policy barring nearly all Central American migrants and others from applying for asylum at the U.S.-Mexico border. The policy, which made migrants ineligible for asylum if they passed through a third country en route to the U.S. and didn’t seek asylum there first, took effect in September with the Supreme Court’s initial permission while litigation over the new rules continued. In his opinion late Tuesday invalidating the policy, U.S. District Judge Timothy Kelly wrote that the administration had ‘unlawfully promulgated’ it, violating a law governing how federal policies can be implemented.”

Immigration judges union suing the Justice Department over policy restricting public speaking, The Hill, Justin Wise, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “A union representing hundreds of immigration judges is suing the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) over a policy imposing restrictions on judges who wish to speak or write in their personal capacity on matters relevant to their work. The Knight First Amendment Institute, a legal group at Columbia University, filed a lawsuit on Wednesday in federal court on behalf of the National Association of Immigration Judges (NAIJ). The suit alleges that the speech restrictions against immigration judges amount to violations of the First and Fifth Amendments and asks the court to impose a preliminary injunction blocking the policy. ‘Part of the job of an immigration judge is to educate the public about the immigration courts and the role they play in society,’ NAIJ President Ashley Tabaddor, who is also a judge, said in a statement. ‘This policy prevents us from doing this critical work, undermining public understanding of and trust in the immigration courts in the process.'”

Trump says painting ‘Black Lives Matter’ on New York’s Fifth Avenue would be ‘a symbol of hate,’ The Washington Post, John Wagner and Colby Itkowitz, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “President Trump on Wednesday said painting ‘Black Lives Matter’ on New York’s Fifth Avenue would be ‘a symbol of hate’ and wind up ‘denigrating’ the street outside Trump Tower, as he ratcheted up objections to a plan that he suggested the city’s police could stop. Trump’s comments, in morning tweets, were his latest volley directed at New York Mayor Bill de Blasio (D), who last week ordered that the tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement be painted in large yellow letters in a move designed in part to antagonize the president. De Blasio responded to Trump’s tweets Wednesday by calling them ‘the definition of racism.'” See also, Trump called New York City’s decision to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Fifth Avenue a ‘symbol of hate, Politico, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “President Donald Trump on Wednesday called New York City’s decision to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on Fifth Avenue a ‘symbol of hate,’ rebuking his home town’s embrace of a rallying cry that has stirred nationwide protests against racism. The president’s latest comments attacking the Black Lives Matter movement drew swift condemnation from New York City police reform groups. Trump also criticized cuts to the city’s police department and wrote on Twitter that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to paint Black Lives Matter on the street outside Trump Tower is ‘denigrating this luxury Avenue.'”

Trump vows to vet $740 billion defense bill if Confederate-named military bases are renamed, The Washington Post, Timothy Bella, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “President Trump reaffirmed late Tuesday that he would veto this year’s proposed $740 billion annual defense bill if an amendment is included that would require the Pentagon to change the names of bases named for Confederate military leaders, his strongest rebuke against the measure amid a national reckoning over systemic racism. Shortly before midnight, the president echoed his previous pledge to ‘not even consider the renaming’ of military bases as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, pushing back against a provision that would change the names of 10 bases named after Confederate generals as well as remove Confederate likenesses, symbols and paraphernalia from defense facilities nationwide within three years.” See also, Trump Threatens to Veto Defense Bill to Preserve Confederate Base Names, The Wall Street Journal, Lindsay Wise and Catherine Lucey, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “President Trump threatened to veto an annual must-pass bill if senators don’t remove language that would require the Defense Department to rename U.S. military bases that honor the Confederacy, but his demand drew a chilly reception from Republican lawmakers. The language was added to the bill last month in the form of a bipartisan amendment, proposed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.), to the National Defense Authorization Act. It passed out of a GOP-led committee in mid-June by voice vote, with only a handful of Republicans opposing it.”

Judge Rules Tell-All Book on Trump Can Move Forward Pending Hearing. The decision reversed a lower court’s ruling that had temporarily halted publication of the book by the president’s niece, but it didn’t address whether she violated a confidentiality agreement. The New York Times, Maggie Haberman and Alan Feuer, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “A New York appellate judge ruled on Wednesday that the publisher Simon & Schuster could go ahead with its plans to release a tell-all book by Mary L. Trump, the niece of President Trump, reversing a lower court’s decision from this week that had temporarily halted publication. The decision by the judge, Alan D. Scheinkman, means that Simon & Schuster can move forward in publishing the book, ‘Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man,’ which is scheduled to be released at the end of July. In court papers filed on Tuesday, Simon & Schuster claimed that tens of thousands of copies of the book had already been printed, adding that it is a best seller on Amazon. Justice Scheinkman’s ruling, however, put off addressing a central aspect of the bitter spat about the manuscript that has been roiling all month in the Trump family: whether, by writing the book, Ms. Trump violated a confidentiality agreement put in place nearly 20 years ago after a struggle over the will of her grandfather, Fred Trump Sr., Donald Trump’s father. In his decision, Justice Scheinkman ruled that Simon & Schuster was not a party to — and thus could not be bound by — the confidentiality agreement, which was signed by Ms. Trump, Donald Trump and the president’s two siblings, Robert S. Trump and Maryanne Trump Barry.” See also, New York court sides with publisher of explosive book by Trump’s niece, The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “A New York court on Wednesday lifted a temporary restraining order against the publication of a book by President Trump’s niece, enabling publisher Simon & Schuster to continue printing and distributing the explosive insider account by Mary L. Trump. President Trump’s brother, Robert, filed a petition last week asking that Mary Trump and the publisher be prevented from publishing the book, citing a confidentiality agreement signed by Mary Trump two decades ago as part of a settlement in an inheritance dispute. On Tuesday, a state Supreme Court judge agreed to impose the restraining order to allow the parties to present their arguments next week, raising doubts about whether it would be published. However, the Supreme Court’s appellate division on Wednesday lifted the restraining order that had been imposed on Simon & Schuster, while leaving in place the one regarding Mary Trump. That effectively enables the publisher to continue distributing copies of the book in preparation for the planned July 28 publication, even as the overall merits of the case are argued.”

The Commerce Department’s Inspector General Says Inquiry Prompted by Trump’s Inaccurate Claim That Hurricane Dorian Would Hit Alabama Is Being Blocked, The New York Times, Christopher Flavelle, Wednesday, 1 July 2020: “The Department of Commerce is preventing the release of an investigation’s findings into whether it coerced the head of a federal agency into supporting President Trump’s erroneous claim that Hurricane Dorian would hit Alabama last year, the department’s inspector general said on Wednesday. In a memo to Commerce Secretary Wilbur L. Ross Jr., the inspector general, Peggy E. Gustafson, said that staff in his department had ‘thwarted’ the publication of her report. According to Ms. Gustafson’s memo, the department has said portions of that report contain information that cannot be made public, but will not say which ones. The department’s refusal to cooperate with the release of the investigation ‘appears to be directly linked to the content of our report and the findings of responsibility of the high-level individuals involved,’ Ms. Gustafson wrote.

 

Thursday, 2 July 2020, Day 1,259:

 

Some Global Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 2 July 2020: Daily Coronavirus Cases in the U.S. Soar Past 50,000 for the First Time, The New York Times, Thursday, 2 July 2020:

Many other significant developments are included in this article.

Some Business Coronavirus Updates for Thursday, 2 July 2020: U.S. Added Nearly 5 Million Jobs in June, The New York Times, Thursday, 2 July 2020:

Other significant developments are included in this article.

Some significant developments in the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday, 2 July 2020: U.S. sets record for new coronavirus cases, surpassing 55,000, The Washington Post, Kim Bellware, Siobhán O’Grady, Hamza Shaban, Hannah Knowles, Jacqueline Dupree, Felicia Sonmez, Colby Itkowitz, Steven Goff, and Michael Brice-Saddler, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “The United States reported 55,220 new coronavirus cases Thursday, surpassing Wednesday’s record of 52,789, previously the largest single-day total since the start of the pandemic, according to data collected by The Washington Post. Florida on Thursday reported 10,109 new cases of the coronavirus, marking a new single-day record for the state, which reported 6,563 cases on Wednesday. There were 68 deaths, for a total of 3,718. It’s the 25th consecutive day that Florida has set a record high in its seven-day rolling average. Georgia, one of the first states to loosen restrictions, joined Florida and several other states in setting single-day records of new cases. Georgia reported 3,472, up from 2,976 on Wednesday. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) on Thursday issued a statewide mandate requiring Texans to wear masks in public in any county with 20 or more positive covid-19 cases — a dramatic move that comes as cases in the state continue to climb. On Thursday, Texas reported 7,915 new cases of the coronavirus.

Here are some significant developments:
  • The mayor of Miami-Dade County announced a 10 p.m.-to-sunrise curfew starting Friday night and continuing until further notice. Around 2,300 of Florida’s 10,109 new infections on Thursday were reported in Miami-Dade.
  • During an event in Florida, Vice President Pence sought to distinguish the surge of coronavirus cases across the Sun Belt from the larger pandemic that shut down the country. ‘It’s not one large pandemic, but rather pandemics that emerge individually,’ Pence said.
  • Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has been hospitalized after testing positive for the coronavirus, according to a statement posted to his Twitter account Thursday. The announcement comes almost two weeks after Cain joined thousands of people at President Trump’s Tulsa campaign rally.
  • Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s top infectious-disease expert, attributed rising case numbers in the United States at least partially to the fact lockdown measures were more lenient than those in some European countries that have since managed to turn the tide on the virus.
  • The U.S. economy added 4.8 million jobs in June, sending the unemployment rate down to 11.1 percent. But new data also released by the Labor Department showed that 1.4 million people filed unemployment claims for the first time last week, marking the 15th straight week of claims that exceeded 1 million.
  • The United States is on track to have a vaccine against the coronavirus by the end of this year or early 2021, according to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn. The FDA has given authorization to proceed with clinical trials for four vaccines, Hahn said on ABC’s ‘Good Morning America.’

Texas Mandates Face Coverings as Coronavirus Cases Surge, The Wall Street Journal, Talal Ansari and David Hall, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “Texas Gov. Greg Abbott changed course and required face coverings in most public settings as his state’s coronavirus crisis worsened and new daily infections in the U.S. passed 50,000 for the first time, a single-day record. With the Fourth of July weekend approaching, the U.S. accounts for about a quarter of more than 10.7 million coronavirus cases world-wide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. A total of 50,655 cases were reported Wednesday in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins data. The nation’s death toll climbed above 128,000. While the U.S. has the world’s highest number of fatalities, its percentage of fatal cases—4.8%—isn’t the highest. With 39 deaths per 100,000 residents, however, the U.S. rate ranks among the top 10 countries in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins.”

Herman Cain Hospitalized With Coronavirus After Attending Trump’s Indoor Rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Last month, The New York Times, Michael Cooper and Marie Fazio, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “Herman Cain, a former Republican presidential candidate, announced on Twitter on Thursday that he had been hospitalized with the coronavirus. Mr. Cain, the former chief executive of Godfather’s Pizza, learned Monday that he had tested positive, was hospitalized Wednesday, and on Thursday ‘was resting comfortably in an Atlanta-area hospital,’ according to a statement posted on his Twitter account. Mr. Cain, 74, attended Mr. Trump’s indoor rally in Tulsa, Okla., on June 20. A few hours before the event, the Trump campaign disclosed that six staff members who had been working on the rally had tested positive for the virus during a routine screening. Two members of the Secret Service also tested positive there, people familiar with the matter said. In a video on his website, Mr. Cain described the rally and he said he had worn a mask while in groups of people. But he also posted photographs of himself on social media that showed him without a mask and surrounded by people in the arena.”

Secret Service agents preparing for Vice President Mike Pence’s Arizona trip contracted coronavirus, The Washington Post, Carol D. Leonnig and Josh Dawsey, Tuesday, 2 July 2020: “Vice President Pence’s trip to Arizona this week had to be postponed by a day after several Secret Service agents who helped organize the visit either tested positive for the coronavirus or were showing symptoms of being infected. Pence was scheduled to go to Phoenix on Tuesday but went on Wednesday instead so that healthy agents could be deployed for his visit, according to two senior administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private details of the trip. Arizona has seen a spike in cases in recent weeks, and Pence scaled back the trip before the delay because of the growing amount of infections in the state.”

Supreme Court will hear arguments over Mueller’s secret evidence, a delay for House Democrats investigating Trump, The Washington Post, Robert Barnes, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “The Supreme Court on Thursday dealt a significant blow to House Democrats’ efforts to see secret grand jury material from Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, saying it would decide next term whether Congress is authorized to access the material. The decision to hear the case next fall keeps the information from the House Judiciary Committee at least until after the election. A lower court ruled that the committee was entitled to see the previously withheld material from Mueller’s probe, which also investigated whether President Trump obstructed the special counsel’s work. But even if the justices were to affirm the lower court, it is highly unlikely their decision could come before the end of the current congressional term in January.” See also, Supreme Court to Hear Case on Release of Full Mueller Report, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “The Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would decide whether Congress may see parts of the report prepared by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel who investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election. As a practical matter, the move means that the full report will almost certainly not be made available before the 2020 election, if at all. In May, the court blocked release of the report while the appeal moved forward. The court will probably hear arguments in the case in the late fall, after the election, and issue its decision next year. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York, expressed frustration about the delay the court’s review required. ‘I am disappointed by the court’s decision to prolong this case further, but I am confident we will prevail,’ he said in a statement. Attorney General William P. Barr, he said, had broken with the practices of earlier administrations by refusing to allow access to grand jury materials in impeachment inquiries. ‘Unfortunately,’ Mr. Nadler said, ‘President Trump and Attorney General Barr are continuing to try to run out the clock on any and all accountability.'”

Splitting 5-4, Supreme Court Grants Alabama’s Request to Restore Voting Restrictions, The New York Times, Adam Liptak, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “By a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court on Thursday blocked a trial judge’s order that would have made it easier for voters in three Alabama counties to use absentee ballots in this month’s primary runoff election. The court’s brief, unsigned order gave no reasons, which is typical when it rules on emergency applications, and it said the order would remain in effect while appeals moved forward. The court’s four more liberal members — Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — said they would have rejected Alabama’s request.”

A day after her potentially explosive book gets go-ahead, Mary Trump asks court to lift restraining order against her, The Washington Post, Michael Kranish, Thursday, 2 July 2020: “Mary L. Trump, the author of an explosive book about her uncle President Trump, asked a court to lift a restraining order against her, saying in an affidavit filed Thursday that she was misled by the family into signing a confidentiality agreement in an inheritance case two decades ago. Her request, filed with the New York Supreme Court, follows a decision by the court’s appellate division on Wednesday to lift a restraining order against Simon & Schuster, allowing publication of the book to go forward. That court left in place a restraining order against Mary Trump. The affidavit marks the first time Mary Trump has commented publicly about her book, as well as her allegation that she was misled when signing the confidentiality agreement. In her affidavit, Mary Trump said she ‘never believed’ the confidentiality agreement in the inheritance case could restrict her from writing a book about ‘the conduct and character of my uncle, the sitting President of the United States, during his campaign for re-election.’ She said she decided that writing a book was necessary after her uncle was elected president.” See also, Trump’s Niece Presses Case Against Effort to Bar Publication of Her Book, The New York Times, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman, published on Friday, 3 July 2020: “Mary L. Trump, whose pending tell-all memoir about her uncle President Trump has incited a court fight on the eve of publication, spoke out for the first time publicly about the battle, saying that her book has ‘deep national relevance’ and that the legal contract the family has sought to use this month to stop its release was based on fraud. Nearly 20 years ago, Ms. Trump, 55, signed a complicated settlement agreement with Mr. Trump and his two siblings that put an end to a bitter yearlong spat about the will of the family patriarch, the president’s father, Fred Trump Sr. Among the agreement’s provisions was a confidentiality clause that shielded the details of the pact and allowed Ms. Trump to keep her share of her inheritance. But in an affidavit filed Thursday night in New York in the fight over the book, Ms. Trump claimed that she consented to the agreement — and signed away her interests in several family properties — only because Donald J. Trump and his siblings lied to her about how much they were worth. ‘I relied on the false valuations provided to me by my uncles and aunt and would never have entered into the agreement had I known the true value of the assets involved,’ she wrote. ‘I never believed that the settlement agreement resolving discrete financial disputes could possibly restrict me from telling the story of my life or publishing a book.'”