with Mariana Alfaro

On Aug. 27, 1960, a mob of 200 white people in Jacksonville, Fla. – organized by the Ku Klux Klan and joined by some of the city’s police officers – chased and beat peaceful civil rights protesters who were trying to integrate downtown lunch counters. The bloody carnage that followed – in which ax handles and baseball bats were used to club African Americans, who sought sanctuary in a church – is remembered as “Ax Handle Saturday.”

A permit had already been approved for the 60th anniversary commemoration of those events when Republican National Committee officials tentatively decided to move their convention festivities from Charlotte to the northern Florida city. This happened because North Carolina public health officials resisted President Trump’s demand that they commit to allowing him to speak before a packed indoor arena amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Under a revised plan, which is still being finalized and has not been announced, Trump would accept his party’s nomination for a second term on Aug. 27, according to three sources familiar with the deliberations. One venue under consideration would be the 15,000-person-capacity VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena. Hemming Park, where local civil rights leaders have planned their commemoration, is a mile away. 

This is already causing friction in the city of 900,000, which is about 30 percent black.

In 1960, Rodney Hurst was 16 and the president of the local Youth Council of the NAACP. He and several of his black high school classmates were sitting at a “whites only” lunch counter in Jacksonville when they were spit on – and then the violence began. Now 76, Hurst is aghast at the RNC plan. He said the commemoration event is more important than ever. “Donald Trump is a racist,” Hurst said in an interview Wednesday night. “To bring a racist to town for his acceptance speech will only further separate an already racially separated community.”

The RNC did not respond to a request for comment. Trump has strenuously denied that he is a racist.

The optics are messy against the backdrop of the nationwide protests and the larger cultural reckoning sparked by the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.

It’s part of a pattern. Trump told reporters on Wednesday that his first campaign rally since the start of the coronavirus pandemic will take place next Friday in Tulsa. In 1921, that city was the site of one of the worst race massacres in U.S. history. A white mob descended on an affluent black neighborhood. As many as 300 people died. The June 19 rally also happens to coincide with Juneteenth, a holiday widely celebrated in the black community to mark the day that the last American slaves were freed. Oklahoma is not a battleground in the general election, and the county that includes Tulsa has seen an uptick in new cases since the start of June, but the state’s relaxed restrictions mean the Trump reelection campaign can assemble the big crowd that the president has been craving.

There’s another significant wrinkle as it relates to Jacksonville: One reason that the RNC gravitated toward the city is because Mayor Lenny Curry is the former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida and has been eager to host the national convention. Early Tuesday morning, responding to protesters and calls from players for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Curry ordered the removal of the bronze statue of a Confederate soldier that since 1898 has been the centerpiece of Hemming Park. Speaking to a crowd of Black Lives Matter activists later that day, where the “Ax Handle Saturday” commemoration is scheduled for August, the GOP mayor pledged that that he will remove all remaining Confederate monuments throughout the city, according to the Florida Times-Union.

Curry’s move presents quite the contrast with Trump, who pledged on Wednesday to block any effort to rename 10 U.S. Army bases that honor Confederate generals. “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom,” Trump wrote on Twitter, naming installations in North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. “Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

Trump has chosen again to use Confederate names and iconography as a wedge issue to gin up his base. He did the same amid the fallout after he declared that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the racial violence three summers ago in Charlottesville, where a counterprotester was killed by an avowed neo-Nazi who rammed his car into a crowd.

Trump’s own defense secretary, Mark Esper, said earlier this week that he would consider proposals for renaming bases. Several of the country’s most prominent former military figures, including retired Army Gen. David Petraeus, have said doing so is long overdue. The Marine Corps announced a ban last week on Confederate symbols in public spaces at its facilities, and Navy said earlier this week that it is moving to do the same. Just moments after Trump’s tweetstorms defending the Confederate base names, NASCAR announced that it will ban the display of the Confederate flag from all of its events and properties. Separately, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called on Wednesday for the removal of Confederate statues from the U.S. Capitol.

Around 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, protesters in Richmond toppled an iconic statue of Jefferson Davis, who was president of the Confederacy, about a half-mile down Monument Avenue from a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that Gov. Ralph Northam (D) is fighting in court to remove.

Back in Jacksonville, Hurst has watched the protests unfold since Floyd’s killing and wondered whether this might be the turning point that he’s been waiting for all his life. The year before “Ax Handle Saturday,” in 1959, the city opened Nathan Bedford Forrest High School to honor the Confederate general who had become the first grand wizard of the KKK. A few years back, they got the name changed. Now it’s Westside High School. And he was happy to see the Confederate statue go down in his hometown this week. “You can give some props to the mayor,” said Hurst, who previously served eight years as a Democratic member of the Jacksonville City council and wrote a book in 2018 about his experiences in the civil rights movement called “It was Never about a Hot Dog and a Coke.

But he lamented what has not changed since that terrible day 60 years ago, and he said “the jury is still out” on whether this moment will permanently shift the public consciousness. “Jacksonville is separated by a manmade boundary – Interstate 95 – and a natural boundary – the St. Johns River,” he said. “Blacks live north and west of the river, and whites live east and south. There have been a few efforts here and there to change that, but none of any particular consequence. I would never use the word ‘progressive’ and Jacksonville in the same sentence. Jacksonville’s movement toward dealing with the uncomfortable subject of race in the community has been very slow. Painfully slow.”

Divided America

Gen. Mark Milley apologized.

“The Pentagon’s top general apologized on Thursday for appearing alongside Trump near the White House after authorities forcibly removed peaceful protesters from the area, saying that it ‘was a mistake that I have learned from,’” Dan Lamothe reports. “Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the remarks in a prerecorded graduation speech to students at the National Defense University. He has been roundly criticized for thrusting the military into politics by walking alongside the president on June 1 as Trump traveled on foot to a nearby church that had been damaged in protests.”

  • Lafayette Square reopened to the public this morning. A portion of temporary fencing will remain around some damaged areas, the National Park Service said. “Crews began removing much of the fencing on Wednesday, including along the Ellipse,” Clarence Williams and Hannah Natanson report.
  • The National Guard’s aggressive tactics in D.C., ordered to appease Trump, have wounded morale. Some members of the D.C. Guard – more than 60 percent are people of color – have not told their families that they were part of the Lafayette Square crackdown. “It’s a very tough conversation to have when a soldier turns to me and they’re saying, ‘Hey sir, you know my cousin was up there yelling at me, that was my neighbor, my best friend from high school,’” said Lt. Malik Jenkins-Bey, who is black. (NYT
  • More than 1,250 Justice Department alumni called for the inspector general to probe Attorney General Bill Barr’s role in clearing the largely peaceful demonstrators from the square last week. (Matt Zapotosky)
  • Trump renewed his threat to take federal action against demonstrators in a tweet to Washington State officials demanding that they crack down on protests in Seattle. “Take back your city NOW,” Trump wrote in a tweet directed at Mayor Jenny Durkan (D) and Gov. Jay Inslee (D). “If you don’t do it, I will. This is not a game.” Durkan replied: “Go back to your bunker.”
The focus is shifting from the streets to the Capitol.

“Lawmakers held their first hearing on a Democratic policing reform proposal and Republicans promised soon to release legislation of their own. It marked the first time in years that leaders from both parties expressed determination to offer legislative remedies for racial injustice in policing, but their ability to find common ground remained far from a sure bet,” Toluse Olorunnipa and Holly Bailey report. “During a House Judiciary Committee hearing that at times grew contentious, the two parties clashed over fundamental issues ranging from the appropriate role of police in society to whether systemic racism exists within American law enforcement. Philonise Floyd, who testified about the pain he felt while he watched the video of his brother’s death as an officer’s knee pinned his neck for nearly nine minutes, pleaded with lawmakers to make far-reaching changes. ‘I couldn’t take care of George the day he was killed, but maybe by speaking with you today, I can help make sure that his death isn’t in vain,’ he said, a day after attending his brother’s funeral in Houston."

Quote of the day

“He didn’t deserve to die over 20 dollars," Philonise Floyd said. “I am asking you, is that what a black man is worth? Twenty dollars? This is 2020. Enough is enough.”

“During the hearing, Republicans attacked Democrats over the ‘defund the police’ slogan adopted by some activists and embraced by some cities in recent days. Democrats accused Republicans of trying to distract Americans and ignoring systemic racism and police brutality. Still, between the occasional bouts of rancor, the two sides voiced support for some of the same measures, including the creation of a national database to track police misconduct. … [Trump] plans to unveil his own policing proposals soon, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday. … Trump, who met with black conservative leaders at the White House on Wednesday, plans to attend a roundtable on race relations and policing in Dallas on Thursday. … One proposal with some bipartisan support would change ‘qualified immunity,’ a legal doctrine that shields officers from lawsuits, by lowering the bar for plaintiffs to sue officers for alleged civil rights violations. But McEnany called such a change a ‘non-starter.’"

Louisville police finally released the report on Breonna Taylor’s death. It is almost entirely blank. 

“The four-page report lists the time, date, case number, incident location and the victim's name — Breonna Shaquille Taylor — as well as the fact that she is a 26-year-old black female," the Louisville Courier Journal reports. "But it redacts Taylor's street number, apartment number and date of birth — all of which have been widely reported. And it lists her injuries as ‘none,’ even though she was shot at least eight times and died on her hallway floor in a pool of blood, according to attorneys for her family. It lists the charges as ‘death investigation — LMPD involved’ but checks the ‘no’ box under ‘forced entry,’ even though officers used a battering ram to knock in Taylor's apartment door. It also lists under the ‘Offenders’ portion of the report the three officers who fired in Taylor's apartment, fatally shooting her … But the most important portion of the report — the ‘narrative’ of events that spells out what happened March 13 — has only two words: ‘PIU investigation.’ And the rest of the report has no information filled in at all.”

  • Newly released video of the 2019 arrest of Derrick Scott, a 42-year-old black man from Oklahoma, shows that he said “I can’t breathe” as officers restrained him. “I don’t care,” one of them said. In the video, Scott repeatedly asks for his medicine but is ignored. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. An autopsy lists his cause of death as a collapsed lung. (NBC News)  
  • The Philadelphia police suspended officer Joseph Bologna, who was filmed beating protesters. The department said it intends to fire him, as he faces charges of aggravated assault. But amid the blowback, Bologna has earned unreserved support from the police union, which started selling “Bologna Strong” T-shirts to back the officer. (Katie Shepherd
  • Thomas Lane, one of the four Minneapolis police officers charged in Floyd’s killing, was released from jail after posting $750,000 for bail. Lane was one of the three officers who stood and watched as Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes. “He did everything he was supposed to do as a police officer," Earl Gray, Lane’s attorney, said during an arraignment hearing this week. (Derek Hawkins)
  • NYPD officers are increasingly not heeding instructions to wear face masks at protests. Images of mask-less police have sparked criticism in the city. “Perhaps it was the heat,” a spokeswoman said. “Perhaps it was the 15 hour tours, wearing bullet resistant vests in the sun. Perhaps it was the helmets.” (NYT)
Police are struggling to process people’s anger. 

“Nationwide, police leaders say the rank and file are struggling to come to grips with the level of animus they encountered on the streets, as epithets, bricks and bottles all came hurtling their way,” Griff Witte and Nick Miroff report. “Police have been targets of protest many times before, of course. But never quite like this. ‘I’ve had members say they feel like a Vietnam veteran returning home to a country that hates them,’ said Robert Harris, a Los Angeles police officer and director of the force’s police union. … ‘The morale is low,' he said. 'They’ve taken quite a beating.’ Such sentiments are likely to elicit little sympathy from protesters … But the fact that police feel besieged and beleaguered potentially complicates efforts to transform Floyd’s death into a catalyst for changing the system and preventing the sort of brutality that protesters say his death exemplified."

The post-Floyd reckoning continues in popular culture.
  • “Live P.D.,” A&E’s flagship series and one of the highest-rated shows on basic cable, was canceled. The show followed police departments in real time as they patrolled their towns. (Deadline)
  • Fox News host Tucker Carlson’s show lost Disney, T-Mobile and other advertisers over his incendiary comments about the Black Lives Matter movement. (Deadline)
  • U.S. Soccer repealed a rule that banned kneeling during the national anthem. (AP)
  • Two co-owners of the Washington Missourian resigned in protest over the newspaper’s decision to publish a syndicated cartoon that satirizes the defunding of police departments. The choice to publish was made by their father. The cartoon, by Tom Stiglich of Creators Syndicate, features a light-skinned woman screaming “Help!! Somebody call 911!” A darker-skinned man who is attempting to snatch her purse says: “Good luck with that, lady. … We defunded the police.” (Michael Cavna)
  • Statues honoring Christopher Columbus, who sailed the ocean blue in 1492, are being targeted. Protesters pulled down a Columbus statue outside the Minnesota state Capitol in St. Paul, beheaded another in Boston and submerged a third in Richmond’s Fountain Lake. (Lateshia Beachum, Laura Vozzella and Derek Hawkins)
  • Amazon banned the police from using its facial-recognition technology for a year. Privacy advocates have criticized Amazon, which is led by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, for selling this software to law enforcement, concerned that it could lead to the wrongful arrest of innocent people who bear only a resemblance to a video image. Studies have shown that facial-recognition systems misidentify people of color more often than white people. (Jay Greene)

The coronavirus remains

Kenna Allen’s pregnancy was already high risk. Then she gave birth on a ventilator.

“Kenna, a 34-year-old single mother navigating a high-risk pregnancy, took a selfie of her baby bump at about 18 weeks,” Samantha Schmidt reports from Baton Rouge. “It was one of the last days before Kenna started seeing stories on the news about people sickened at the same Mardi Gras parades she’d gone to in New Orleans. … She drove herself to the emergency room on March 27 with a fever of 102.6. Her whole body ached as hospital staff in suits and face shields ushered her into an isolation unit, pumped fluids into her body through an IV and, after ruling out strep throat and the flu, tested her for the coronavirus.” Doctors assured her that going home was safe and advised her to go back to the hospital if symptoms got any worse. “She walked to her car, angry and scared, crying through the 15-minute drive back home. … By the time the hospital called with her positive test results on March 29, her chest felt like it was going to cave in. …

“By April 1, Kenna was unable to climb out of her mother’s bathtub, next to the second-floor bedroom where she had been isolated for nearly a week. … She called her OB/GYN doctor’s nurse, Tammy Farrow, who had been checking in with her every day. … As Donna was helping her daughter down the stairs, Kenna collapsed in her arms. Her mother called 911. … Forty-eight hours later, she was placed on a ventilator. … At 21 weeks, time was what the baby needed most.” 

Surgeons performed the first known U.S. lung transplant for a covid-19 patient. 

“Northwestern Medicine in Chicago said the recipient, a woman in her 20s who would not have survived without the transplant, is in intensive care recovering from the operation and from two previous months on lung and heart assistance devices,” Lenny Bernstein and Martine Powers report. “Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and surgical director of Northwestern’s lung transplant program, said organ transplantation may become more frequent for victims of the most severe forms of covid-19. … ‘I certainly expect some of these patients will have such severe lung injury that they will not be able to carry on without transplant,’ said Bharat, who performed the operation Friday.” 

The Federal Reserve predicts a slow recovery with unemployment at 9.3 percent by the end of 2020.

The Fed projects the rate will drop to 6.5 percent by the end of 2021, Heather Long reports. “Chair Jerome H. Powell stressed Wednesday that more aid from Congress and the central bank is likely to be needed, especially since a substantial number of Americans may never get their jobs back. … To revive the economy from the deepest recession since the Great Depression, the Fed pledged to keep interest rates at zero, most likely through 2022, and to continue its extensive bond-buying programs at the current pace for the foreseeable future. The Fed’s historic efforts, which could swell its balance sheet to $10 trillion by year’s end, are also fueling deeper inequality in the United States, many economists say. Low interest rates have spurred enormous stock market gains and made it cheap to get a loan for a car, mortgage or business operation. But a prospective borrower generally needs to have savings and a stable job to get access to credit or invest in the market.” 

  • Another 1.5 million people applied for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, the Labor Department announced this morning. (Eli Rosenberg)
  • The Labor Department is working to fix a data-collection error that badly skewed the unemployment rate. “The May jobs report included an unusual note saying that the unemployment rate would have been 16.3 percent, not the official rate of 13.3 percent, if not for errors made during the data’s collection, a problem that also plagued monthly reports in March and April,” Eli Rosenberg and Long report.
As new cases rise nationwide, public health experts are urging caution.

“When Gov. Doug Ducey allowed Arizona’s stay-at-home order to expire on May 15, 340 patients were in intensive care units statewide due to the novel coronavirus — the largest number since the beginning of the pandemic. Public health experts at the University of Arizona spent the week before publicly pleading with Ducey (R) to postpone reopening, suggesting cases in the state were still projected to grow. About two weeks later, the maximum amount of time it takes the virus to incubate, Arizona began seeing a precipitous rise in cases and a flood of new hospitalizations, straining medical resources and forcing the state’s top medical official to reissue a March order urging all hospitals to activate emergency plans,” Chelsea Janes, Isaac Stanley-Becker and Rachel Weiner report. "‘Worse times are ahead,’ said Joe Gerald, an associate professor and public health researcher at the University of Arizona who has been part of an academic team providing projections to the state health department. ‘The preponderance of evidence indicates community transmission is increasing.’ …

“Traditional public health strategies usually value the insight local authorities have and prioritize the decisions they make for those they serve. But as states like Arizona and Arkansas reopen, local officials have found their hands tied by state restrictions. Ducey’s executive order lifting restrictions includes language that prohibits mayors and county officials from imposing further restrictions to help limit the spread of the virus locally. ‘I can no longer put in place restrictions, for example, on nightclubs. We can’t do additional health restrictions on things such as masking,’ said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (D), who is prioritizing messaging urging people to wear masks and social distance. … Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. (D) has experienced similar challenges in Arkansas.”

  • Texas reported 2,504 new cases, its largest single-day increase yet. The state’s health services department attributed the number to “a change in how the local health department is reporting" cases from prisons. (Texas Tribune)   
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced a new wave of reopenings, including day cares, gyms, malls and school buildings. Restaurants will be able to offer indoor dining with 50 percent capacity. (Ovetta Wiggins, Erin Cox, Patricia Sullivan and Dana Hedgpeth)
  • Louisiana is spending millions on contact tracing, but less than half of those infected are picking up the phone. The figures are similar to those seen in other states’ contact tracing efforts, raising questions about how effective these programs will be in tamping down the spread of the virus. (Baton Rouge Advocate)
  • Ohio state Sen. Steve Huffman (R) has sparked backlash after he wondered during a hearing whether African Americans have been disproportionately impacted by covid-19 because of poor personal hygiene: “Could it just be that African Americans or the colored population do not wash their hands as well as other groups or wear a mask or do not socially distance themselves?" (Meryl Kornfield)
  • United will require passengers to complete health assessments before they fly, requiring them to confirm that they have not experienced any coronavirus-related symptoms in the previous 14 days and that they know the carrier requires face coverings aboard its airplanes. (Lori Aratani)
  • Disney plans to reopen its California theme parks on July 17. In Florida, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are set to reopen on July 11, followed by Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios on July 15. (Hannah Sampson)
  • Officials in California remain confident about the rapid reopening of the state’s economy even as cases rise, saying they have no plans to slow the efforts. Los Angeles County announced that gyms and fitness facilities, as well as day camps, museums, zoos and hotels for leisure travel will be allowed to reopen on Friday. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) extended the state’s emergency restrictions through July, which will require visitors to quarantine for two weeks after arrival. The state will lift a ban on inter-island travel on June 16, allowing residents and visitors to travel within the state’s borders without quarantining if they have not left Hawaii in the previous two weeks and are not experiencing symptoms. The state has reported 685 cases and only 17 deaths because of its strict crackdown. (Katie Shepherd)
The E.U. accused China of waging a pandemic disinformation campaign, lumping it with the Kremlin.

“It was the European Union’s highest-level and most forceful criticism yet of the way Beijing has handled its messaging about the pandemic,” Michael Birnbaum reports. “‘The pandemic showed that disinformation does not only harm the health of our citizens, but also the health of our democracies,’ Vera Jourova, the senior E.U. official charged with rule-of-law issues, told reporters, unveiling a list of recommendations for the 27 E.U. member states to help promote facts and combat misinformation. ‘We are clearly mentioning Russia and China,’ she said. ‘If we have evidence, we should not shy away from naming and shaming.’” 

  • Several prominent critics of the Chinese government accused Zoom of shutting their accounts and severing live events in recent weeks under pressure from the communist regime in Beijing. Some of the online events that were shut down included a series of talks about the pro-Democracy movement in Hong Kong and the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Zoom admitted that a “few recent meetings” related to China have been disrupted. (Gerry Shih)
  • Former senator and governor Sam Brownback, now the State Department's ambassador of international religious freedom, singled out China as one of the world’s worst offenders of human rights. Brownback said China backslid the most last year on religious liberty, as thousands more people of faith were subjected to forced labor and imprisonment. (Carol Morello)
  • The British death toll would have been halved if the country locked down a week earlier, former government adviser Neil Ferguson testified before a committee of Parliament, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the lifting of more restrictions. With more than 41,000 deaths, Britain is the worst hit country in Europe. (Jennifer Hassan)
  • More than 100 newborn babies that had been stranded inside hotels in the care of a Ukrainian surrogacy clinic during that country’s lockdown finally met their parents after officials allowed foreign nationals into the country. Parents traveled from the U.S., Canada and Argentina to retrieve their babies. Ukraine is one of the few countries that allows surrogate mothers to be paid to carry babies for couples struggling with infertility. (Katie Shepherd)
  • Australian officials are threatening to arrest protesters against police violence who defy public health restrictions banning large gatherings. Failing to arrest and charge protesters would amount to a “double standard” in how public health orders are enforced, said Prime Minister Scott Morrison, warning that a second wave of infections could cost the economy $25 billion. (Antonia Farzan)
  • Brazil’s favelas, long neglected by the government, are organizing their own coronavirus fight. (Marina Lopes
  • A massacre by Boko Haram gunmen in Nigeria’s Borno state left more people dead (81) than three months of the coronavirus pandemic (29). (Danielle Paquette and Ismail Alfa)

Other news that should be on your radar

The voting debacle in Georgia came after months of warnings went unaddressed. 

“The warnings came from all sides in the months leading up to Georgia’s disastrous primaries on Tuesday: local election officials, voting rights advocates and even the state’s top election official. The combination of limited training on new voting machines and reduced polling locations due to the novel coronavirus could produce crushingly long lines and severely hamper voting access, they cautioned,” Amy Gardner, Michelle Ye Hee Lee and Shawn Boburg report. “Yet none of those in charge of Georgia’s elections were able to head off what all agreed was a breakdown of the voting system… State and local officials blamed each other, but they could not explain why Tuesday’s problems were so predictable — and yet not preventable. … Many said that what happened Tuesday reflects the need for structural change in the way elections are run in Georgia, with more funding and more uniform administration needed — something only the Republican-controlled state legislature, or Congress, can make happen.”

Joe Biden warned that Trump is “going to try to steal this election.” 

“‘This president is going to try to steal this election,’ Biden said in an interview on ‘The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.’ … ‘It’s my greatest concern. My single greatest concern.’ Biden was also asked whether he has considered what would happen if he wins but Trump refuses to leave office. ‘Yes, I have,’ he said quickly. The interview appeared to be edited at that point, but Biden resumed by speaking about the number of high-ranking former military officers who spoke out over the past week about Trump’s response to the protests," Matt Viser reports

  • The Trump administration has plans to allow for oil drilling in Florida waters after the November election, four sources told Politico. This is a politically explosive topic for the Sunshine State, where even many Republicans worry oil spills could devastate their tourism-based economy.
  • Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is seizing the spotlight as Biden continues his veep search, but worries linger about her checkered record as a prosecutor and what many who have worked with her in the Senate view as a lack of core convictions. (Sean Sullivan)
  • LeBron James and other prominent black athletes and entertainers started a new group aimed at protecting African Americans’ voting rights. The organization, called More Than a Vote, will not only aim to encourage African Americans to register to vote but it will also work to combat voter suppression and draw attention to any attempts to disenfranchise racial minorities (NYT)
  • Donald Trump Jr.’s August 2019 trip to Mongolia, where he hunted a very rare breed of sheep, cost the Secret Service $76,859.36, according to documents published by a government watchdog. This undercuts the administration's previous claim that the trip only cost taxpayers $17,000. (USA Today)
  • Jack McCain, son of the late John McCain, said he has no “immediate” plans to run for public office. Chatter of a possible run started after the New York Times reported that McCain’s widow, Cindy McCain, was not sure about how public she should be about supporting Biden in the general election because one of her sons was thinking of running. (Arizona Republic)
Michael Flynn committed perjury and guilty plea for lying to FBI shouldn’t be dismissed, says a court-appointed adviser. 

“In a formal briefing to the judge overseeing Flynn’s case, former New York federal judge John Gleeson said Flynn’s guilt ‘could hardly be more provable.’ He issued a sharp rebuke of the Justice Department’s move to abandon the long-running case and called out Trump for refusing to accept ‘settled foundational norms of prosecutorial independence,’” Spencer Hsu and Ann Marimow report. “Gleeson argued that though Flynn committed perjury by first admitting under oath to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts and then seeking to rescind his guilty plea, Trump’s former national security adviser should not face a contempt hearing but instead be punished as part of his sentence.”

  • Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton plans on moving forward with the release of his tell-all book, despite a warning from the White House that it still contains classified material. (Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey)
  • Before he was fired as the State Department's inspector general, Steve Linick said he told top aides to Mike Pompeo that he was investigating the secretary's personal conduct “so that they wouldn’t be surprised.” Pompeo has repeatedly said that he had no knowledge of Linick’s probe into allegations that he and his wife were inappropriately using government resources. (Karen DeYoung)
Britain has stopped sending evidence to the U.S. government in criminal cases.

The U.K.'s Supreme Court declared that it was unlawful for British authorities to have cooperated with the United States in a high-profile terrorism case without first being assured that the men would not face the death penalty. But some inside the Justice Department worried about an ulterior motive – namely the fact that the DOJ made a formal request to speak with Prince Andrew as part of its investigation into sexual predator Jeffrey Epstein. A senior DOJ official said some feared that the U.K.’s decision to broadly pause transmitting any evidence in response to Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty requests might be connected to the dispute over the prince. (Matt Zapotosky, Shane Harris and John Hudson)

  • Tyson Foods, the leading U.S. chicken producer, said it will cooperate with a Justice Department probe into chicken price-fixing. The company will do so under a leniency program that will allow it to avoid criminal prosecution in exchange for aiding the government’s probe of other suppliers. (WSJ)

Social media speed read

Vice President Pence appears to have deleted this image from his visit to Trump campaign headquarters in Northern Virginia. The gathering shown in the tweet appears to violate multiple state coronavirus directives and ignores several federal guidelines. Note that no one is wearing a mask, including Pence, who leads the White House's coronavirus response task force:

A veteran GOP operative who was the chief strategist on Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign thinks Trump is missing the moment:

And Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) mocked HBO Max for temporarily removing “Gone With the Wind” from its platform:

(HBO says the movie will probably be added back next week with a disclaimer explaining its history.)

Videos of the day

Stephen Colbert said voter suppression plagued Georgia’s election:

Seth Meyers took a look at Trump’s dropping poll numbers: