with Mariana Alfaro

Anthony Thompson will visit his murdered wife’s crypt today in Charleston, S.C., as he often does. 

“I'll stand there and talk to her, like I normally do,” he said. “I’ll laugh with her, I’ll listen for what I know she might say in response to my comments, and then I am going to come home and will try to relax.”

The 68-year-old still lives in the same modest brick house near The Citadel’s baseball field that he shared with his wife, Myra Quarles-Singleton Thompson, until she and eight other African Americans were murdered five years ago tonight by a white supremacist as they prayed at the end of a Bible study at Emanuel AME Church. Anthony was one of the relatives of the victims who made international news by offering forgiveness to the gunman during a bond hearing just two days later.

“I've made some changes to the inside – furniture, paint, you name it – so that it wouldn't be too bad trying to come home and not wanting to come home,” Anthony told me last night, speaking by phone from the house, where he has mostly stayed for three months amid the coronavirus pandemic.

June 17, 2015, was the first time that Myra, who had just earned her license to be an AME minister, led the church’s Wednesday Bible study. She spent all afternoon at the table in their den putting the finishing touches on her outline to guide a discussion about Mark 4. That is Jesus’s parable of the sower.

Myra was shot eight times by Dylann Roof, a racist who targeted the church because of its central role in local black history. Roof confessed to FBI agents, did not contest his guilt and has even said he would do it again. In a screed he posted online beforehand, he said that he was racially “awakened” by the aftermath of the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012 by a Hispanic man. In his warped view, the media was covering violence against blacks but overlooking crimes against whites. Roof said his goal was to trigger a race war by assassinating black parishioners. 

Anthony still has Myra’s blood-splattered notes and Bible from that night. He notes that hostility and violence between whites and blacks gives his wife’s murderer what he sought. Citing this, he calls for love instead of lawlessness. This has driven his focus on racial reconciliation over the past five years. 

“We have to look beyond our pasts,” Anthony said, recounting the traumas of slavery and Jim Crow. “Like [the apostle] Paul said, I put the past behind me and move forward toward to the mark. And the only way to move forward toward that mark, the prize, is to find a way to reconcile with one another.”

He remains proud there was no rioting in Charleston after the massacre at Mother Emanuel, as the church is known locally. He was disturbed by some looting in the area recently in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis police custody. But he was also heartened to see so many white people, and youths, among the largely peaceful protests against racism and police brutality.

In their final conversation five years ago, Myra asked Anthony to pick up a broiled seafood platter from Captain D’s for a treat that they could enjoy together when she returned home. He remembers that she was anxious about facilitating the Bible study, but he also remembers that her face glowed with an unusual kind of happiness. 

He was in the bathroom when she was getting ready to go. She called for him to come kiss her goodbye, and but by the time he finished, she was gone – nervous about being late. He still regrets that he wasn’t faster.

The seafood platter was getting cold on the dining room table when Anthony got the call that there had been a shooting at the church.

Anthony and Myra had been friends as students at Benedict College in Columbia, S.C. After both divorced their first spouses, they reconnected, fell in love and spent 16 years as a married couple. Myra had taught eighth grade for many years in Charleston. Anthony had served in the military and worked for 25 years as a probation-parole agent for the state of South Carolina before becoming the reverend at the Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church. Myra stayed involved in Mother Emanuel, where she had been a member as a single mother, after she married Anthony. 

After she was killed, Anthony says he did not want to go to Roof’s bond hearing. But his adult children convinced him that they should go. While there, he says that he heard the voice of God and that the holy spirit put the words of forgiveness in his mouth. He acknowledges that a lot of people in modern society don’t understand what forgiveness means in the biblical sense.

Even five years later, he told me that he still hears criticism that he was too quick to forgive such a heinous crime. Anthony explains that choosing to forgive does not mean he dismisses, condones or excuses his wife’s murder. Instead, as he sees it, he’s unshackling himself of the burdens of distress and despair while acknowledging the foundational Christian truth that we’re all sinners.

“That's when I received my peace,” he said. “You see, I had no idea where I was going to get peace from or how I was going to continue on with my life. But when I said that, I received that peace and I was able to move forward.”

Anthony said he still feels grief, numbness and despair about losing Myra, whom he refers to as “the sparkle in my eyes.” But he said he tries really hard to force himself not to feel anger – or, at least, not to dwell in it. “If I focus on anger, the fury in my heart and mind will cloud my judgment,” he said.

Still, he says he “often” asks God why his late wife was called into the ministry only to be killed while leading a Bible study for the first time. “I cannot understand,” Anthony said. “But I don’t have to understand God’s reasons.”

“I knew the kind of life I would live if I chose not to forgive,” he added. “I would be forever locked into victimhood, a damaged slave to the evil deed of a depraved killer, destroyed and unable to escape his firm, malevolent grasp. … My forgiveness came quickly but, certainly, not easily.”

Anthony believes, despite his personal misfortune, that the tragedy of June 2015 has changed Charleston for the better. South Carolina removed the Confederate battle flag from above the state capitol soon after the massacre. In 2018, the city council of Charleston passed a resolution officially apologized for its role in regulating, supporting and fostering slavery. The city also created a Department of Diversity, Racial Reconciliation and Tolerance.

Pastors from predominantly black and white churches regularly exchange pulpits, speaking to each other’s parishioners. This Sunday, on Father’s Day, there will be “a unity march” from Liberty Square to Mother Emanuel. “People, now, in Charleston are trying their best to build bridges,” said Anthony, marveling that South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union to start the Civil War.

Anthony wrote a 255-page book about his ordeal last year. “Called to Forgive” is the title. The epilogue includes a nine-page letter that he mailed to Roof in September 2018 requesting a face-to-face meeting in Terre Haute, Ind., where his wife’s killer is on death row, and pleading with him to repent “before it’s too late.” Roof did not respond. But Anthony hopes that, maybe someday, he might write back. 

“I think I could drown in the sheer volume of tears I’ve cried,” he said. “I pray that Dylann will one day cry a flood of tears as he looks back over the tragedy that is his life. … I pray for the inner pain in his soul to crack wide open his seemingly impenetrable heart.”

Roof was sentenced to death in 2017. Anthony opposes the death penalty. “He needs the opportunity to repent,” Anthony explained. “Sitting in jail for life will give him the opportunity to do that.”

When Barack Obama flew down for the funeral of the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a Democratic state senator and one of the nine people killed in the church that night, the then-president concluded his eulogy with a surprise rendition of “Amazing Grace.” The church joined along as he sang.

Anthony points out that “Amazing Grace” was written by a former slave trader named John Newton, who became a born-again Christian during a storm at sea in 1747 and spent the rest of his life trying to end the international slave trade. “I think about the sinful slave trader as I hear the words to his hymn,” he said. “No one, not even Dylann, is irredeemable.”

The coronavirus remains

The Sun Belt, largely spared in the spring, now seems to be especially hard-hit by the virus. 

"Among the states reporting record single-day highs for new coronavirus cases on Tuesday were Florida, with 2,783 new cases, Texas, with 2,622, and Arizona, with 2,392," Antonia Farzan and Candace Buckner report. "New single day highs were also reported in Nevada (379), Oklahoma (228), Oregon (278) and South Carolina (612). Two Southern states set records for seven-day new case averages on Tuesday as well. North Carolina’s seven-day rolling average hit a new high for the 15th day in a row, while Alabama’s seven-day average reached a new high for the seventh time in 15 days.”

  • A judge denied an effort by Tulsa residents to block Trump from holding an indoor campaign rally in their city on Saturday. The city's Republican mayor does not plan on using his emergency powers to block Trump’s rally, despite his apprehensions about the indoor event, but he also will not attend. (DeNeen Brown, Annie Gowen and Joshua Partlow)
  • Tony Fauci, the country's top infectious-disease expert, said he would not attend Trump’s Tulsa rally because of the danger of contracting the virus. “Of course not,” said Fauci, 79. He added, “outside is better than inside." (Allyson Chiu)
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) asked House committees to require masks during all hearings and authorized the sergeant at arms to bar anyone who refuses to cover their face. (Tim Elfrink)
  • “There isn’t a coronavirus ‘second wave,’” Vice President Pence claims in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal. “We are winning the fight against the invisible enemy.” (Philip Bump says Pence is partly right -- there's no second wave because we're still in the first one.)
Trial testing shows dexamethasone, an inexpensive steroid, is the first drug to reduce coronavirus deaths. 

“The 60-year-old drug is the first medication shown to increase people’s chances of surviving covid-19,” Karla Adam, Lateshia Beachum and Carolyn Johnson report. “It reduced the risk of death for patients on ventilators by a third and cut the risk of death for patients on oxygen by a fifth, heartening news that drew widespread interest and hope. British regulators speedily approved the drug for use in hospitalized patients requiring oxygen … Dexamethasone is a workhorse steroid typically used to treat inflammation, including flare-ups of rheumatoid arthritis, and was given as a tablet, liquid or as an intravenous preparation in the trial. Some other steroids are also being tested against covid-19. Outside physicians tempered their optimism about the news with urgent calls to release details of researchers’ findings so doctors could pore over the data and understand the benefits and limitations of the drug." 

  • A South Dakota company expects to start human trials next month for a covid-19 antibody treatment derived from the plasma of special cows genetically engineered to have an immune system that is part human. (CNN)
  • Trump falsely claimed that there is an AIDS vaccine, as he asserted that efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine are ahead of schedule.
  • Arkansas sued televangelist Jim Bakker for deceptively promoting colloidal silver as a coronavirus cure, following a similar lawsuit in Missouri and warnings from two federal agencies. The state’s attorney general said approximately 385 Arkansans spent a total of $60,524 on Bakker’s colloidal silver products between January and early March. (Farzan)
Children and teens are only half as likely to get infected with the virus as adults age 20 and older. 

“And they usually don’t develop clinical symptoms of covid-19,” Joel Achenbach and Laura Meckler report. “The findings could influence policymakers who are facing tough decisions about when and how to reopen schools and day-care centers. … The study also has implications for the likely disease burden in countries with much younger populations, many of which are in the developing world. Most of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus have had relatively old populations.” 

  • The virus could lead to a baby “bust,” not a “boom." U.S. birthrates dropped by 10 percent during the 1918 influenza pandemic. “If even this single trend holds true with today’s pandemic, the United States will have 379,000 fewer births each year until 2022," writes Rahul Gupta of the March of Dimes.
Flushing may release coronavirus-containing “toilet plumes.”

“Scientists who simulated toilet water and air flows say in a new research paper that aerosol droplets forced upward by a flush appear to spread wide enough and linger long enough to be inhaled. The novel coronavirus has been found in the feces of covid-19 patients, but it remains unknown whether such clouds could contain enough virus to infect a person. The authors say the possibility of that mode of transmission calls for action in the midst of a pandemic — first and foremost, by closing the lid,” Karin Brulliard and William Wan report.

D.C. said more than 400 virus test samples can’t be processed because they were exposed to heat.

“The D.C. health department confirmed the problems with samples collected at Judiciary Square and Anacostia testing sites after residents reported delays in receiving test results,” Dana Hedgpeth and Fenit Nirappil report. “Officials say they will hold ‘special testing sessions’ for the affected residents on Wednesday and Thursday. Details of testing sites are available on NeedATestGetATest.com. Health officials say they will take steps to prevent future errors, including adding more refrigeration to testing sites. The news came as the District, Maryland and Virginia reported 841 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, as well as 58 additional fatalities. The new numbers lift the region’s caseload above 127,000 since the start of the pandemic, while the death toll stands at 5,072.”  

  • Amtrak is ending daily service to hundreds of stations outside of the Northeast because of the virus. The carrier is also planning to reduce train frequencies in the Northeast Corridor and on state-funded routes as it slashes up to 20 percent of its workforce. (Luz Lazo)
  • U.S. airlines could ban travelers who refuse to wear masks on planes, the industry's trade organization said. (Kareem Copeland and Hannah Sampson)
  • Cruises are back. Some 200 passengers embarked on a 12-day cruise along the Norwegian coast yesterday, becoming the first to travel on an oceanic cruise since the pandemic prompted an industry-wide shutdown in March. (Farzan)
To prepare for the next pandemic, the U.S. must rethink its national security priorities. 

“We need to treat this moment like we treated 9/11, recognizing that we have a massive vulnerability in which we have chronically underinvested,” said Jeremy Konyndyk, a former senior official at the U.S. Agency for International Development who helped lead the government’s response to the 2014 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa. He is one of 29 current and former officials, lawmakers and experts interviewed by Shane Harris and Missy Ryan about the lessons that should be learned from the contagion. “Their responses showed areas of broad consensus: Nearly to a person, they said the government should not create another big bureaucracy.” Here are the six core suggestions that came during their reporting:

  1. Don't reinvent the wheel. Restore the Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the National Security Council.
  2. Treat diseases like hurricanes. Create a new epidemic forecasting center.
  3. Change the U.S. relationship with China. Accelerate the Pentagon’s pivot toward Asia.
  4. Don't view the military as the panacea for everything.
  5. Use the intelligence community to support public health.
  6. Accelerate testing, treatment and vaccines.
India is becoming a hot spot.

The country's Health Ministry today “reported 2,003 deaths attributed to the coronavirus, several times more than the daily average toll of around 300, after more than 1,600 previously unreported fatalities were included,” Paul Schemm reports. “Even as the country is reopening after a weeks-long lockdown that devastated the economy, the numbers of new cases are reaching 10,000 a day — behind only the United States and Brazil.”

  • Beijing is sealing itself off by canceling flights, shutting down schools and banning residents from making nonessential trips outside the city amid growing fears of a second wave. (Gerry Shih)
  • Australia said its borders will probably remain closed until 2021, but it will find ways to accommodate foreign students. (Farzan)
  • Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández, his wife and two aides tested positive for the virus. Hernández said he will continue to rule the country via telework. (Claudia Mendoza and Mary Beth Sheridan)
  • New Zealand said the two infected women who ended the country’s 24-day streak without a new coronavirus case came into contact with at least 320 people. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said military personnel will oversee quarantine facilities from now on and urged those who came in contact with the women to seek testing. (Farzan)
  • Despite an increase of cases, some Russian regions are going ahead with their World War II parades. Only 20 Russian cities have canceled or delayed commemorations. (Moscow Times)
The destruction of nature helps cause pandemics.

That's according to a new report from the United Nations, World Health Organization and World Wide Fund for Nature. The organizations are calling for a "green” recovery from covid-19, in particular by reforming destructive farming and unsustainable diets, according the Guardian. Meanwhile, there's happy evidence from down under that nature is healing:

  • A small group of wild platypuses rescued from Australia’s fires was released back into the wild after being nursed to health at a Sydney zoo. Scientists are eager to see how they fare in their natural habitat as it slowly goes back to being a wetland. (NYT)
  • The world’s largest colony of nesting green turtles, in Sydney, is nearly twice as big as previously thought. Drones enabled better surveys of the animals. Australian scientists determined there are about 64,000 green turtles waiting to lay eggs near the Great Barrier Reef. (Reuters)

Divided America

Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood is now police-free. Volunteers are stepping up to provide security. 

“The zone was formed last week amid the Black Lives Matter protests. Activists had gathered at a neighborhood police precinct to call for accountability and an end to police violence. In response, on June 8, police officers left that area. A spontaneous protest encampment has since sprung up outside the building, run by volunteer activists. Core to the zone is a vision of a self-governed community with no formal policing. Instead, volunteers, many of them avowed police abolitionists, have begun to organize their own safety force,” Gregory Scruggs reports. “They have defused fights, protected store windows from vandals and handled mental-health crises … The model does have its challenges. On Saturday, dozens of people surrounded a fire-and-brimstone street preacher who regularly disrupts local protests with in-your-face threats of eternal damnation. When efforts to escort him out peacefully failed, someone dragged him on the ground. One person briefly put him in a chokehold while others blocked attempts to film the incident with their phones.”  

Floyd called out to his mother as he died, inspiring a group of black women to run for office in Minnesota.  

“‘To have him holler for his mother at that point, you know you had to respond,” said [Marquita] Stephens, the mother of two black sons. ‘If something would happen to them, I’m putting on my shoes and I’m going. That’s what a mom does.’ Days later, Stephens filed to run for a seat in the [Minnesota state] Senate, a 162-year-old institution that has yet to elect a black woman,” the Star Tribune reports. Only a few of these women "had planned to run for office this year before Floyd cried out to his mother and took his last breath. … But they say their reason for running now goes beyond traditional political alliances — they want to be at the table for decisions about police reform and racial disparities.” 

  • Albuquerque police arrested Steven Ray Baca, a former city council candidate, who they say shot a man protesting for the removal of a Spanish conquistador's statue. Members of a militia group at the scene claimed not to know the alleged shooter or the victim and cast themselves as attempting to prevent violence from erupting at the protest. But officials denounced their presence, saying it was meant to intimidate protesters. (Matt Zapotosky, Abigail Hauslohner, Hannah Knowles and Katie Shepherd)
  • A “boogaloo boy” is accused of using a peaceful march in Oakland, Calif., to shoot police. He allegedly killed one officer and injured another. Authorities claim that the man, identified as Air Force Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, is part of the growing online extremist movement that has sought to use the peaceful protests to spread fringe views and ignite a race war. (Katie Shepherd)
  • Police continue using Twitter for misinformation and rumor-mongering about protesters. In the latest example, two NYC police unions falsely accused Shake Shack employees on Twitter of poisoning officers with milkshakes. Increasingly, in recent weeks, police departments and organizations have similarly shared allegations without substantiation. The Columbus, Ohio, police department tweeted an image of a colorful bus and said there was suspicion it was carrying riot equipment. The bus was, in fact, used by traveling street performers. The clubs found inside were juggling clubs. (Aaron Blake)  
  • A Black Lives Matter protest was overrun by armed counter-demonstrators in the tiny Ohio town of Bethel. The 80 or so demonstrators ended up dwarfed by some 700 counter-protesters – motorcycle gangs, “back the blue” groups and Second Amendment supporters. Police are investigating about 10 “incidents” from the clashes that followed, including one demonstrator being punched in the head. (Hannah Knowles
  • Fifty-six former prosecutors signed on to support bail for a pair of activists – attorneys by trade – who were charged in a Molotov cocktail attack on a marked police car in New York. (Shayna Jacobs)
  • Sen. John Neely Kennedy (R-La.) said Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) proposal to remove Confederate names from military bases “picks on the South unfairly.” (CNN)
  • Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Circuit shared his opposition to an earlier version of Warren's measure, which included Confederate graves, in an email sent to hundreds of colleagues, law clerks and courthouse staffers. “It’s important to remember that Lincoln did not fight the war to free the Slaves,” he wrote. “Indeed he was willing to put up with slavery in the South if the Confederate States Returned.” He was rebuffed by other judges and staffers, including Derrick Petit, one of a small number of black law clerks at the courthouse. (Ann Marimow
  • The U.N. Human Rights Council will hold a rare “urgent debate” today on human rights in the United States, and African countries are circulating a draft resolution calling for a high-level investigation into U.S. racism and police violence. The U.S., no longer a council member, will not get to vote on the matter. (Adam Taylor
  • Military leaders promised to address systemic racial disparities in the military justice system. During a congressional hearing, military lawyers acknowledged years of data showing black service members have faced investigations and other forms of discipline more often than white ones. (Dan Lamothe)
  • Atlanta megachurch pastor Louie Giglio suggested the phrase “white privilege” could be replaced with the phrase “white blessing." He also described slavery as a “blessing” that “built up the framework for the world that white people live in.” (Sarah Pulliam Bailey)
Richmond’s mayor ousted the city’s police chief after days of protests. 

“Mayor Levar Stoney said he had requested and accepted the resignation of Police Chief William Smith after two nights of tense demonstrations that involved chemical gas and rubber bullets outside the city's police headquarters,” Gregory Schneider and Laura Vozzella report. “‘One thing is clear after the past two weeks — Richmond is ready for a new approach to public safety,’ Stoney (D) said … Some demonstrators toppled the Richmond Howitzers Monument, a Confederate statue near Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park campus. They then dispersed.” 

  • Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) said he will support legislation to make Juneteenth a state holiday. He gave executive branch employees Friday off in recognition of it. (Schneider)
  • Nearly three-quarters of people stopped by D.C. police during a recent five-month period were black, despite the fact that black people make up less than half of the city’s population. (Justin Jouvenal
  • Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is under pressure to further limit when state law enforcement agencies can use lethal force by executive order. Democrats pushed him to issue a ban on chokeholds in all instances involving state officers and to dramatically curtail when they can shoot at vehicles or use deadly force to subdue someone. (Erin Cox
  • Leaders of Maryland’s Prince George’s County, a majority black jurisdiction with a history of police brutality, plan to shift at least some funding from police to mental health and addiction services. (Rachel Chason)

Quote of the day

"That somehow systemic racism means you're accusing every single person of being racist couldn't be farther from the truth," Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said during a Judiciary Committee hearing on police reform. "What we know is that we have systems within criminal justice [that] produce different outcomes depending on a person's race."

Trump’s order on policing was panned by Democrats and activists. 

“In a Rose Garden ceremony, Trump formally unveiled steps to offer new federal incentives for local police to bolster training and create a national database to track misconduct, vowing that African Americans who have died at the hands of police accused of abuse ‘will not have died in vain,’” David Nakamura, Felicia Sonmez and Mike DeBonis report. “But the event was heavy on symbolism, as the president surrounded himself with uniformed officers and police union officials, a show of solidarity that signaled he was unwilling to risk angering law enforcement communities that he considers a key part of his conservative political base. Trump said he had met ahead of the ceremony with the families of black people killed by police — including Atatiana Jefferson, Botham Jean, Jemel Roberson and others — but they did not join him for his remarks. … 

"House Democrats and Senate Republicans are moving forward with competing proposals, and the two sides appeared to have found little common ground Tuesday, with the president’s executive actions potentially setting a marker for his GOP allies over the limits of what they would accept in a compromise bill."

Trump is quick to dismiss criticism of law enforcement – unless they're investigating him. “If the police shove a 75-year-old peaceful protester to the ground, cracking his head, it must be the protester’s fault. If the police prosecute one of his friends for tax fraud or perjury, it must be that the officers are corrupt,” Peter Baker observes in the Times. “In the past 18 months, the president has tweeted the phrases ‘dirty cop’ or ‘dirty cops’ at least 20 times and used it on camera at least 25 other times, always in reference to investigators looking into him or his campaign or his allies.” 

Trump falsely claimed that Barack Obama and Joe Biden “never even tried to fix” police brutality. The truth is, after Michael Brown, an unarmed black man, was fatally shot in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., Obama took steps in response, in particular issuing an executive order creating a task force on “21st century policing.” The group came up with dozens of recommendations, including some echoed in Trump’s own executive order. Obama also banned the federal transfer of certain types of military-style gear to local police departments. Trump rescinded that order in 2017. (Glenn Kessler)

Other news that should be on your radar

The Justice Department asked a court to block publication of John Bolton's book.

Barr's people asked a federal judge to order former White House national security adviser John Bolton to stop the release of his book, asserting it contains classified material. The suit accuses Trump's former national security adviser of breach of contract by violating his nondisclosure agreement. Legal experts said that, by not suing publisher Simon & Schuster and instead going directly to Bolton, the administration appears to be using financial pressure to intimidate him and discourage him from disclosing embarrassing information about Trump in an election year. (Tom Hamburger and Josh Dawsey)

  • The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the testimony of two Justice Department officials, including one of former special counsel Bob Mueller’s top prosecutors, in its probe of what Democrats call the agency’s “unprecedented politicization” under Trump and Barr. (Karoun Demirjian and Matt Zapotosky
  • Not so long ago, Elizabeth Warren said high-dollar fundraisers would tear “this democracy apart.” Then, on Monday, she headlined a virtual fundraiser for Joe Biden. In less than an hour, she raised $6 million for her former competitor’s campaign, making hers the highest-grossing event  so far for Biden. The move could help her in the veepstakes. (Annie Linskey)
  • The House will vote for the first time to grant statehood to D.C. on June 26. The measure will probably pass but then die in the Senate. (Jenna Portnoy and Patricia Sullivan
  • Nebraska Democrats urged Chris Janicek, the party’s candidate challenging Republican Sen. Ben Sasse, to drop out of the race after the release of sexually graphic comments he made in a group text about a female campaign staffer. After Janicek refused to exit, the Nebraska Democratic Party voted to withdraw all resources for his campaign. (Colby Itkowitz
  • The Senate Ethics Committee dismissed its investigation into Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.) for alleged insider trading ahead of the pandemic, notifying her it found “no evidence” she violated the law or Senate rules. (Itkowitz
  • PG&E pleaded guilty to 84 felony counts of involuntary manslaughter stemming from a 2018 California wildfire ignited by the utility’s crumbling electrical grid. (AP)
  • Texas Democrats asked the Supreme Court to expand access to mail-in voting in the state. (Michelle Ye Hee Lee)
  • The ex-CEO of Bumble Bee was sentenced to three years for a tuna price-fixing scheme. “Now he’ll be the one spending time in the can,” the New York Post notes.

Social media speed read

A former lawyer for the National Security Agency said Bolton cannot be stopped from sharing what he knows:

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) appeared to call Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) “shameless” for demanding that government put the needs of disadvantaged workers first:

Trump is recycling the 1968 campaign motto of both Richard Nixon and George Wallace:

And Pete and Chasten Buttigieg celebrated their anniversary: 

Videos of the day

Trevor Noah looked at how brands are attempting to show solidarity with black shoppers:

After Barr said Bolton's new book hasn't been published yet, Stephen Colbert showed off his embargoed copy:

And Samantha Bee recalled America’s “long-standing tradition of police brutality”: