Here’s what’s happened:
- Across the nation, people rallied, celebrated, marched and protested in commemoration of Juneteenth. In Oakland, dockworkers and longshoremen marched with thousands and shut down a port. In Harlem, there was meditation, tap dancing, and singing, in addition to speeches. In Tulsa, hundreds gathered in Greenwood — the site of one of the most horrific acts of racist violence in the US — to remember and celebrate emancipation.
- Tula is also where Donald Trump is holding his first rally since coronavirus closed down the nation. Top members of Trump’s coronavirus task force warned of safety risks of holding a large-scale indoor event, but White House is forging ahead anyway. The Oklahoma Supreme Court blocked a bid to postpone the event due to coronavirus concerns.
- One of the Louisville police officers involved in the death or Breonna Taylor has been fired. Activists are calling for all the officers to be fired and charged in her death. According to the termination later, officer Brett Hankison “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he shot Taylor
- Officers chased, shot and killed a security guard at an auto repairs shop in Los Angeles on Thursday. Andres Guardado was 18. On Wednesday, Los Angeles deputies also shot and killed Terron Jammal Boone, 31, who the half brother of Robert Fuller, who [was] discovered hanging from a tree on 10 June.
- Trump threatened “protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes” who attend his rally in Tulsa on Saturday, warning that they will be treated more harshly. He tweeted the threat, even though protest is protected by the First Amendment.
Here are a few more images and videos from around the country.
In Raleigh, North Carolina, it seems demonstrators were successful in toppling the statue atop a 75-foot monument to Confederate soldiers.
The leaders of some cities in North Carolina have voted to remove Confederate monuments amid national protests against police brutality and systematic racism. But a state law passed in 2015, a month after Dylann Roof killed nine Black people at a church in South Carolina, dictates that state-owned monuments can’t be removed without approval from the state’s Historical Commission.
In recent weeks, demonstrators across the country have taken matters into their own hands, pulling down monuments to Confederates and colonizers that state and local governments have left up.
In Philadelphia, Black Lives Matter activists organized a “Jawnteenth”* celebration.
Demonstrators demanded a dismantling of the police department and freedom for political prisoners. Black cowboys joined a gathering West Philadelphia’s Malcolm X park, as did a drum line.
“We’re riding for the cause, Black lives does matter, we love being Black,” Al Lynch, sitting atop a horse named AJB Classic Babe, told WHYY.
*For those who aren’t familiar, here’s an explanation of the uniquely Philadelphian word “jawn”.
My colleague Vivian Ho is in Antelope Valley, where 24-year-old Robert Fuller was found hanging from a tree:
In Tulsa, hundreds gathered in Greenwood, Tulsa – the site of one of the most horrific acts of racist violence in US history – to celebrate Juneteenth.
Al Sharpton, who was there to address the crowd, told reporters that “Juneteenth is both a celebration and a reminder, a commemoration. It reminds us that it took almost three years after the signing of the emancipation proclamation for people in Texas to even know that slavery was over.”
“So it is only proper for me to be here to show everyone how far we have come and how far we have yet to go,” he said. “We must understand the litany of pain that Black Americans have suffered.”
A number of redactions from the Mueller report have been revealed
The Department of Justice has removed a number of redactions from Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 elections, in response to Freedom of Information Act lawsuits.
The newly uncovered sections of the report suggest that Mueller mulled whether Donald Trump lied. In written responses to Mueller’s questions, Trump said he didn’t remember discussing WikiLeaks with his friend and former campaign adviser Roger Stone. But sources close to Trump recalled conversations in which they discussed the topic.
“It is possible that, by the time the President submitted his written answers two years after the relevant events had occurred, he no longer had clear recollections of his discussions,” the report reads. “But the President’s conduct could also be viewed as reflecting his awareness that [Roger] Stone could provide evidence that would run counter to the President’s denials and would link the President to Stone’s efforts to reach out to WikiLeaks.”
Stone was involved in efforts to contact Wikileaks and obtain Hillary Clinton’s emails and other documents that could to boost Trump’s chances of winning the election.
Are protests a public health risk? Not so much, writes Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute and incoming dean of the Brown University School of Public Health:
As the Covid-19 virus continues to spread unevenly across the world, politicians and opinion pages in the US are already blaming new cases of coronavirus on mass demonstrations against police violence and racism. The protests are a visible example of public crowds, and the ideal scapegoat for problems that are far more complex. Some leaders have treated them with overt hostility. But have protests really played a critical role in spreading new cases of coronavirus? The best science suggests probably not a lot.
Let me be clear: I’m not minimising the risk of mass demonstrations during a pandemic. Indeed, there is almost nothing we do at the moment that doesn’t carry some risk of contagion, and it is undoubtedly true that they will lead to some new cases. But the big question is by how much, and whether there are ways to minimise this risk. Here, the answer is largely in favour of the outdoor protests over other large gatherings planned, such as indoor campaign rallies.
The evidence is becoming clear that wearing a mask can substantially lower the risk of spread and severity of illness. We are seeing more and more masks worn by protesters. A second feature of gatherings that affects the spread of the virus is whether they happen outdoors or indoors. Here, too, research suggests that outdoor activities are much safer than indoor ones.
Finally, although this is more preliminary, evidence suggests that if you’re going to be in a crowd, a mobile one is better than a stationary one. None of these three aspects will protect you from infection definitively – but together they offer a modest level of risk reduction. And compared with the risk of catching Covid-19 that is present in many jobs or other activities, such as working in meat-packing plants, outdoor protests are likely to be much safer– especially if we carry out testing, which can quickly reveal if the virus is spreading among protesters, as Massachusetts has done recently.
The Department of Homeland Security sent helicopters, airplanes and drones to 15 cities where demonstrators were protesting police brutality, and logged at least 270 hours of surveillance, the New York Times reports based on Customs and Border Protection data.
More from the Times:
The department’s dispatching of unmanned aircraft over protests in Minneapolis last month sparked a congressional inquiry and widespread accusations that the federal agency had infringed on the privacy rights of demonstrators.
But that was just one piece of a nationwide operation that deployed resources usually used to patrol the U.S. border for smugglers and illegal crossings. Aircraft filmed demonstrations in Dayton, Ohio; New York City; Buffalo and Philadelphia, among other cities, sending video footage in real time to control centers managed by Air and Marine Operations, a branch of Customs and Border Protection.
The footage was then fed into a digital network managed by the Homeland Security Department, called “Big Pipe,” which can be accessed by other federal agencies and local police departments for use in future investigations, according to senior officials with Air and Marine Operations.
More images from Washington, DC:
The Associated Press has amended its influential, widely used style guide to capitalize Black.
More from the AP:
The change conveys “an essential and shared sense of history, identity and community among people who identify as Black, including those in the African diaspora and within Africa,” John Daniszewski, AP’s vice president of standards, said in a blog post Friday. “The lowercase black is a color, not a person.”
The news organization will also now capitalize Indigenous in reference to original inhabitants of a place.
In Oakland, thousands rallied with members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), whose workers arranged a strike at 29 ports up and down the West Coast.
I was there, earlier today. The union workers were joined by a motorcycle brigade, a car caravan, a fleet of cyclists, and thousands on foot. Activist and scholar Angela Davis and filmmaker Boots Riley addressed the crowd.
Rather than processing cargo, “including the shirt you’re wearing, the phone you’re carrying” said Sweets Ward, a longshoreman with the ILWU Local 10, workers led the massive march from the Port of Oakland to Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown, unofficially named after the 22-year-old Black man who was killed by police in 2009.
“If I had not chosen to become a university professor my next choice would have been to be a dock worker,” Davis said. “In order to be part of the most radical union in the country.”
“Thank you for shutting down the ports today, on Juneteenth. You represent the potential and power of the labor movement,” she added.
The union had organized similar demonstrations after Grant was killed, more than a decade ago — and many since. “This moment feels a little different,” said Trent Willis, president of the ILWU Local 10. “The response for this call is just astronomical... We have done similar things before, but this is like our last call to action - on steroids.”
In Wisconsin, governor Tony Evers called on the state legislature to ban police chokeholds, among reforms that he unveiled today.
The Democratic governor did not ask for a special legislative session to take up the policy as soon as possible, as the Brack Legislative Caucus had requested.
In a joint statement with Mandela Barnes, the state’s first Black lieutenant governor, Evers said that Republican lawmakers could simply convene and disband a special session without taking action. “We should not need a special session when people across our state are demanding we take action,” they said.
My colleague Erum Salam reports from Houston:
Hundreds of lowrider cars pulled up to a parking lot just north of Third Ward, a neighborhood George Floyd once called home.
Local Houston rapper and community activist, Trae tha Truth organized the “ride for justice” event to honor Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other black Americans killed by police.
Prior to the procession of brightly colored vintage cars, George Floyd’s sister, LaTonya Floyd addressed the crowd saying “I miss him. I love him so so much. God knows I do. All these people, the unity, the love–genuine love...My brother, to me, is still here. I thank ya’ll so much.” Floyd was gifted a painting of her late brother.
In Boston, representative Ayanna Pressley attended the Juneteenth celebration. She did not formally address the crowd — instead, she spent time mingling and meeting with other demonstrators.
Massachusetts’ Republican governor. Charlie Baker, issued a proclamation declaring today “Juneteenth Independence Day,” and said he will work with legislators to recognize 19 June as a state holiday.
In Boston’s Dorchester park, there was “musical speak out” against police brutality, titled “Funk the Police — Juneteenth Edition”.
“Blue Lives Matter” protestors briefly interrupted the celebration. Boston 25 News journalist Kirsten Glavin reports that some were carrying Trump flags.
My colleague Kenya Evelyn writes on the history of Juneteenth:
First celebrated in 1865, the holiday marking slavery’s end is both a painful reminder and a celebration of freedom fighters.
As federal and state governments respond to the anti-racism protests nationwide, Dr Lopez Matthews of Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Library and Research Center said the present uprisings represented Black Americans’ continuing quest for equality, inherited from the Juneteenth’s original celebrants who fought for their freedom.
“African Americans were not just passive participants in their own liberation,” he said. “It was those African Americans who learned about the Emancipation Proclamation [in Texas] who essentially freed themselves, demanding their humanity and creating traditions to celebrate it long after.”
Combining the words “June” and “19th”, the holiday commemorates the anniversary of the day in 1865 when the Union army major general Gordon Granger read out Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation to remaining enslaved African Americans on a plantation in Galveston, Texas.
The proclamation had been signed by the president two years prior, in 1863.
Following the celebration’s first year, which included dancing, singing, prayers and readings of the Proclamation, themes of Black liberation remained a focal point of Juneteenth. Newly freed Black people gathered each year dressed in their finest to hear speeches, march, and participate in demonstrations – forming some of the earliest traditions that continue today.
That jubilation became a defiant symbol of freedom in a white society that sought to suppress it. Despite “each new segregation law” or “new textbook whitewashing the mid-20th century,”, the historian Dr Henry Louis Gates Jr wrote, Juneteenth largely migrated with the millions of Black Americans who left the south for the midwest and north-east.
“When whites forbade Blacks from using their public spaces, Black people gathered near rivers and lakes and eventually raised enough money to buy their own celebration sites,” he wrote.
Today, Juneteenth is recognized in 47 US states and the District of Columbia as an official state holiday or observance, with Texas becoming the first in 1980. But it had been informally celebrated primarily by African American communities since that day in 1865.
Here’s more from my colleague Nina Lakhani, in Harlem, NY:
Joy is an act of resistance. This was the overriding message of the Juneteenth event organized by a coalition of music and intersectional collectives at the corner of Lennox Avenue and Central Park north.
A brass band played New Orleans jazz and blues. There was meditation, comedy, tap dancing accompanied by African drumming and spoken word: the crowd hushed as everyone listened to a reading of “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou. It was powerful and beautiful.
Michela Marino Lerma, 34, a tap dancer and co-organize, said black art forms like jazz and tap dance like black lives had been suppressed too long. “People don’t think of the strength and joy and triumph that goes into creating such African art forms which cannot be beaten down.”
Organizers asked white folks to stand at the back to create a safe perimeter for the black, queer and trans at the front around the stage.
We heard from George Faison, the 1975 Tony award winning choreographer, dancer and producer, who told the crowd about the struggle in the 1960s when black people were thrown out of theatres” He said: “I’m so glad to see people united and together, we didn’t have that [in the 60s]. You’ve had victories in the last couple of days that’s how strong you are. You are it. Go on and be it. Peace and power to the people.”
Hi there, it’s Maanvi Singh, signing on.
First up, here are some images of celebrations, demonstrations, rallies and marches from around the country on Juneteenth.
Today so far
Good afternoon. It’s been a steady news day as Juneteenth celebrations and marches continue across the country, fueled by the ongoing protests against police brutality and institutional racism.
Here’s what’s happened so far today.
- Top members of Trump’s coronavirus task force warned of safety risks of holding a large-scale rally in Tulsa, according to NBC. The White House is forging ahead anyway.
- One of the Louisville police officers involved in the death or Breonna Taylor has been fired. Activists are calling for all the officers to be fired and charged in her death.
- Trump warned protesters planning to attend his upcoming Tulsa that the response would be different than it has been in liberal-run cities.
- Several more cities and states announced that they will recognize Juneteenth as a public holiday.
- Trump told Politico in an interview that his biggest Election Day fear is expanding vote by mail.
Coronavirus taskforce members advised against Tulsa rally
Senior members of the coronavirus task force advised the White House against holding a large-scale, indoor rally, according to a new report from NBC.
Citing two people familiar with the discussions, NBC reports that the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, and taskforce response coordinator, Dr Deborah Birx both raised safety concerns about proceeding with the event, which is expected to draw as many as 19,000 supporters, many of whom, like the president, refuse to wear a mask.
Trump and his campaign are pushing ahead with the rally despite concerns from local officials about a rise in coronavirus infections in Oklahoma. Attendees must sign a waiver releasing the campaign and president of any liability if they get sick.
Asked by the Daily Beast recently if he would attend a Trump rally in the midst of the pandemic, Fauci replied: “Of course not.”
Read the full NBC story here.
Trump once bragged that he hires only the “very best” people. If that is the case, NBC Peter Alexander asked at the press briefing, why doesn’t he have anything nicer to say about the people who leave his White House?
“Why does the president keep hiring people who are dumb as a rock, overrated, way over their heads, whacko and incompetent?” Alexander asked.
“The president make s hiring decision based on the fact that he likes to have countervailing viewpoints ... he likes the model of having a Team of Rivals, like with what we saw in President Lincoln’s administration,” she replied. “I think the Team of Rivals with President Lincoln worked quite well.”
Alexander agreed, there were benefits to a robust debate. But still, why choose rivals he deems to be “dumb as a rock, overrated, way over their heads, whacko and incompetent? How does that help?”
“Sometimes those rivals prove those labels to be true,” she said.
Trump has laced into his former National Security Advisor John Bolton, whose forthcoming memoir that paints a damning portrait of Trump’s presidency.
The Trump administration is in a legal fight with Bolton to try to halt its publication.
The Guardian’s Nina Lakhani has been talking to attendees at a Juneteenth celebration in Harlem. She sends this dispatch:
In Harlem’s Marcus Harvey Park, the Freedom Day event is very much a celebration of African history, cultural and identity in America. The event was opened with a simple spiritual ceremony which included the burning of fragrant sage to encourage positive energy and ward off negative vibes.
“Africa is where we are all from. We built this country, our forefathers and mothers fought for us, it’s their legacy, and we have to build on that foundation,” said Tashi Selassi, 47, a holistic healer originally from Antigua who has loved in Harlem for 30 years. “It’s about our youth we’re fighting because we don’t want to feel that they’re not free. Black power, black movement, black repatriation, one black love.”
An African drumming ensemble got the party started and people were quickly on their feet and dancing. It was a majority black crowd, but as organizers were keen to stress, today is about one people, one love.
Brian Jones, 40, a tech worker, originally from Atlanta, is spending the say wandering between several events and marches. He first heard about Juneteenth at high school, since when he’s mostly celebrated the holiday with friends and families.
“Today is an actual celebration of freedom, July 4th is not. This is an important one considering what’s happened since George Floyd was killed, and then while the whole word was watching Rayshard Brooks in my own city. It’s a constant reminder that no matter how far we get, there’s still a a fight to be had.”
Reuters is reporting that the US Navy will not reinstate Captain Brett Crozier “after finding fault with his response to the outbreak of the coronavirus aboard the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt and is also putting an admiral’s promotion on hold.”
The agency is reporting, according to sources familiar, that an announcement will be made later on Friday at a news conference by the Navy’s top leaders. Crozier was removed from his command and fired after he pleaded for more help to stop the spread of the virus on board.
Crozier was hailed by his crew as a hero for risking his job by writing a letter that leaked calling on the Navy for greater safeguards for his crew. A previous Navy investigation had recommended reinstating him.
But a more in-depth probe, the results of which will be disclosed at least in part on Friday, are expected to detail concerns about his response to the virus, the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters. It was unclear whether that would include his failure to address those concerns through proper channels.
The Navy is also expected to call further investigation into Crozier’s boss at the time, Rear Admiral Stuart Baker. The Navy will announce that Baker’s planned promotion to a second star was being put on hold.
More than 1,200 sailors aboard the Roosevelt have tested positive for the coronavirus, including one sailor who died from it, and several others who had to be treated at a hospital in Guam. The Navy has not explained publicly how the virus got on board the ship.
New York governor Andrew Cuomo is signing off from his daily coronavirus briefings after a 100-episode run.
According to a write up by the Associated Press, Cuomo told viewers that New York had “done the impossible” and tamed Covid-19 – but should remain vigilant against a possible second wave.
Cuomo appeared alone behind his desk during a brief address, a departure from his routine of presenting slides with bar graphs of Covid-19 hospitalizations and then taking questions from reporters.
But his message was the same as in recent days: New Yorkers at the epicenter of the US outbreak worked together to fight the virus and now must remain on guard.
“If we could accomplish together what we did here, this impossible task of beating back this deadly virus, then there is nothing we can’t do,“ Cuomo said. “And we will be better. And we will be stronger for what we have gone through.”
Michelle Obama reflects on Juneteenth, as the nation’s first African American First Lady and the descendants of enslaved people: “Even though the story has never been tidy, and Black folks have had to march and fight for every inch of our freedom, our story is nonetheless one of progress.”
The press briefing got a bit of a late start but is now underway. Kayleigh McEnany is taking questions on the president’s attacks on protesters, the White House’s response to the coronavirus and his upcoming rally in Tulsa.
She said Trump did not mean “any protesters” and that he was only referring to violent actors and looters. In his tweet, Trump specifically says “any protesters.”
McEnany also said she did not plan to wear a mask at tomorrow’s rally in Tulsa; that Trump was making a “satirical” point when he retweeted a doctored video – flagged by Twitter as “manipulated media” – that presented a fake CNN segment and claimed the network was “fake news;” and insisted the president had been previously aware of Juneteenth, somewhat contradicting the president’s own timeline of events.
She ended the briefing by imploring the media to cover Trump’s rally – and the crowd size – fairly.
The Louisville police department will fire one the officers involved in the death of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician fatally shot by police in March.
The termination was announced by Louisville mayor Greg Fischer on Friday, who told reporters that police chief Rob Schroeder would initiate termination proceedings.
According to the termination later, posted online by WFPL, local NPR member station, Schroeder said Louisville officer Brett Hankison “displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life” when he shot Taylor.
Hankison violated standard operating procedures when he “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds into the apartment of Breonna Taylor,” the letter continued.
“In fact, the 10 rounds you fired were into a patio door and window which were covered with material that completely prevented you from verifying any person as an immediate threat or more importantly any innocent persons present,” the letter states.
I find your conduct a shock to the conscience,” Schroeder said in the letter. “Your actions have brought discredit upon yourself and the Department.”
Taylor, who is African American, was killed when police officers burst into her apartment on 13 March executing a so-called no-knock warrant, which allowed them to enter without warning or identifying themselves.
They fired, striking Taylor eight times.
For weeks, Taylor’s family has demanded the firing of the officers involved in her death, calls echoed by activists during the ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
Trump has pushed back against a suggesting by Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, that the upcoming football season “may not happen” amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“Tony Fauci has nothing to do with NFL Football,” Trump tweeted. “They are planning a very safe and controlled opening. However, if they don’t stand for our National Anthem and our Great American Flag, I won’t be watching!!!”
Trump has sought to push ahead with the reopening the country despite warnings from public health experts whose fears about a spike in infections if states lift their lockdowns too quickly are no being realized.
On Thursday, Fauci told CNN that “unless players are essentially in a bubble — insulated from the community and they are tested nearly every day — it would be very hard to see how football is able to be played this fall. If there is a second wave, which is certainly a possibility and which would be complicated by the predictable flu season, football may not happen this year.”
The NFL recently apologized for “not listening” to players and denounced systemic racism. Trump has continued to assail players who kneel in protest.
Here’s a look at some of the marches around the country commemorating Juneteenth.
Congressman Matt Gaetz, a Republican from Florida, has slammed the response to his revelation on Thursday that he has a teenage son named Nestor.
Gaetz told People Magazine that he never formally adopted Nestor but has raised him since he immigrated to Florida from Cuba at age 12. He is now 19.
The responses ranged, from shock that he had a secret son, to skepticism of his motivations for disclosing this information after a heated exchange over race and parenting during a congressional hearing. But others insinuated that Nestor was not his son, but his lover, parodying the photo of them together.
“Ive honestly never understood this gay shaming smear,” he said, responding to a Tweet applauding him for “coming out”. “Are you saying being gay is something to be ashamed of? I’m not gay, but I don’t think it would be if I were.”
Gaetz told Fox News on Thursday that he shared the news after becoming upset over a remark made by Democratic congressman Cedric Richmond during a congressional hearing on policing reform.
Richmond, who is black, said lawmakers in the room didn’t know what it was like to father a black child.
“You’ve never lived in my shoes, and you do not know what it’s like to be an African American male, and all I’m saying is if you are opposed to this legislation, let’s just have the vote, but please do not come in this committee room and make a mockery of the pain that exists in my community,” Richmond said.
Gaetz jumped in to ask Richmond if he was “certain that none of us have nonwhite children? Because you referenced your black son, and you said none of us could understand.”
Richmond replied: “It is not about the color of your kids. It is about black males, black people in the streets that are getting killed, and if one of them happens to be your kid, I’m concerned about him, too, and clearly, I’m more concerned about him than you are.”
Gaetz exploded in anger: “You’re claiming you have more concern for my family than I do? Who in the hell do you think you are?”
The next morning, the Florida congressman Tweeted a photo of himself and Nestor.
Nestor made an appearance with Gaetz during the Fox News interview with Tucker Carlson on Thursday.
Asked by Carlson about Richmond’s remarks, Nestor said: “I think it’s kind of unfair to tell someone that they don’t understand because of their racial color.”
New York City will recognize Juneteenth as an official holiday starting next year, mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Twitter.
In recent weeks, major US companies, news organizations as well as US states and cities announced they too will mark Juneteenth, a portmanteau of June 19, the day in 1865 when enslaved people in Texas learned of their freedom.
The holiday has long been celebrated by African Americans to commemorate the end of slavery in the US, but it has become more prominent amid protests against systemic racism and criticism of Trump’s initial decision to hold a campaign rally on the day.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday that he recently learned about the holiday from a black secret service agent. He was scheduled to hold a rally in Tulsa today but moved the event to Saturday amid public outcry.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told the Journal, a reference to the news coverage of controversy surrounding his rally. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
Twitter, Nike and Amazon are among the major companies that will make Juneteenth a holiday for employees. The governors of New York and Virginia, once the seat of the Confederacy, have also declared Juneteenth a public holiday.
Donald Trump told Politico in a new interview that the biggest threat to his re-election prospects was the well-funded effort to expand mail-in voting in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump and his campaign are arguing, baselessly, that the practice of voting by mail is rife with fraud and benefits Democrats. Republicans have launched a massive legal battle to challenge states efforts to expand access to the ballot in November. Millions of voters could be disenfranchised if they stay home on Election Day due to the risks of contracting the coronavirus at the polls.
“My biggest risk is that we don’t win lawsuits,” Trump told Politico. “We have many lawsuits going all over. And if we don’t win those lawsuits, I think — I think it puts the election at risk.”
As he did in 2016, Trump refused to directly answer a question about whether he would accept the outcome of the election no matter the result.
Trump was asked a two-part question during the interview: Would a substantial amount of mail-in voting — which is widely expected because of coronavirus — cause him to question the legitimacy of the election? And would he accept the results no matter what?
“Well, you can never answer the second question, right? Because Hillary kept talking about she’s going to accept, and they never accepted it. You know. She lost too. She lost good.’ Clinton conceded the day after the 2016 election.”
Clinton conceded to Trump by phone in the pre-dawn hours of November 9th, after it became clear he had won the election. She gave a concession speech in New York later that morning. He won the Electoral College while she won the popular vote.
Read the full story here.
The White House has just sent notice that press secretary Kayleigh McEnany will hold a previously unscheduled press briefing today at 1pm EST.
Trump has been very active this morning, lashing out at Democrats, boasting about his high approval ratings among Republicans and vowing to try again to end DACA, the Obama-era program shielding 650,000 young immigrants from deportation.
The Supreme Court on Thursday blocked Trump from cancelling DACA, which stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberal justices to make up the majority in a 5-4 decision that determined the administration had improperly ended the program in 2017.
In a pair of Tweets on Friday, Trump contended that the court ruling wasn’t a blow to his efforts to suspend the program and said his administration would submit “enhanced papers” and try again.
This is a rosier assessment of the ruling than he held yesterday, when Trump wondered whether the Supreme Court didn’t like him after back-to-back rulings on gay rights and immigration were viewed as victories for progressives.
The Associated Press reports that family and friends are gathering to commemorate the life of a federal law enforcement officer who was shot while guarding a US courthouse in Oakland during the protests against police brutality.
Chad Wolf, acting chief of Homeland Security, will travel from Washington to honor the officer, 53-year-old David Patrick Underwood, who he called “a fallen hero who made the ultimate sacrifice.”
More from the AP:
Underwood was killed on “May 29 while guarding the Ronald V Dellums Federal Building in Oakland as a large demonstration was underway nearby over the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. A colleague was also shot and wounded. Authorities say an airman with ties to the so-called boogaloo right-wing extremist movement has been charged in the killing. ... Federal authorities say the shooter used the protest as cover for the crime. Authorities say that Underwood, who is African American, was targeted because he wore a uniform.
Last week, the FBI announced murder charges against Air Force Staff Sgt. Steve Carrillo. Authorities say Carrillo used the same homemade AR-15-style rifle eight days later to kill of a Santa Cruz deputy in a hail of gunfire that wounded four other officers. Carrillo faces separate state charges for the June 6 fatal shooting of Santa Cruz County sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller.
Authorities allege that Carrillo, 32, had ties to the far-right, anti-government “boogaloo” movement and had hatched a plan to target federal law enforcement officials during the Oakland protest.
Trump seems to threaten protesters who attend his rally in Tulsa
Donald Trump is threatening “protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes” who attend his rally in Tulsa on Saturday, warning that they will be treated more harshly than they have been in liberal-run cities like New York, Seattle and Minneapolis.
Protest is protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. The same amendment protects political beliefs and philosophy, including the belief that there should be no government at all. And last we checked, being a lowlife, while unfavorable, is not a crime.
As previously noted, Tulsa will extend its curfew amid mounting worries over protests against the president.
Senator Amy Klobuchar, a one-time Democratic rival turned vice presidential contender, has taken herself out of contention to be Joe Biden’s running mate.
The move comes after mounting pressure from black activists, who publicly urged Biden not to nominate Klobuchar, a former prosecutor from the Minnesota county where George Floyd was killed by police.
“I think this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket,” Klobuchar said on MSNBC Thursday night. “If you want to heal this nation right now, my party, yes, but our nation this is sure a hell of a way to do it.”
The Midwestern senator had long been a seen as a top contender, but her tough-on-crime record became even more of a liability in the wake of widespread protests against police brutality and systemic racism.
She was one of several women under consideration for the VP slot. Klobuchar’s exit, and her call for Biden to choose a woman of color, was seen as a blow to the prospects of Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren, the progressive favorite.
Read more from my colleague Maanvi Singh:
The writers’ organisation Pen America has filed an amicus brief opposing the lawsuit brought by the Trump organisation in an attempt to stop the publication of a book by John Bolton, the president’s third national security adviser.
“Pen America supports the first amendment right of public employees to produce works that are critical of the government, and of readers to receive their unique perspective unfettered by government censorship,” the brief said.
Excerpts of Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened, have been widely published in the US media since the Department of Justice filed its suit in a federal court in Washington DC.
The excerpts have proved tremendously embarrassing to Trump, detailing what Bolton says is impeachable conduct, for example in asking China to help secure his re-election, and in depicting a president ignorant of basic geopolitical realities.
Bolton told ABC News on Thursday Trump is not “fit for office” and does not have “the competence to carry out the job”. An extensive interview is due to run on ABC on Sunday night. The book is due in stores on Tuesday, 23 June.
Publisher Simon & Schuster and lawyers for Bolton have countered that all classified information was removed from the book in co-ordination with the administration. Some such information has since been leaked.
The Pen brief notes the vetting process and says: “It is not difficult to see what is going on. The president is employing the apparatus of the federal government to punish his political enemies, thwart freedom of speech, and pursue his political interests in an election year.”
In Washington, district cour judge Royce Lamberth will hear the DoJ’s case at 1pm today.
In a statement, Nora Benavidez, Pen America’s director of US free expression programmes, said: “A free society cannot abide the government silencing certain perspectives before they are even uttered; such censorship runs contrary to the very notion of what our first amendment was written to guard against.
“Any result other than dismissal in this case will be an affront to Bolton’s first amendment right to speak and to all of our rights as members of the public and as readers to learn about his views.
“We know the president has a penchant for lobbing attacks at those whose commentary he wants to suppress. It’s why we sued President Trump in 2018, as he has engaged in an unconstitutional pattern of targeting reporters whose coverage he dislikes. We’ll continue to fight these censorship tactics for our writer Members and their readers.”
Bolton also details comments by Trump in which the president said some reporters should be imprisoned or executed.
Most observers do not expect the administration to successfully block Bolton’s book. The attorney Ted Boutros, who worked on the brief on a pro bono basis, said: “The supreme court has never upheld a prior restraint on speech about matters of public concern, nor should the district court do so in this case.”
Trump books have become big business, ever since the publication of Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury in January 2018. Then, after the Guardian published excerpts, the president threatened to go to court to prevent publication. Publisher Henry Holt & Co responded by rushing the book to stores.
Donald Trump’s rally in Tulsa on Saturday continues to cause huge controversy, not just because it falls so close to the Juneteenth holiday in a city where the worst race massacre in US history happened 99 years ago.
Tulsa has confirmed the extension of a curfew, as worries mount over protests against the president.
And on Thursday, the venue for the rally added its voice to a growing chorus of concern over the fact that Trump is coming to town to stage a large indoor event as Covid-19 cases in Tulsa and Oklahoma as a whole continue to rise steeply.
The Trump campaign has said masks and hand sanitisers will be supplied and social distancing encouraged (an interesting concept in a full arena) but all such measures will be voluntary. Attendees also have to sign a waiver accepting that the campaign will not be responsible should they contract the coronavirus.
In a statement on Thursday, managers at the 19,000-capacity BOK Center (Trump has claimed more than a million people want to attend) asked for a detailed plan from the campaign about how it proposes to guard against the spread of Covid-19. They also said facility staff would be tested and the venue “cleaned and disinfected repeatedly throughout the event, with special emphasis on high-touch areas”.
Trump campaign director of strategic communications Marc Lotter, meanwhile, told the Guardian he would encourage those in “high-risk categories” to watch the rally on television.
“I personally would encourage anyone who might find themselves to be in one of the high-risk categories and encourage them not to come,” Lotter said. “Watch it on television, protect yourself, protect your family if someone in your direct family has those kinds of high-risk factors.”
Also, as the Washington Post reports, like former national security adviser John Bolton, an attempt to stop the rally is headed for the state supreme court:
A number of Tulsa residents and business owners, alarmed by the prospect of a large-scale outbreak of coronavirus if the rally proceeds, have sued the venue manager attempting to block the event unless it is held in accordance with social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A Tulsa county judge on Tuesday denied the request for a temporary injunction, but the decision was appealed to the Oklahoma supreme court.
A new ABC News/Ipsos poll neatly illustrates national divides over race issues and one issue in particular, the need – or not – to rename US military bases named for Confederate generals, from Fort Bragg in North Carolina to Fort Benning in Georgia and on.
The Confederacy, remember, was composed of states which seceded from the United States and fought a brutal four-year civil war, that they might maintain African American slavery. They lost, but their leaders have been given a lasting place in US culture nonetheless.
According to the ABC poll, overall, 56% of Americans are opposed to renaming the bases (like Donald Trump, but not necessarily the Republican-held Senate). Two-thirds of African Americans support renaming, as do 71% of Democrats and 55% of people aged between 18 and 29. Older Americans, Republicans and independents are strongly against renaming.
The poll also considered the issue of reparations, payments to African Americans in compensation for the lasting effects of slavery. Oddly enough, the poll finds that:
Black Americans (72%) are more than five times as likely to back reparations than whites (14%) and over twice as likely than Hispanics (34%).
In Decatur, north-east of Atlanta last night, a Confederate monument which had stood since 1908 came down amid cheers from onlooking protesters.
The Associated Press reports:
The stone obelisk was lifted from its base with straps amid jeers and chants of “Just drop it!” from onlookers, who were kept a safe distance by sheriff’s deputies.
DeKalb County spent several years trying to rid itself of the Lost Cause monument erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1908. A marker added last September says the monument was erected to “glorify the ‘lost cause’ of the Confederacy” and has “bolstered white supremacy and faulty history.”
Mawuli Davis, a driving force behind the lobbying effort to remove the monument, watched with others as the obelisk was slowly lowered onto its side and slid to a waiting flatbed truck. Davis’ organization, the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, held a demonstration in front of the monument just a day earlier, pleading for its removal.
“This feels great. This is a people’s victory. All of our young people from Decatur High School that made this happen. All of these organizers, everybody came together,” Davis said. “This is it. This is a victory for this country. This is an example of what can happen when people work together.”
That the statue dates from 1908, 43 years after the civil war ended with the defeat of the slave power, should not be a surprise. As has been documented extensively, most statues to the Confederacy went up during periods of racial repression: the Jim Crow years, the civil rights period and so forth. Here’s a story about a similar statue removal in Kentucky last week:
…and welcome to the Juneteenth edition of our live blog, covering US politics, protests against police brutality and systemic racism, the continuing coronavirus pandemic and more.
19 June is the day which commemorates the end of slavery in the US, after the civil war in 1865. It’s not a federal holiday, though 47 states and Washington DC do mark it.
Donald Trump had been due to stage his first campaign rally since March today, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It was moved back to Saturday because of the clash with Juneteenth, and because in 1921 Tulsa was the scene of the worst race massacre in US history.
On Friday, in a familiarly outlandish interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump made bizarre claims about his relation to Juneteenth. This is from our report:
Trump said a black Secret Service agent told him the meaning of Juneteenth as the president was facing criticism for initially planning to hold his first campaign rally in three months on the day.
That lack of knowledge did not stop Trump claiming that his Tulsa rally had greatly helped popularise the holiday – which is already commemorated or observed by 47 states and the District of Columbia.
“I did something good: I made Juneteenth very famous,” Trump told the newspaper. “It’s actually an important event, an important time. But nobody had ever heard of it.”
No word yet from Trump this morning, although he closed out Thursday by tweeting a video supposing to show a “Terrified Toddler Running From A Racist Baby”. Twitter duly labelled the video as Manipulated Media. As it happens, the actual viral video concerned was shot round the back of my apartment in Washington Heights, New York, and shows two toddlers, one black, one white, delightedly playing together.
Across the nation, protests over recent killings of African Americans by police officers – George Floyd in Minneapolis, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta – continue. The AP reports that in Atlanta, police officers have staged protests of their own, “calling out sick to protest the filing of murder charges” against the officer who shot Brooks in the back.
Trump has defended the officer, Garrett Rolfe.
Elsewhere, statues of Confederate leaders and generals continue to be removed or protected pending removal, as the national mood swings in favour of policing reform and moves for racial justice.
More to come. Before that, here’s Hannibal B Johnson on the legacy of Tulsa, 1921: