Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 27, 2020

Harold Maass
Tear gas in Minneapolis
Stephen Maturen/Getty Images


4 Minneapolis officers fired, protests erupt over Floyd's death

The Minneapolis Police Department has fired four officers over the death of a black man, George Floyd, after the officers restrained him. "This is the right call," Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey tweeted. Thousands of people gathered outside a police station to protest after a video surfaced on social media showing one of the officers with his knee on the back of Floyd's neck as he is handcuffed on the ground. "Please, I can't breathe," says Floyd, who died at a hospital soon after the incident. Frey earlier offered condolences to the family, and called the encounter "horrible, completely, and utterly messed up." The officers were responding to a call about a forgery in progress Monday night. The FBI is investigating. [Star Tribune, NBC News]


Twitter fact-checks Trump for 1st time

Twitter on Tuesday put fact-check labels on tweets by President Trump for the first time. Twitter said two tweets by Trump over the past 24 hours were "potentially misleading." One of them falsely suggested that mail-in ballots were fraudulent, and the other referred people to news articles about Trump's unsubstantiated claim. Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough said the company had labeled the tweets "to provide additional context around mail-in ballots." Trump accused Twitter of "stifling FREE SPEECH." The company has faced rising criticism for not doing enough to prevent people, including world leaders, from using the site to spread lies and fake news. Social media rival Facebook started a fact-check system several years ago. [The Washington Post]


Biden calls Trump a 'fool' for mocking face masks

Former Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that President Trump was an "absolute fool" for sharing a tweet that mocked Biden for wearing a mask during a Memorial Day event. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, but Trump has opted out of wearing a face covering during visits to factories, despite the factories requiring masks for the safety of their employees. This is irresponsible, Biden told CNN's Dana Bash, and Trump's refusal to listen to health experts is "costing people's lives." Presidents, Biden added, "are supposed to lead, not engage in folly and be falsely masculine." [CNN]


Stocks surge as New York Stock Exchange trading floor reopens

U.S. stocks surged on Tuesday as the floor of the New York Stock Exchange reopened, boosting hopes of an economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis. The NYSE trading floor in Manhattan had been closed for two months. Ahead of the reopening, plexiglass barriers were installed, the number of traders permitted was reduced, and safety rules were put into place, including mandatory masks. The change was mostly symbolic, because electronic trading has become increasingly important in recent years. Still, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 2.2 percent to close above 25,000 for the first time since early March. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq gained 1.2 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively. Futures for the three main U.S. indexes surged further ahead of Wednesday's opening bell. [The Associated Press, CNBC]


Hong Kong riot police surround legislature as protests resume

Hong Kong authorities dispatched hundreds of riot police to the semi-autonomous city's legislature as protesters gathered and shouted pro-democracy slogans on Wednesday ahead of a debate on a bill seeking to criminalize disrespect of China's national anthem. The legislation and China's proposed new national security law have sparked the first large street demonstrations in Hong Kong since last year. Activists say the security laws will result in the end of significant local control in Hong Kong, a former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 under a "one country, two systems" arrangement. Police on Sunday fired tear gas at thousands of protesters who gathered to denounce the security legislation. [Reuters]


Florida, Georgia court GOP convention after Trump clashes with North Carolina

Two Republican governors, Brian Kemp of Georgia and Ron DeSantis of Florida, on Tuesday asked President Trump to consider moving the August GOP convention to their states. The invitations came after Trump threatened to move his 2020 nominating convention out of North Carolina unless Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, guarantees he will ease anti-coronavirus restrictions enough to allow Republicans to fill the arena in Charlotte where the event is scheduled to be held. "With world-class facilities, restaurants, hotels, and workforce, Georgia would be honored to safely host the Republican National Convention," Kemp tweeted. "We hope you will consider the Peach State, @realDonaldTrump!" Atlanta's Democratic mayor said Kemp's offer was out of sync with the city's reopening plan. [The Associated Press]


Investment firm fires white woman who called police on black bird-watcher

Investment management firm Franklin Templeton on Tuesday fired an employee, Amy Cooper, who was shown in a viral video calling police on an African-American bird-watcher in New York City's Central Park after he asked her to put her dog on a leash. Ms. Cooper apologized to the man, Christian Cooper (no relation), but her employer said it had decided after a review to fire her, effective immediately. "We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton," the company tweeted. In the video, Amy Cooper approaches the man, pulling her dog by the collar, and says: "I'm going to tell them there's an African-American man threatening my life." In the call to police, she twice repeats that she is being threatened by an "African-American" man. [NPR]


Report: DOJ ends investigation of 3 senators' stock sales

The Justice Department reportedly is telling lawyers for Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler of Georgia and James Inhofe of Oklahoma, and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California that it is closing investigations into stock trades they made shortly before the market fell sharply when the coronavirus crisis hit. An inquiry into trades then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) made after getting closed-door briefings on the coming outbreak is ongoing, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The Federal Bureau of Investigation spent two months looking into the trades made by the lawmakers, their spouses, or their investment advisers. All of the senators denied they did anything wrong. Feinstein, Loeffler, and Inhofe said their advisers made the trades without their prior knowledge. [The Wall Street Journal, MarketWatch]


Trump pushes Scarborough conspiracy theory despite widower's pleas

President Trump on Tuesday brushed off criticism about his repeated baseless suggestion that MSNBC host Joe Scarborough is tied to the death of one of his former staffers. Lisa Klausutis died in Scarborough's office in 2001 when he was a congressman from Florida, and Trump has repeatedly suggested, without evidence, that she was murdered. Timothy Klausutis, the former staffer's widower, pleaded with Trump to stop pushing the baseless allegation, saying in a letter that Trump "has taken ... the memory of my dead wife and perverted it for perceived political gain." Asked about the letter on Tuesday, Trump still insisted the matter was "suspicious." Timothy Klausutis called for Twitter to delete Trump's tweets. [The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post]


J.K. Rowling's new children's book being released free online

Author J.K. Rowling announced that starting Tuesday, she'll be publishing her new children's book The Ickabog for free, releasing new chapters online every weekday. Rowling explained that she wrote most of her first draft of this fairy tale in between working on Harry Potter installments and intended to release it after Deathly Hallows, but it "went up into the attic" after she decided to take a break from children's books. Kids can also submit illustrations as they read each installment. All of Rowling's author royalties from the book will go to COVID-19 relief, she said. Rowling noted the book isn't a Harry Potter spin-off. New chapters of The Ickabog are to be published through July 10. [The New York Times]