10 things you need to know today: June 20, 2020

Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously greenlights Trump rally, Manhattan federal prosecutor says he won't step down after Barr announces resignation, replacement, and more

President Trump.
(Image credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously greenlights Trump rally

President Trump will be allowed to hold his first rally since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Friday. Tulsa, Oklahoma, attorneys requested a temporary injunction against the 19,000-seat BOK Center to prevent it from hosting the Saturday rally "unless the campaign instituted social distancing protocols." The BOK Center's legal team argued the arena had already agreed to provide masks and check attendees' temperatures, and the justices all agreed the attorneys couldn't point to a law that required those measures. Coronavirus infection rates have more than doubled in the past week in Oklahoma, giving it one of the fastest infection growth rates of any state in the U.S.

The Oklahoman

2. Manhattan federal prosecutor says he won't step down after Barr announces resignation, replacement

Attorney General William Barr announced Friday night that Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, is "stepping down" with President Trump nominating Jay Clayton, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to take his place. But shortly after, Berman said he has "no intention of resigning" and will only do so "when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate." Barr had indicated Craig Carpenito, the U.S. attorney for the District of New Jersey, would serve in an interim role effective July 3. Berman oversaw the prosecution of Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, and brought the grand jury indictment against associates of the president's current personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. He also prosecuted Jeffrey Epstein.

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NPR The Wall Street Journal

3. Coronavirus cases climb in 20 states, Brazil tops 1 million infections

At least 10 states reported new single-day records for coronavirus cases since last Friday, a trend that experts warn is due to the rapid spread of the virus, not merely increased testing. Oklahoma, Nevada, Florida, California, South Carolina, Oregon, Texas, North Carolina, Arkansas, and Arizona all experienced record-highs in the past week. Ventilated COVID-19 patients in Arizona have reportedly quadrupled since stay-at-home orders ended on May 15, and the state is reportedly dangerously close to running out of hospital beds. Coronavirus cases are climbing in 20 states, and decreasing in 20 states plus Washington, D.C. Elsewhere, Brazil topped 1 million confirmed infections Friday following a single-day increase of more than 50,000. China recorded a drop in cases in Beijing after a recent outbreak. The World Health Organization said Friday the pandemic is "accelerating."

The Associated Press The Week

4. Louisville fires 1 of 3 officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor

Louisville Mayor Greg Fisher announced Friday that one of the three officers involved in the shooting of Breonna Taylor has been fired. Taylor, who was Black, was a 26-year-old emergency room technician. The police broke into her home on March 13 using a no-knock warrant related to drug dealers who lived far from Taylor's apartment. After a short confrontation, the police "blindly" shot Taylor at least eight times, killing her. Interim Louisville police Chief Robert Schroeder confirmed that the department fired Officer Brett Hankison. "I find your conduct a shock to the conscience," Schroeder wrote in a Friday letter to Hankison. The other two officers involved in the shooting are on administrative reassignment, with investigations ongoing.

Louisville Courier Journal

5. Details of China's Hong Kong security legislation unveiled

Chinese lawmakers signaled that they're likely to soon vote on — and pass — a new national security law for Hong Kong, details of which were unveiled Saturday. The legislation has caused concern among Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement, as well as foreign powers like the United States, who believe it could effectively lead to Beijing's domination of the autonomous city. Chinese state media reported the legislation includes a national security office for Hong Kong to collect intelligence and investigate crimes against national security and gives Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam the ability to appoint specific judges to hear national security cases. China says the draft aims to curb separatist activity, terrorism, and collusion with foreign forces while protecting freedom of speech and assembly. But skeptics believe it will be used to broadly suppress dissent.

Reuters The New York Times

6. Thousands of Americans commemorate Juneteenth

Americans commemorated Juneteenth, the anniversary of the abolishment of slavery in the United States in 1865, on Friday, as tens of thousands of people attended anti-racism marches in major cities. Protesters marched over the Brooklyn Bridge, gathered at St. Louis' Gateway Arch, and held a moment of silence at the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial in Washington, D.C. Al Sharpton, a civil rights activist and baptist preacher, gave a speech in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a racist white mob killed hundreds of members of a prosperous Black community in 1921. President Trump will hold a controversial re-election rally in Tulsa on Saturday. Juneteenth this year sat against the backdrop of protests against police brutality and systemic racism following the killing of George Floyd, which have enhanced calls for racial justice.

The Guardian The Associated Press

7. Treasury, SBA to disclose businesses that received more than $150,000 in PPP loans

The Treasury Department and Small Business Administration said Friday they would disclose the names of business that received Paycheck Protection Program loans of $150,000 or more to help blunt the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic. Previously, the Trump administration had kept the information under wraps, and the only known borrowers so far are the ones who acknowledged their receipts voluntarily, but bipartisan pressure from Congress prompted the reversal. Additionally, the SBA will reveal addresses, loan amount ranges, demographic data, and other pieces of information. The agencies did not say when the data would be released. About 86 percent of the borrowing businesses took out loans less than $150,000, meaning most will remain unknown.

The Wall Street Journal CNN

8. MLB temporarily closes all spring training facilities after positive coronavirus tests

Major League Baseball is shutting down all spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida after several teams reported players and staff had tested positive for the coronavirus, ESPN reports. Five players and three staff members of the Philadelphia Phillies have tested positive for COVID-19 at the team's spring training facility in Clearwater, Florida. The team announced a shutdown of the facility on Friday, joining the Toronto Blue Jays, who closed their spring headquarters in Dunedin, Florida, on Thursday after an unnamed player exhibited symptoms of the coronavirus. All facilities will reportedly undergo deep cleaning, and players will reportedly have to test negative before they can eventually return. The positive tests do not bode well for MLB's plan to return in 2020.

ESPN The Week

9. Navy captain ousted over coronavirus warning reportedly won't be reinstated

The Navy has upheld Capt. Brett Crozier's firing, Politico reported on Friday, citing two people familiar with the matter. Crozier was ousted as commanding officer of the USS Theodore Roosevelt after writing a four-page letter asking for help containing a coronavirus outbreak. Then-acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly at the time said Crozier sent the letter "outside of the chain of command." Following a recommendation that Crozier be reinstated, acting Navy Secretary James McPherson announced a "deeper review" into the situation. A source told Politico on Friday that "the results of the investigation justified the relief. He failed to take appropriate action, to do the things that the commanding officer of a ship is supposed to do, so he stays relieved."

Politico The Week

10. Beyoncé releases surprise single on Juneteenth

Beyoncé dropped a surprise new single on Friday, in the waning hours of the Juneteenth holiday. The song, titled "Black Parade," was written by Beyoncé along with her husband Jay-Z and was co-produced by Derek Dixie. The track focuses on the recent protests against police brutality and systemic racism sparked by the killing of George Floyd. The proceeds from the song will benefit Black-owned small businesses, links to which were posted on the artist's website. Beyoncé has been vocal amid the protests, recently writing a letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron requesting the three Louisville police officers involved in the killing of Breonna Taylor "be held accountable for their actions."

Variety The Associated Press

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