10 things you need to know today: June 21, 2020

Trump's first rally in months draws smaller-than-expected crowd, U.K. police treating fatal stabbing as terrorist attack, and more

Donald Trump.
(Image credit: NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images)

1. Trump's first rally in months draws smaller-than-expected crowd

President Trump on Saturday held his first rally since the coronavirus pandemic struck the United States in March. Speaking before a crowd at the Bank of Oklahoma Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the president embarked on a typically meandering speech, in which he criticized his Democratic presidential opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, and complained about a recent push by protesters to tear down monuments. He also said he has urged his officials to slow down coronavirus testing, which the campaign later said was meant in jest. There were reportedly many empty seats in the 19,000-seat arena, and Trump's planned speech to an overflow crowd outside the venue was canceled due to a lack of attendance. Trump and the campaign blamed the lower-than-expected turnout on protesters interfering with potential rallygoers, although reporters on the ground did not corroborate the claims.

NBC News The Guardian

2. U.K. police treating fatal stabbing as terrorist attack

British police said Sunday they are treating a Saturday evening stabbing in which three people were killed and three others seriously wounded as a terrorist attack, though a motive remains uncertain. The incident occurred in Forbury Gardens park in the town of Reading, west of London. The Thames Valley Police said officers arrested a 25-year-old man and "there is no intelligence to suggest that there is any further danger to the public." Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been briefed on and is monitoring the situation. Hours before the stabbing, a Black Lives Matter protest took place in the same park, but police said there is no connection between the events.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

The Associated Press BBC

3. Barr informs federal prosecutor Trump removed him from job

Attorney General William Barr on Saturday informed Geoffrey Berman, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, that President Trump had removed him from the job, though Trump tried to distance himself from the situation. On Friday, Barr announced Berman was stepping down, only to have the latter publicly refute the notion and show up for work the next morning. Barr didn't offer an explanation for the decision, although tensions have reportedly remained high between the two since Barr was sworn in in 2019. New York's Southern District is one of the country's top federal prosecution offices, and Berman was overseeing investigations into Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and his associates. Berman initially planned to continue fighting his removal, but relented when Barr allowed his second-in-command, Deputy U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss, to move into the acting role.

The Associated Press MSNBC

4. Judge rules Bolton can publish book

U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth on Saturday ruled that former National Security Adviser John Bolton can publish his forthcoming book The Room Where It Happened despite the Trump administration's attempts to halt its release over concerns about exposing classified information. "For reasons that hardly need to be stated, the Court will not order a nationwide seizure and destruction of a political memoir," Lamberth wrote. That said, Lamberth said Bolton "gambled with the national security of the United States" and exposed himself to civil and, potentially, criminal liability, indicating that he should have procured final approval from national intelligence authorities.


5. Spain opens borders to European tourists

Spain reopened its borders to visitors from most European countries on Sunday following a three-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the country hard. Spain's borders are open to European Union countries — except for neighboring Portugal at Lisbon's request — as well as Schengen Area members outside the bloc and the United Kingdom. The government's hope is that the country's tourism industry, which provides more than 12 percent of Spain's GDP, will receive a much-needed jolt. Arriving passengers will have their temperature taken at the airport and provide contact details, and social distancing and hygiene guidelines remain in place. Spaniards are also allowed to travel throughout the country freely.

Reuters BBC

6. 6 Trump campaign staffers tested positive for coronavirus before Tulsa rally

Six members of the campaign advance team for President Trump's Saturday rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus before the rally took place. A statement from Trump's re-election campaign said the staffers were quickly quarantined and neither they nor anyone who had immediate contact with them would be at the rally. Hundreds of staffers were reportedly tested at the time the positive cases were revealed. The decision to host the rally worried public health experts at the national and local level; Oklahoma is one of several states experiencing an uptick in coronavirus infections. But the Trump administration waved away the criticism and said every attendee had their temperatures checked upon entering the Bank of Oklahoma Center and were offered facemasks.

NBC News Axios

7. 1 killed, 1 injured in shooting in Seattle's police-free zone

A 19-year-old was killed and another critically injured in a shooting in Seattle's protester-run region known either as the Capital Hill Autonomous Zone or the Capitol Hill Organized Protest area. Protesters have occupied the area around an abandoned police precinct since June 8, but the Seattle Police Department wrote in a statement that detectives are investigating the situation "despite the challenges presented by the circumstances." They believe the suspect or suspects fled and a motive remains unknown. Medics tried to treat the deceased victim and called the Seattle Fire Department to come help, but the department said it would not enter the area unless it was secured by police, although it reportedly set up outside. Armed officers reportedly did eventually enter the zone.

The New York Times The Washington Post

8. 1 dead, 11 injured in Minneapolis shooting

A man was killed and 11 other people suffered non-life-threatening injuries after a shooting in Minneapolis, Minnesota, police said Sunday. No arrests have been made and the motive remains unclear. The shooting reportedly took place in a relatively busy area, as Minnesota began allowing bars and restaurants to reopen with limited service during the coronavirus pandemic on June 1. Numerous witnesses said they heard the gunfire, and one said he saw at least two groups firing weapons at each other. The preliminary police investigation indicated "individuals on foot" started shooting not long after midnight and later fled the scene.

The Wall Street Journal CNN

9. Minnesota lawmakers unable to pass police reform bill

The Minnesota Legislature on Saturday failed to compromise on a package of law enforcement reforms despite promises to enact changes following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody. The divide was reportedly a partisan one, with Democrats and Republicans unable to reconcile their respective calls for far-reaching and more limited reforms. Democrats said the Republican plan didn't differ much from reforms that were already in place in most law enforcement agencies, while the GOP bristled at the Democrats' proposal to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of felons and place the state's Democratic Attorney General Keith Ellison in charge of prosecuting police killings. Gov. Tim Walz (D) called the Legislature's inability to pass a bill an "embarrassment."

The New York Times The Star Tribune

10. New York's Tiz the Law wins fan-less Belmont

Tiz the Law, a heavy favorite, won the Belmont Stakes on Saturday in front of an empty grandstand on Long Island. The Belmont usually caps horse racing's triple crown, preceded by the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, but the coronavirus forced the sport to tinker with the schedule this year. The Derby will now take place on Sept. 5 and the Preakness is scheduled for a few weeks later on Oct. 3. The Belmont was New York's first major sporting event since the pandemic struck, and the winning horse was, perhaps fittingly, a local. Tiz the Law is the first Empire State-bred horse to win the race since 1882. Dr Post finished second and Max Player came in third.


Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.

Tim O'Donnell

Tim is a staff writer at The Week and has contributed to Bedford and Bowery and The New York Transatlantic. He is a graduate of Occidental College and NYU's journalism school. Tim enjoys writing about baseball, Europe, and extinct megafauna. He lives in New York City.