10 things you need to know today: June 25, 2020

New coronavirus infections break record set in April, court tells judge to dismiss Michael Flynn charges, and more

Coronavirus testing.
(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

1. 1-day coronavirus case surge breaks April record

The U.S. recorded a record 45,557 one-day jump in coronavirus cases on Wednesday, according to an NBC News tally. That figure exceeded the previous record, set on April 26, by more than 9,000. Johns Hopkins University's count of confirmed infections showed 34,700 new confirmed coronavirus cases the previous day, meaning at the time, that was the biggest increase since the previous peak in April. The new record came as several states, including Arizona, California, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, and Texas, reported single-day infection records. North and South Carolina broke records for new hospitalizations, just weeks after easing lockdowns to let businesses reopen. "People got complacent," said Dr. Marc Boom, CEO of the Houston Methodist hospital system. "And it's coming back to bite us, quite frankly."

NBC News The Associated Press

2. Appeals court tells judge to dismiss Michael Flynn charges

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan must dismiss the criminal case against President Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The appeals court, in a 2-1 decision, said Sullivan does not have the authority to examine the Justice Department's reasons for dropping the prosecution of Flynn, who twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his contacts with Russia's ambassador between President Trump's election and his inauguration. The Justice Department moved in May to drop the charges after Flynn, the only Trump administration official to face criminal prosecution in former Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia's election meddling, asked to withdraw his guilty plea.

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The Washington Post

3. NY, NJ, Connecticut to quarantine travelers from coronavirus hot spots

The governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on Wednesday issued a travel advisory requiring visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates to quarantine for 14 days after entering their states. "We have to make sure the virus doesn't come in on a plane," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said. New York was the country's biggest hot spot for weeks before its infection rate fell. "We worked very hard to get the viral transmission rate down," Cuomo said, "and we don't want to see it go up." The three states said their advisory applied to states with seven-day rolling average positive test rates above 10 per 100,000 residents, or those with a seven-day rolling average of a 10 percent or higher positivity rate.


4. Prosecutor, DOJ official tell House that Barr exerted political pressure

A federal prosecutor and a Justice Department official on Wednesday told the House Judiciary Committee that Attorney General William Barr and his top deputies exerted pressure in some criminal cases "based on political considerations." Aaron Zelinsky, an assistant U.S. attorney in Maryland formerly detailed to the Russia investigation by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller, described "heavy pressure" to go easy on GOP operative Roger Stone because he was a longtime ally of President Trump. John Elias, an official in the DOJ's antitrust division, said Barr ordered investigations of marijuana company mergers due to a "personal dislike" of their industry. Elias said Barr "poses the greatest threat in my lifetime to our rule of law." Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey dismissed allegations that Barr had politicized the Justice Department.

The Washington Post

5. IMF says global economy to shrink more than previously projected

The International Monetary Fund projected on Wednesday that the global economy would shrink by 4.9 percent this year, deeper than the 3 percent contraction it forecast in April. The change reflected rising concerns that the stubborn spreading of the coronavirus pandemic threatened to worsen the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, even though many countries have started reopening their economies after prolonged lockdowns. The IMF also noted that even in areas where businesses are reopening, social distancing and workplace safety protocols are creating a drag on activity. The fund said it expected the total global economic loss through 2021 to exceed $12 trillion. "This is a crisis like no other and will have a recovery like no other," said Gita Gopinath, director of the IMF's research department.

The New York Times

6. Grand jury indicts 3 white suspects in Ahmaud Arbery killing

A grand jury has indicted the three white men arrested over the fatal shooting of 25-year-old Ahmaud Arbery, an unarmed black man who was jogging through their southern Georgia neighborhood, Cobb County District Attorney Joyette Holmes said Wednesday. Travis McMichael, who was shown in a video shooting Arbery with a shotgun; his father Greg McMichael, who also was armed; and William "Roddie" Bryan, who captured the video on his smartphone; were formally charged with nine counts, including malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault, and false imprisonment. The McMichaels said they grabbed their guns and chased down Arbery in their pickup truck because they thought he was a burglar. Bryan, the McMichaels' neighbor, said he was not involved in the confrontation.

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

7. Democrats block Senate GOP police reform bill

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Republicans from advancing their police reform bill. The legislation fell five votes short of the 60 required to move forward. "The harsh fact of the matter is, the bill is so deeply, fundamentally, and irrevocably flawed, it cannot serve as a useful starting point for meaningful reform," said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). Democrats believe the bill, which was championed by Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), was particularly lacking in terms of holding law enforcement accountable for misconduct. For example, it didn't seek to change qualified immunity standards. Three members of the Democratic caucus — Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), and Angus King (I-Maine) — voted in favor of the bill.

The Washington Post

8. Senate confirms Trump's 200th judicial nominee

The Republican-controlled Senate on Wednesday confirmed its 200th federal judge nominated by President Trump. The 52-48 vote to approve seating Cory Wilson on the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit marked a symbolic milestone in Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's effort to forge a more conservative judiciary. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was the only Republican to oppose the nomination. McConnell said Wilson's confirmation meant that for the first time in more than four decades that there are no circuit vacancies to be filled. "It's a victory for the rule of law and for the Constitution itself," McConnell said. Democrats had urged McConnell not to hold the vote, saying Wilson's strong support for voter ID laws amounted to encouraging voter suppression.


9. Democrats to hold nearly all-virtual convention

The Democratic National Committee on Wednesday told delegates that former Vice President Joe Biden would accept the party's presidential nomination at a mostly virtual convention in Milwaukee in August, so they should not plan to attend. The DNC said after consulting with health authorities about the COVID-19 pandemic, it determined that state delegations should stay home and "conduct their official convention business remotely." Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers, a Democrat, said in May that a virtual convention would avoid putting overwhelming the public health system and putting "the delegates and others that come to the convention in harm's way." The scaled down convention will be moved to a smaller venue. It was already moved from July to August due to the pandemic.

NBC News

10. NASA names D.C. headquarters after 1st Black woman engineer

NASA announced Wednesday it is naming its headquarters in Washington, D.C., after mathematician and aerospace engineer Mary Jackson, the U.S. space agency's first Black woman engineer. Jackson was "part of a group of very important women who helped NASA succeed in getting American astronauts into space," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said Wednesday. "Mary never accepted the status quo — she helped break barriers and open opportunities for African Americans and women in the field of engineering and technology." Her story was told in the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, and the movie of the same name. Jackson retired from NASA in 1985 and died in 2005; she posthumously received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2019.

CBS News

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.