Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 30, 2020

Harold Maass
Activists in front of the Supreme Court building
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images

1.

Supreme Court strikes down Louisiana abortion restrictions

The Supreme Court on Monday struck down Louisiana's restrictive abortion law, which required doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The law would have left the state with one abortion clinic. Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court's four-member liberal minority in the 5-to-4 decision. The ruling was a victory for abortion rights advocates and a defeat for conservatives expecting anti-abortion decisions by the court's newly strengthened conservative majority. Roberts said the Louisiana law couldn't be allowed to stand because of a precedent set in 2016, when the court overturned a similar Texas law. "The Louisiana law imposes a burden on access to abortion just as severe as that imposed by the Texas law, for the same reasons," Roberts wrote, concurring with the decision. [The Washington Post]

2.

States with coronavirus surges roll back reopenings

Hot-spot states are continuing to roll back business reopenings as coronavirus cases spike. Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) ordered bars, gyms, theaters, water parks, and inner-tubing operations to shut down as infections surged. California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) warned that his state would continue to roll back its reopening plans if COVID-19 continues to spike. Newsom already ordered many bars to close in seven counties. In Florida, which also is seeing record daily infections, the city of Jacksonville in a reversal said it would require face masks at indoor public spaces where social distancing is impossible. The Republican Party moved its August presidential convention from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville in search of more relaxed coronavirus safety restrictions. [The Arizona Republic, The New York Times]

3.

Report: Bolton told Trump about Russian bounties in 2019

Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton told colleagues that in March 2019 he verbally briefed President Trump on an intelligence assessment indicating that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops, The Associated Press reported Tuesday, citing officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence. Officials told the AP that the intelligence assessments did not appear to be urgent. The New York Times first reported the existence of the bounties on Friday, and two officials told the newspaper on Monday that in late February, Trump received a written briefing with the intelligence laid out to explain how it was determined that Russia offered and paid the bounties. Trump has denied being briefed on the matter. [The Associated Press, The New York Times]

4.

Iran issues arrest warrant against Trump for Soleimani killing

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for President Trump over the January missile strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad, Iran's state news agency FARS reported Monday. Tehran's prosecutor general, Ali Alghasi Mehr, said Iran was seeking the arrests of 36 people, including U.S. military and political officials, allegedly involved in the "terror" attack that killed Soleimani. The State Department and the White House did not immediately comment. Iran requested that Interpol publish a red notice requesting law enforcement agencies worldwide to provisionally arrest those named in the warrants pending their extradition. The move was symbolic. Interpol said its constitution prohibits it from "any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character." [NBC News]

5.

China passes controversial Hong Kong security law

China's National People's Congress Standing Committee on Tuesday unanimously approved a contentious national security law that will allow Beijing to crack down on political dissent in Hong Kong, rolling back the autonomy the former British colony was promised when it was returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The U.S. has vowed to impose sanctions on any Chinese officials responsible for eroding Hong Kong's political freedoms. On Monday, China said it would respond with visa restrictions on Americans. The U.S. also has suspended part of Hong Kong's special trade status. Critics in Hong Kong warn the law, which lets the Communist Party central government set up a security apparatus in Hong Kong to collect intelligence, will be used to stamp out pro-democracy protests. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

6.

Trump retweets video of couple pointing guns at Black protesters

President Trump on Monday retweeted a video in which a white man brandishes a semi-automatic rifle and a white woman points a pistol at peaceful Black protesters walking by their mansion in St. Louis. The protesters were walking through the neighborhood to the house of Lyda Krewson, St. Louis' Democratic mayor, to demand she resign for revealing identifying information about people who support defunding the police. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch identified the white couple in the video as personal injury lawyers Mark T. McCloskey and Patricia N. McCloskey. It was the second time in two days that Trump had used Twitter to promote racially charged videos. A day earlier he retweeted a video in which one of his supporters at a Florida retirement community shouted "white power" at a group of Black Lives Matter protesters. [The New York Times, St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

7.

Twitch suspends Trump account over footage with 'hateful conduct'

Twitch, the Amazon-owned livestreaming site, announced Monday it would temporarily suspend President Trump's official account on the site, citing "hateful conduct" in footage from Trump's campaign rallies. Trump launched his Twitch account a year ago. Unlike Twitter and Facebook, Twitch at the time said it would not tolerate violations of its terms of service, and would "not make exceptions for political or newsworthy content." Twitch deemed a rebroadcast of Trump's 2016 kickoff rally where he labeled Mexican immigrants "rapists," as well as parts of Trump's recent Tulsa rally, in violation of those terms and removed them as of Monday as part of a broader crackdown on offending content. Reddit announced that it was banning several subreddits supportive of Trump and the far-right over hate speech. [The Verge]

8.

Belgium's king sends 'deepest regrets' over colonial abuses

Belgium's King Philippe on Tuesday sent his "deepest regrets" to the Democratic Republic of Congo for abuses under King Leopold II's colonial rule in the Central African nation. Philippe is a descendent of Leopold II, who controlled what was then called Congo Free State from 1885 and 1908. Historians estimate that as many as 10 million people died there under Leopold's brutal rule. King Philippe's message, in a letter to President Felix Tshisekedi marking the 60th anniversary of the Democratic Republic of Congo's independence, fell short of an official apology. Thousands of Belgians, inspired by Black Lives Matter protests that erupted after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, have demonstrated against racial injustice and demanded the removal of statues of Leopold II. [BBC News, CNN]

9.

Gilead coronavirus drug to cost over $3,000

Gilead Sciences, the pharmaceutical company developing a coronavirus treatment drug shown to be effective among severe COVID-19 cases, announced on Monday it will price the drug, remdesivir, at $520 per dose. That adds up to about $3,120 for a typical course of treatment with the antiviral drug, which has been shown in initial studies to reduce respiratory and fever symptoms of COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration said in April it will authorize the emergency use of the drug. The price in the U.S. will be higher than in other developed countries, CNBC reports, noting it costs $2,340 elsewhere. [CNBC]

10.

DeAngelo pleads guilty to 13 'Golden State Killer' murders

Former California police officer Joseph James DeAngelo pleaded guilty on Monday to murdering 13 people as part of a years-long rape-and-killing spree in the 1970s and 1980s. He also entered guilty pleas on 13 counts of kidnapping. Under the plea deal, prosecutors read the details of the crimes, in which DeAngelo, known as the Golden State Killer, bound, raped, beat, and killed victims. He also was accused of committing more than 50 rapes from 1975 to 1986, and agreed to admit to those crimes, too. Under the plea deal, DeAngelo, 74, will avoid the death penalty but spend the rest of his life in prison. The cases were cold until 2018, when detectives got leads by submitting the killer's DNA to an open-source genealogy website called GEDmatch. [CNN, SFGate]