Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 13, 2020

Harold Maass
A bartender in Miami
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

1.

Florida breaks New York's record for new coronavirus cases

Florida confirmed 15,300 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, smashing the single-day record for any state. The previous record of 12,274 was set April 4 in New York. Florida's new high came as the state administered a record 99,003 coronavirus tests. The state has now tested more than 2.5 million people and confirmed 269,811 total cases. Over the week, Sunday to Sunday, Florida had 69,700 cases, 511 deaths, and 374,718 tests, all records for a single week. The total U.S. death toll surpassed 135,000 on Sunday, with nearly 3.3 million cases. Coronavirus infections rose over the last two weeks in 40 states, compared to the previous two weeks, according to a Reuters analysis. Nationally, the daily increases in coronavirus infections has been around 60,000, setting new records for the last four consecutive days. [Orlando Sentinel, Reuters]

2.

Graham: Mueller will be called to testify after Stone op-ed

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Sunday that the Judiciary Committee, which he chairs, will call former Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify about his investigation into Russia's 2016 election interference and contacts between Moscow and President Trump's campaign associates. The announcement, which followed efforts by the White House and other Republicans to discredit the Mueller investigation, came after Mueller wrote an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Saturday defending his team's prosecution of Roger Stone, the longtime Trump adviser whose 40-month sentence for lying to Congress and witness tampering the president commuted on Friday. "Apparently Mr. Mueller is willing — and also capable — of defending the Mueller investigation through an op-ed in The Washington Post," Graham tweeted, noting that Democrats previously called for Mueller to testify. [The New York Times]

3.

White House undermines Fauci after his disagreements with Trump

The White House over the weekend sent reporters at several mainstream media organizations a list of comments Dr. Anthony Fauci made early on in the COVID-19 pandemic that they said had turned out to be "wrong," including when he said in March that "people should not be walking around with masks." The apparent effort to discredit the nation's top federal infectious disease expert came after he publicly disagreed with President Trump's optimistic assessment of the growing outbreak in the U.S. The list resembles "opposition research" you might get from a rival political campaign, several news organizations noted. As Fauci contradicted Trump, the White House also reportedly canceled several TV appearances last week. Polls show Americans trust Fauci much more than Trump on the coronavirus. [NBC News, CNN]

4.

Redskins to change NFL team's name

The Washington Redskins on Monday will announce plans to change their 87-year-old team name, The Washington Post reported late Sunday, citing three people familiar with the matter. The decision came after the football team faced pressure from corporate sponsors, including FedEx and Nike, to change the name, which is considered a slur against Native Americans. Owner Daniel Snyder, who said in 2013 he would "NEVER" change team's name, and coach Ron Rivera have been working together to select a new name. They plan to discuss possible replacements with Native American and military organizations. It's unlikely the new name will be revealed on Monday, the Post reports; two people familiar with the matter said the name Snyder and Rivera prefer is the subject of a trademark battle. [The Washington Post, USA Today]

5.

21 injured in Navy ship explosion, fire in San Diego

Seventeen sailors and four civilians on the USS Bonhomme Richard suffered "minor injuries" in an explosion and three-alarm fire on board the ship at the U.S. Naval Base in San Diego, California, on Sunday, Lt. Cmdr. Patricia Kreuzberger said. San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell told CNN the ship could burn for days, "down to the water line." Investigators could not immediately say what caused the incident. Initial reports suggested that the fire started in the well deck, where small landing craft enter and exit the belly of the amphibious assault ship. There was an explosion as the ship's personnel evacuated. There were 160 people on board when the fire broke out. The ship, which was undergoing maintenance, has a crew of 1,000. [CNN]

6.

Poland President Andrzej Duda narrowly wins presidential runoff

Polish President Andrzej Duda, an ally of President Trump, narrowly won Poland's Sunday presidential runoff. The National Electoral Commission said early Monday that Duda received 51.2 percent of the vote to beat challenger Rafal Trzaskowski, the socially liberal Warsaw mayor, in the country's closest presidential election since the end of its communist era in 1989. The election was considered a crucial one for Poland, with the two candidates diametrically opposed on key issues, including relations with the European Union and gay rights. Duda's victory is expected to bring about controversial changes to the judiciary and continued opposition to abortion and gay rights. Trzaskowski favored a more progressive, pro-EU agenda. [BBC News]

7.

Hedge fund wins bankruptcy auction for newspaper publisher McClatchy

New Jersey hedge fund Chatham Asset Management has won a bankruptcy auction to buy the McClatchy Company, the long-struggling newspaper chain announced Sunday. The deal would end 163 years of family ownership of the company, which publishes newspapers that include The Miami Herald, The Kansas City Star, The Charlotte Observer, and The Sacramento Bee, its flagship. McClatchy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February after years of declining revenue and print circulation. Chatham, which manages about $4 billion in assets, is expected to take over as majority owner in the third quarter of 2020, McClatchy said. The company is expected to remain intact, with all 30 of its news outlets. [The New York Times]

8.

ESPN suspends NBA reporter over email to senator

ESPN has suspended top NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski for sending an email with a profanity to Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), The Washington Post reported Sunday, citing multiple people familiar with the matter. Hawley had sent a letter to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver criticizing the professional basketball league for allowing messages promoting social justice on players' jerseys, but not allowing wording in support of law enforcement, or against China's Communist Party. Wojnarowski responded to Hawley's release about the letter with an email to Hawley's press office in which he wrote, "F--- You." Hawley tweeted an image of the email, saying: "Don't criticize #China or express support for law enforcement to @espn. It makes them real mad." Wojnarowski tweeted an apology, calling his email "disrespectful" and a "regrettable mistake." [The Washington Post]

9.

Appeals court clears way for 1st federal execution in 17 years

The federal government was cleared to move forward with its first execution in 17 years after an appeals court rejected a request for a delay by the victims' family members. Daniel Lewis Lee is scheduled to be executed on Monday for the 1996 murders of William Mueller, his wife Nancy, and her daughter, 8-year-old Sarah Powell. The victims' relatives oppose the death penalty for Lee, but still plan to attend the execution. They argued that it should be delayed until after the coronavirus pandemic so they wouldn't have to risk infection. A lower court judge sided with the family on Friday, but the appeals court called the family's argument "frivolous." The family's attorney said they would appeal to the Supreme Court. [USA Today, Politico]

10.

Actress Kelly Preston dies at 57

Actress Kelly Preston died on Sunday after a two-year battle with breast cancer, her husband, actor John Travolta, announced in an Instagram post. She was 57. A family representative told People that Preston chose to "keep her fight private," and had been "undergoing medical treatment for some time, supported by her closest family and friends." Born in Honolulu, Preston studied acting at the University of Southern California. Her first major movie role was in 1985's Mischief, and she went on to star in Twins, Jerry Maguire, and For Love of the Game. She married Travolta in 1991, and in 2018 appeared alongside him in what would become her final film, Gotti. In addition to Travolta, Preston is survived by their children, Ella and Benjamin. Their son, Jett, died at age 16 in 2009. [People, Reuters]