March 27, 2017

Last Thursday, Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian lawmaker who had fled to Ukraine and become a strident critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead on a Kiev sidewalk in broad daylight. A few days earlier, Voronenkov had told The Washington Post that he and his wife knew they were in danger. "For our personal safety, we can't let them know where we are," he said. "The system has lost its mind. They say we are traitors in Russia."

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko called the attack an "act of state terrorism by Russia," a charge Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed as a "fabrication."

Voronenkov is one of a handful of Putin critics and Russian diplomats who have died suddenly and sometimes mysteriously in the past few months. "I have an impression — I hope it's only an impression — that the practice of killing political opponents has started spreading in Russia," Gennady Gudkov, a former Russian lawmaker and security services officer, told The Moscow Times.

Two days before Voronenkov's murder, Nikolai Gorokhov, a lawyer for the family of Sergei Magnitsky — himself killed in police custody after uncovering $230 million in Russian government fraud — fell from his apartment window. Russian authorities say Gorokhov, who survived the fall, was trying to hoist a bathtub up to his apartment when he fell; Bill Browder, a financier who had hired Magnitsky, alleges that somebody pushed Gorokhov. In another apparent near-miss, Putin critic Vladimir Kara-Murza narrowly survived what appears to be a second poison attack.

On Dec. 26, Oleg Erovinkin, a former top Russian intelligence official and the chief-of-staff to Igor Sechin, the president of state-owned oil firm Rosneft, was found dead in his car on the streets of Moscow; no official cause of death has been given. There has been speculation that Erovinkin was the main source of the dossier on President Trump and Russia compiled by former British MI6 agent Christopher Steele.

Stranger still, since November, at least six Russian diplomats have died, some from gunshot wounds and others of apparent natural causes. Among these is Andrey Karlov, 62, the Russian ambassador to Turkey who was shot in an Ankara art gallery, and Vitaly Churkin, 64, the Russian ambassador to the United Nations who died in New York City. The New York Chief Medical Examiner's office said in mid-March that it would "not publicly disclose the cause and manner of death of Ambassador Vitaly Churkin" due to diplomatic protocols.

The deaths and near-deaths may well be totally unconnected. But it's sure a lot of coincidences. Peter Weber

9:16 p.m.

Police used tear gas and flash grenades to disperse a crowd of protesters gathered at Lafayette Square across from the White House on Monday evening, in order for President Trump to pose for photos in front of the historic St. John's Church.

The crowd was cleared out right before Trump began speaking from the White House Rose Garden, calling on state and local governments to have law enforcement "dominate the streets" before he deployed the military.

St. John's was built in 1816, and on Sunday night, a fire was set in the church's basement; it was quickly extinguished by firefighters. After walking over, Trump posed for photos in front of the church, and briefly held up a Bible, telling reporters, "It's a Bible." He only stayed for a few minutes, and was joined by Attorney General William Barr, National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, and his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Catherine Garcia

8:10 p.m.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Ct.) on Monday afternoon demanded that Twitter remove a message from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) that called for the hunting down of anti-fascist activists.

In response to the protests against police brutality that have swept the nation, Gaetz tweeted, "Now that we clearly see antifa as terrorists, can we hunt them down like we do those in the Middle East?" President Trump, Attorney General William Barr, and their allies have accused left-wing anti-fascist protesters of turning demonstrations into riots and engaging in destructive behavior, despite intelligence showing people from the far-right and far-left have been involved.

Murphy, who has been one of the leading voices for gun control since the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, tweeted that Twitter needed to take Gaetz's tweet down "RIGHT NOW. The survivors of mass shootings are lighting up my phone. They are scared to death this will inspire someone to start shooting into a crowd tonight. They are right."

Twitter did not remove the message, instead adding a label to it that reads, "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about glorifying violence. However, Twitter has determined that it may be in the public's interest for the Tweet to remain accessible." Gaetz had an odd response for Murphy, tweeting that "every real Democrat ran for president and you ran to Twitter." Catherine Garcia

7:25 p.m.

President Trump on Monday evening made his first remarks on the police brutality protests that have been taking place across the United States, avoiding the underlying issues behind the demonstrations and instead threatening to increase the military presence in cities around the country.

Trump said that governors and mayors must establish an "overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled," or else he will "deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them." He stated that he "strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers, that we dominate the streets," which is something that is already being done in at least 15 states and Washington, D.C.

Trump also called himself the "president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protesters," before declaring that "the nation has been gripped by professional anarchists, violent mobs, arsonists, looters, criminals, rioters, antifa, and others." He accused these groups of committing "acts of domestic terror," and promised to "prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law" and mobilize "all available federal resources, civilian and military, to stop the rioting and looting, to end the destruction and arson, and to protect the rights of law-abiding Americans, including your Second Amendment rights."

The United States, Trump proclaimed, has "one beautiful law," and that is "the foundation of our prosperity, our freedom, and our very way of life." If there is "no safety, there is no future," he added, and Americans "must never give in to anger or hatred." Catherine Garcia

6:34 p.m.

A new outbreak of the Ebola virus has hit the Democratic Republic of Congo, with five deaths reported in the northwestern Equateur province, UNICEF said Monday.

This is the 11th Ebola outbreak to hit the country, CNN reports, and one of the victims is a 15-year-old girl. There are four other reported cases, and those patients are in an isolation unit at a hospital in Mbandaka. The deaths occurred between May 18 and 30, UNICEF said, and were confirmed as being Ebola-related on Sunday.

The Democratic Republic of Congo is still trying to end an outbreak that started in the eastern part of the country in 2018, which has resulted in 3,406 cases and 2,243 deaths, the World Health Organization said. Health officials said there have been no new cases in that outbreak over the last 21 days, which is the Ebola incubation period, and if there are no new cases after 42 days, they will be able to determine whether the outbreak is over.

Ebola is passed via bodily fluids, and the fatality rate can range from 25 percent to 90 percent, depending on the outbreak. This new outbreak comes as the country is also dealing with COVID-19, which has killed 72 people, and a measles epidemic, which has killed 6,779 people since last year. Catherine Garcia

6:05 p.m.

Numerous TV networks owned by ViacomCBS just went dark for more than eight minutes to pay tribute to George Floyd one week after his death.

MTV and Comedy Central were among the ViacomCBS stations that on Monday starting at 5:00 p.m. ET aired the words "I can't breathe" for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, alongside the sound of breathing, reports CNBC. A Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired and charged with murder last week kneeled on Floyd's neck for that length of time while Floyd said that he couldn't breathe, and his death has sparked nationwide outrage and protests.

A message at the bottom of the screen during the ViacomCBS blackout urged viewers to text "DEMANDS" to 55156, promoting the civil rights organization Color of Change.

ViacomCBS President of Entertainment and Youth Brands Chris McCarthy previously announced that "we will go dark across our brands and platforms to mark the time in which George Floyd was brutally killed as a tribute to Mr. Floyd and other victims of racism" in a employee memo, in which he also pledged to "use our platforms to shine a light on the realities of racial injustice and call for equality." Brendan Morrow

5:59 p.m.

An intelligence memo sent by the Department of Homeland Security to law enforcement officials around the country on May 29 warned that extremists groups may try to exploit protests in the wake of George Floyd's death, Politico reports.

The memo, citing the FBI, revealed that on May 27, two days after Floyd died in police custody, "a white supremacist extremist Telegram channel incited followers to engage in violence and start the 'boogaloo' — a term used by some violent extremists to refer to the start of a second Civil War — by shooting in a crowd." One of the messages reportedly encouraged potential shooters to "frame the crowd around you," the document said.

That wasn't the only warning found in the memo. It also said the FBI had information that "suspected anarchist extremists and militia extremists allegedly planned to storm and burn the Minnesota State Capitol." The definition of those groups was somewhat vague, with Politico noting the memo didn't specifically distinguish between left- or right-wing in this instance, despite the Trump administration's fixation on Antifa. Politico did suggest the description of the "anarchists extremists" seemed to hint at an association with the far left, while the "militia extremists" appeared to represent the far right. Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

5:56 p.m.

David McAtee, a black man and owner of a Louisville barbecue restaurant, was killed early Monday when law enforcement opened fire on a large crowd in a grocery store parking lot.

After George Floyd died in police custody in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor was shot by police in Louisville, nationwide protests against police brutality, particularly against black people, have erupted. Many cities have instituted curfews to break up protests at night, and law enforcement was apparently enforcing Louisville's when McAtee was killed just after midnight Monday morning, CBS News affiliate WLKY reports.

The Louisville Metro Police Department and the National Guard were reporting to a large crowd in a grocery store parking lot around 12:15 a.m. when someone fired a shot at law enforcement, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said shortly after the incident. Law enforcement "returned fire," and McAtee was shot and killed, Conrad said. His body remained in the parking lot for at least 12 hours as police investigated, and protesters showed up, WLKY reported.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) quickly called on body camera footage of the incident to be released — body cameras were made mandatory three days ago — but NBC News reports body cameras on those law enforcement officers were not active. Conrad was set to retire at the end of June, but Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said Conrad was fired Monday as McAtee's killing undergoes a local and state police investigation.

McAtee owned YaYa's BBQ, which is next to the grocery store where he was killed. His family says he was known to feed police for free. Read more about him at the Louisville Courier Journal. Kathryn Krawczyk

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