March 18, 2019

The last time Rudy Giuliani appeared on TV to attack Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation on behalf of his client President Trump was Jan. 20, when he told NBC News that talks to build a Trump Tower Moscow may have lasted until November 2016 and rambled to CNN about Michael Cohen. Those appearances led to speculation that Trump would pull Giuliani from TV interviews, and Jonathan Swan at Axios said Sunday there's probably some truth to that.

Two people "with direct knowledge" said Trump and his Russia investigation lawyer Emmet Flood have privately griped about some of Giuliani's TV appearances, Swan reports, and a third source said Trump thought it would be best for Giuliani to stay off the air after his Jan. 20 hits. Giuliani himself told Swan that he's laying low to protect Trump from Mueller, not his own TV gaffes.

After the Jan. 20 appearances, "we thought the Mueller report was imminent" and decided "it it would be better not to comment until the report was filed or made public," Giuliani texted Swan, adding that he opted to stay of-the-air so as "not to upset the apple cart, not to create unnecessary, additional, needless friction" with Mueller. Swan said he found that "odd," because "sources familiar with Giuliani's thinking say he views a major part of his job as trying to undermine public confidence in the Mueller probe and harden the support of Republican voters for Trump to protect him against impeachment."

So Swan asked "the president's lawyer" if he thought Giuliani's purported strategy could work. And "the president's lawyer" — who sounds an awful lot like "John Barron" or another Trump alter-ego, probably coincidentally — said: "Yes, because we've had, over a period of time, after we were very tough, we've had some what we regard as very fair decisions, and some that aren't as fair. So we see that there's the capacity to go either way." Peter Weber

4:01 a.m.

The U.S. passed 100,000 recorded COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday, by far the highest official death toll in the world. "It's a striking reminder of how dangerous this virus can be," said Kaiser Family Foundation health policy expert Josh Michaud. "The experience of other countries shows that death at that scale was preventable."

President Trump did not mark the sad milestone, tweeting instead the number of tests the U.S. has conducted with the exhortation: "Open safely!" His presumptive Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, gave a eulogy for the 100,000 dead and attempted words of comfort for their loved ones. And The Daily Show just compiled a super-reel of Trump, his media allies, and members of his administration praising the Trump administration's response, with patriotic music playing in the background. There is, perhaps appropriately, no punch line at the end. Peter Weber

3:16 a.m.

A protest outside the Minneapolis 3rd Precinct police station tipped into violence for a second night on Wednesday as demonstrators demanded justice in the police killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, on Monday night. Looting was seen at a nearby Target, Dollar Tree, Cub Foods, and AutoZone, and as night fell, fires broke out in the street and the auto parts store, The Associated Press reports. Police, who fired tear gas and stun grenades Tuesday night, stood guard outside the station but did not appear to intervene to stop the looting.

Police did apprehend a suspect after finding a man shot dead on a sidewalk near the protests. Police spokesman John Elder said the shooting was being investigated as a homicide and the events that led up the death are "still being sorted out." Police Chief Medaria Arradondo urged calm as evening fell, noting that Floyd's death is under several investigations, including one by the FBI. "Justice historically has never come to fruition through some of the acts we're seeing tonight, whether it's the looting, the damage to property, or other things," he said on KMSP-TV.

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey called for the arrest of the white officer who kneeled on Floyd's neck for eight minutes, even as Floyd repeatedly said he couldn't breathe. That officer and three others involved were fired Tuesday. There were also nonviolent protests outside the officer's house and the home of the Hennepin County prosecutor who will decide whether to file charges in the case. Surveillance footage appears to show Floyd cooperating with police, CNN reports, though the public has not et seen the officer's body-camera.

Police forces around the country have enacted polices in recent to limit excessive use of force, especially against black and brown people, and Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy said as far as he's concerned, the video of Floyd's final moments speaks for itself. Peter Weber

2:15 a.m.

"It seems like every day we're learning something new while we're in quarantine," Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. For instance, "did you know Hitler had an alligator? Well, he did, and now that alligator is dead."

"The president and his space poodle were in Florida today for the big NASA/SpaceX launch — this would have been the first time ever that a private company sent astronauts into orbit, which would have been a big deal," Kimmel said. "Unfortunately, the mission had to be scrubbed at the last minute due to weather. ... People online are blaming the president for jinxing this thing because he showed up to see it, just like they say he jinxed Alabama by showing up their home game, or how he's jinxed everything he's ever touched, but this is not his fault."

"It's been an all-caps kind of week for our dear mis-leader — Twitter yesterday, for the first time ever, flagged his tweets as potentially misleading," Kimmel said. "I guess this is good, but I don't know. Do we really need Twitter to tell us our fake president tweets fake things? Is that their job? The president, of course, was displeased. He took to Twitter to lash out at Twitter." He read Trump's tweetrum and said he wasn't sure what it meant.

"I guess it was only a matter of time before Donald Trump would be in a Twitter feud with Twitter," Kimmel said. "But this new kick he's on, trying to stop voting-by-mail, is actually very scary, because it's pretty clear he's setting the stage to claim he was cheated if he loses the election, which could potentially result in real violence in this country. And to help him push our democracy toward the edge of a cliff, Kellyanne Conway spoke to reporters today to say: pandemic, schmandemic, real American voters wait in line." At least for cupcakes.

Late Night's Seth Meyers presented a cartoon mashup of Trump's family quarantine and The Shining, and you can watch that below. Peter Weber

1:38 a.m.

Scientists were able to capture rare audio of narwhal vocalizations as several swam through a fjord in Greenland, and they discovered that these elusive whales make some familiar sounds underwater.

Known as the unicorns of the sea, narwhals live in the Arctic waters. Evgeny Podolskiy of Japan's Hokkaido University, who studies the sounds of glaciers, realized that to get a fuller picture, he needed to understand what noises the narwhal makes. Last summer, he led a team of geophysicists to Greenland, where they worked with Inuit hunters to record the different noises of the narwhal. Their study was published Tuesday in the AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans.

The team was able to capture narwhals whistling, clicking, and buzzing. Narwhals use echolocation to find food, and the researchers found that the closer a narwhal gets to its prey, the faster it clicks, and the buzzing noise sounds like a chainsaw. When narwhals want to communicate with each other, they whistle. The researchers said the recordings have helped them better understand narwhal behavior and how they find food in the summer. Catherine Garcia

1:08 a.m.

It is unclear why President Trump, who voted by mail in March, is suddenly so vehemently opposed to voting by mail. But he could have easily vote in person in March, CNN reports. Trump spent March 7-9 in Palm Beach, Florida, his new legal residence. Early voting started in Florida on March 7, and there were 15 early voting sites in Palm Beach, including eight within 15 miles of Mar-a-Lago, CNN notes. One of those sites, Main Palm Beach County Library, is literally across the road from the entrance to Trump's golf club, which he visited three times that weekend.

When asked why he votes by mail, Trump says "absentee" voting is fine. "As an example, I have to do an absentee because I'm voting in Florida, and I happen to be president," living in the White House, he said Tuesday in the Rose Garden. "If you're president of the United States and if you vote in Florida, and you can't be there, you should be able to send in a ballot," Trump said in Michigan last week.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who voted by mail in Florida at least 11 times in the past decade, said last week that Trump is "unable to cast his vote down in Florida," so "that's why he had to do a mail-in vote. But he supports mail-in voting for a reason, when you have a reason that you are unable to be present." She tweeted Wednesday that "absentee voting" means "you're absent from the jurisdiction or unable to vote in person." Florida, like many states, doesn't require an excuse to vote by mail — registered voters just have to do is ask.

"Trump's hard line appears to be driven by his personal suspicions and concerns about his own re-election prospects," The Associated Press noted last month. He has said he thinks expanding vote-by-mail would increase participation in the 2020 election and doom Republican candidates nationwide — a study from Stanford University last week was the latest to find no partisan advantage from mail-in voting, or perhaps a slight boost for Republicans — and he falsely claims it increases vote fraud. Twitter's flagging of Trump's false claims was the proximate cause of Trump's threat to take unspecified actions against his favorite micro-blogging platform. Peter Weber

12:53 a.m.

American Airlines told employees on Wednesday that it plans on cutting its management and administrative staff by 30 percent, as the company struggles with low demand due to the coronavirus pandemic.

American has about 17,000 management and support workers, and the move will eliminate more than 5,000 jobs. Because of the pandemic, the number of passengers on planes plummeted in March and April, and airlines believe it could take years before travel is back to where it was pre-pandemic.

In a letter to employees, Elise Eberwein, American's executive vice president of people and global engagement, wrote that the company "must plan for operating a smaller airline for the foreseeable future." Volunteers will be able to take buyouts through June 10, but if not enough people step forward, forced cuts will be made.

American will keep the employees on its payroll through the end of September, as this was a requirement for airlines to receive billions in government aid. The company has received $5.8 billion to cover labor costs and has applied for an additional $4.75 billion government loan. Catherine Garcia

May 27, 2020

Former Vice President Joe Biden on Wednesday delivered a message to the families of the 100,000 Americans who are known to have died of COVID-19, letting them know that they are not alone.

"This nation grieves with you," he said in a video posted on social media. "Take some solace from the fact that we all grieve with you." On Wednesday, the U.S. coronavirus death toll surpassed 100,000, and Biden said this was a "moment in our history so grim, so heart-rending" that it will be "forever fixed in each of our hearts as shared grief."

Biden touched on how tragic a coronavirus death is, as many families and friends aren't able to be with their loved one due to hospital restrictions and they die alone. "It's made all the worse by knowing that this is a fateful milestone we never should have reached and could have been avoided," Biden said, referring to a recent Columbia University study that showed had federal social distancing guidelines been implemented one week earlier, 36,000 deaths may have been averted.

The grief may feel "suffocating" now, Biden said, and he knows his sympathies won't "dull the sharpness of the pain you feel right now," but he "can promise you from experience, the day will come when the memory of your loved one will bring a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. My prayer for all of you is that the day will come sooner rather than later. God bless each and every one of you and the blessed memory of the one you lost." Catherine Garcia

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