May 21, 2019

"The biggest TV event of the weekend, of course, was all about the brutal struggle for power and warring houses — of course I'm talking about Pete Buttigieg on Fox News," Stephen Colbert joked on Monday's Late Show. "Mayor Pete sat down with Chris Wallace, and Wallace pressed him on how Buttigieg is going to respond to [President] Trump's attacks." The Late Show audience clapped, but Colbert himself was less impressed. "I'm so happy for you, Mayor Pete, that you don't have to care about Trump's tweets," he said, slow-clapping sideways. "Unlike you, some of us need to read them out loud every night just to feed our families."

Buttigieg was right about Trump's "grotesque" tweets, however, and he criticized Fox News hosts but not Fox News viewers, Colbert said. Still, one prominent Fox News viewer "rage-tweeted before the town hall even started." Colbert read Trump's tweets, presumably to feed his family. Trump appeared jealous at Wallace's praise of Buttigieg's "substance" and "biography," and Colbert responded in Trump voice: "Come on, Chris, anything Mayor Pete can do, I can do better. I can marry a guy. I'll marry two guys, then leave them both for a younger, hotter guy."

Colbert also hit on some good news: Billionaire Robert F. Smith's surprise offer to pay off the student debt of Morehouse College's graduating seniors. "Class of 2019, you just learned a valuable lesson: Sucks to be the Class of 2018," he said. "You know there's somebody in that crowd of graduates going, 'Aren't you happy it took me five years to graduate now, Dad?'" Less happy was Colbert: "As someone who frequently gets asked to give commencement speeches, I have just one thing to say to Robert F. Smith: What are you doing, man?" Watch below. Peter Weber

1:18 p.m.

The U.S. was bracing for the number of COVID-19 fatalities to surpass 100,000 for quite some time before it officially crossed the threshold earlier this week, though a new analysis shows that the death toll likely reached the mark weeks earlier, The Washington Post reports.

The analysis, conducted for the Post by a research team at the Yale School of Public Health, estimates that there were 101,600 excess deaths between March 1 and May 9, which is about 26,000 more than were officially attributed to the coronavirus during that period. That doesn't mean that all 26,000 deaths were caused by the virus, but it's likely many of them were related to the epidemic in some capacity. For example, people with unrelated illnesses may have refrained from seeking necessary medical attention because of concerns about the virus' presence in the health care system.

Most of the surges in deaths occurred in states that experienced noticeably worse outbreaks, like New York and New Jersey, while several states like Alaska and Utah either had fewer deaths than would be expected or did not have an unusual excess mortality during the timeframe.

But the analysis did find that, among those states with lower excess deaths, there may be an undercounting when it comes to what percentage of those fatalities are related to COVID-19. Nationally, the coronavirus accounted for 74 percent of excess fatalities, but in South Carolina, Arizona, and Texas — all states that rank toward the bottom in testing prevalence — that number 30, 40, and 39 percent, respectively. One of the research team members, Farzad Mostashari, told the Post the testing gap could be a contributing factor in the discrepancy. Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

11:37 a.m.

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz (D) announced Saturday he is authorizing full mobilization of the state's National Guard for the first time since World War II. The action comes on the heels of protests against police brutality in Minneapolis and the surrounding area.

The Guard said 2,500 soldiers and airmen will be deployed by noon Saturday and they'll work in tandem with local law enforcement.

The protests began after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on the neck of a black man, George Floyd, while arresting him despite Floyd saying he couldn't breathe. Floyd later died. The officer, Derek Chauvin, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter Friday, but the demonstrations are expected to continue.

The protests began peacefully, but tensions increased over the course of the week, and several properties were damaged, which is why Walz felt it was necessary to bring in the Guard. The governor also said there are reports that white supremacist groups and drug cartels have take advantage of the situation and may have incited violence. In fact, he estimates that 80 percent of the people arrested Friday were from out of state, suggesting that those behind the destruction were separate from the catalysts of the initial protests, though some observers note local officials often blame outsiders for civil unrest. Tim O'Donnell

10:55 a.m.

Many participants in Hong Kong's pro-democracy movement welcomed President Trump's announcement Friday that the U.S. would begin to end its special relationship with Hong Kong after China moved forward with new national security laws that threaten the city's autonomy.

Trump's decision, if he goes through with it, would mean Hong Kong would become subject to the same trade restrictions Washington has imposed on China. As things stand, Hong Kong trades freely with the U.S. and it's built a reputation as one of the world's great financial hubs. Protesters understand that losing those exemptions could be bad news economically-speaking, but The New York Times reports they believe it's a risk worth taking and are willing to face financial hardships if Beijing is hit hard by the measure.

But not everyone thinks it's worth it. Claudia Mo, a pro-democracy Hong Kong lawmaker, said it looks like her city is "being made a new Berlin" in a "new Cold War" between Beijing and Washington, referring to the German city that was formally divided along pro-Western and pro-Soviet lines from the end of World War II until German reunification in 1990. "We are caught in the middle of it," she said.

Mo is also doubtful that China will relent following Trump's threat and will retaliate at some point. "Beijing must have considered the risks and decided it could take them," she said. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

8:54 a.m.

Many scenes from Friday's protests across the United States against police brutality and institutional racism spurred by George Floyd's death while in police custody in Minneapolis turned violent, but Atlanta Police Chief Erika Shields drew attention for a very different reason.

Shields was shown on video engaging with protesters and listening attentively while they calmly explained their grievances. In an interview she acknowledged the crowd was "understandably upset" by the "appalling" events in Minneapolis, adding that "whether it's by police or other individuals, the reality is we've diminished the value on" the lives of members of African-American communities across the country.

In addition to the empathetic message, Shields also proposed some ideas for reforming her profession. "The key is training and weeding out bad cops especially when you see a pattern of bad behavior," she said. "I think it's getting engaged with people and getting feedback in real time." Tim O'Donnell

8:30 a.m.

As protests against police brutality and institutional racism flared up across the United States on Friday, many turned contentious. Protesters in major cities set fire to police cars and damaged buildings while several incidents in which police officers appeared to escalate violence were captured on social media.

In Brooklyn, the passenger door of a police car driving by protesters was flung open, hitting one of the demonstrators, and another officer was filmed throwing a female protester to the ground. She ultimately wound up in the hospital.

But it wasn't just protesters who were targeted by some members of the police. Hours after a CNN news crew was arrested while covering protests in Minneapolis, a Louisville police officer fired pepper balls at a local television news crew reporting on demonstrations in the Kentucky city, much to everyone's confusion.

Elsewhere, a 19-year-old man was shot and killed in Detroit by an unknown suspect. It's unclear if the victim was a protester, but the shooting occurred where Detroit's demonstration was taking place.

As violence escalates, governors like Georgia's Brian Kemp (R) and Minnesota's Tim Walz (D) have called in the National Guard, and the Pentagon reportedly has military police on standby. Tim O'Donnell

May 29, 2020

The Senate Judiciary committee has come to a bipartisan conclusion after the death of George Floyd.

After "the horrific death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis," the Senate Judiciary committee will conduct a hearing on police use of force, committee chair Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced Friday. Both he and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) "are appalled at what we saw," and will hold the hearing to "shine a bright light on the problems associated" with Floyd's death "with the goal of finding a better way forward for our nation."

Earlier Friday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), the former lead prosecutor for Minneapolis' Hennepin County, told MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell she would use her spot on the Judiciary Committee to push for "systematic change to our criminal justice system in Minnesota and across the country."

Floyd died Monday after now-fired Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck as he protested "I can't breathe." Chauvin was arrested Friday on third degree manslaughter and murder charges. Kathryn Krawczyk

May 29, 2020

President Trump gave a Friday press conference that didn't even touch that day's biggest topic.

On Friday, Trump announced that he was withdrawing U.S. support from the World Health Organization, reshuffling America's $450 million annual contribution to the WHO to other health groups. Trump went on to criticize China for allegedly covering up the beginnings of the coronavirus pandemic, and claimed the WHO had allowed that cover-up to happen.

While Trump had previously praised China for its "transparency" during the COVID-19 crisis, on Friday he suggested a unfounded conspiracy in which the coronavirus "didn't go to Beijing." Trump then noted that China gives $40 million to the WHO compared to the U.S.'s $450 million, but claimed without proof that the organization is controlled by China. The move leaves the WHO without its largest financial backer, The Associated Press reports.

Trump left the conference without taking any questions from the press, which would've presumably been about the ongoing protests in Minneapolis over George Floyd's death in police custody. Trump had tweeted "when the looting starts, the shooting starts," a phrase that some critics linked to a racist Miami police chief who invoked it when cracking down on black neighborhoods in the 1960s. Kathryn Krawczyk

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