January 14, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that the victims on a Ukraine International Airlines plane that was shot down over Tehran last week would still be alive if not for heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

Early last Wednesday, Iran fired ballistic missiles at Iraqi bases housing U.S. troops. This was in response to President Trump authorizing an airstrike in Baghdad that killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. Just a few hours after the Iranian retaliatory strikes, Iran's military accidently shot down the Ukrainian plane, killing all 176 passengers and crew. Of the victims, 57 were Canadians. After initial denials, the Iranian government acknowledged this weekend that it had made a "disastrous mistake."

"I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," Trudeau told Global News TV. The U.S. did not tell Canada in advance it was planning on targeting Soleimani, and Trudeau said "obviously" he would have liked advance notice.

"The U.S. makes its determinations," he added. "We attempt to work as an international community on big issues. But sometimes countries take actions without informing their allies." Catherine Garcia

3:44 a.m.

"For a week, America's streets have been filled with protesters enraged over the murder of George Floyd by police," Stephen Colbert said on Tuesday's Late Show, and Monday evening President Trump "finally appeared in the Rose Garden to calm a troubled nation — by threatening martial law." Responding to protests about police brutality by "threatening to send in the Army to crush them," he said, is "like forgetting your child's birthday and apologizing by sending in the Army to crush them."

Trump wanted to end his speech with a stroll to St. John's Church, Colbert said, but "there was a crowd of peaceful protesters in the way. So he had military police open fire with rubber bullets, flash grenades, and tear gas," and "once the path was cleared for Caesar's brave shamble, Trump made his way across the street to the boarded-up church, where he, with visible confusion and discomfort, groped a Bible" for the cameras.

Tooning Out the News had God deal with Trump's photo op.

Trump has always been "an armchair thug who glorifies violence," but his Rose Garden speech and its aftermath "was one of the most menacing moments" of his presidency, Late Night's Seth Meyers said. We're at the "worst-case scenario where our democracy crumbles and our country descends into authoritarianism," he added. "There's no on-off switch. Democracy, it turns out, is on a dimmer."

Yes, "our president, if we can still even call him that, seems to believe he is the warden overseeing a prison break," Jimmy Kimmel said. "This is a week that any other president would have gone on TV and at least tried to bring us together," but Trump "can't even go through the motions."

"Mr. Tough Guy was whisked into a panic bunker on Friday as crowds assembled outside the White House — it took three-and-a-half years, he finally got that massive crowd to show up for him in D.C.," Kimmel joked wryly. "And the reports that he was holed up and hiding must have really gotten under that orange skin," because he had Attorney General William Barr gas protesters so he could go outside and hold "a Bible upside-down in front of a church." He ended by trying to explain white privilege for people who, like him, were skeptical: "White privilege doesn't mean your life hasn't been hard, it just means the color of your skin isn't one of the things that makes it harder." Watch below. Peter Weber

1:59 a.m.

Stephen Wamukota's ingenuity has earned him a presidential award.

Wamukota, 9, lives in western Kenya, and received the honor after creating a wooden hand-washing machine that uses a foot pedal to dispense water so people can avoid touching surfaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. He started working on his invention after watching a television show about the virus, and has already made two hand-washing stations.

His dad, James Wamukota, told BBC News he had purchased pieces of wood to make a window frame, "but when I came back home after work one day, I found that Stephen had made the machine. The concept was his and I helped tighten the machine. I'm very proud."

On Monday, Wamukota and 67 other Kenyans received inaugural Presidential Order of Service, Uzalendo (Patriotic) Awards, with Wamukota the youngest winner. This made him "very happy," he told BBC News. His dream is to become an engineer, and his county's governor has already promised to give Wamukota a scholarship. Catherine Garcia

1:13 a.m.

Ella Jones made history on Tuesday night, becoming the first black mayor of Ferguson, Missouri.

Jones, who has served as a council member for five years and is a 40-year resident of Ferguson, is also the first woman to be elected mayor of the city.

In August 2014, Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson police officer, fatally shot Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black man, triggering unrest in the city and protests across the country. This weekend, there were demonstrations in Ferguson over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died last week after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes.

Protesters peacefully marched with the Ferguson police chief, but there was also some violence and looting, and Jones said as mayor she will "help stabilize the businesses in Ferguson" that were damaged. She told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch it is "just my time to do right by the people," and when asked what her election means for black residents, she responded, "One word: Inclusion." Catherine Garcia

12:36 a.m.

Nine-term Republican Rep. Steve King (Iowa), stripped of his committee assignments in 2018 after questioning why white nationalism is bad, lost his Republican primary on Tuesday night to state Sen. Randy Feenstra (R). King, a hardline conservative, has a long history of making controversial and incendiary remarks about immigrants, Muslims, and other issues, but his former supporters in Iowa's 4th Congressional District jumped ship after he was booted off the House Agriculture Committee, and to a lesser extent the Judiciary Committee.

"I personally feel very let down about some of the things that have happened because we need someone who is strong in agriculture from this area," state Sen. Annette Sweeney, who shifted support from King to Feenstra, told The Associated Press. King claimed House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) had pledged to support reinstating his committee assignments after the election, but McCarthy dismissed the claim. Feenstra's campaign was bankrolled by an array of conservative groups, including National Right to Life and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Republicans had warned that King might lose.

Iowa Democrats selected Des Moines businesswoman Theresa Greenfield as their nominee to take on Sen. Joni Ernst (R) in what could end up being a competitive race. Greenfield, 55, raised $7 million, much more than her three Democratic opponents. Peter Weber

12:34 a.m.

David Dorn, a 77-year-old retired police captain, was shot and killed by looters early Tuesday in St. Louis, with the shooting broadcast on Facebook Live.

Dorn died on the sidewalk outside of Lee's Pawn & Jewelry after being shot in the torso. His wife, Ann Marie Dorn, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the pawn shop was owned by one of her husband's friends, and he would go down to the store when its burglar alarms would go off. Police said they do not have any suspects, and are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Dorn was a police officer in St. Louis for 38 years, retiring in 2007, and later served as police chief in Moline Acres. The Ethical Society of Police said he was "the type of brother that would've given his life to save them if he had to."

Facebook briefly took the shooting video down, but said in a statement it was put back up as it did not expressly violate company policy on graphic or violent content. "Under our policies, the video has been covered with a warning screen but remains on the platform so that people can raise awareness or condemn this event," a spokesperson said. One person who watched it was state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge (D), who told the Post-Dispatch he was "very traumatized." Catherine Garcia

12:11 a.m.

President Trump is publicly pleased with his military deployment in Washington, D.C., but when it comes to addressing the larger wave of peaceful protests and less-peaceful looting and violence across America, "he's paralyzed," a former West Wing official tells Vanity Fair's Gabriel Sherman. The president's anger is real, a Trump friend told Sherman. "Trump is pissed that they're rioting. That's just the old guy from Queens who's offended by this. That's the Archie Bunker in him." But he is also apparently taking the unrest over systemic racism personally.

Trump told governors in a phone call Monday to use the military to "dominate" the streets — Defense Secretary Mark Esper called American cities "battlespaces" — and he has repeated that tough-guy language in public and on Twitter. He is evidently focused on Democratic governors. "He feels the blue-state governors are letting it burn because it hurts him," an outside White House adviser told Sherman on Monday. "It's a lot like how he sees coronavirus." As with Trump's coronavirus response, it's unclear why he would think governors care more about him than their own constituents.

Trump is privately telling people the street violence would end of the three Minneapolis police officers who watched their colleague kill George Floyd were also arrested, Sherman reports, "but, always worried about seeming weak, he made no mention of the officers or police brutality during yesterday's Rose Garden speech." Read more at Vanity Fair. Peter Weber

June 2, 2020

Mike Mullen, the 17th chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a retired Navy admiral, says he was so "sickened" by what he saw transpire on the streets of Washington, D.C., on Monday evening that he had to speak out.

"Our fellow citizens are not the enemy, and must never become so," Mullen wrote in The Atlantic. "This is not the time for stunts. This is the time for leadership."

Watching security personnel "forcibly and violently" clear out peaceful protesters so President Trump could stand outside of St. John's Church left Mullen aghast, he wrote. Whatever Trump's goal was, "he laid bare his disdain for the rights of peaceful protest in this country, gave succor to the leaders of other countries who take comfort in our domestic strife, and risked further politicizing the men and women of our armed forces. There was little good in the stunt."

No one should condone violence, vandalism, or looting, Mullen wrote, but it's imperative that people also don't "lose sight of the larger and deeper concerns over institutional racism that have ignited this rage." Citizens must unite to "address head-on the issue of police brutality and sustained injustices against the African American community," he said, as well as "support and defend the right — indeed, the solemn obligation — to peacefully assemble and to be heard."

While Mullen said he's "confident in the professionalism of our men and women in uniform," knowing they "will obey lawful orders," he is "less confident in the soundness of the orders they will be given by this commander in chief, and I am not convinced that the conditions on our streets, as bad as they are, have risen to the level that justifies a heavy reliance on military troops."

Mullen was not the only former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to condemn Monday's incident. His successor, retired Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, tweeted that "America is not a battleground. Our fellow citizens are not the enemy." Catherine Garcia

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