April 6, 2020

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D), after much delay, wound up issuing an executive order Monday to delay in-person voting for two months for the state's presidential primaries and other local elections scheduled for Tuesday. But the decision doesn't really bring much clarity to the situation.

Evers had held off on delaying the primaries and elections, even as other states postponed their own during the novel COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, because he agreed with Republicans that elections for local offices with terms set to begin soon needed to proceed. He changed his mind because of health safety concerns, but the new problem is that he doesn't actually have unchecked authority to issue such an order.

Per The Associated Press, the decision to delay the primaries is expected to face an immediate challenge to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. Conservative justices hold a 5-2 edge. One of them is on the election ballot and is not participating in related decisions, so that's narrowed to 4-2 in this case. But if the court does block the order, it could put the elections in jeopardy and prevent a large amount of people from voting. Democratic state Sen. Jon Erpenbach said Republicans are hoping to suppress voter turnout, especially in Milwaukee, because they want to make sure the conservative justice up for re-election, Dan Kelly, secures a second 10-year term. Read more at The Associated Press. Tim O'Donnell

June 1, 2020

President Trump had federal military and law enforcement use tear gas and other nonlethal force to clear peaceful protesters from Lafayette Square on Monday evening so he could pose in front of St. John's Church with a Bible in his hand. Why would he do that? In part because he "was angered by coverage depicting him holed up in an underground bunker," CNN reports. "He told aides on Monday he wanted to be seen outside the White House gates, according to a person familiar with the matter." Maggie Haberman at The New York Times said her sources were telling her the same thing.

"Trump and his family were rushed to an underground bunker on the White House complex as protests raged outside the building on Friday evening," CNN says. "Trump wasn't seen on Sunday and spent most of Monday behind closed doors — leading to concern even from his allies that he was absent at a moment of national crisis."

CNN's Kaitlan Collins said the photo op appeared to be very last minute and reiterated that the excursion "was driven in part by that he was upset by coverage of the fact that he had been rushed to the underground bunker on Friday night." "Oh, my God," Anderson Cooper said, shaking his head. "Wow." "That is what sources are saying, Anderson," Collins responded. "We are in trouble," Cooper said. "He wanted to be seen outside the gates," Collins explained.. "Of course he did," Cooper sighed.

"You know, he always talks about the world laughing, that the world is laughing at the governors right now," Cooper said. "They're not laughing at the governors, they're standing in horror over what is happening. The only people that the world is laughing at is the president of the United States, and this event? As I said, if it wasn't so dangerous and disgusting, it would be funny because it is so low-rent and just sad." Collins comes on at the 4:18 mark. Peter Weber

June 1, 2020

The Episcopal bishop of Washington, the Right Rev. Mariann Budde, didn't know that President Trump was visiting St. John's Church on Monday evening until she turned on the news.

The church is across the street from the White House, and was damaged in a fire set during protests on Sunday night. Before Trump walked over on Monday, peaceful demonstrators at Lafayette Square were dispersed by police using tear gas. Once he arrived, Trump stood in front of the church for photos, and announced that the book in his hand was a Bible. He stayed for a few minutes, then strolled back to the White House.

This left Budde "outraged," she told The Washington Post. Budde said she "was not given even a courtesy call, that they would be clearing [the area] with tear gas so they could use one of our churches as a prop." Before he went to the church, Trump held a briefing where he threatened to send the military to cities in order to crush protests. Seeing him just minutes later, holding a Bible which Budde said "declares that God is love," stung the bishop.

"Everything he has said and done is to inflame violence," she said. "We need moral leadership, and he's done everything to divide us, and has just used one of the most sacred symbols of the Judeo-Christian tradition." Rev. Robert Fisher, the church rector, told the Post St. John's is "a space for grace" and "a place where you can breathe. Being used as a prop, it really takes away from what we're trying to do." He doesn't want the main story to be about the fire at St. John's, but rather the "more important message that we have to address racism in this country." Catherine Garcia

June 1, 2020

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner's office has ruled that George Floyd's death was a homicide, with Floyd experiencing "a cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained."

Floyd, 46, died last week after a Minneapolis police officer placed his knee on his neck and kept it there for several minutes. The incident was recorded, and Floyd is heard saying, "I can't breathe."

The medical examiner's office released its report on Monday, listing Floyd's cause of death as "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression." The document said Floyd had coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease, and there were "no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation." The office also cautioned that its finding is "not a legal determination of culpability or intent, and should not be used to usurp the judicial process."

Earlier in the day, the Floyd family released the results of a private autopsy it commissioned, which listed "asphyxiation from sustained pressure" as the cause of death. Attorney Benjamin Crump said there was also "neck and back compression that led to a lack of blood flow to the brain."

The officer who put his knee on Floyd's neck, Derek Chauvin, was arrested on Friday and charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter. Three other officers who were on the scene have been fired, but not charged with any crimes. Catherine Garcia

June 1, 2020

Federal 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

June 1, 2020

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

June 1, 2020

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

June 1, 2020

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

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