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June 29, 2020

While still working in the White House, former National Security Adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he briefed President Trump in March 2019 on an intelligence assessment indicating that Russia was offering bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. troops, U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the intelligence told The Associated Press.

At the time, the classified information was also included in at least one President's Daily Brief, a top-secret document that offers analysis on national security issues, AP reports. Officials told AP that the intelligence assessments did not appear to be urgent, and there was not enough information to form a plan or response. Bolton declined to comment to AP.

The New York Times, which first publicly disclosed the existence of the bounties on Friday, reported Monday night that several officials with knowledge of the matter said U.S. officials have focused their investigation on an April 2019 car bombing near Bagram Airfield that left three Marines dead. Two officials also said that in late February, Trump received a written briefing with the intelligence laid out to explain how it was determined that Russia offered and paid the bounties.

One of the officials gave a specific date for the briefing: Feb. 27. The assessment was considered solid enough that on May 4, it was included in an article in the CIA's daily publication, the World Intelligence Review, the Times reports. Trump has claimed he was never briefed on the plot, tweeting on Sunday night, "Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or [Vice President Mike Pence]. Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!" Catherine Garcia

June 28, 2020

The Mississippi House of Representatives and Senate passed a bill on Sunday to change the state's flag, which has a Confederate battle emblem in the corner.

The Mississippi state flag was adopted in 1894, and is the last one in the U.S. to feature a Confederate emblem. The bill creates a nine-member commission tasked with adopting a new flag without any Confederate emblems, which must include the words "In God We Trust." In November, the design will go before voters for approval. The House voted in favor of the bill 91-23, with the vote 37-14 in the Senate.

On Saturday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves (R) said if the bill passed this weekend, he would sign it, but on Sunday, a spokesperson told the Clarion Ledger he "does not want to rush this moment in history for our state. Once the legislature sends the final bill to his desk and he's had the opportunity to review it, Gov. Reeves will sign the bill in the coming days." Catherine Garcia

June 17, 2020

The Justice Department asked a federal judge Wednesday to order former National Security Adviser John Bolton to stop the publication of his forthcoming memoir, The Room Where It Happened, alleging that "disclosure of the manuscript will damage the national security of the United States."

The book is scheduled for release on June 23, and hundreds of thousands of copies have already been printed and distributed to retailers worldwide. The Justice Department's filing seeks a temporary restraining order and then a preliminary injunction, and asks that Judge Royce C. Lamberth hold a hearing about the case on Friday, The New York Times reports.

Bolton's publisher, Simon & Schuster, called the filing "a frivolously, politically motivated exercise in futility" and said the injunction "as requested by the government would accomplish nothing."

On Tuesday, the Justice Department and the U.S. attorney's office in Washington filed a lawsuit attempting to block publication of The Room Where it Happened, accusing Bolton of breaching the contract he signed when hired as national security adviser. In a declaration attached to Wednesday's lawsuit, National Security Council official Michael Ellis said he looked at Bolton's manuscript and found it contained top secret classified information. Catherine Garcia

June 7, 2020

Tropical Storm Cristobal made landfall in Louisiana on Sunday, between the mouth of the Mississippi River and Grand Isle.

The National Hurricane Center said Cristobal, the third named storm of this year's hurricane season, has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and is bringing heavy rain, which could cause flash flooding and life-threatening storm surges in areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. A voluntary evacuation order was issued in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon for areas outside the levee system.

"Just because this is a tropical storm doesn't mean that we want to let our guard down," CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam said. "A storm surge is a major threat, and it's the number one killer in tropical storms like this." Forecasters expect the storm to turn into a tropical depression within 24 hours. Catherine Garcia

June 2, 2020

At least two police officers were injured on Monday night in Buffalo, New York, after an SUV barreled into a group of law enforcement officers at a George Floyd protest.

Video shot at the protest shows officers tackling a man who was being interviewed by someone with a television camera, and others using their batons to hit demonstrators, The Associated Press reports. Gunfire is then heard in the background, and an SUV is shown plowing into the officers before speeding off. The protesters were told to leave the area, and tear gas was fired into the crowd.

Both officers have been hospitalized and are in stable condition. Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz tweeted that the SUV driver and passengers are believed to be in police custody. Buffalo Police spokesman Michael DeGeorge told AP two people were shot during the protest and are receiving treatment; it is unclear if they were involved in an officer-related shooting. 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

May 31, 2020

A tanker truck driver sped into a crowd of peaceful protesters gathered on a bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday evening, the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said.

Initial reports state that the thousands of protesters on Interstate 35W were able to get out of the way, and no one was hit. The demonstrators were marching in response to the death of George Floyd, who died last week after a Minneapolis police officer put his knee to his neck for several minutes.

Witnesses said that the truck plowed into the crowd as dozens of protesters were sitting or had taken a knee for a moment of silence. The driver was injured and is now in custody. The highway was closed, and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety said it is working to determine how the truck was able to get on the bridge.

Drew Valle was on the bridge when the truck came speeding through, and told the Star Tribune, "He wasn't stopping. He was beeping loudly and driving into a crowd of people. That's the same kind of malice that brought us here. It's a callous disregard for someone's humanity." Catherine Garcia

May 29, 2020

More than 500 members of the Minnesota National Guard deployed to Minneapolis and St. Paul on Thursday, their "key objective" being to ensure fire departments can respond to calls.

Gov. Tim Walz (D) declared a state of emergency in the Twin Cities and called in the Minnesota National Guard in response to protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in police custody. Several buildings have been set on fire in both cities, including the 3rd Precinct station in Minneapolis, going up in flames after demonstrators forcibly entered the building.

The Minnesota National Guard said its mission is to "protect life" and "preserve property and the right to peacefully demonstrate," and tweeted a photo showing one of its vehicles next to a Minneapolis Fire Department truck. Catherine Garcia

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