Hello Mr. Chairman
Senator Marco Rubio has inserted another political feather in his cap after being appointed to head the Senate Intelligence Committee by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Rubio got the nod when Sen. Richard Burr relinquished his chairmanship after finding himself at the center of an FBI investigation. READ MORE
Every political election, both national Republicans and Democrats take a swim into the gutter to try to score just enough points with the American electorate in an effort to take control of the White House of the U.S. Congress.
With President Trump looking almost unstoppable in 2020, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Democrats look a bit desperate in continuing to find ways of impeaching the president. MUST READ
Pelosi is also demanding that Trump give a detailed accounting of how and why he fired another inspector general. READ MORE
The Saudi Air Force pilot who shot and killed 3 U.S. servicemen at NAS Pensacola in Florida, had deeper roots in radical Islam than originally thought. Unbelievable… READ MORE
Here is a snapshot of the most up-to-date numbers from the Florida Dept. of Health:
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“Pelosi Wants Trump to Provide ‘Detailed and Substantial Justification’ For Firing State Department Inspector General” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to President Trump on Monday, demanding the president to provide a “detailed and substantial justification” for abruptly firing the State Department Inspector General. In the letter, Pelosi noted that President Trump did notify Congress that he was removing Steve Linick, the Inspector General of the Department of State within 30 days, he didn’t provide Congress a “clear and substantial cause” for such removal. “You are required to notify Congress of your removal of an Inspector General,” Pelosi wrote in a letter to President Trump. “It is essential that you also inform Congress of the cause for the removal and your lack of confidence.” President Trump sent a letter to Pelosi Friday evening informing her that he had fired Linick, stating it was vital the president has “the fullest confidence in the appointees serving as Inspector General,” and “that is no longer the case.” The House Speaker believes Trump’s action to fire Linick was based in response to the Inspector General’s almost completed investigation to the Trump administration’s multi-billion-dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia. She is requesting the president provide Congress with justification, as required by law for Linick’s removal within 30 days.
“Eagle Slams Pelosi for “Attack Against our Democracy”” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – In an email released to supporters, Eagle argues that Pelosi’s actions taken this past weekend are “an unprecedented attack against our democracy.” Specifically, “she and her cronies in the democratic party decided that they no longer need to report to work, and that the American people will pay them anyways.” His campaign went on to explain that “while more Americans than ever are being forced to go without pay, Pelosi has decided that she is a class above us all and that the hardships of the American people are simply not her problem.” In turn, the Eagle campaign believes that “she has proven beyond a doubt that she is unfit to serve as Speaker of the House,” citing that the upcoming election is a chance for Republicans to once again claim the House and remove her from office. Rep. Dane Eagle is currently running to replace Rep. Francis Rooney (R) who is retiring from his congressional seat.
“Report: Ocasio-Cortez Owes $2,000 In Unpaid Taxes From Defunct Business Venture” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) has repeatedly called for sweeping tax hikes on the rich, but she personally owes $2,000 in back taxes from a 7-year-old defunct business, according to The New York Post. The freshman democrat founded a children’s book publishing house called Brook Avenue Press in 2012 that sought designers, artists, and writers from urban areas to help paint The Bronx in a positive way. According to public records, the state of New York dissolved the Democratic socialist congresswoman company in October 2016 after it found that she failed to pay corporate taxes or file a return. Less than a year later, the state Tax Department filed a warrant on July 6, 2017, just two months after Ocasio-Cortez announced her candidacy to run against Democratic incumbent Joe Crowley for Congress. The warrant showed that the company founded by the democratic socialist owing the state $1,618.36 in unpaid corporate tax. News broke over the unpaid taxes prior to the coronavirus outbreak in March, with Ocasio-Cortez spokesperson saying they were looking into the matter and would pay it right away.
“Rubio Appointed Chairman of Senate Intelligence Comm.” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) has just released a statement after being appointed the acting Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. This comes just after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) made the announcement that the Florida Senator would be serving in the role that former Chairman Richard Burr (R) held before having to resign. Commenting on the appointment, Senator Rubio thanked “Leader McConnell for his confidence in me to lead the Senate Intelligence Committee during Senator Burr’s absence from the Chairmanship.” Moreover, he noted that “the Committee has long been one that conducts its work seriously, and I look forward to continuing that tradition.” The Florida Senator made the announcement in a press release as he continues to join other Florida lawmakers in making sure that Florida’s economy is reopened in a safe and efficient way for Floridians.
“House Democrats Want Trump investigated over IG Firing” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – President Trump is receiving criticism for the firing of the State Department’s inspector general (IG), which caused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) to argue that a “dangerous pattern of retaliation” will be taken against federal watchdogs. In response to the firing, Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D) and Senator Bob Menendez (D) have started an investigation into the release of Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general. Commenting on the investigation, Engel, the chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, accused the firing to stem from Linick’s opening of an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, saying that the timing suggests “an unlawful act of retaliation.” In a letter regarding the investigation, Menendez warned that “President Trump’s unprecedented removal of Inspector General Linick is only his latest sacking of an inspector general, our government’s key independent watchdogs, from a federal agency.” Florida Democrats have also joined the fight with Florida Rep. Ted Deutch (D) taking to Twitter to slam the President and voice his support for the investigation. On Twitter, Rep. Deutch argued that “POTUS’ firing of State Dept IG is part of a dangerous pattern to avoid any oversight.”
“FBI confirms the NAS Pensacola terrorist had direct ties to Al Qaeda” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – U.S. Attorney General William Barr as just announced that the Saudi terrorist who shot and killed three U.S. servicemen at NAS Pensacola, had direct ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and had planned his attack before he even arrived in the U.S. Barr said that the two phones terrorist Mohammad Saeed Alshmarani tried to destroy were able to be opened up by the FBI, offering law enforcement a treasure trove of information and insight into the depth of Alshmarani’s involvement with Al Qaeda. Apple, which manufactured the phones, refused to help the U.S. unlock the phones. “The phones establish significant ties to Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula,” said Barr. FBI Director Christopher Ray added that because of the “skill and determination” by FBI agents, the Bureau was able to successfully access the terrorist’s two phones, and put that information discovered “to good use.” “Pensacola attack was the brutal culmination” of events and planning by the AQAP associate that went as far back as 2015. Wray also said that Alshmarani took “pocket cam videos” to case the classroom where he committed the terrorist act, and as a result of the information gathered from the phones, authorities found out that Alshmarani “wasn’t just coordinating with them (AQAP), he worked to maximize his murders.
“Florida’s public university campuses set to reopen in the fall” by The Oracle’s Leda Alvim – Under new regulations and guidelines, Florida’s public university campuses are set to reopen in the fall after an announcement made by the Board of Governors (BOG) on Monday. The State University System Task Force is working on a framework for reopening campuses in the fall, according to the BOG news release. The State University System Chancellor Marshall Criser III is in charge of developing guidelines to present to the BOG on May 28. Based on the guidelines, representatives of the 12 Florida universities, including USF, will present individual plans to the BOG on June 23. After the announcement, USF President Steven Currall restated his intent to get back to in-person instruction by August. “Today’s announcement reaffirms what I’ve said recently regarding our intention to resume some face-to-face courses, services and activities in the fall at USF,” Currall said in an email to The Oracle. “The health and safety of our students, faculty and staff will remain our top priority as we make decisions about how and when to gradually phase in more on-campus operations.” Informed by science and medical professionals, the guidelines will work to “enhance campus safety, as well as continue to meet the board’s rigorous academic performance and student success goals,” according to BOG Chairman Syd Kitson. While the university plans on resuming face-to-face instruction and some activities during the fall, precautions will be taken as a way to ensure the health and safety of the community, including required use of face coverings, limits on gatherings, enhanced cleaning in facilities and the availability of testing and contact-tracing resources.
“Florida’s first lady announces nearly $2 million grant to fight mental illness, substance abuse” by 10 Tampa Bay – $1,999,828. That’s how much Florida’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) will spend over the next 16 months on mental health and substance abuse services in the state. First Lady Casey DeSantis tweeted the announcement Monday. “Governor DeSantis and I are extremely grateful for this grant. While our health care workers are on the frontlines, working tirelessly to help Floridians who are physically ill, there is an overwhelming need for behavioral health services,” Mrs. DeSantis wrote in a statement. “This grant enables DCF, through its strong partnerships with managing entities across the state, to continue providing mental health and substance abuse treatment for anyone in need, including those dedicated first responders who are working day-in and day-out to see us through this public health emergency.” The money is being provided in the form of an emergency grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which will provide “crisis intervention services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and other related recovery supports for children and adults impacted by COVID-19.” And, because of the pandemic, much of the treatment will be done remotely.
“Coronavirus Florida: Singer Island residents demand beaches re-open” by Palm Beach Post’s Tony Doris – Singer Island condo residents stormed the beach Monday, demanding their city council reopen the sandy expanse behind their luxury towers. Two dozen residents of the Ocean Boulevard towers descended from elevators and hoisted placards, in response to the council’s refusal to lift the pandemic-inspired ban on beach use. At a special council meeting Friday, only chairwoman Julie Botel, the sole member who lives on the barrier island, pressed to allow residents back on the beaches behind their buildings. None of her colleagues would even second a motion to allow a vote on the matter, Botel lamented Saturday morning. For the rest of Palm Beach County, Monday was the first day back at the seashore since March 20, when beaches shut down to slow the spread of coronavirus, to which the elderly and African Americans are particularly susceptible. Protesters noted that the state and county have lifted beach bans on stretches to the north and south of theirs but that Riviera Beach city police continued to keep beaches behind their condos off limits. Social distancing was not a problem, as beach-goers in that location always space their groups 40 or more feet apart, some said. Few of the protesters wore protective masks. When asked why, especially because many were in high-risk age groups, they said they kept safe distances from each other and that the salt air was healthy.
“DeSantis says move to quarantine New Yorkers helped prevent more deaths in Florida” by Sun Sentinel’s Anthony Mann – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday there is “no doubt” that his order eight weeks ago requiring people fleeing the New York region to self-quarantine saved lives in Florida. “I quarantined them in March. And everyone in New York media was blowing a gasket [asking] ‘How could you do this?’” DeSantis said at a news conference. “That was the right decision,” DeSantis said. “Had we not done the quarantine, you would have had way more cases, hospitalizations, the whole nine yards. I have no doubt that that quarantine saved lives. I think it dissuaded some from coming down. But I think the ones that did, we were able to process and screen. And I think it was effective.” The order, requiring 14 days of self isolation, is still in force. It’s reasonable to assume that the governor’s order quarantining people from the New York area had a positive effect in Florida, said Jose Szapocznik, an epidemiologist at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. There is, however, no way to prove it.
“Given that New York is the most severe hot spot in the nation, curtailing traffic from New York to South Florida was one of the things that would contribute to reducing the number of cases and reducing the number of deaths,” he said. “It certainly would be a contributor. There may be a lot of factors at play, but that is probably one.”
“Coronavirus Florida: DeSantis eyes theme parks, sports to get ‘mojo’ back” by Palm Beach Post’s Hannah Morse – Gov. Ron DeSantis had his sights set on the economy Monday, hinting at how he would let theme parks reopen and saying he extended an invitation to out-of-state sports leagues with statewide coronavirus cases and deaths still increasing. The state health department reported Monday that 2,073 people had died of the coronavirus, adding 24 deaths. Of about 678,000 tests administered in Florida, 46,442 have returned positive. South Florida makes up almost 58 percent of those cases. In Palm Beach County, positive cases rose by 134 to 4,658. Deaths, according to the state’s figures, remained steady at 286. Beaches in Palm Beach County reopened Monday, as well as gyms and fitness centers. Restaurants and retailers were able to increase the number of customers allowed inside. The governor indicated at a news conference Monday that theme parks and sporting events could very well be next on his list. DeSantis said he would consider allowing theme parks to reopen if plans outlining how to keep employees and visitors safe were submitted to his office. They must also have the support of local officials to get the turnstiles moving again. “When you open a theme park, it’s not like you can flip a switch and three days later do it,” he said. “I’m not saying this is going to happen tomorrow, but I think it’s prudent to solicit these plans so we know the direction we’re going.”
“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis blames applicant errors for unresolved unemployment claims” by Sun Sentinel’s Jim Turner – Gov. Ron DeSantis said Monday that most remaining unsettled claims in the state’s heavily criticized unemployment system are due to incomplete applications. DeSantis said forms often lack Social Security numbers or information about wages earned when the applicants were employed or they improperly list reasons for people being out of work. “We were in Tampa the other day, and one of the reporters said, ‘You know, I have someone here who has been unable to [get approved], filed them in mid-March,’” DeSantis said Monday while in Orlando. “So, it’s like, give us a name. We took the name, and it turns out the employer’s contesting it, saying that the individual quit.” DeSantis, who intends to provide more information Tuesday on the state’s much-derided handling of jobless claims and the “common pitfalls” by applicants, made similar comments Friday while in Jacksonville, where he said, “nine times out of 10 the application’s incomplete.” On Monday, DeSantis also put the onus on the news media to check the backgrounds of people, including Social Security numbers, before using them in anecdotal stories on the state’s CONNECT unemployment system. “You got a responsibility if you’re going to put that out to viewers to say that, ‘We’ve looked into it, the person submitted Social Security, the person is eligible,’” DeSantis told a reporter who claimed to have the names of 5,000 people who have been waiting since March for assistance.
“Trump’s claim he takes hydroxychloroquine prompts warnings from health experts” by Fox News’ Bradford Betz – President Trump stoked a flurry of reaction Monday after revealing to reporters that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, a controversial malaria drug, to stave off the novel coronavirus, with many experts urging Americans to consult with doctors before taking such a step. Trump said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.” Trump has spent weeks pushing the drug as a potential cure for COVID-19, despite there being no consensus on its effectiveness or safety. Dr. Sean Conley, the president’s physician, announced in a statement Monday night, “After numerous discussions he and I had about regarding the evidence for and against the use of hydroxychloroquine, we concluded the potential benefit from treatment outweighed the relative risks.” Still, many doctors urged Americans that their best sources for medical information are medical experts, not the president. “You have to have a discussion with your doctor to decide if it is best for you,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, a Fox News medical contributor, warned. “It is not going to be good for everyone but it may be beneficial and potentially life-saving for others.” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at the Vanderbilt Medical Center, went a step further. “I certainly would not recommend that people in the U.S. ask their physicians to prescribe hydroxychloroquine for the prevention of Covid,” Schaffner told The Wall Street Journal. “Its use is entirely speculative.”
“Trump administration says coronavirus testing is key to nursing homes reopening” by CNN’s Tami Luhby – The Trump administration recommends that nursing homes test all residents and staff for the coronavirus — and then continue to test employees weekly — as part of its plan to relax restrictions at the facilities, officials said Monday. Testing is among several criteria for reopening nursing homes — which have been hit especially hard by Covid-19 — laid out by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. State and local officials will also have to consider the status of new cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the community as well as in each nursing home, facilities’ compliance with infection control measures and local hospital capacity — setting a higher bar than for reopening restaurants, stores and other businesses. Facilities should not allow visitors until there have been no new cases in the nursing home for 28 days, which falls into phase three of the administration’s Opening Up America Again guidelines. All residents, staff and visitors should wear masks, and employees should have adequate personal protective equipment, according to the agency. “We are asking states and nursing homes to use extreme caution because this is such a vulnerable population,” said Seema Verma, the agency’s administrator. Nursing home industry organizations agreed that testing is vital but called for more government support to fund it. “The reality is that too many nursing homes and other aging services providers are still desperately in need of testing and personal protective equipment, and we don’t know when or if it’s coming,” said Katie Smith Sloan, CEO of LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services including nursing homes, noting that its members pay up to $250,000 a week to test staff twice a week.
“U.S. Stocks Surge as Hopes for Coronavirus Vaccine Build” by WSJ’s Paul Vigna, Anna Isaac and Chong Koh Ping – The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged more than 900 points Monday, its best day since April 6, on hopeful developments surrounding a potential coronavirus vaccine. A rebound in oil prices, a pledge of further stimulus from the head of the Federal Reserve and a gradual easing of lockdown measures also boosted sentiment. Of the 30 stocks in the blue-chip index, 29 rallied as did all 11 sectors of the S&P 500. Markets have rebounded sharply from their late March lows and have been particularly sensitive to any developments suggesting progress towards a vaccine for the virus. Investors cheered after drugmaker Moderna said the first human study of its experimental coronavirus vaccine induced immune responses in some of the healthy volunteers who were vaccinated. The results offer a positive sign about its capabilities to protect people against the new coronavirus and suggest Moderna is on track to meet its ambitious timetable for producing the shot for possible emergency use in the fall. The results, however, are preliminary, and many vaccines fail to pass muster, even after showing positive signs in early testing. Moderna shares jumped 20% to $80, a new record high, pulling up the broader market as well. “The idea that there has been progress in Moderna’s trials but also the more positive news that it looks like coronavirus could be tackled with a vaccine, has helped boost sentiment,” said Edward Park, deputy chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald. The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 911.95 points, or 3.9%, to 24597.37, its largest point and percentage gain since the first week of April. The S&P 500 rose 90.21 points, or 3.2%, to 2953.91. The Nasdaq Composite added 220.27 points, or 2.4%, to 9234.83.
“As Biden crafts U.S. coronavirus response proposals, Warren has his ear” by Reuters’ Trevor Hunnicutt, Joseph Ax, James Oliphant – Presumptive Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Joe Biden has been speaking regularly with former rival Elizabeth Warren on public health and economic relief ideas as he crafts more ambitious proposals aimed at helping Americans through the coronavirus crisis. While Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts and prominent voice on the Democratic Party’s left, criticized the former vice president’s approach on the campaign trail before dropping out and endorsing him, Biden advisers said the two see eye-to-eye on a number of issues. In recent weeks, for example, Biden has endorsed Warren-backed ideas like canceling some student debt to help financially strapped Americans and echoed her calls for “structural change” in an economy ravaged by the pandemic. Biden is poised to challenge Republican President Donald Trump in the Nov. 3 election. Warren is thought to be on Biden’s short list of possible vice presidential running mates along with Senators Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, among others. A decision is not expected for weeks. Warren and Biden have held telephone conversations since she exited the Democratic race in March, and now talk nearly weekly, according to people familiar with their discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity. The focus, according to one of the people, has been on public health and economic relief policy around a pandemic that has driven tens millions of Americans into unemployment. “Like Senator Warren, Joe Biden has been a champion for working families over corporations his entire career,” Biden spokesman TJ Ducklo said, accusing Trump of pursuing policies favoring corporations and political allies over working Americans.
“Mark Cuban: ‘It’s time to face the fact that PPP didn’t work’” by Fox News’ Morgan Phillips – Billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said Monday “it’s time to face the fact that PPP didn’t work” to help save businesses from coronavirus damage and called for a “trickle up economics” federal program instead. Cuban said the Paycheck Protection Program was a “great plan” with “difficult execution.” “No amount of loans to businesses will save them or jobs if customers aren’t buying,” Cuban said. He called for a transitional federal jobs program, hiring millions of unemployed Americans to work as contact tracers. We need a transitional fed jobs program that trains and hires millions for a federal tracking/tracing/testing program as well as for support for at-risk populations, including long-term care,” the “Shark Tank” host wrote on Twitter. “We need to dent unemployment with stable jobs.” Cuban also said the federal government should consider another round of direct stimulus payments of $1,000 every two weeks to every household in the U.S. for the next two months. To ensure that money is injected straight into the economy, Cuban said the money should be rescinded if it is not spent within 10 days of receipt. The program would cost around $500 billion, according to Cuban, “but it will allow for demand for nonessential products and services to increase, hopefully keeping most businesses alive, as we learn what the impact of reopening is on the spread and whether or not employment grows organically.”
“Republican AGs tell judge to drop Michael Flynn’s case, stay out of politics” by CNN’s Katelyn Polantz – Fifteen Republican state attorneys general on Monday told a federal judge they support the Trump administration dismissing former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s criminal charge and warned the judge of overstepping his authority. But even with the top state-level prosecutors’ strong statement, the case is likely to continue, at least for a few more weeks. In a legal brief obtained by CNN, the Republican attorneys general wrote they believed that Judge Emmet Sullivan’s questioning of the Justice Department was the court “inserting itself” into “prosecutorial discretion” and politics. They urged Sullivan to dismiss the case, ending Flynn’s legal jeopardy. They also asked him to dismiss Flynn’s charge “without irrelevant or personal comment.” Monday’s filing is the latest in a wave of strong reactions to the Justice Department’s decision to drop Flynn’s case, and to Sullivan’s move to ask a third-party lawyer to review the situation. The Justice Department’s about-face on Flynn earlier this month has been wielded by President Donald Trump as the unraveling of the Russia investigation. Thousands of former federal employees have criticized Attorney General William Barr for his decision on Flynn, citing thin legal reasoning that’s kinder to an associate of the President than to almost all other defendants. Flynn’s charge of lying to the FBI about his contact with Russia before Trump took office — to which he pleaded guilty more than two years ago and still hasn’t been sentenced — isn’t absolved yet.
“Barr Says U.S. Attorney’s Probe Won’t Likely Lead to Investigation of Obama, Biden” by WSJ’s Dustin Voltz – Attorney General William Barr said Monday he didn’t expect former President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden to be investigated as part of an examination of the origins of a federal probe into whether the 2016 Trump campaign colluded with Russia. Mr. Barr last year appointed John Durham, the U.S. attorney for Connecticut, to review the origins of the 2016 probe into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russian election interference. The investigation, according to people familiar with it, is proceeding on multiple fronts, examining how the initial allegations surfaced in 2016, as well as a separate 2017 U.S. intelligence report that concluded Moscow interfered in the presidential election in part to help then-candidate Donald Trump. “As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don’t expect Mr. Durham’s work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man,” Mr. Barr said in response to a reporter’s question during a news conference called to discuss updates to the probe of a shooting at a military base last year in Pensacola, Fla. “Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.” A spokesman for Mr. Obama declined to comment. Mr. Biden didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Mr. Barr didn’t provide details on exactly what or whom Mr. Durham was investigating, but he expressed concern generally about a trend to “gin up allegations of criminality by one’s political opponents based on the flimsiest of legal theories.” He didn’t directly address remarks made in recent weeks by President Trump and some of his conservative allies that have suggested without evidence that Messrs. Obama and Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and Mr. Trump’s expected 2020 opponent, engaged in criminal acts to spy on his 2016 election campaign.
“Wisconsin lawsuit seeks absentee ballot forms, other poll changes amid coronavirus concerns” by Reuters’ Joseph Ax – Advocacy groups sued Wisconsin election officials on Monday, seeking to force the state to send every voter an absentee ballot request form, hire more poll workers and launch a public education effort to ensure voters understand their options ahead of November’s presidential election. The complaint is the latest salvo from voting rights activists, who have filed dozens of lawsuits around the country to increase ballot access, such as universal vote-by-mail, in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Wisconsin was at the center of the battle in April, when a last-minute effort by Democratic Governor Tony Evers to postpone the primary election was stymied after Republican legislative leaders challenged his order in court. With many polling places shut down due to a lack of poll workers, many voters waited in long lines, risking infection. Monday’s lawsuit, filed in federal court in Madison, the capital, said tens of thousands of voters were disenfranchised after they “encountered obstacles at almost every stage of the election process,” including crowded poll places and thousands of absentee ballots that were either not delivered or arrived too late. The burdens fell disproportionately on minority, disabled and immuno-compromised voters, according to the lawsuit, which was filed by Disability Rights Wisconsin, Black Leaders Organizing for Communities and three individual Wisconsinites. A spokesman for the state elections commission, which was named as a defendant, declined to comment on pending litigation.
“Dems tell Supreme Court of ‘ongoing’ new impeachment inquiry in effort to obtain Mueller materials” by Fox News’ Gregg Re – House Democrats told the Supreme Court on Monday that they are again in the midst of an “ongoing presidential impeachment investigation” as part of their “weighty constitutional responsibility” – and, the Democrats argued, redacted grand-jury material from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s now-completed Russia probe must be turned over as a result. Top Democrats have repeatedly suggested since President Trump was acquitted on two articles of impeachment in February that they might initiate new impeachment proceedings. In their brief with the Supreme Court, which seeks testimony, exhibits and transcripts, the Democrats promised that leaks won’t be a problem, owing to their “special protocols” that will ensure “secrecy.” “The [House Judiciary] Committee’s investigation did not cease with the conclusion of the impeachment trial,” the Democrats told the nine justices on Monday. “If this material reveals new evidence supporting the conclusion that President Trump committed impeachable offenses that are not covered by the articles adopted by the House, the committee will proceed accordingly — including, if necessary, by considering whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.” Specifically, the Democrats said they were looking into “the possible exercise of improper political influence over recent decisions made in the Roger Stone and Michael Flynn prosecutions, both of which were initiated by the special counsel.” In Stone’s case, the DOJ reversed a sentencing recommendation to Judge Amy Berman Jackson by former Mueller prosecutors that Stone should receive nine years in prison for obstructing Congress and related charges, saying it was obviously too harsh; indeed, Jackson later sentenced Stone to just three years in prison.
“Trump administration to extend border and travel restrictions related to coronavirus” by CNN’s Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez – The Trump administration is preparing to extend travel restrictions and stringent border control measures this week related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two administration officials. The latest slate of restrictions indicate that while the United States moves toward reopening, the federal government is not ready to ease measures put in place in March that largely sealed off the US to stem the spread of Covid-19. The strict rules also have the effect of continuing to curb immigration to the US. The US was not alone in shuttering its borders in response to the outbreak. Around the world, countries, including those neighboring the US, also limited who could pass through. Since first implementing the measures, the Trump administration has extended them once, in April.
“Those restrictions do expire here on the 21st of May. We will likely look at expanding those restrictions, as the country continues to be a phased opening approach, state-by-state, governor-by-governor, so we’re taking a look at that as well,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters last week. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also suggested last week that the US-Canada border would likely remain closed through June. The agreement as it stands forbids any non-essential travel, although commercial traffic continues. A Department of Homeland Security spokesperson told CNN, “The United States has great appreciation for the efforts of our partners in Canada and Mexico to ensure that North America is working together to combat the pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus.
“Terrorism Victims Can Sue Countries for Punitive Damages, Supreme Court Rules” by WSJ’s Jess Bravin – The Supreme Court sided Monday with victims of al Qaeda’s 1998 attacks on U.S. embassies in Africa, ruling unanimously that they were eligible for punitive damages from Sudan, which was found to have assisted the terror organization. The decision comes at a delicate time for relations between the U.S. and Sudan, where an uprising last year overthrew the 30-year regime of Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide allegedly committed by his forces in the country’s Darfur region. Washington and the transitional government in Khartoum recently agreed to exchange ambassadors for the first time in decades. As part of its effort to get off the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism, Sudan this year settled claims by victims of the 2000 al Qaeda attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, who likewise alleged the Bashir regime had supported the terror organization. The State Department is seeking to negotiate a settlement for the embassy bombings as well, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said. “Sudan helped al Qaeda perpetrate the terrorist bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, which devastated countless families of the U.S. employees and contractors working there. It’s hard to imagine an act more deserving of punitive damages,” said Matthew D. McGill, who argued the case in February. “We are hopeful that this soon will lead Sudan to reach a just and equitable resolution with its victims.” The Nairobi victims were the only ones who sought punitive damages, Mr. McGill said. “Sudan looks forward to further proceedings in this continuing litigation, while it remains engaged with the United States in negotiations to normalize the bilateral relationship,” said Christopher Curran, who argued for Sudan. “As always, Sudan expresses sympathy for the victims of the acts of terrorism at issue, but reaffirms that it was not involved in any wrongdoing in connection with those acts.”
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump —@FoxNews is no longer the same. We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!
Chuck Schumer – “This administration has been totally derelict in coming up with a testing program.”
Everyone is too busy looking for an open barbershop today…Kidding