What Now?! – June 11, 2020

A former federal judge appointed to review the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss criminal charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn has found that the government’s request should be denied because there is “clear evidence of a gross abuse of prosecutorial power,” the AP reports.

Wrote ex-Judge John Gleeson: “There is ample evidence in the record that Flynn committed perjury in these proceedings, which would support the issuance of an Order to Show Cause to commence such a prosecution.”

Dana Millbank: “Childhood bullies have a predisposition to become adult bullies, research shows, and, sure enough, it seems Attorney General William Barr was a teenage bully more than 50 years ago.”

“Back in 1991, during Barr’s confirmation to be George H.W. Bush’s attorney general, lawyer Jimmy Lohman, who overlapped with Barr at New York’s Horace Mann School and later Columbia University, wrote a piece for the little-known Florida Flambeau newspaper about Barr being ‘my very own high-school tormentor’ — a ‘classic bully’ and ‘power abuser’ in the 1960s who ‘put the crunch on me every chance he got.’”

“The Federal Reserve kept interest rates near zero and indicated that’s where they’ll stay as the economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic,” CNBC reports.

“Along with the rate decision, central bankers projected Wednesday that the economy will shrink 6.5% in 2020, a year that saw an unprecedented halting of business activity in an effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic. However, 2021 is expected to show a 5% gain followed by 3.5% in 2022, both well above the economy’s longer-term trend.”

The Wall Street Journal says the Fed projected “no plans to raise interest rates through 2022 and said they were committed to providing more support to the economy following shutdowns to contain the coronavirus.”

“The White House has told John Bolton, President Trump’s former national security adviser, that his memoir of working for the president, scheduled for publication in less than two weeks, contains classified information and could present a security threat,” the New York Timesreports.

“Mr. Trump has repeatedly told advisers he wants to stop the publication of the book. He has wide latitude to determine what materials are classified.”

“Simon and Schuster, the book’s publisher, said the book had already been shipped to warehouses.”

President Trump tweeted he will “not even consider” renaming bases named for Confederate leaders.

Said Trump: “These Monumental and very Powerful Bases have become part of a Great American Heritage, and a history of Winning, Victory, and Freedom. The United States of America trained and deployed our HEROES on these Hallowed Grounds, and won two World Wars. Therefore, my Administration will not even consider the renaming of these Magnificent and Fabled Military Installations.”

He added: “Our history as the Greatest Nation in the World will not be tampered with. Respect our Military!”

“More than 1,250 former Justice Department workers on Wednesday called on the agency’s internal watchdog to investigate Attorney General William Barr’s involvement in law enforcement’s move last week to push a crowd of largely peaceful demonstrators back from Lafayette Square using horses and gas,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Trump administration is preparing to open the door to oil and gas drilling off Florida’s coast — but will wait until after the November election to avoid blowback in a swing state whose waters both parties have long considered sacrosanct,” Politico reports.

“Drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico would fulfill a long-sought goal of energy companies… But even the possibility of drilling is a politically explosive topic for Floridians, who worry that oil spills would devastate their tourism-based economy in a reprise of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.”

“The former State Department internal watchdog fired by President Trump told lawmakers that a senior department official discouraged him from probing U.S. arms sales to Gulf states before his ouster last month,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Aaron Blake: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that his recommendation to fire an inspector general who was investigating him couldn’t possibly have been retaliatory, because he did not even know about the investigation. But newly revealed testimony from the inspector general, Steve Linick, casts more serious doubt on that already dubious claim.”

“Texas health authorities said there are currently 2,153 patients sickened with Covid-19 across its hospitals, marking the third-straight day Wednesday of record-breaking coronavirus hospitalizations in the state,” CNBC reports.

“The steady rise in coronavirus hospitalizations in Texas will likely add to scrutiny from some U.S. lawmakers and infectious disease experts that some states opened businesses too early as the virus continues to spread throughout parts of the country.”

Politico: “The coronavirus is still killing as many as 1,000 Americans per day — but the Trump administration isn’t saying much about it.”

“It’s been more than a month since the White House halted its daily coronavirus task force briefings. Top officials like infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci have largely disappeared from national television — with Fauci making just four cable TV appearances in May after being a near fixture on Sunday shows across March and April — and are frequently restricted from testifying before Congress.”

Washington Post: Hospitalizations rise sharply in several states following Memorial Day.

“The coronavirus pandemic is splintering the world economy, and the extraordinary action needed means policy makers cannot risk a premature withdrawal of lifelines to businesses and the most vulnerable people, the OECD warned,” Bloomberg reports.

“It made the grim assessment in its quarterly outlook, where it forecast a global slump of 6% this year, more than the World Bank earlier this week. That’s based on a scenario of the virus continuing to recede. A second wave, which the OECD said is an equally likely scenario, could mean a 7.6% contraction.​”

Wall Street Journal: “The black unemployment rate, which at 5.8% in February was near the lowest since records began in 1972, tripled to 16.8% in May, according to the Labor Department.”

Boston Globe: “For 20 years, investigations like those, and the consent decrees that followed, were key to federal efforts to bring more accountability to policing in the United States, especially during the Obama administration. But as the nation reckons again with racism and police brutality following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, the Trump administration is all but out of the business of systemic police reform.”

“Since President Trump took office, the Justice Department has sharply curbed its use of investigations and consent decrees, essentially locking those powerful tools in its toolbox. What’s more, the president himself has made multiple public statements that suggest he does not see police accountability as a high priority. And some former Justice Department officials and other criminal justice experts see a connection between the vacuum of accountability at the highest levels of government and the ongoing police violence that has sent Americans cascading into the streets to protest.”

Jonathan Swan: “My phone blew up yesterday with texts from White House aides, current and former, who seemed at their wits’ end over President Trump’s tweet that the 75-year-old Buffalo protester who was rushed to the hospital after being shoved by police last week ‘could be an ANTIFA provocateur.’”

“They rarely register the president’s tweets anymore — let alone complain about them. This one felt different.”

“POTUS aides and the campaign had constructed this week around getting Trump into the conversation around rebuilding/recovering, listening to ideas about police reform, etc. One former aide remarked that it’s tweets like this that make him wonder whether Trump actually wants to get re-elected.”

New York Times: That Trump tweet? Republicans prefer not to see it.

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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