What Now?! – June 25, 2020

A federal appeals court ordered a judge to immediately dismiss the criminal case against President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, Bloomberg reports.

Washington Post: “In a 2-1 decision, the court said it is not within the judge’s power to prolong the prosecution or examine the government’s motives for its reversal in the politically charged case. Flynn twice pleaded guilty to lying to federal agents about his pre-inauguration contacts with Russia’s ambassador before the Justice Department moved in May to dismiss the charges.”

“Senate Republicans’ police reform bill failed to gain enough votes to advance the measure in a procedural vote Wednesday,” Axios reports.

“It highlights the extent of their split with Democrats, who have blasted the GOP bill as “not salvageable” for failing to properly address what they believe are fundamental issues, like the banning of police chokeholds.”

“The vote was 55 to 45. The bill needed 60 votes to proceed.”

The governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut announced that visitors from states with high coronavirus infection rates must self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival, Reuters reports.

Those states are Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington.

“Across the United States, more than 36,000 new infections were reported by state health departments on Wednesday — surpassing the previous single-day record of 34,203 set on April 25,” the Washington Post reports.

“Texas, Florida and California led the way, with all three states reporting more than 5,000 new cases apiece.”

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) began incessantly rapping on his desk in protest during a congressional hearing and was threatened with removal from the chambers, NBC News reports.

Mississippi State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs told the Jackson Free Press that residents should prepare for an overwhelmed hospital system in which basic emergency care will be rationed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Seven states are reporting new highs for current coronavirus hospitalizations, according to data tracked by the Washington Post — Arizona, Arkansas, California, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas — as the number of infections continues to climb across the South and West.”

“A divided Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Trump’s 200th judicial nominee, a milestone that reflects the breakneck speed at which he and fellow Republicans have moved to create a legacy that will endure regardless of the outcome of this year’s elections,” the Washington Post reports.

Tom  McTague: “It is hard to escape the feeling that this is a uniquely humiliating moment for America. As citizens of the world the United States created, we are accustomed to listening to those who loathe America, admire America, and fear America (sometimes all at the same time). But feeling pity for America? That one is new, even if the schadenfreude is painfully myopic. If it’s the aesthetic that matters, the U.S. today simply doesn’t look like the country that the rest of us should aspire to, envy, or replicate.”

“Even in previous moments of American vulnerability, Washington reigned supreme. Whatever moral or strategic challenge it faced, there was a sense that its political vibrancy matched its economic and military might, that its system and democratic culture were so deeply rooted that it could always regenerate itself. It was as if the very idea of America mattered, an engine driving it on whatever other glitches existed under the hood. Now, something appears to be changing. America seems mired, its very ability to rebound in question. A new power has emerged on the world stage to challenge American supremacy—China—with a weapon the Soviet Union never possessed: mutually assured economic destruction.”

“Even while still living in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, we’re starting to see the long-term effects of lost schooling, curtailed travel and shuttered businesses,” Axios reports.

“The U.S. will see some $7.9 trillion in lost economic growth through this decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The World Bank, meanwhile, predicts global gross domestic product will shrink by 5.2% in 2020 alone — nearly three times as much as the 2009 recession.”

“After a disappointing showing at his campaign rally over the weekend, President Donald Trump renewed his performance for a packed crowd of students on Tuesday, telling his Arizona audience that they were guardians in a cultural war over the heritage of the country,” Politico reports.

“The appearance, at the Dream City megachurch, was one of his first rallies since taking a three-month hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. Images from the event showed a large crowd tightly packed together, with almost no one wearing protective masks. There were no temperature checks for the estimated 3,000 cheering attendees who, like many of Trump’s staunchest fans, ignored a new local ordinance requiring them to wear a mask, despite a public-health plea from the Democratic mayor on Monday.”

Jonathan Bernstein: “There’s a bit of a mini-scandal underway about whether President Trump deliberately slowed down coronavirus testing. Trump said he did so during a rally in Tulsa on Saturday, and has frequently said that he opposes added testing because it produces worse statistics. Then the White House said that he was kidding. Then Trump said on Tuesday that he doesn’t kid.”

“On one hand, only someone myopically focused on the short-term would fail to realize that testing is critical for fighting the pandemic and that deliberately holding it back would lead to more people getting sick and dying while also severely damaging his presidency and his prospects of re-election. On the other hand… well, we’ve been watching Trump for a while. Do you think it seems out of character?”

“The real answer here is that it almost certainly doesn’t matter whether the president actually gave a formal order to slow down testing. That’s because we know that Trump just doesn’t have very much clout in the Trump administration. His orders are often ignored. To be fair: Many presidents have great difficult controlling executive-branch departments and agencies. But Trump seems to have an unusual amount of trouble within his own White House.”

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) said that those aligned with Black Lives Matter in protest of police brutality are “at war” with “western culture” — language that advocacy groups note has long been used to promote white nationalism, the Washington Post reports.

Said Hagedorn in a Facebook post: “The Democrat ‘Black Lives Matter’ Party, along with armies of rioters, are at war with our country, our beliefs and western culture. Their radical movement is orchestrated and growing. We must never let them take power. We must stand up and defend our county [sic], our nation’s identity, our Judeo-Christian values and our American way of life.”

“President Trump has repeatedly pushed inflammatory language, material and policies in recent days that seek to divide Americans by race as he tries to appeal to his predominantly white base of voters four months before Election Day rather than try to broaden his support,” the New York Times  reports.

“Trailing in national polls and surveys of crucial battleground states, and stricken by a disappointing return to the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has leaned hard into his decades-long habit of falsely portraying some black Americans as dangerous or lawless. And he has chosen to do so at one of the most tumultuous periods in decades as Americans protest recent episodes of police brutality against black people that have highlighted the nation’s long history of racial injustice.”

“Over the last few days the president has tweeted context-free videos of random incidents involving black people attacking white people and baselessly argued that President Barack Obama, the country’s first black leader, committed ‘treason.’”

“President Trump’s family is seeking a temporary restraining order to try to block publication of a tell-all book by the president’s niece, Mary Trump,” the New York Times reports.

“The filing is against Ms. Trump and Simon & Schuster, and it seeks to stop publication on the grounds that Ms. Trump is violating a nondisclosure agreement related to the settlement of the estate.”

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

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