The Hill's 12:30 Report: Sights and sounds from the protests

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The Hill’s 12:30 Report: Nation reaches breaking point | Sights and sounds from DC protests | Calls for police reform sparks divisions in Congress | Trump denies being rushed to bunker | Says he was there to ‘inspect’ it | Pentagon chief does not support Insurrection Act | Trump threatens to get involved in NYC unrest | Republicans sour on another round of $1,200 checks | Minneapolis outlet prints ‘king-sized’ press badges



The nation is reaching a breaking out:



Via The Hill’s Niall Stanage, “The social fabric of the United States seems closer to tearing this week than it has in half a century. Huge protests have erupted across the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25. Some have drawn heavy-handed police responses, others have seen the eruption of looting and violence.”

Where President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE fits in: “President Trump has ratcheted up tensions rather than calmed them — the most notable example being chaotic scenes as police fired pepper balls and beat largely peaceful protesters on Monday night. The protesters were cleared from Lafayette Square in front of the White House to facilitate a visit by the president to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he held up a Bible for the cameras.” 

Where we go from here

It’s Wednesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook

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This a.m. — Protesters outside the Capitol took a knee: Watch: 

Wow, check out 14th street NW yesterday: 

Watch this video of an Australian journalist covering the protest outside the White House: This video has nearly 8 million views already. 

The photo on the left has gotten a lot of traction




A police officer in Lafayette Square took a knee: “Huge cheers break out in front of Lafayette Square after one of the officers walked toward the barrier and briefly took a knee before returning to line. Several protesters then also took a knee.” (Via CNN’s Kaitlan CollinsPhoto 

Protesters moving from the White House to Vermont Ave. 

A local restaurant, Roy Boys,  is handing out sandwiches to demonstrators: Photo from The Hill’s Olivia Beavers 





Mark EsperMark EsperPentagon sends 3 cargo planes to Lebanon filled with aid as questions on blast remain Overnight Defense: Esper says 'most believe' Beirut explosion was accident, contradicting Trump | Trump later says 'nobody knows yet' what happened in Lebanon | 61-year-old reservist ID'd as fourth military COVID-19 death Trump tempers his description of Beirut explosion as an attack: 'Nobody knows yet' MORE says the Insurrection Act is not necessary:

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said this morning that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act that would allow President Trump to use U.S. military for law enforcement. 

In Esper’s words: "I've always believed and continue to believe that the National Guard is best suited for performing domestic support to civil authorities in these situations in support of local law enforcement … I say this not only as secretary of Defense, but also as a former soldier and a former member of the National Guard, the option to use active duty forces in a law enforcement role should only be used as a matter of last resort and only in the most urgent and dire of situations," he added. "We are not in one of those situations now. I do not support invoking the Insurrection Act."


President Trump threatened to intervene in the New York City unrest if officials do not crack down.

Trump told Brian Kilmeade on Fox News Radio: "If they don’t get their act straightened out I will solve it. I’ll solve it fast.”

Trump denies being rushed to the bunker:

Via The Hill’s Morgan Chalfant, “President Trump on Wednesday denied that he was rushed to an underground bunker at the White House as protests grew violent on Friday evening, claiming he only visited the space briefly during the day.” 

Trump told Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade in a radio interview this morning: “It was a false report,” Trump said, adding that he went to the bunker to “inspect” it. “I went down during the day and I was there for a tiny period of time. These problems are during the night, not during the day.”


The New York Times’s Peter Baker and Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanTrump appeals to 'Suburban Housewives of America' The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Argentum - Mask mandates, restrictions issued as COVID-19 spreads Does Donald Trump even want a second term? MORE reported Secret Service agents brought President Trump to the underground bunker on Friday amid violent protests.


Wow, I can’t believe how many lawmakers ~completely~ missed the news on Monday:

NBC’s Kasie Hunt asked Republican senators what they thought about President Trump’s response to the protesters outside the White House on Monday night.  

Watch the senators squirm and avoid answering:  

This video has nearly 200k views since this morning. 




Lawmakers aren’t unified in police reforms:

Via The Hill’s Jordain Carney, “Calls for law enforcement reforms in the wake of George Floyd’s death are sparking divisions in Congress, raising early questions about what, if anything, will be able to make it to President Trump’s desk.”

“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump signs executive orders after coronavirus relief talks falter Coronavirus deal key to Republicans protecting Senate majority Coronavirus talks collapse as negotiators fail to reach deal MORE (R-Ky.) said ‘there may be a role’ for lawmakers … Other GOP senators appeared more skeptical about legislation, underscoring potential roadblocks in the Republican-controlled chamber.”


Steve KingSteven (Steve) Arnold KingThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden builds big lead in battleground Florida Progressive Bowman ousts Engel in New York primary Colorado GOP Rep. Scott Tipton defeated in primary upset MORE lost his primary:

Via The Hill’s Max Greenwood, “Iowa state Sen. Randy Feenstra (R) defeated controversial Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) in the Republican primary in the state's 4th District on Tuesday, ending the firebrand congressman’s nearly two-decade run in the House.”

What this means for the race: “The win increases the likelihood the heavily Republican district will remain in GOP hands. Feenstra will face off in November against Democrat J.D. Scholten, who is running for the seat for a second consecutive time and was unopposed in his party's contest.”  

Why King is controversial: “King has built a reputation as one of the most controversial members of Congress. His remarks about race and immigration have drawn the ire of both Democrats and Republicans. House GOP leaders moved last year to strip King of his committee assignments in the chamber after comments he made to The New York Times questioning why the terms ‘white supremacist’ and ‘white nationalist’ became offensive.”



Coronavirus cases in the U.S.: 1,834,243 

Deaths in the U.S.: 106,274

Breakdown of the numbers

For context: 1,681,793 Americans had tested positive for the coronavirus this time last week and 98,933 had died.

Republicans are not feeling so hot about more $1,200 stimulus checks:

Via The Hill’s Alexander Bolton, “Republican lawmakers are voicing deep skepticism about passing another round of $1,200 rebate checks as they contemplate the next and possibly final stage of coronavirus relief legislation.”  

Republican priorities: “Senate Republicans on Tuesday said they are more focused on reforming the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, providing more money for cash-strapped state and local governments, boosting benefits for Social Security recipients and fixing other elements of COVID-19 relief bills passed earlier this year.”  



King-sized press badges:



Spider-Man showed up:





The Senate is in. The House is out. President Trump and Vice President Pence are in Washington, D.C.

Noon: A cloture vote in the Senate. 

1:15 p.m. EDT: President Trump has lunch with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBeirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally Advocacy groups come out against Trump pick for ambassador to Germany US pledges million in disaster aid to Lebanon MORE.

1:30 p.m. EDT: Vice President Pence leads a teleconference with governors.

2:15 p.m. EDT: Two roll call votes in the Senate. The Senate’s full schedule today

4:30 p.m. EDT: A roll call vote in the Senate.


10 a.m. EDT: New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the Air Line Pilots Association - Key 48 hours loom as negotiators push for relief deal Overnight Health Care: Fauci says family has faced threats | Moderna to charge to a dose for its vaccine | NYC adding checkpoints to enforce quarantine New York City adding 'key entry point' checkpoints to enforce quarantine MORE (D) held a press conference. Livestream

2 p.m. EDT: White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany holds a press briefing. Livestream


Today is National Egg Day. It’s also National Chocolate Macaroon Day.

And because you made it this far, here’s a dog working on its trust fall: