The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - George Floyd's death sparks protests, National Guard activation


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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Thankfully, it’s Friday. We get you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver are the daily co-creators, so find us @asimendinger and @alweaver22 on Twitter and recommend the Morning Report to your friends. CLICK HERE to subscribe!

Total U.S. coronavirus deaths reported each morning this week: Monday, 97,722. Tuesday, 98,223. Wednesday, 98,929. Thursday, 100,442. Friday, 101,621.

The Twin Cities saw an escalation of tensions on Thursday night and Friday morning as protesters burned a Minneapolis police station and demonstrated across the region in response to Monday’s death of George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck during an arrest. The governor mobilized the National Guard late on Thursday in an attempt to control the situation.

The death of a black suspect who was not armed during an arrest by a white police officer, captured in stark video, revived the debate about race and policing in America, sparked violence in multiple cities and drew the White House and Congress into the controversy. 

Rioters demonstrated in Minneapolis and St. Paul late Thursday and early today, setting fire to a police headquarters. For a second consecutive night, demonstrators burned structures and looted businesses. President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged MORE tweeted his dismay shortly before 1 a.m.

“I can’t stand back & watch this happen to a great American City, Minneapolis. A total lack of leadership. Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” Trump wrote.  

“These THUGS are dishonoring the memory of George Floyd, and I won’t let that happen. Just spoke to Governor Tim WalzTim Walz Minneapolis beefs up security ahead of former officer's trial in George Floyd death Officials: Barr blocked officer plea deal in George Floyd death OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden EPA asks Justice Dept. to pause defense of Trump-era rules | Company appeals rejection of Pebble Mine | Energy pick Granholm to get hearing Wednesday MORE (D) and told him that the Military is with him all the way. Any difficulty and we will assume control but, when the looting starts, the shooting starts. Thank you!” he added. The tweet was later flagged by Twitter for “glorifying violence.” 

Bracing for another violent night, Walz (seen below) activated the National Guard earlier in the evening to tamp down protests. Officials urged calm as rioters moved into parts of Minneapolis on Thursday and today. However, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the National Guard and other first responders had largely evacuated the area surrounding the police precinct as protests raged nearby.  

At a press conference this morning, the mayor defended his decision not to engage the looters. City police made a number of arrests but Frey said he was concerned that a large police presence would add to the tensions. 

“There is a lot of pain and anger right now in our city. I understand that ... What we have seen over the past several hours and past couple of nights here in terms of looting is unacceptable,” the Minneapolis mayor said shortly after 2 a.m. “We are doing absolutely everything that we can to keep the peace.”  

The Associated Press: Minneapolis police station torched amid George Floyd protest.

The Courier-Journal: “No justice, no peace”: 7 people shot amid Louisville protests for Breonna Taylor.

NAACP statement:We must protest peacefully, demand persistently, and fight politically. But most of all, we must vote in November,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson.

In reaction to Floyd’s death on Monday, the governor called for changes in policing. Floyd had been videotaped by a bystander gasping for breath while a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly eight minutes. Floyd was taken to a hospital and died. A Monday autopsy was inconclusive, and the coroner ordered tests. 

“It is time to rebuild. Rebuild the city, rebuild our justice system, and rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and those they’re charged to protect. George Floyd’s death should lead to justice and systemic change, not more death and destruction,” Walz said (The Associated Press). 

Calls to prosecute the police officer in question came in from top figures on Capitol Hill on Thursday. Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisExclusive: How Obama went to bat for Warren To unite America, Biden administration must brace for hate Democratic strategists start women-run media consulting firm MORE (D-Calif.), a top contender for VP pick, called for “swift accountability,” including the arrest of the Minneapolis police officer for murder and for all other officers involved to be “held accountable” (The Hill). Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Budget Committee chair pledges to raise minimum wage: 'Hold me to it' Capitol review to recommend adding more fencing, 1,000 officers: report MORE (D-Calif.) labeled Floyd’s death “an execution” (The Hill).  

The comments came a day after the president instructed the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI to expedite the investigation into Floyd’s death. The DOJ said on Thursday that the probe is considered a “top priority” (Reuters). 

“It's so very, very sad because the American people saw an — an execution, a murder, right before our very eyes. It wasn't self-defense,” Pelosi said. “There has to be justice in that case.” 

The Hill: Minneapolis city systems temporarily brought down by cyberattack.

The Associated Press/Time: In Colorado, Denver riot police fire tear gas as hundreds protest death of George Floyd. 

The New York Times: Protests extended to many other cities, including New York, Denver, Phoenix and Columbus, Ohio, where scores of protesters tried to enter the statehouse. 

With the situation ongoing in Minnesota and Georgia, where three men were charged in the shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, pressure is ratcheting up on former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenHouse Democrats pass sweeping .9T COVID-19 relief bill with minimum wage hike Biden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot MORE to select an African American as his running mate, especially after he suggested last week that individuals “ain’t black” if they support Trump. Biden walked it back hours later, saying he was too “cavalier” with the remark, but the pressure has been ramped up with everything that has taken place over the past week.

We want people to not take our votes for granted,” Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarMehdi Hasan gets MSNBC Sunday prime-time show Six ways to visualize a divided America Jamaal Bowman's mother dies of COVID-19: 'I share her legacy with all of you' MORE (D-Minn.) told The Hill. “Those who are closest to the pain should be closest to the solution” (The Hill).




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CONGRESS: The House on Thursday agreed to request a conference with the Senate over a bill to reauthorize three intelligence programs after failing twice this week to advance the measure. The 282-122 vote allows negotiations between the House and Senate to begin as Congress tries to reach a deal to adjust the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Senators voted 80-16 in mid-May to reauthorize lapsed provisions of the law and also revise some aspects of how it is used inside the Justice Department and the FBI (The Hill). 

Leading the negotiations for the House: Reps. Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Democrats demand Saudi accountability over Khashoggi killing US intel: Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing MORE (D-Calif.) and Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesNunes lawsuit against CNN thrown out Sunday shows preview: New COVID-19 variants spread in US; Redditors shake Wall Street with Gamestop stock GOP group launches billboard campaign urging Cruz, Hawley to resign MORE (R-Calif.), the top members of the House Intelligence Committee; Jerrold NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerHouse Judiciary split on how to address domestic extremism George Floyd police reform bill reintroduced in House Nadler presses DOJ to prosecute all involved in Capitol riot MORE (D-N.Y.) and Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanThe Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Divided House on full display Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House MORE (R-Ohio), the top members of the Judiciary Committee; and Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenCurator estimates Capitol art damage from mob totals K Architect of the Capitol considering display on Jan. 6 riot Lawmakers say they are 'targets,' ask to boost security MORE (D-Calif.), who has been at the center of the months-long debate (Schiff and Lofgren are pictured below). 

Bottom line: Don't expect a deal to be struck any time soon.



The House on Thursday overwhelmingly approved legislation that would relax the terms of the Paycheck Protection Program enacted in March to help small businesses, allowing companies 24 weeks instead of eight weeks to use the loans. The House extended the period of eligibility to apply for funds under the pandemic relief program from June 30 to Dec. 31. Without congressional action, that eight-week period is set to begin expiring within a few days. The measure’s fate is uncertain in the Senate, where a bipartisan group last week unveiled revisions that include a shorter, 16-week time period for spending the loan funds (The Hill and The New York Times).

Senators continue to suggest another round of coronavirus relief funding would be smaller than the House-passed price tag of $3 trillion, and will depend on the outlook for the economy as more states begin to ease stay-at-home restrictions. Economists do not disagree about the depth of the current recession, but are divided about how robust and rapid a recovery may be — whenever it begins. Senate Democrats differ from their House colleagues about backing another round of direct payouts to Americans as stimulus because of interest in competing, specific needs and hesitations about costs (The Hill).  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTrump at CPAC foments 2022 GOP primary wars Hawley gets boisterous ovation at CPAC for Electoral College objection   Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-Ky.) said on Thursday in his home state that the total costs of such legislation will be discussed “a month from now,” adding, “We’ll take a look at how things are going and be able to make a more intelligent decision than a grab-bag of $3 trillion that [the House] threw together.”  

The Washington Post: The White House Council of Economic Advisers, in an unusual move, has decided it will not make public its updated economic projections, as is customary each summer, citing the current volatility in the economy. 

Republican lawmakers and the president predict a vigorous rebound in employment and productivity before the November elections, which they hope could persuade voters to stay the course in the White House and the Senate. Analysts from both parties concur that the economic picture by the fall will brighten, depending on the spread of the coronavirus and prospects for an effective vaccine.   


WHITE HOUSE: Trump, with an Oval Office flourish and Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMajority of Republicans say 2020 election was invalid: poll Biden administration withdraws from Connecticut transgender athlete case Justice Department renews investigation into George Floyd's death: report MORE by his side, on Thursday said he signed an order to strengthen the government’s power to regulate social media platforms, a marked escalation of his lengthy feud with Twitter, Facebook and Google over allegations of anti-conservative bias. 

Trump is eyeing Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a law that gives social media platforms legal immunity for content posted by third-party users while also giving them cover to make good-faith efforts to moderate their platforms (The Hill).

Legal experts interviewed by numerous news organizations on Thursday were skeptical that Trump’s ire aimed at Twitter’s decision to fact-check two of his tweets will have any practical effect on the tech giants, which offer him platforms to communicate with supporters.

Legal observers interviewed by NPR and Bloomberg TV, for instance, described the president’s order as politically motivated, arguing it does not change existing federal law and will have no bearing on federal courts. 

The Associated Press: The president continues to claim sweeping powers he does not have.



Meanwhile, Trump said he will soon discuss the U.S. stance with China, mentioning a possible news conference. Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoUS intel: Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi killing Golden statue of Trump at CPAC ridiculed online Five things to watch at CPAC MORE announced that Communist China’s legislative efforts this week to control Hong Kong mean the territory is no longer autonomous from China, potentially opening the door to a legal change in trade and travel ties with the United States. 

Trump could take action against China, now a central feature of his bid for reelection, even as he seeks to maintain friendly ties with President Xi Jinping. The president publicly and repeatedly blames Beijing for the spread of COVID-19 and previously said he was considering a withdrawal from a January trade accord that scaled back some tariffs between the two countries (The Hill).

Former U.S. Ambassador to China Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBottom line Bottom line Bottom line MORE (D) said on Thursday during a Bloomberg TV interview that there is little the United States can do to stop Beijing’s crackdown on Hong Kong.


U.S. & CORONAVIRUS: New research suggests that clues pointing to the coronavirus turned up in city sewage systems about two weeks before the first cases began showing up at hospitals, giving local health departments the chance to sound alarm bells well in advance of a potential surge (The Hill). 

Obesity in the United States is an “Achilles heel” for those with COVID-19 infections and complications, according to a new study published in The Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal. More than a third of the U.S. population is considered obese under body-mass-index measurements, opening the door to serious illness and death from the virus (WBUR). 

Diabetes is another high-risk marker in patients with COVID-19, according to a study in France of more than 1,300 people at 53 hospitals. The study found that 10 percent of diabetics who were hospitalized with the coronavirus died within a week (The New York Times). In the United States, 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5 percent of the population, had diabetes in 2018, according to the American Diabetes Association

Cancer is yet another dangerous combination with the coronavirus, according to two studies published this week. Those with cancer who contracted COVID-19 were much more likely to die within a month than people without cancer who were infected (The Associated Press). The risks: More than 1.6 million new cancers are diagnosed in the United States each year. Several million Americans are in treatment now, and about 20 million in the country are cancer survivors. 

Open-concept offices and workspaces around the country need an overhaul, or at least a physical reassessment, if workers are to return safely to work, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises (The New York Times). 

> Maryland: Catholic church communion in Howard County, Md., teetered on the verge of being banned as a coronavirus precaution, but the order was reversed after objections on Wednesday from the Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore (Catholic News Agency).  

> Georgia: Atlanta’s airport manager on Wednesday told a city council committee that while travel will pick up as stay-at-home orders end around the country, full recovery of lost revenues at the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport could take two to five years (Atlanta Journal-Constitution).

The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!


Trump’s social media executive order is a big mistake, by Henry Olsen, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/36DF21S  

A false dilemma fuels the lockdown wars, by John DelaneyJohn DelaneyCoronavirus Report: The Hill's Steve Clemons interviews Rep. Rodney Davis Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer says Trump right on China but wrong on WHO; CDC issues new guidance for large gatherings The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas says country needs to rethink what 'policing' means; US cases surpass 2 million with no end to pandemic in sight MORE, opinion contributor, The Wall Street Journal. https://on.wsj.com/2TOaXrn



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The House will meet for a pro forma session on Monday at 9 a.m. The full House is out of session next week.    

The Senate will reconvene on Monday at 3 p.m. and resume consideration of John Badalamenti to be United States District Judge for the Middle District of Florida.

The president will receive his intelligence briefing this morning and hold a roundtable with industry executives at 4 p.m. in the State Dining Room to discuss business conditions as commerce resumes. 

Economic indicators: U.S. consumer spending and inflation data for April, to be reported at 8:30 a.m., are expected to show lower consumer spending and an emerging deflationary trend. More than 2 million people in the country filed last week for unemployment benefits, raising the total spanning just 10 weeks to more than 40 million claims, according to Thursday’s report (The Hill).

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➔ What Americans are buying: Consumers are changing their shopping habits to reflect more time spent at home. Out: Beauty products and bread rolls. In: Baking supplies, especially chocolate chips (The Hill). … QVC and HSN are tailoring sales pitches to fit the moment, and aiming at the 85 percent to 90 percent of sales made to female customers. Mike George, president and CEO of Qurate Retail, the parent company for the networks, says he’s seen a “fundamental shift” in customers’ buying habits in recent months. Sales of clothing, accessories and jewelry are down, while sales of cooking, decor, outdoor, health and fitness products have grown, he says (WBUR).



Immigration & DACA: Democrats and Latino-focused outside groups are preparing a political onslaught for the fall against vulnerable Republican senators over the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The Supreme Court is poised to rule soon on whether Trump’s termination of DACA was lawful. If the justices rule with the president, the court’s decision would permit the administration to strip protections for hundreds of thousands of undocumented immigrants currently shielded by the Obama-era program. The decision could ultimately impact a number of Senate seats Democrats are working to flip in states such as Colorado and Arizona, as The Hill’s Julia Manchester and Max Greenwood will report later this morning.

➔ Sports: A pair of top tier European soccer leagues announced on Thursday that they will be returning to the pitch in the coming weeks as sports around the globe attempt returns from coronavirus-induced postponements. The English Premier League announced that the season will resume on June 17, with the hope of completing the remaining schedule by Aug. 1. Meanwhile, Serie A in Italy will make its comeback on June 20. The plans come as La Liga in Spain is planning to return on June 11, while the German Bundisliga did so nearly two weeks ago (ESPN).


And finally …    Congrats to this week’s Morning Report Quiz winners! The SpaceX rocket launch of two NASA astronauts to the International Space Station was rescheduled to take place on Saturday, but that did not stop these trivia masters from weighing in on the subject of U.S. space exploration.

Going 5/5 this week: Daniel Bachhuber, Patrick Kavanagh, Randall S. Patrick, Jo-Anne Sears, Erin Neal, Mike Mullen, Jack Barshay, Allyson Foster, Terry Pflaumer, Margaret Gainer, Norm Roberts, Tim Aiken, Roger Kelton, Tom Chabot, Susan Widmer, Sandy Walters, John Donato, Chuck Schoenenberger, Joel Brill and Mike Roberts. 

They knew that Russia has long provided American astronauts with rocket transportation to and from the International Space Station (for a hefty fee).

Trump wants the United States to return astronauts to the moon by 2024 in order to prepare to launch a U.S. exploratory mission to Mars.

Two NASA astronauts, Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley, selected for the SpaceX crewed flight that may happen on Saturday, have in common marriage to astronauts, military rank as colonels, experience as test pilots and both are veterans of space shuttle flights. The correct answer: “all of the above.”

Elon MuskElon Reeve MuskThe cold truth on energy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Senate ref axes minimum wage, House votes today on relief bill Tesla temporarily halting some production in California: report MORE’s SpaceX has been in a space-race rivalry for years with Boeing (Musk is pictured below with Behnken and Hurley).

American businessman Dennis Tito, the first U.S. tourist in space (who spent nearly eight days on the International Space Station), reportedly paid $20 million for the adventure.