The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US

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Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. It is Monday. 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, 104,383.


“For … those in positions of public trust, I have this message: Yours is the duty to bring about a peaceful change in America. If your response to these tragic events is only ‘business as usual’ — you invite not only disaster, but dishonor.” — President Lyndon Johnson, address to the nation, July 27, 1967

The nation begins June with the lifting of overnight curfews in multiple cities this morning, accompanied by coast-to-coast calls for racial justice and leadership.


The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis a week ago under the knee of a white police officer who is now in custody ignited emotional demonstrations that erupted over the weekend into violence, property losses, looting and National Guard deployments.


President TrumpDonald TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit MORE, who urged calm during public remarks on Saturday, spent Sunday unseen inside a fortified White House, and heard only on Twitter. There are no public events on Trump’s official schedule today.


While tensions escalate, allies have urged Trump to address the nation, as his predecessors did during previous eruptions of racial tension, protests about discriminatory policing and national crises. The president’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, echoed the president’s tweets on Sunday during a TV interview by blaming left-wing “antifa,” a sweeping term for “anti-fascists,” for stirring destructive protests. Trump tweeted he would designate antifa a terrorist organization, a remark seen by many as inflammatory and divisive in the context of the president’s past sensitivities about white nationalists (CNN and The Hill).


Trump fueled political divides by referencing his White House opponent, former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenAzar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments House Democrats introduce measures to oppose Trump's bomb sale to Saudis On The Money: Retail sales drop in latest sign of weakening economy | Fast-food workers strike for minimum wage | US officials raise concerns over Mexico's handling of energy permits MORE, in a tweet about unrest in Pennsylvania:


“Law & Order in Philadelphia, NOW! They are looting stores. Call in our great National Guard like they FINALLY did (thank you President Trump) last night in Minneapolis. Is this what voters want with Sleepy Joe? All Dems!” 


“Get tough Democrat Mayors and Governors. These people are ANARCHISTS. Call in our National Guard NOW. The World is watching and laughing at you and Sleepy Joe. Is this what America wants? NO!!!”


The Hill: City leaders, lawmakers urge Trump to tamp down rhetoric as protests rage across the nation. 


The Washington Post: As cities burned, Trump stayed silent — other than tweeting fuel on the fire.


Peter Baker & Maggie Haberman, The New York Times: As protests and violence spill over, Trump shrinks back.


Axios: Trump privately scolded, warned by allies.


In the nation’s capital, violent protests went on for the third consecutive night in the areas surrounding the White House and throughout the downtown area. Demonstrators set fire to the basement of St. John’s Episcopal Church, which has graced Lafayette Park for more than 200 years, and continued to loot businesses as the city blew past the 11 p.m. curfew (The Washington Post).


The situation was similar across the country. In Philadelphia, businesses shut down across the city to comply with the 6 p.m. curfew Mayor Jim Kenney instituted, with government offices closed on Monday and the city’s public transit system altered significantly. Tellingly, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) indicated that the city may not move into the “yellow” phase and wind down months-long restrictions stemming from the coronavirus outbreak due to the weekend’s events (The Philadelphia Inquirer).


The Associated Press: United States heads into a new week shaken by violence and pandemic.


Reuters: Protesters rallied Sunday in London, Berlin over George Floyd’s death.


Photos from the wave of protests: The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times.


The Associated Press: Echoes of 1968, and other years.


The New York Times: A reporter’s cry on live TV: “I’m getting shot! I’m getting shot!” Journalists find themselves targeted by demonstrators and the police during the U.S. events they are covering.


The Associated Press: “We’re sick of it”: Anger over police killings shatters the United States.


The Hill: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) on Sunday imposed a statewide 8 p.m. curfew for one week amid protests. 


Los Angeles Times: Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice HahnJanice Kay HahnHispanic Democrats build capital with big primary wins Los Angeles County, city to end curfew The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump tweets as tensions escalate across US MORE (D) announced a curfew from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m today.


Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help Pelosi suggests criminal charges for any lawmaker who helped with Capitol riot Pelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate MORE (D-Calif.) told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday that the House is considering action on multiple pieces of legislation in response to the killings and protests, including proposals to ban chokeholds and police from putting knees to the neck on subjects, and launch commission studying the social status of black men and boys. 


“The list goes on. There are many,” Pelosi said of potential legislation Congress could take up in the aftermath. 


Fox News: Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottMcConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump McConnell won't reprise role as chief Trump defender GOP Sen. Tim Scott opposes impeaching Trump MORE (R-S.C.), speaking about a conversation on Saturday with Trump about the president’s communications : “Well, those are not constructive tweets, without any question.” 


The Atlantic: Rep. Joyce BeattyJoyce Birdson BeattyLobbying world Feds investigating after Ohio man fatally shot by deputy The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Mastercard - Congress inches closer to virus relief deal MORE (D-Ohio) was pepper sprayed by police in Columbus over the weekend.





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CONGRESS: The Senate will return to Washington this week as the president continues to exert his will over GOP lawmakers, with the House’s decision to withdraw a vote to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) serving as a prime example. The House won’t be back in session until later in June.


The bill passed overwhelmingly in the Senate and was expected to do so in the House before Trump urged the GOP to oppose it, tanking the bill as the legislation also scared off some Democrats. 


As Alexander Bolton writes, his influence has also been seen in the upper chamber as the Senate Judiciary Committee moves aggressively to investigate the origins of the FBI investigation of Trump’s 2016 campaign, Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine and the prosecution of Michael Flynn, the short-lived national security adviser. 


While Republicans have shown little interest in probing these subjects, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Additional airlines ban guns on flights to DC ahead of inauguration MORE (R-S.C.) and others are moving forward almost solely because of the president. Graham announced before the Memorial Day recess that the panel will vote this month to authorize a subpoena requesting testimony and information from a number of key Obama-era figures, including former FBI Director James ComeyJames Brien ComeyComey: Biden should consider pardoning Trump Comey: 'Greatest punishment' for Trump after Capitol riot is to 'move past' his presidency Comey argues Trump shouldn't be prosecuted after leaving Oval Office MORE, former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperThe biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community The new marshmallow media in the Biden era MORE and former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanThe biggest example of media malfeasance in 2020 is... Meet Biden's pick to lead the US intelligence community Sunday shows: Health officials anticipate vaccine distribution, warn of worsening pandemic MORE.


On the campaign side, Trump also found himself in a public back-and-forth with former Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRosenstein: Zero tolerance immigration policy 'never should have been proposed or implemented' Sessions, top DOJ officials knew 'zero tolerance' would separate families, watchdog finds Sen. Hawley tramples the 2020 vote in his run to 2024 MORE, bashing his former ally as he urged Alabamans to support former Auburn football coach Tommy Tuberville in the July primary. 


The Hill: House pushes back schedule to pass spending bills.


> Big Tech: Republicans have found themselves at odds with one another over the president’s executive order to hand the federal government increased powers to regulate social media giants. 


The gulf had been growing on the topic for years, but it burst into the open last week when the president issued the order after Twitter added a fact check to a tweet about mail-in balloting and decided to add them to a number of other tweets.


 As The Hill’s Jonathan Easley writes, Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz, Cornyn to attend Biden inauguration For platform regulation Congress should use a European cheat sheet Former GOP congressman says he's leaving party: 'This has become a cult' MORE (R-Texas) and Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeRepublicans wrestle over removing Trump Lawmakers, leaders offer condolences following the death of Capitol Police officer GOP senators urging Trump officials to not resign after Capitol chaos MORE (R-Utah), two friends and close allies on most topics, have personified the battle. Cruz, long a critic of tech giants and their influence, lauded the move as he believes many social media companies have stifled the point-of-view of conservatives on their respective platforms. 


Meanwhile, Lee opposed Trump’s maneuver, calling it a “terrible precedent” and a “very dangerous, slippery slope” that he believes will certainly be abused by future administrations in a push to regulate political speech.





> CARES 2: With the Senate back in session, chatter is set to increase as lawmakers work toward another coronavirus relief package.


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPelosi mum on when House will send impeachment article to Senate Democratic senator: COVID-19 relief is priority over impeachment trial The Hill's Morning Report - Biden asks Congress to expand largest relief response in U.S. history MORE (R-Ky.) indicated while back in Kentucky last week that talk would increase in the coming weeks on another package, and one topic lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are pushing for in any deal is expanding a tax credit for businesses that retain workers. 


For much of the pandemic, certain businesses have been eligible to take advantage of a refundable payroll tax credit of up to $5,000 per employee for wages and health care benefits paid through the end of the year. According to The Hill’s Naomi Jagoda, lawmakers have started offering proposals to increase the amount of the credit and make other changes in an effort to keep more workers connected to their employers for inclusion in a CARES 2 package.


The Wall Street Journal: Democrats stick with tax-rise policies as they make plans for 2021 majority.


Politico: McConnell and Pelosi's next battle: How to help the 40 million unemployed. 




POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: Presidential politics are in uncharted territory just five months before Election Day, buffeted by a deadly virus, the worst unemployment in nearly a century, race-fueled clashes in major cities, and two contenders in their 70s hobbled by unfavorable ratings and precautions that keep them from traditional barnstorming.


Biden — who says he entered the race because of disgust with Trump’s reaction to white nationalists and violent demonstrations in Charlottesville, Va., in 2017 — appeared in downtown Wilmington, Del., on Sunday, where he visited the site of Saturday’s protests and viewed damaged businesses. In a photo posted to Instagram, Biden, wearing a mask, kneeled to speak with an African American man with a child, both of whom also wore masks (The New York Times).


The presumptive Democratic nominee turned to themes of unity and equality. “We are a nation furious at injustice,” he said in a statement. “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us” (Reuters).


The New York Times: Black Americans have a message for Democrats: Not being Trump is not enough.


Karen Tumulty: Trump said not a word to soothe a smoldering country. It’s time for Biden to step up.


A new poll, completed before demonstrators faced off against police over the weekend, offers each candidate glimmers of hope. An Washington Post-ABC News survey released Sunday found that 53 percent of registered voters favor Biden in a head-to-head match-up against Trump, while 43 percent support the president. The 10-point lead represents a significant improvement for Biden from a Post-ABC News poll released in March, which found the former vice president in a statistical tie with Trump (The Hill).


On the other hand, Trump leads Biden in the battleground states the president won in 2016, according to the same Post-ABC poll (Bloomberg News).


The New York Times: In seeking to hold Michigan, Trump can be his own worst enemy.


Politico: Minnesota is the most volatile swing state. The longtime Democratic presidential stronghold that Trump nearly won in 2016 has suddenly become ground zero in a campaign that already promised to inflame racial and cultural divides.


The New York Times: Tara Reade's tumultuous journey to the 2020 campaign.


> Tuesday is primary election day in eight locations: Indiana, Maryland, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Washington, D.C. The Hill’s Julia Manchester describes the races to watch this week (The Hill).  


Montana barrels toward a blockbuster Senate fight (The Hill). The race there between popular two-term Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockBiden's identity politics do a disservice to his nominees Senate Democrat: Party's message to rural voters is 'really flawed' Ducey to lead Republican governors MORE (D) and first-term Sen. Steve DainesSteven (Steve) David DainesMcConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time McConnell says he's undecided on whether to vote to convict Trump Member of Senate GOP leadership: Impeaching Trump 'not going to happen' MORE (R) could help determine control of the upper chamber (The Hill).


In New Mexico, former CIA officer Valerie Plame is having a challenging time trying to fight her way back to Washington, reports journalist Nina Burleigh (GEN/Medium). She is in a neck and neck primary race with Teresa Leger Fernandez (HuffPost).


U.S. & CORONAVIRUS: The protests and riots across the country garnered the lion’s share of attention this weekend, but they have also brought about new fears about potential spikes in coronavirus cases across U.S. cities as the nation reopens.  


Governors, mayors and health experts are worried that days of protests in some of the nation’s largest cities could harm progress made in the battle to slow the spread of COVID-19. While some are wearing masks to protest, many are not as they chant, sing, or shout at these massive events. 


“There’s no question that, when you put hundreds or thousands of people together in close proximity, when we have got this virus all over the streets ... it’s not healthy,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R) told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “Two weeks from now across America, we’re going to find out whether or not this gives us a spike and drives the numbers back up again or not.”


The Associated Press: Massive U.S. protests raise fears of new coronavirus outbreaks.


The Washington Post: For Trump, May was a month of distractions, grievances as the nation marked a bleak milestone.


The Associated Press: Restarts for auto manufacturers have been slowed by workers sickened by COVID-19 and supply chain problems.


Meanwhile on the vaccine front, the U.S.’s rapid push to have an effective and widespread vaccine by the end of the year has come under fire from anti-vaccine activists as they continue to lob conspiracy theories about the safety of the potential remedy. 


“Operation Warp Speed,” the administration’s effort to make 300 million vaccine doses available by January, has become the target of the anti-vaccine crowd. Public health experts are warning that the effort by the Trump administration can be used in the coming months by anti-vaccination activists to spread misinformation because it plays to arguments they are already making: Vaccines are being rushed without enough attention to all of their effects (The Hill).


> COVID-19 effects: The novel coronavirus could have effects on individuals long after they recover from their initial infection.


As The Hill’s Reid Wilson writes, COVID-19 may have lingering effects, known as sequelae in the medical community. According to early studies, the virus was found to cause decreased lung function that might not be reversible and damage the heart, kidneys, gut or liver. 


Experts say it is not unusual for diseases to have lasting impacts on those who contract them. Studies following the Ebola outbreak in West Africa found a significant number of survivors suffered from eye trouble or severe arthritis. Other diseases that cause pneumonia can cause permanent damage to the respiratory system. Another coronavirus, SARS, caused sustained lung damage even after patients recovered. 


"Most of the sequelae that we're seeing are the same types of sequelae that we see with any cause of pneumonia," said Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. "We have a lot of information on other coronaviruses and the disease spectrum they cause."


> Masks: At the beach in Ocean City, Md., many visitors are unwilling to comply with requests that face masks be worn everywhere but outdoors, if physical distancing is possible. “They’re just doing whatever they want,” one (maskless) lifeguard observed (The New York Times).




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!


Destructive Power of Despair, by Charles M. Blow, columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2Xn6NbO 


The case against riots, by Ross Douthat, columnist, The New York Times. https://nyti.ms/2Be9gwI  


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The House will meet for a pro forma session at 9 a.m. The full House is out of session this week. The House Committee on Homeland Security will hold a live streamed hearing on “Election Security and Integrity During a Pandemic” at 3 p.m. 


The Senate will convene at 3 p.m. and resume consideration of Drew Tipton to be a judge with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas.


The president will meet in the Oval Office at 10:30 a.m. with Attorney General William BarrBill BarrActing attorney general condemns Capitol riots, warns 'no tolerance' for violence at Biden inauguration Barr, White House counsel told Trump not to self-pardon: report Trump condemns riots, says he will focus on transition in taped remarks MORE. Trump will host a video teleconference at 11 a.m. with governors, law enforcement and national security officials to discuss keeping communities “safe.” The president will have lunch at 12:30 p.m. with Vice President Pence.


The Hill’s Coronavirus Report has updates and exclusive video interviews with policymakers emailed each day. Sign up HERE!


Hill.TV’s “Rising” program features news and interviews at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10:30 a.m. ET at Rising on YouTube.


U.S. astronauts: 250 miles above Earth, NASA’s Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken docked SpaceX’s Dragon capsule with the International Space Station on Sunday, opening a new door to private, commercial space travel. It was the first U.S. crew flown to the space station from U.S. soil and the first successful ferrying of astronauts by SpaceX. A date for a return flight for Hurley and Behnken has not yet been scheduled (The Washington Post and The Atlantic).  


The Hill’s Morning Report gives a shout out to additional players who won last week’s quiz about U.S. space exploration: Tim Burrack, Tom Werkema and Candi Cee. (Applauding ALL the puzzle masters!)





International: Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope Francis gets COVID-19 vaccine Pope says the 'movement' of violence at the Capitol must be condemned Feehery: The great schism MORE addressed a crowd in St. Peter’s Square for the first time since the lockdown was implemented across Italy and implored onlookers to avoid pessimism amid the pandemic. Instead of the square being packed as it was pre-coronavirus, only a smattering if people were in attendance and socially distanced (The Associated Press). … An outdoor courtyard known as the forecourt at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris is being reopened for the first time since last April’s fire. The cathedral remains closed and will be for several years, but the forecourt, now cleaned of toxic lead dust, is accessible to visitors (The Associated Press). 


➔ State watch & ambitious journalism: The News & Observer based in Charlotte, N.C., spent six months listening to the concerns of North Carolinians in 100 counties. It sent reporters, videographers and still photographers around a state (population 10.5 million people) to get some up-close coverage. The result is “Journey Across the 100,” which the editors describe as an “interactive video listening tour that focuses on regular people and what’s on their minds as the 2020 election approaches. Collectively, these 101 videos create a detailed political portrait of a complex state in a time of transition.” Check it out HERE.


And finally …  It is abundantly clear people around the country have a lot to say, and a lot of ways to say it. We want to focus for a minute on the visually humble as well as the majestic. Amateur chalk art as well as professional murals have been trending for a few months, offering tributes, entertainment, inspiration and admonitions (TheMindCircle; CBS News; The Globe).


Some examples: