CORONAVIRUS UPDATE… At least 19,788 new coronavirus cases and 600 virus-related deaths were identified in the U.S. yesterday, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University. The number of cases reported in the nation stands at 1,790,191 and the death toll is listed at 104,383. Brazil remains a hotspot for the disease as its 514,000 cases are more than any country outside the U.S.
PROTESTS RAGE… Protests targeting the killings of black people at the hands of police flared across the nation again yesterday, as peaceful demonstrations mixed with pockets of violence. President Trump, who reportedly was taken to a bunker as protests neared the White House, expressed anger at the destruction and announced that the U.S. “will be designating ANTIFA as a Terrorist Organization” despite no evidence that the group is behind the violence. Texas Governor Greg Abbott yesterday declared a state of disaster and ordered thousands of additional troops and more than 1,000 National Guard members to support local law enforcement in Austin, Houston, Dallas and San Antonio. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms announced that two police officers have been fired after a video appeared to show them tasing two protesters and dragging them out of a car on Saturday. Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney ordered all retail stores to close immediately in order to “fully enforce” an 8 p.m. curfew. Former Vice President and current presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden visited the site of Saturday night’s Wilmington, Delaware, protests. “We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us.” he said.
TRUMP WON’T CONTROL NATIONAL GUARD… President Trump will not take the dramatic step for now of seeking control of the National Guard, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien announced yesterday. The National Guard says that it has activated about 5,000 soldiers and airmen in 15 states and the District of Columbia, but that “state and local law enforcement agencies remain responsible for security.” During his appearance on CNN’s “Face the Nation,” O’Brien also attacked the World Health Organization as “corrupt” and vowed that the U.S. could better use its public-health funds.
MINNESOTA AG TAKING OVER GEORGE FLOYD CASE… Minnesota Governor Tim Walz said yesterday that he is turning over the George Floyd case to Attorney General Keith Ellison. The former congressman will assist Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman and the two are expected to begin work today. Floyd’s family had previously requested Ellison take over the case from Freeman. Minneapolis City Council on Saturday asked Walz to appoint Ellison as special prosecutor in this case.
SPACEX CAPSULE ARRIVES AT SPACE STATION… SpaceX yesterday delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Dragon capsule, carrying test pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, pulled up to the station and docked automatically. It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft carried astronauts to the space station in its more than 20 years of existence.
ACTORS CLASH WITH COPS AT PROTESTS… Actors Kendrick Sampson and John Cusack were among those who had contact with police at George Floyd protests over the weekend. Sampson, who stars in the HBO comedy-drama series “Insecure,” said he went to the emergency room after being struck by seven rubber bullets and police batons at a protest in Los Angeles. Cusack tweeted on Saturday that police approached him as he was filming a burning car and struck his bike.
GUNNA TOPS ALBUM CHART… Gunna’s new release, “Wunna,” sold 111,000 copies to top the Billboard 200 album chart. Lil Baby’s “My Turn” jumped into second place with 65,000 units sold. Last week’s champ, Future’s “High Off Life,” dropped to third place on sales of 61,000 copies. The 1975’s “Notes on a Conditional Form” opened in fourth place on sales of 54,000 units. Polo G’s “The Goat” capped the top five with 52,000 copies sold.
MLB PLAYERS ASSOCIATION OFFERS PROPOSAL… The Major League Baseball Players Association yesterday delivered a return-to-play proposal to team owners. According to ESPN, the proposal includes a 114-game season, deferred salaries in the event of a canceled postseason and the option for all players to opt out of a potential 2020 season due to coronavirus concerns. Players rejected a previous plan presented by owners. Both sides are hopeful that an agreement could be in place as early as this week.
JR SMITH PUMMELS VANDAL… A video posted online yesterday shows free-agent NBA guard JR Smith beating up a man who allegedly broke the window of Smith’s truck during the protests in Los Angeles over the weekend. The video shows Smith kicking the man when he is on the ground and then punching him when he gets up and runs away. Smith said he was parked in a residential area and not near any stores where looting took place during the protests.