CORONAVIRUS UPDATES… The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. has reached 34,172,290 and the nation’s death toll stands at 609,508, according to figures released last night by Johns Hopkins University… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said yesterday that the Delta variant is now responsible for 83 percent of new cases. The CDC warns that America remains highly vulnerable because only about half of the nation is vaccinated.
TRUMP ALLY ARRESTED… The chairman of former President Donald Trump’s 2017 inaugural fund has been arrested on federal charges for illegally lobbying the Trump administration on behalf of the United Arab Emirates. 74-year-old billionaire real-estate investor Thomas Barrack is accused with two others of “acting and conspiring to act as agents of the UAE in an attempt to influence the policy positions of the Trump administration,” according to the Justice Department. Barrack, a longtime Trump ally, was also charged with obstructing justice and making false statements.
SENATE PANEL TO PROVE CRYTOCURRENCY ROLE IN CYBERCRIMES… Michigan Democratic Senator Gary Peters, who chairs the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, is launching an investigation into the role cryptocurrencies play in encouraging cybercrime. Peters noted in a statement that ransomware attacks increased 150 percent from the previous year in 2020, with more than $412 million in cryptocurrencies paid to cybercriminals. Peters said the investigation will examine the rise in ransomware attacks, how cryptocurrency emboldens cybercriminals and what steps lawmakers and federal regulators can take to disrupt hackers from committing crimes to obtain cryptocurrencies. It will also examine current oversight and regulations into virtual currencies and how to ensure that Americans can safely access and benefit from cryptocurrencies.
DEA AGENT ARRESTED FOR CAPITOL ATTACK ROLE… An off-duty special agent for the Drug Enforcement Agency was arrested yesterday on multiple charges related to his participation in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. Mark Ibrahim of Orange County, California, allegedly carried his government-issued firearm during the insurrection and repeatedly flashed his DEA badge. Court documents said Ibrahim entered restricted grounds outside the Capitol shortly after they’d been breached by the mob and sent photos of himself there to a group chat on WhatsApp that included at least five other law enforcement officers.
WESTERN WILDFIRES… The National Interagency Fire Center said yesterday that fires are burning across 13 states and have charred 1.29 million acres of land. South-central Idaho, Northern California, the northern Rockies and south-central Oregon are among the hardest-hit places. The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon grew by more than 20,000 acres overnight into yesterday and is nearing the 400,000-acre mark, the U.S Forest Service said. The fire is only 30-percent contained and is already large enough to create its own weather.
‘THE GOOD FIGHT’ GETS 6TH SEASON… Paramount+ announced yesterday that it has renewed “The Good Fight” for a sixth season. Christine Baranski stars in the spinoff and sequel to CBS’ “The Good Wife.” Season 5 closed with Baranski’s Diane Lockhart questioning her role as partner at the Black law firm she runs with star Audra McDonald’s Liz Lawrence. Co-stars include Sarah Steele, Michael Boatman, Nyambi Nyambi, Zach Grenier, Charmaine Bingwa and Mandy Patinkin.
WEINSTEIN EXTRADITED… Disgraced Hollywood movie producer Harvey Weinstein has been extradited to California to face 11 charges of sexual assault in Los Angeles County involving five women. Weinstein has been serving a 23-year prison sentence at a maximum-security prison near Buffalo since his conviction last year on first-degree criminal sexual act and third-degree rape charges. In Los Angeles, Weinstein faces four counts of forcible rape, four counts of forcible oral copulation, two counts of sexual battery by restraint and one count of sexual penetration by use of force.
BUCKS CAPTURE NBA TITLE… The Milwaukee Bucks pulled away in the second half to down the Phoenix Suns 105-98 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals and claim the franchise’s second-ever league title, and first in 50 years. They made it four straight wins after dropping the first two games on the road. Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 50 points and brought down 14 rebounds on his way to being named the Finals MVP. Khris Middleton continued his clutch shooting and finished with 17 points. Jrue Holiday had 12 points and 11 assists.
WASHINGTON 6 – Miami 3… Trea Turner singled home a tie-breaking run during a three-run bottom of the sixth inning that gave the Nationals the lead for good in their win over the Marlins. Josh Bell homered to lead off the eighth.
CINCINNATI 4 – N.Y. Mets 3… The Reds got solo homers from Jonathan India, Joey Votto and Aristides Aquino before holding off the Mets. Wade Miley (8-4) allowed two runs on seven hits over 6-1/3 innings. One of the runs was unearned.
ATLANTA 2 – San Diego 1… Freddie Freeman’s solo homer broke a tie in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Braves hung on to edge the Padres. Touki Toussaint (1-0) came off the disabled list and limited San Diego to a run on three hits over 6-2/3 innings.
Chi Cubs 7 – ST. LOUIS 6… The Cubs erupted to score six runs in the top of the ninth inning and upend the Cardinals. Javier Baez singled home two runs and Ian Happ doubled in two more to cap the uprising.
ARIZONA 11 – Pittsburgh 6… The Diamondbacks erased a 5-1 fifth-inning deficit on their way past the Pirates. Josh VanMeter tripled home a run and doubled home two more during an eight-run bottom of the seventh inning. Nick Ahmed and Josh Reddick drove in two runs apiece.
L.A. DODGERS 8 – San Francisco 6… Will Smith cracked a three-run a pinch-hit, walkoff three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift the Dodgers over the Giants after they trailed 6-1. Chris Taylor homered twice and drove in thee runs for L.A., which pulled within one game of San Francisco atop the NL West standings.
OAKLAND 6 – L.A. Angels 0… James Kaprielian (5-3) pitched five-hit ball over six innings and three relievers completed the blanking of the Angels. Matt Olson smacked his 25th homer and singled home a run.
TAMPA BAY 9 – Baltimore 3… Francisco Mejia homered with a runner aboard and legged out a bases-clearing triple in leading the Rays past the Orioles. Randy Arozarena also went deep. Shane McClanahan (4-3) surrendered a run on four hits over five innings.
DETROIT 4 – Texas 1… Tigers starter Tarik Skubal (6-8) held the Rangers to a run on four hits over six innings. Eric Haase hit a game-tying leadoff homer and Jonathan Schoop singled home a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Robbie Grossman homered in the first.
HOUSTON 9 – Cleveland 3… The Astros used a six-run bottom of the fifth inning to put away the Indians. Kyle Tucker blasted a two-run homer between two-run singles by Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley. Luis Garcia (7-5) pitched three-hit ball over six scoreless innings.
CHI. WHITE SOX 9 – Minnesota 5… Jose Abreu’s three-run homer capped a five-run bottom of the eighth inning that carried the White Sox past the Twins. Abreu also opened the scoring with a run-scoring single in the first. Yoan Moncada homered with a runner aboard.
Boston – TORONTO (ppd)… Rain in Buffalo forced postponement of last night’s Red Sox-Blue Jays game. It has been rescheduled for August 7.
Kansas City 5 – MILWAUKEE 2… Ryan O’Hearn connected for a tie-breaking two-run homer in the top of the seventh inning as the Royals got past the Brewers. Jorge Soler also went deep. Mike Minor (7-8) allowed two runs on five hits over six innings. One of the runs was unearned.
N.Y. YANKEES 6 – Philadelphia 4… Brett Gardner, Gary Sanchez, Giancarlo Stanton and Estevan Florial all hit solo homers as the Yankees powered their way past the Phillies.
Seattle 6 – COLORADO 4… Dylan Moore homered with a runner aboard for the Marines. Cal Raleigh and Ty France lined two-run doubles. Marco Gonzales (2-5) gave up two runs on six hits over five innings.
TODAY’S MLB SCHEDULE…
San Diego (Chris Paddack, 5-6; Reiss Knehr, 0-0) is at Atlanta (Kyle Muller, 1-2; Charlie Morton, 8-3) for a doubleheader…
Cincinnati (Jeff Hoffman, 3-4) hosts the N.Y. Mets (Marcus Stroman, 6-8)…
Pittsburgh (Chad Kuhl, 3-5) is at Arizona (Madison Bumgarner, 4-6)…
Washington (Erick Fedde, 4-7) hosts Miami (Sandy Alcantara 5-9)…
the Chi Cubs (Kyle Hendricks, 12-4) are at St. Louis (Adam Wainwright, 7-6)…
the L.A. Dodgers (Julio Urias, 12-3) host San Francisco (Logan Webb, 4-3)
Baltimore (Keegan Akin, 0-5) is at Tampa Bay (Michael Wacha, 2-2)…
Toronto (Robbie Ray, 8-4) hosts Boston (Tanner Houck, 0-2) in Buffalo…
Texas (Jordan Lyles, 5-6) is at Detroit (Matt Manning, 1-3)…
Houston (Lance McCullers, Jr., 7-2) hosts Cleveland (Eli Morgan, 1-3)…
Minnesota (Michael Pineda, 3-5) is at the Chi. White Sox (Dylan Cease, 7-5)
Kansas City (Brad Keller, 6-9) is at Milwaukee (Eric Lauer, 3-4)…
Colorado (Austin Gomber, 6-5) hosts Seattle (TBA)…
Philadelphia (Matt Moore, 0-1) is at the N.Y. Yankees (TBA)