• 🔥 Daily Damage Report.

  • 🌍 Global: Total confirmed cases ~4,966,000; Total deaths: ~326,000; Total recoveries: ~1,875,000. (Johns Hopkins University)

  • 🇺🇸 U.S.: Total confirmed cases ~1,541,000; Total deaths: ~93,100; Total recoveries: ~289,000

  • 💰 Markets: Dow 📈; S&P 500 📈; Nasdaq 📈

  • More than 100,000 coronavirus cases were reported to the World Health Organization in the last 24 hours – “the most in a single day since the outbreak began.” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added: “We still have a long way to go in this pandemic.” (NBC News / CNBC)

  • All 50 states have now taken steps to reopen. Many began to reopen despite not meeting White House guidelines for progress against the virus, and newly reported cases have been increasing in some states, including Texas and Minnesota, that are moving to ease restrictions. Public health officials, meanwhile, warn that moving too fast could risk more outbreaks. (Wall Street Journal / New York Times)

  • Black Americans are dying of coronavirus at a rate three times higher than that of white Americans, according to a new report. More than 20,000 African Americans have already died from the virus. (The Guardian)

  • 💻 Live blogs: New York Times / Washington Post / Wall Street Journal / The Guardian / CNBC / NBC News / CNN


1/ Trump threatened to “hold up” federal funds for Michigan and Nevada because they are expanding mail-in voting to make it easier to vote during the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, set off by an announcement by Michigan’s secretary of state to send absentee ballot applications to every voter in the state, tweeted that Jocelyn Benson had gone “rogue” and sent absentee ballots “illegally and without authorization […] I will ask to hold up funding to Michigan if they want to go down this Voter Fraud path!” Trump later deleted the tweet but sent a similar one that said “absentee ballot applications” without noting mistake. Trump made a similar threat to Nevada, claiming the state had created “a great Voter Fraud scenario” and adding “If they do, ‘I think’ I can hold up funds to the State.” Nevada is mailing absentee ballots to all registered voters for the state’s June 9 primary — an all-mail election — and Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Republican, has closed nearly all of the state’s in-person polling places for the primary. Both Michigan and Nevada have requested emergency funding from the Election Assistance Commission to prepare for holding an election during a pandemic. (Associated Press / NPR / Politico / Washington Post / New York Times / The Guardian / Reuters)

2/ The CDC released its reopening guidance that the White House had shelved. The 60-page document provides detailed guidance for schools, businesses, transit systems, and other industries to safely reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. CDC officials, meanwhile, say their early efforts to coordinate a response to the COVID-19 pandemic were sidelined by a White House driven by politics rather than science. As one current CDC official said: “We’ve been muzzled. [….] if we would have acted earlier on what we knew and recommended, we would have saved lives and money.” (New York Times / CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1204: The Trump administration refused to issue CDC guidelines drafted to give states and business owners detailed instructions on how to safely reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic, calling the guidance “overly prescriptive.” The 17-page report, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” was researched and written to help from faith leaders, business owners, educators, and state and local officials to provide detailed advice for making site-specific decisions related to reopening schools, restaurants, summer camps, churches, day care centers, and other institutions. It was supposed to be published last Friday, but agency scientists were told the guidance “would never see the light of day,” because the Trump administration had already”made clear that each state should open up in a safe and responsible way based on the data and response efforts in those individual states.” Several states, meanwhile, have already moved ahead with reopening despite not meeting the threshold criteria set by the administration’s previously-issued reopening guidelines, which call for a two-week downward trajectory in cases within a 14-day period. (Associated Press / ABC News / New York Times / Axios / CNN / NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 1208: Emails show that top White House officials buried CDC guidance for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic. The document, titled “Guidance for Implementing the Opening Up America Again Framework,” included detailed flow charts aimed at helping business owners, educators, and state and local officials navigate whether to reopen or remain closed. As early as April 10, CDC Director Robert Redfield had emailed the guidance to Trump’s inner circle: Jared Kushner, Kellyanne Conway, Joseph Grogan, assistant to the president for domestic policy, Dr. Deborah Birx, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and other task force members. White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said that the documents had not been approved by Redfield, but the new emails show that Redfield had cleared the guidance. (Associated Press)

3/ The Supreme Court blocked Congress from seeing secret grand jury material from Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump administration and Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election. The court agreed with a request from the Justice Department to put on hold a lower court decision granting the House Judiciary Committee some previously undisclosed material from the investigation. The action increases the chances that the information will remain shielded through the 2020 election. (Wall Street Journal / Washington Post / NBC News / CNN)

  • 📌 Day 1146: A federal appeals court granted House Democrats permission to access grand jury material from Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. The Justice Department must now give lawmakers access to all the report’s blacked-out words, phrases, sentences, paragraphs, and pages, as well as underlying interviews and memos cited in Mueller’s probe. The lawsuit was filed before the start of the impeachment inquiry, but House lawyers told the court that lawmakers are still trying to determine whether Trump lied in his written responses to questions from Mueller’s investigators. The ruling can be appealed to the full court or to the Supreme Court.

  • 📌 Day 1202: The House Judiciary Committee wants to continue investigating Trump for potentially impeachable offenses related to Robert Mueller’s investigation. In a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the House wrote that “its investigation into President Trump’s misconduct is ongoing” and that material from the grand jury will help it decide whether Trump “committed additional impeachable offenses in obstructing Special Counsel [Robert] Mueller’s investigation and whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.”

  • 📌 Day 1204: The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block the release of secret Robert Mueller grand jury evidence. House Democrats have argued that their investigation into possible misconduct by Trump is ongoing, and that the grand jury material will inform its determination of whether Trump obstructed Mueller’s investigation and whether to recommend new articles of impeachment.

  • 📌 Day 1216: The House Judiciary Committee told the Supreme Court they need Robert Mueller’s secret grand jury materials to determine if there is new evidence of impeachable offenses involving Trump, saying Trump “did not cease with the conclusion of the impeachment trial.”

4/ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to be interviewed by the State Department inspector general about the Trump administration’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Pompeo instead only provided answers to written questions from Steve Linick, who was fired by Trump last week on Pompeo’s recommendation. Last year, Pompeo declared an “emergency” that allowed the Trump administration to bypass a congressional freeze on $8 billion in arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their war in Yemen. Today, Pompeo defended his push to have his inspector general fired, telling reporters he “should have done it some time ago,” but refused to explain his reasoning for recommending Trump remove Linick from his job. Prior to being fired, Linick had also recently completed up an investigation into two of Pompeo’s top aides, determining that they had likely failed to report allegations of workplace violence. (New York Times / Politico / CNBC / CNN / NBC News)

  • 📌 Day 1215: Trump fired the State Department inspector general, who had opened an investigation into Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Steve Linick was investigating whether Pompeo made a staffer run personal errands for him, including walking his dog, picking up his dry cleaning, and making dinner reservations for him and his wife. Linick was also investigating Pompeo’s decision to bypass Congress and expedite last year’s $8 billion arms sale to Saudi Arabia by declaring an emergency. Pompeo reportedly refused to sit for an interview with Linick as part of the probe. Trump informed Congress of the move in a letter late Friday, saying that he “no longer” had full confidence in Linick. Lawmakers from both parties criticized Linick’s firing, with congressional Democrats launching an investigation to determine whether was an act of illegal retaliation intended to shield Pompeo from accountability. Pompeo, meanwhile, said he recommended that Linick be fired because the independent watchdog was “undermining” the department. Pomepo would not address specifics, except to say it was not in retaliation, because he did not know beforehand that Linick was investigating allegations that he had an aide run personal errands for him. (Politico / NBC News / CNN / New York Times / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / CNBC / Washington Post / NBC News / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News)

  • Democrats are launching an investigation into Trump’s replacement of the Department of Transportation inspector general who was overseeing an ongoing investigation into Transportation Secretary Ellen Chao’s dealings with the state of Kentucky. Trump tapped Howard Elliot to replace Mitch Behm as acting DOT inspector general, making Behm the fifth IG that Trump has ousted in recent months. Behm was overseeing an investigation into whether Chao gave preferential treatment to projects in the state where her husband, Mitch McConnell, serves as U.S. senator. In a letter to Chao and Elliot, lawmakers on the House Oversight and Transportation committees said they are “concerned that Mr. Behm’s removal could be an effort to undermine the progress of this investigation, which we understand is ongoing.” They added: “Any attempt by you or your office to interfere with the Office of Inspector General’s investigation of yourself is illegal and will be thoroughly examined by our Committees.” (Washington Post / Politico / CNN)

5/ Republican political operatives are recruiting “extremely pro-Trump” doctors to go on TV and make the case for reopening the U.S. economy as quickly as possible, according to leaked audio from a May 11 conference call with members of the Trump reelection campaign. The Trump campaign communications director confirmed that the effort to recruit doctors to support reopening the economy without waiting to meet the CDC safety benchmarks. Trump, meanwhile, has ordered his campaign to find a way to get him back on the road and restart rallies to re-energize his base. Trump’s 2020 team is keeping an eye on regional reopenings, where modified campaign activities could soon be permitted. (Associated Press / Politico)

6/ The Trump administration’s purchase of mask-cleaning machines ballooned from $60 million to $600 million after Trump pressured the FDA to waive safety and contracting rules. The machines promised to allow protective masks to be reused up to 20 times, but scientists and nurses say the treated masks begin to degrade after two or three treatments – not 20. The Pentagon put the potential cost to taxpayers at $600 million as a result of awarding the deal without an open bidding process or an actual contract. (NBC News)

7/ The Trump administration awarded a $1.3 billion contract to build 42 miles of border wall to a construction firm backed by Trump. It is the largest border wall contract ever awarded. Trump has repeatedly touted Fisher Sand and Gravel during White House meetings with border officials and military officers. The company’s first and only other federal construction contract was for $400 million and is currently under review by the Defense Department over concerns about undue influence by the White House over the procurement process. The latest contract boasts an average cost of more than $30 million per mile of border wall – more expensive than any of Trump’s other border wall contracts. (Washington Post)


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