Witnesses on the ground in Louisville yesterday did not see any of the riots that Kentucky Republican and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell spoke of on Capitol Hill this morning.
There were some clashes between protesters and law enforcement, the terrible shooting and injuring of two police officers, and some sporadic damage, per eyewitness accounts. But nothing one constituting rioting.
McConnell said on the floor of the Senate this morning:
“Many Kentuckians have channeled their continuing grief and anger into a peaceful exercise of their First Amendment rights. But in Louisville last night, we saw more of the lawlessness, riots, and violence that has plagued American cities too often this year.”
Meanwhile, Josh Wood reports from Louisville, mayor Greg Fischer spoke earlier about shooting of the two officers last night.
“Violence will only be a source of pain and not a cure for pain. And we know violence is never the answer,” he said.
The city’s interim police chief Robert Schroeder said the two officers who were shot will survive. He said there were 127 protest-related arrests. Schroeder also mentioned there were some sporadic incidents of looting around the city.
Schroeder said the two officers shot last night were Aubrey Gregory, the commander of the department’s special operations division and one of the officers who has been leading protest response efforts. He was shot in the hip and has been released from the hospital. “Some say he may be the bedrock of our protest efforts” he said
The other officer shot was Robinson Desroches, who was wounded in the abdomen and had to undergo surgery. Schroeder described his status as stable.
Police have arrested 26-year-old Larynzo Johnson in the shooting. Schroeder said he is charged with two counts of assault in the first degree and 14 charges of wanton endangerment – all directed against police officers.
FBI director testifies to lack of precedent of national voter fraud effort
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate homeland security committee today, and he was asked about voter fraud in the upcoming election.
Wray told the senators, “We have not seen historically any kind of coordinated national voter fraud effort in a major election, whether it’s by mail or otherwise. We have seen voter fraud at the local level from time to time.”
Wray added that the bureau was still “vigilant” to prevent potential voter fraud, but evidence indicates voter fraud is actually very rare.
The FBI director’s comments come as Trump tries to sow doubts about the legitimacy of the election, claiming voting by mail will be tainted by widespread fraud.
The president has presented no evidence for that claim, and US states have been sending mail-in ballots to voters for decades.
Breonna Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, moments ago made a post on Instagram about her daughter, who was shot dead by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March, with no charges directly relating to her killing having been announced by the authorities yesterday.
The post features a painting of Breonna with the hashtag “#thesystemfailedBreonna” and her mother writes: “It’s still Breonna Taylor for me”.
Fresh protests were expected in Louisville and elsewhere in America today as public anger and sadness continue to ripple out from the stunning announcement yesterday.
You can read the latest details here.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany finished her briefing with one of her traditional “scripted walk-offs” attacking a CNN reporter’s comments about the Breonna Taylor case.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the anti-Trump chants when the president paid his respects to Ruth Bader Ginsburg were “appalling.”
As Trump visited Ginsburg’s casket at the supreme court, the crowd assembled there for the late justice’s public viewing chanted, “Vote him out!”
“Everyone has a First Amendment in this country, but I thought it was an appalling and disrespectful thing to do,” McEnany said, adding that the display was unsurprising in “the heart of the swamp.”
It should be noted that White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Trump would accept the results of “a free and fair election.”
There is a lot of wiggle room in that statement because Trump has repeatedly claimed (without evidence) that the election will be tainted by widespread fraud due to voting by mail.
In reality, voter fraud is very rare, and US states have been sending mail-in ballots to voters for decades.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said she was not aware of a conversation between Trump and the family of Breonna Taylor.
McEnany said the president’s thoughts were with the family of Taylor, who was fatally shot by police in March. A grand jury declined to press charges in direct connection to the shooting yesterday.
White House: ‘The president will accept the results of a free and fair election’
Opening up the briefing to reporters’ questions, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was immediately asked whether Trump would commit to a peaceful transition of power.
McEnany initially quibbled over the question, repeatedly noting it was a Playboy reporter who posed the question to the president yesterday.
McEnany eventually said, “The president will accept the results of a free and fair election.”
Asked specifically whether Trump would accept a loss, McEnany simply repeated that he would accept the results of a fair election.
McEnany holds White House briefing
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany is now holding a briefing, and, as is now standard, she opened it by attacking Democrats.
“The radicals are in control of the Democrat party,” McEnany said at the start of the briefing.
McEnany accused Democrats of working to “shatter norms,” a comment that came one day after Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi has reportedly directed her committee chairs to craft a smaller coronavirus relief package, as negotiations with the White House remain stalled.
Pelosi and House Democratic leaders are meeting this afternoon to decide on what course they will take, said [Democratic] sources.
The move comes after Pelosi refused, for weeks, to consider passing another relief bill amid a lengthy standoff with Republicans and rising demands from centrist Democrats that the House take more action before the election. Putting the bill on the floor would also be a win for Pelosi’s deputy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who has been pushing the idea for weeks. …
Pelosi asked the committee leaders to begin the process of drafting a bill in August but they have been instructed to update the package this week, according to a senior Democratic aide. It’s likely to have a price tag of around $2 trillion.
Pelosi told reporters at her press conference today that she would soon give an update on Democrats’ next steps in the negotiations.
“We’ll be hopefully soon to the table with them, but very soon showing you where our money would be spent,” Pelosi said.
Today so far
Here’s where the day stands so far:
- A man was charged in the shooting of two Louisville police officers during yesterday’s protests, the city’s police chief announced. Louisville erupted in protests after a grand jury announced no charges in direct relation to the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. One officer was indicted for blindly firing into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors.
- Republicans committed to a peaceful transition of power after Trump refused to do so. Republican congressional leaders dismissed any suggestion that the transition would not be peaceful but largely declined to criticize the president. When asked yesterday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition, Trump said, “We’re going to have to see what happens, you know that.”
- Another 870,000 Americans filed new unemployment claims last week, according to new figures released by the labor department. The number represents a slight increase from a week earlier and underscores the ongoing economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic more than six months after it started.
The blog will have more coming up, so stay tuned.
Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell has released a full statement on the grand jury decision in the Breonna Taylor case.
McConnell applauded Kentucky’s attorney general, Daniel Cameron, for conducting “exactly the kind of thorough, impartial investigation that justice demands.”
Cameron attracted criticism yesterday, after he argued the officers who fatally shot Taylor were “justified” in their use of force because Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired off one shot after the officers entered the apartment.
(A 911 call from Walker shortly after the shooting indicates he did not know the shooters were police officers.)
McConnell went on to denounce violence during yesterday’s protests in Louisville following the announcement that no charges were issued in direct relation to the shooting of Taylor. Two police officers were shot during the protests, but the Louisville mayor said today that both officers are doing well.
“Many Kentuckians have channeled their continuing grief and anger into a peaceful exercise of their First Amendment rights. But in Louisville last night, we saw more of the lawlessness, riots, and violence that has plagued American cities too often this year,” McConnell said.
“I hope and expect that our Governor and Mayor will take every necessary step to secure the justice, peace, law, and order that every Kentuckian deserves.”
Joe Biden is directly linking the open supreme court seat to health care, LGBTQ rights and abortion access.
The Biden campaign released a new video compiling news footage after major supreme court decisions on the Affordable Care Act, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and marriage equality.
The video also includes images of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and ends with these words: “She fought for us. Defend her legacy.”
Biden has previously described the supreme court battle as a fight over the future of Americans’ health care.
In a speech Sunday, the Democratic nominee criticized Trump for moving forward with a lawsuit to scrap the ACA in the middle of a global pandemic.
“Health care in this country hangs in the balance before the court,” Biden said. “And now, in a raw political move – this president and the Republican leader have decided to jam a lifetime appointment to the supreme court through the United States Senate.”
House minority leader Kevin McCarthy dismissed concerns about Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power.
“President Trump will peacefully come to be sworn in again. There will be a smooth transition, regardless of the outcome,” the Republican leader said.
Like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, McCarthy declined to criticize Trump for refusing to commit to a peaceful transition.
Instead, the two congressional leaders simply reiterated that the transition after the presidential election will be peaceful and dismissed any suggestion to the contrary.
Man charged in shooting of two officers, Louisville police chief says
A man has been charged in the shooting of two Louisville police officers amid protests over the grand jury decision in the case of Breonna Taylor, the city’s police chief announced at a press conference.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said both of the officers are doing well. One was shot in the leg and has been released from the hospital, and the other was hit in the abdomen and is in stable condition after surgery.
Demonstrators took to the streets of Louisville yesterday, after a grand jury declined to issue charges in connection to the fatal shooting of Taylor.
Instead, one of the officers involved in the shooting was charged only for blindly firing into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors.
Louisville police said earlier today that officers had made 127 arrests since the grand jury decision was announced. A city curfew remains in effect for the next two nights.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power came as “no surprise.”
But the Democratic speaker added she had faith in the American people to make their choice known through their votes.
Asked whether she would consider formally rebuking Trump over the matter, Pelosi said, “I don’t think he’s worth the trouble at this point.”
The speaker argued the best remedy for Trump’s comments was voting him out of office in November.
“The antidote to almost every ailment I have named is the vote,” Pelosi said.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi said justice was denied in the case of Breonna Taylor, after a grand jury declined to charge Louisville police officers for her fatal shooting.
Pelosi described yesterday’s announcement as “heartbreaking” and asked people to imagine if someone they loved was “murdered by the police” and “the charging decision held no one accountable for her death.”
Pelosi said Congress must pass police reform in honor of Taylor and “so many others” who have been killed by officers, including George Floyd and Philando Castile.
A Kentucky grand jury announced yesterday that one Louisville police officer would be charged for blindly firing into the apartment of Taylor’s neighbors. No one was charged for fatally shooting Taylor.
House speaker Nancy Pelosi is now holding her weekly press conference on Capitol Hill.
Pelosi noted that Ruth Bader Ginsburg will be the first woman and the first Jewish person to lie in state at the Capitol.
Ginsburg will lie in state in Statuary Hall on Friday, after two days of lying in repose at the supreme court.