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Friday, Jun 05th

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Trump's chief of staff for two years says he agrees that Trump is bad for the country

John Kelly: I agree with Gen. Mattis

President Trump's longest serving chief of staff had some choice words his former boss' performance and character on Friday morning.

"I would agree that [the constitution] is always being stressed when public officials ... are coming close to the edge of the rule of law," Kelly said, adding he agrees with former Secretary of Defense James Mattis' blistering assessment of Trump doing active harm to the country.

"I would have argued against it," Kelly said of Trump having peaceful protesters cleared away from the White House perimeter with tear gas so he could do a photo-op at St. John's Church.

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Anti-lynching bill stalls in Senate as emotions run high

Anti-lynching bill stalls in SenateA Senate impasse over a widely backed bill to designate lynching as a federal hate crime boiled over on Thursday in an emotional debate cast against a backdrop of widespread protests over police treatment of African Americans.

Raw feelings were evident as Sen. Rand Paul — who is single-handedly holding up the bill despite letting it pass last year — sought changes to the legislation as a condition of allowing it to pass.

But the Senate’s two black Democrats, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, protested, saying the measure should pass as is. The debate occurred as a memorial service was taking place for George Floyd, a Minneapolis man who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes, sparking the protests that have convulsed the nation.

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Gen. John Allen: A Moment of National Shame and Peril—and Hope

Gen John AllenThe slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020. Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.

The president of the United States stood in the Rose Garden of the White House on Monday, railed against weak governors and mayors who were not doing enough, in his mind, to control the unrest and the rioters in their cities, and threatened to deploy the U.S. military against American citizens. It was a stunning moment. But, in particular, it was notable for three important reasons.

First, Donald Trump expressed only the barest of condolences at the murder of George Floyd, but he also said nothing about the fundamental and underlying reasons for the unrest: systemic racism and inequality, a historic absence of respect, and a denial of justice. All of these factors are centuries old and deeply engrained in an American society that systematically delivers white privilege at the expense of people of color.

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Esper orders hundreds of troops from 82nd Airborne home from D.C. area

Esper orders hundreds of troops home

Defense Secretary Mark Esper has ordered home several hundred active-duty troops from the 82nd Airborne Division who were brought to the national capital region to respond to protests if needed, a defense official told POLITICO.

This is the second time this week Esper has ordered the troops to head home. Earlier this week, Esper put multiple active-duty Army units on alert in the D.C. area as a "prudent planning measure" to support local law enforcement dealing with civil unrest. He initially ordered them home on Wednesday, but reversed course later in the day and planned to keep them in the area for another 24 hours.

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Ukraine found no evidence against Hunter Biden in case audit: former top prosecutor

Ukraine prosecutor generalAn audit of thousands of old case files by Ukrainian prosecutors found no evidence of wrongdoing on the part of Hunter Biden, the former prosecutor general, who had launched the audit, told Reuters.

Ruslan Ryaboshapka was in the spotlight last year as the man who would decide whether to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, in what became a key issue in the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

President Volodymyr Zelenskiy described Ryaboshapka as “100 percent my person” on a call in July 2019 in which Trump asked Zelenskiy to investigate Biden, the man who became his main rival in the 2020 presidential race.

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Special Report: How union, Supreme Court shield Minneapolis cops

Minneappolis police protected by unions, SCLong before the death of George Floyd last week, efforts to overhaul the way policing is done in Minneapolis repeatedly fizzled in the face of a powerful 800-member union that championed military-style police tactics.

The union’s labor contract with the city is a formidable roadblock to citizens seeking disciplinary action after aggressive encounters with police. Led by Lieutenant Bob Kroll, the union’s vocal and hard-charging president for five years, officers rarely face sanctions, Reuters has found.

A Reuters analysis of complaints against Minneapolis police officers from the past eight years shows that 9 of every 10 accusations of misconduct were resolved without punishment or intervention aimed at changing an officer’s behavior. The analysis covers about 3,000 complaints during that period; five officers were fired.

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Knife attack on NYPD officers may have terror link, sources say

NYPD officers attacked; terror link probed

The stabbing happened at around 11:45 p.m. Two officers were assigned to an anti-looting post. Surveillance video shows a man "walk up to the officers casually, take out a knife and stab one of the officers in the neck," Shea said.

About a block away, a police sergeant and officer heard gunfire, responded and found the suspect with what investigators believe was a gun from one of the officers, Shea said, adding that the information was preliminary.

Multiple body camera video shows "an extremely chaotic, rapid situation that is dark" and police were still establishing what exactly occurred, but 22 shell casings have been found and it is thought a number of officers fired, he said.

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Massive Robert E. Lee Statue In Richmond, Va., Will Be Removed

RE Lee statue to come down in Richmond

Virginia will remove a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in the city of Richmond "as soon as possible," Gov. Ralph Northam announced Thursday.

"Today, we're here to be honest about our past and talk about our future," Northam said, adding: "We have to confront where we've been in order to shape where we're going."

The statue will be placed into storage, where it will remain until government leaders and the community can discuss its future, according to the governor.

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Men wearing Hawaiian shirts and carrying guns add a volatile new element to protests

Boogaloo Bois at protests

A Tampa television reporter was broadcasting live from protests last weekend when two young men in Hawaiian shirts moved in front of the camera and began chanting the name of an obscure white nationalist group, drowning out protesters shouting “No Justice, No Peace!”

The incident was one of a growing number in which far-right extremists who once organized mainly online have been inserting themselves into the real-world protests roiling much of the nation, sowing confusion about the nature of the protests and seeking attention for their causes.

They’ve appeared, sometimes carrying assault rifles, at protests in Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, Dallas, Atlanta, Philadelphia and dozens of other cities, often wearing Hawaiian shirts — a seemingly goofy uniform that, within the ranks of their movement, signals adherence to a violent, divisive, anti-government ideology.

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