10 things you need to know today: July 28, 2020

The body of the late Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) was returned to Washington, D.C., to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Monday. The civil rights icon is the first African-American lawmaker to receive the honor. “It is fitting that John Lewis joins this pantheon of patriots, resting upon the same catafalque as President Abraham Lincoln,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at a memorial event. Lewis was a central figure in the fight for civil rights from the 1960s, when he was the youngest speaker at the 1964 March on Washington, through his decades in Congress. He was known for urging young people to get in “good trouble, necessary trouble,” to push for change. Lewis died July 17, just over six months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

Republican lawmakers said Monday that they were proposing in their new $1 trillion coronavirus relief bill to extend weekly emergency unemployment benefits established in the previous CARES Act, but reduce the payments from $600 a week to $200 a week. House Democrats this summer passed a bill seeking to renew the $600 payments, which are set to expire this week, until January while the unemployment rate remains high. The Republican-proposed payments would be temporary, filling the gap until states can implement a Republican-favored approach that involves paying workers 70 percent of the income they earned before losing their jobs due to the pandemic. Trump administration officials said the proposal also would include another round of $1,200 stimulus checks. [Bloomberg, The Washington Post]

The University of Notre Dame has dropped out as host of the first 2020 presidential debate due to coronavirus concerns, the Commission on Presidential Debates said Monday. The event will be co-hosted by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, instead. It will be held in Cleveland on Sept. 29. Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John I. Jenkins, said the necessary health precautions “would have greatly diminished the educational value of hosting the debate on our campus.” Student attendance was going to be restricted, and fewer opportunities to volunteer at the event would have been available. The third debate already had to be moved when the University of Michigan backed out in June. That event has been rescheduled for Oct. 15 in Miami. [Reuters]

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien has tested positive for coronavirus. O’Brien is the highest ranking White House official and the closest to President Trump known to be infected with the virus. He reportedly has been working from home since late last week after contracting the virus following a family event. He had recently been in Europe, meeting with officials in the U.K., France, Germany, and Italy, according to CNN. O’Brien, senior National Security Council staff, and other people close to Trump are tested daily for COVID-19. The U.S. has so far seen a third of the world’s 16 million coronavirus cases and about a quarter of its 650,000 deaths. [Bloomberg, Politico]

Attorney General William Barr plans to defend himself Tuesday against Democrats’ allegations that he has inappropriately intervened in Justice Department cases to protect President Trump. Barr says in his prepared opening statement to the Democrat-controlled House Judiciary Committee that Democrats have tried to “discredit” him for trying to “get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus ‘Russiagate’ scandal.” Barr will be making his first appearance before lawmakers since he intervened in the prosecutions of two Trump allies, reducing a sentencing recommendation for Trump adviser Roger Stone and moving to dismiss charges against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Barr also is expected to face questions about his role in the use of federal agents to crack down on anti-police-brutality protesters. [CNN, The Washington Post]

The Trump administration has begun deploying 100 more federal agents to Portland, Oregon, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing internal U.S. Marshals Service emails. The roughly 100 agents began arriving in Portland on Thursday. The Department of Homeland Security also is considering sending another 50 U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel to the city, where militarized federal agents have clashed with anti-police-brutality protesters outside a federal courthouse. Agents, sometimes reportedly using unmarked vans, have detained protesters. The mayors of Portland; Seattle; Chicago; Kansas City, Missouri; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Washington, D.C., sent a letter to Congress urging it to bar the federal government from deploying more agents. Many city leaders say the federal agents’ actions have only intensified the protests and violent clashes. [The Washington Post]

Brazilian front-line medical professionals on Monday filed a complaint to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, accusing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of committing a crime against humanity by reacting to the coronavirus crisis with “contempt, neglect, and denial.” The South American nation has become one of the world’s COVID-19 hot spots, with more than 87,000 deaths and 2.4 million confirmed infections, more cases than any other country except the United States. More than 150 Catholic bishops in Brazil signed an open letter saying that the Bolsonaro administration was incapable of confronting the “perfect storm” of an “unprecedented health crisis, overwhelming economic collapse” and “tensions” among state institutions, leaving the country facing possible “socioeconomic chaos.” [NPR]

A group of Portland protesters on Monday filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration over its use of force during demonstrations near the city’s federal courthouse. The plaintiffs include Black Lives Matter protesters and the yellow-clad Wall of Moms group that stands between protesters and federal law enforcement officers during nightly protests. They accused the Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Protective Service of violating their constitutional rights, including free speech and the right to assembly, by firing tear gas, rubber bullets, bean bags, and pepper spray at them. The agencies have sent federal agents to protect the courthouse during anti-police-brutality protests in the surrounding streets. [The Washington Post]

Google said Monday that its employees will be allowed to continue working from home until July 2021 or later. The tech giant had previously said most of its employees would work remotely through the end of this year, with some returning to the office quicker. The change suggested that Google is preparing for an extended pandemic. In the memo announcing the news to employees, CEO Sundar Pichai said Google had reopened 42 offices around the world but wanted to give employees “the flexibility you need to balance work with taking care of yourselves and your loved ones over the next 12 months.” The move was the latest sign that tech companies are leading the shift to remote work to reduce the threat of infections during the coronavirus crisis. [CNN]

Major League Baseball announced that games scheduled for Monday night were being postponed after more than a dozen Miami Marlins players and staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. The outbreak left the team stuck in Philadelphia, preventing it from getting back to Florida to play its home opener against Baltimore. The situation also made it impossible for the New York Yankees to play their scheduled game in Philadelphia. Nine members of the Marlins’ 30-player roster were among those infected. The league announced the postponements eight hours before the first pitches were supposed to be thrown. The Phillies’ players will be tested, and the Marlins are “self-quarantining in place,” MLB said in a statement. [The Associated Press]



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