}

Virginia Beach shooting kills at least 11


At least 11 people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a municipal building in Virginia Beach, Va., on Friday afternoon. The shooter, who was a public utilities worker, also is dead. “This is the most devastating day in the history of Virginia Beach,” said Mayor Bobby Dyer. “The people involved are our friends, coworkers, neighbor, colleagues.”

Trump: obstructor-in-chief


In one of the documents from Michael Flynn’s case released by the DOJ, was the transcript of a voicemail from Trump’s lawyer John Dowd left for Michael Flynn’s lawyer, Rob Kelner. In the voicemail Dowd is seen trying to pressure Kelner to provide him with information regarding Flynn’s discussions with Special Counsel Mueller. Dowd also presses Kelner to remember the “President and his feelings toward Flynn”.

Turkey backed itself into a tight corner


Turkey made a deal with Russia to buy its S-400 missile system and insists that it will not back out of the deal. As the date to finalize the deal approaches, concerns over the consequences of the decision leave many high-level officials worried, and these worries have even reached as high as President Erdogan himself. Turkey has a lot to lose with this purchase, but through its words and the humiliation of going back on what one said, Turkey has backed itself into a tight corner.

Barr reflects philosophically on death and reputation


In an interview with CBS News, AG Barr said that he is at the end of his career and understands that anyone appointed to the role of Attorney General at this time would lose political capital. While speaking on his tarnished reputation he said, “Everyone dies, and I am not, you know, I don’t believe in the Homeric idea that you know, immortality comes by, you know, having odes sung about you over the centuries.”

Univision recovers censored Maduro interview


Back in February, Univision anchor and journalist, Jorge Ramos, held an interview with Nicolas Maduro. During the contentious interview, Ramos tried giving Maduro a list of political prisoners currently held in Venezuela and also showed Maduro a video of Venezuelans on the street rummaging through trash trying to find something to eat. At that point in the interview, Maduro walked out and his entourage took the memory cards from the cameras. Brave, unnamed insiders eventually gave the video back to Univision.

China continues to militarize islands


Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan noted at a press conference in Singapore that China’s militarization efforts in the South China Sea are “excessive” for protecting Chinese interests. To demonstrate that international law and boundaries will be upheld, the U.S. regularly sails warships in international waters off the Chinese coast.

US reduces forces in Syria


Chris Maier of the Pentagon says that there has been a “measurable decrease” in the number of U.S. forces in Syria. The U.S. appears to be keeping some of its forces in Syria as other coalition partners move more troops in.

‘America First is a fallacy’


In a letter, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador wrote that Trump’s tariffs against Mexico would not solve the issue. In the letter he expressed how his country was already doing as much as they legally could to stem the flow of migrants without violating human rights. Obrador also noted in the letter that “America First is a fallacy.”

Eugene Robinson: What more must Trump do to get himself impeached?


“In myriad ways — beyond those illuminated by Mueller — Trump has disgraced the office of president and sullied the nation’s honor. He’s not a disrupter; he’s a destroyer who tears institutions down and obliterates hallowed ideals with no interest in replacing them — no interest at all, really, except self-interest. The Trump era will end someday, and we’ll all have to account for what we did, or failed to do, to fight for our nation’s soul. Mueller gave our elected representatives in Congress a clear road map for holding Trump accountable. Ten years from now, even one year from now, I wonder what we’ll think of those who decided not to take even the first step.”

Germans urged to wear kippahs in protest against antisemitism


Germans of all faiths and none are being urged to wear kippah skullcaps on Saturday as a symbol of solidarity with the Jewish community, after a steep rise in antisemitic attacks. Earlier this week Angela Merkel said in an interview that antisemitism continued to be a problem in Germany more than seven decades after the end of the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews were murdered by the Nazi regime.

Pompeo comments on reported North Korean execution


The United States is attempting to check on reports that a senior North Korean official involved in Pyongyang’s non-proliferation talks with Washington has been executed, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday. “We’re doing our best to check it out. I don’t have anything else to add to that today.”

Michael Bloomberg: Congress needs to stop Trump on trade


“President Donald Trump’s approach to trade policy had set new benchmarks of incoherence and irresponsibility even before his threat to impose escalating tariffs on imports from Mexico — but this latest maneuver takes the cake. The administration plans to harm businesses north and south of the border, and to impose additional new taxes on U.S. consumers, not to remedy a real or imagined trade grievance but to force Mexico to curb migration to the U.S.”

Pompeo warns Germany on consequences of buying Huawei


Speaking after a meeting with his German counterpart Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday, Pompeo warned that the U.S. might have to withhold data on citizens or on national security if it didn’t have confidence in the networks Germany was using. “They will take their own sovereign decisions, (but we) will speak to them openly about the risks … and in the case of Huawei the concern is it is not possible to mitigate those anywhere inside of a 5G network,” he said.

Haley tests a post-Trump political life


“By remaining a loyal Republican soldier on good terms with the president — a forthcoming memoir is not expected to join the ranks of cutting insider tell-alls — Haley is also something of a test case for independent political life after Trump.”

Dutch hostage in Philippines killed while trying to escape from militants


A Dutch photographer held hostage by Islamic State-linked militants in the Philippines since 2012 was killed on Friday by his captors when he tried to escape during a firefight. The Abu Sayyaf, a small but violent group in the Muslim south of the largely Catholic Philippines, has been known for extortion, kidnappings, beheadings and bombings, and has pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

David Von Drehle: Impeachment is Trump’s best option


“[Trump’s] heading into his reelection campaign minus the trade deal with China that he promised; minus the big infrastructure program that he promised; minus the Mideast peace that he promised; minus the big, beautiful wall that he promised; minus the money from Mexico that he promised; minus the good, clean government that he promised; minus the balanced budget that he promised; minus the revived coal industry that he promised. To win, he needs a villain to blame for these unfulfilled promises, and he is casting impeachment-mad Democrats for the role.”

Anna Sauerbrey: What comes after Angela Merkel?


“Germany carried Europe through the financial crisis, and then the refugee crisis. German leadership had its critics, and its faults, but the Continent would be in a much worse place without it. Now, as it struggles with climate change and an ever-larger threat from the populist right, Europe needs Germany more than ever. But Germany is nowhere to be found.”

Trump jeopardizes trade agreement by threatening Mexico with tariffs


U.S. President Donald Trump said Thursday that an additional tariff on Mexican goods would address what he claimed was a “border crisis” that resulted in America being “invaded by hundreds of thousands of people.” Trump’s threat puts the fate of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA, in serious jeopardy.

National spelling bee ends in historic 8-way tie


The Scripps National Spelling Bee concluded in a record-setting eight-way tie for first place after 20 total rounds. Organizers called the competition after eight competitors had spelled the final 47 words perfectly over five consecutive rounds—and after they ran out of tough words to spell.

Trump’s bestie executes his own officials


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reportedly ordered the execution of several top officials in March after they were unable to reach an agreement with President Trump at a second summit between the two leaders earlier this year. Kim Hyok Chol, North Korea’s special envoy to the U.S., was executed, along with four other foreign ministry officials involved in the Hanoi, Vietnam, summit. A fifth official, Kim’s top deputy, Kim Yong Chol, has reportedly been sentenced to hard labor.

Democratic base fired up over election security


Election security has become an increasingly pivotal issue in the 2020 presidential contest. As the election approaches, voting security groups are trying to rally the public behind an effort to ban Internet connections from U.S. voting machines that could be hacked by Russia and other foreign adversaries. They’re getting significant help from Democrats, who fear Russia might try to deliver the president a second term after the success of its 2016 effort.

The Economist: Will Pelosi impeach?


“The Mueller report has had little impact on public opinion mainly because hardly anyone—even in Congress, according to Amash—has read it. Yet in his frenzied effort to shut down legitimate congressional probes into his affairs, Trump is threatening to re-enact, in plain sight, the obstructive behavior it describes. If that starts to interest marginal voters in impeaching him, expect Pelosi to do so.”

Technology makes voting faster but less secure


Electronic poll books, also known as e-poll books, move the voting check-in process from a big book of names that a poll worker must flip through to a tablet or laptop computer. It’s certainly a lot faster. But unlike with equipment used to cast and count ballots, there are no federal regulations or even voluntary guidelines for how e-poll books need to work or how secure they need to be. And that’s a problem.

Trump to tariff Mexico if flow of migrants doesn’t stop


President Trump threatened on Thursday to impose new tariffs on Mexico if the country does not work harder to stop the flow of migrants to the U.S. Trump said in a White House statement that the first round of tariffs would begin on June 10 at 5% “on all goods imported from Mexico.” Trump would carry out his threat under authority from the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and will lift tariffs only “if the illegal migration crisis is alleviated through effective actions taken by Mexico.”

When bipartisanship happens on Twitter


Wow, who’d have thought something politically positive could happen on social media? And between two stranger bedfellows than Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Republican Sen. Ted Cruz? But it did. The two exchanged messages on Twitter and came to an agreement on potential legislation to bar former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists. And to think some people just use Twitter to rant about hoaxes!

Mary Baker: What does the Mueller report really say?


“Mueller’s team makes it clear that the special counsel never had the freedom to issue an indictment under current DOJ guidelines. So for all those who were hoping that the Mueller report would be a CSI/Law and Order/For The People/Perry Mason moment…sorry to disappoint, but it was never, from the very inception of the special counsel, going to satisfy those hopes. However, the special counsel also makes it clear that they are not a judge and jury, and that the ponderous wheels of justice may continue to roll. The special counsel specifically hints that more may yet to be revealed.”

CA counties to upgrade voting systems


Some good news for election security and expanded voter access in California. Secretary of State Alex Padilla is requiring all counties to update to new, more secure voting systems by 2020. Some local election officials are taking the opportunity to make voting more accessible for people with disabilities as well. Sounds like a win-win for the voters of California.

Peter Grier: The battle over ballots and the future of democracy


“More and more, American electoral politics seems correlated with demographics. The modern Democratic Party is increasingly made up of minorities and young people, and thus has a direct interest in making voting as easy and widespread as possible. Republicans, conversely, are dependent on white people and older voters, demographic groups already more likely to cast ballots. The GOP thus has a direct political incentive to tighten rules and restrict electoral access.”

Bringing new meaning to the term ‘petty officer’


Naval officers were so concerned about hurting the commander-in-chief’s delicate fee-fees during his visit to Japan last weekend that they took steps to ensure that a warship named for a key Trump rival, the late Sen. John McCain, was kept out of his view. A U.S. Indo-Pacific Command official’s emailed instructions ahead of the visit included this directive: “USS John McCain needs to be out of sight.” Worse, officers with USS John McCain insignia on their uniforms were turned away from Trump’s address.