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ACLU demands special counsel probe into Bill Barr over police assault on protesters: ‘The suspect can’t be the investigator’

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The ACLU is demanding the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate a violent police assault last month on peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators near the White House—a crackdown reportedly ordered by Attorney General William Barr.

“The suspect can’t be the investigator,” the ACLU the tweeted. “We need a full investigation independent of Barr.”

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The group sent a letter (pdf) Tuesday morning urging Barr and other Justice Department officials involved in the law enforcement crackdown to recuse themselves from any investigation into the June 1 incident, which came amid nationwide demonstrations over the police killing of George Floyd.

“On that day, at approximately 6:25 pm, federal and other government forces attacked peaceful protesters and journalists covering the event without warning and unprovoked, used tear gas, flash bang grenades, and rubber bullets to drive the crowd out of the public park they lawfully occupied,” the letter reads.

“These actions were an unconstitutional violation of protesters’ right to speak, assemble, and petition the government under the First Amendment and to remain free of unreasonable seizure under the Fourth Amendment,” the letter continues. “You must take all necessary steps to ensure that you and others involved in the ordering and carrying out of the use of force have no role in the appointment or supervision of the special counsel.”

Barr last month denied ordering law enforcement officials to push back the security perimeter outside the White House to clear the way for President Donald Trump’s walk to St. John’s Church for a photo-op.

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But anonymous Justice Department officials and White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany told the media that Barr personally made the order that resulted in the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators.

“When A.G. Barr came to the White House—I think it was early afternoon—he noticed that it hadn’t been cleared, gave the order for it to be cleared, and that action took place,” McEnany said during a June 3 press briefing.

Kate Ruane, ACLU senior legislative counsel, said in a statement Tuesday that “Barr and other administration officials appear to have criminally conspired to violently attack lawful demonstrators and all signs indicate they have since been engaged in a concerted cover up effort.”

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“History books will certainly remember Bill Barr for the crimes of the Trump administration, but a full, independent investigation now is necessary to hold him and any other officials who may be responsible for this chilling incident accountable today,” said Ruane.


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Trump says there’s been ‘confusion’ — but urges supporters to mask up: ‘We have nothing to lose’

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After months of casting doubt about wearing masks, President Donald Trump on Monday emailed his supporters about the "confusion" on the subject.

"We are all in this together, and while I know there has been some confusion surrounding the usage of face masks, I think it's something we should all try to do when we are not able to be socially distanced from others," Trump wrote in the email, that was posted online by multiple journalists.

I don't love wearing them either. Masks may be good, they may be just okay, or they may be great," the email read.

In the email, Trump referred to COVID-19 as "the China Virus."

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Here’s why the coronavirus spike is especially devastating to rural communities

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The first coronavirus hot spots in the country were densely-populated cities with international ports of entry, like New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle.

But the virus has now penetrated deep into rural areas around the country. And according to Politico, a new study has shed light on the catastrophic problems this has created for rural communities: more than half of U.S. rural communities have no ICU beds, forcing hospitals to transfer patients far away to other facilities that can accommodate severe COVID-19 cases.

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Joy Reid medical expert blasts the president’s lies on coronavirus: ‘Trump needs to stay in his lane’

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MSNBC anchor Joy Reid interviewed Dr. Bernard B. Ashby about the latest coming from the White House on the coronavirus pandemic.

"If, for instance, you did not test for pregnancy, does it mean you are not pregnant?" Reid asked.

Ashby, a cardiologist from Miami, praised the anchor on her new primetime show, "The ReidOut," but did not directly answer the question.

"And in terms of the whole discourse, the fact that I'm having to respond to Trump about clinical medicine is ridiculous," Dr. Ashby explained.

"Trump needs to stay in his lane. Like, we went to medical school for a long time, we did training for a long time to speak on exactly what ... we have the expertise to speak on and the fact that Trump is asserting himself in academic medicine, into clinical medicine is ridiculous," he explained.

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