On Sunday night, the Washington Post followed the New York Times’ scoop and said “Russian bounties offered to Taliban-linked militants to kill coalition forces in Afghanistan are believed to have resulted in the deaths of several US service members”.
In response, under fire for alleged treason or gross negligence or both, Donald Trump tweeted: “Intel just reported to me that they did not find this info credible, and therefore did not report it to me or [vice-president Mike Pence] Possibly another fabricated Russia Hoax, maybe by the Fake News @nytimesbooks, wanting to make Republicans look bad!!!”
Today, according to reports, the administration will brief some members of Congress on intelligence about the Russian plot.
It wasn’t clear what the Times books desk had to do with anything but this was just another day in America. One which Trump started by retweeting a video in which a supporter yelled: “White power! White power!” That was deleted, after a few hours, with a spokesman saying Trump hadn’t heard the words in question.
Out in the evening: reporting that the Trump campaign is trying to change its attacks on Joe Biden, from Sleepy Joe to Corrupt Joe or otherwise. It’s driven by polling of course: Biden leads in most battleground states and nationally. Here’s fivethirtyeight.com, for further reading.
In coronavirus news, the US has now recorded more than 2.5m cases and more than 125,000 deaths and is racking up record daily totals of new cases. By the same measure, from Johns Hopkins University, more than 500,000 people have died worldwide.
Mike Pence, vice-president and head of the White House coronavirus task force, made news over the weekend by cancelling campaign events because of spikes in states which reopened early, advising the wearing of masks at others, and appearing (with mask) at another with a massed choir who … weren’t wearing masks. Here’s Lauren Aratani with a look at a key question:
And so to the protests stemming from the killing of George Floyd, an African American man, in an arrest by four Minneapolis police officers on 25 May. Confrontations between police and protesters continued overnight, in cities across the US. In Jackson, Mississippi, meanwhile, there was victory for those seeking change: the last state to carry the Confederate battle emblem on its state flag voted to remove it.