Midday News Wrap 06.24.20: Trump Stumps, COVID Spikes, AG Takes Fire, SCOTUS Shocks
As we went to air today, the House Judiciary Committee convened an investigative hearing into “political interference and threats to prosecutorial independence” at the U.S. Justice Department. The hearing opened on the heels of last weekend’s firing of Geoffrey Berman, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York. President Trump’s plan to install in his place a political ally with no prosecutorial experience drew pushback from even Trump loyalists like Lindsey Graham. The Committee chairman, Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler of New York, is expected to subpoena US Attorney General William Barr in early July, although whether Mr. Barr will comply is an open question...
The imbroglio over the Berman firing and the opening of a new round of oversight investigations into alleged corruption in the Trump Justice Department are the latest headaches for a President already under fire for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, his response to the nationwide calls for police reform and racial justice, and for his decision to stage large indoor campaign rallies in Oklahoma and Arizona, two states of many currently experiencing sharp spikes in new COVID-19 infections.
Then, Tom looks at how several recent opinions by The US Supreme Court -- blocking a White House order to terminate President Obama's DACA (Delayed Action on Childhood Arrivals) program, asserting workplace rights for LGBTQ employees, and refusing to hear a DOJ challenge to California's immigration sanctuary laws -- have gone sharply against the Trump Administration's conservative agenda. More controversial SCOTUS opinions are due in the days and weeks ahead.
Joining Tom with her unique perspectives on the High Court is Amy Howe, an attorney and Supreme Court reporter, a former editor at SCOTUSBlog, and the founder of the independent blog, Howe on the Court. She has also taught Supreme Court litigation at Stanford and Harvard Law Schools. Amy Howe joins us via Zoom from Wilson, Wyoming.