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60 minutes of mayhem: How aggressive politics and policing turned a peaceful protest into a violent confrontation – CNN



The logistics of any last-minute presidential movement are difficult even under normal circumstances, and these were anything but. For three straight nights, protests around the 18-acre White House compound had turned volatile and fiery, at one point sending Trump into an underground bunker with his family. But Trump was determined to show he was still in charge and that the situation, at least outside his own front door, was under control.
As he conferred with top military brass at the White House over how to quell protests around the country, Trump said he wanted to make the walk to the nearby historic St. John’s Church, where a fire had been set in the basement the previous night.
In the ensuing hours, White House officials hurried to make arrangements for the evening event, which ultimately devolved into a discordant and violent spectacle, with federal law enforcement agents clashing with protestors in Lafayette Square, a federally owned greenspace north of the White House.
A day after the incident, interviews with White House officials and sources across the government reveal a confusing, harried series of decisions that were not fully coordinated, as well as conflicting accounts of who was in charge and how a peaceful protest ended in a violent confrontation.
In an interview with CNN on Monday, Washington police Chief Peter Newsham said he didn’t know about the plans until only about 30 to 45 minutes before the visit happened, and that his officers were not involved. Trump’s walk to the church also appears to have come as a surprise to the Interior Department, whose secretary, David Bernhardt, wasn’t at the White House and didn’t get a heads up in advance that the park — which his department oversees — was going to be cleared of protesters so quickly.
Even some of the top administration officials who trailed Trump as he strode to the church suggested later they were caught off guard to find themselves in the middle of the highly fraught picture.

Barr gave the order

Ultimately, it was Attorney General William Barr who ordered the move to clear protestors, according to a Justice Department official. Barr and other top officials from agencies responsible for securing the White House had previously planned to secure a wider perimeter around Lafayette Square in response to fires and destruction caused by protestors on Sunday night.
Attorney General William Barr stands in Lafayette Square across from the White House as demonstrators gather to protest the death of George Floyd.
That plan, had it been enacted, would have cleared the area by 4 p.m., the official said, not 25 minutes before the 7 p.m. curfew put in place by Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, which is ultimately what happened. It’s unclear whether Barr’s order was communicated to Park Police and other officers on the front lines.
Barr eventually appeared in Lafayette Square shortly before 6 p.m. Monday, about an hour before Trump left the White House. In a scene that was captured on news cameras, Barr stood flanked by a security detail, his chief of staff and the head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. As Barr surveyed the situation around the park, some protesters spotted and recognized him, and shouts went up.
Barr had been told that police believed protestors were gathering rocks to throw at law enforcement, and while he was in the park, water bottles were thrown in his direction, the official said. CNN did not witness any water bottles being thrown at the attorney general.
Before walking to the White House, Barr told police to clear the area, the Justice Department official said. If federal law enforcement was met with resistance by the protestors, crowd control measures should be implemented, Barr told them, according to the official.

Preparations for a speech

Meanwhile in the White House, staffers had begun preparing the Rose Garden with a stage, podium and teleprompters, even though it wasn’t yet certain Trump had finalized his decision to deliver remarks or venture outside the complex.
After a morning that included a telephone call with President Vladimir Putin of Russia and a video-conference spent berating the nation’s governors for appearing “weak” in the face of violent protests, Trump and his aides began considering a short address to precede the walk through Lafayette Square.
While it was Trump who came up with the idea of the church visit, senior adviser Hope Hicks, chief of staff Mark Meadows, as well as Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka Trump, were involved in the initial planning of the operation, according to two senior White House officials. The final decision to visit the church came roughly five hours before police and military forces swarmed the park to clear out the protesters, though officials in the press office were not looped into the plan until much later.
As reporters were scrambled to the Rose Garden to set up for Trump’s speech, loud bangs began on the other side of the White House fence.
Just after 6:22 p.m., the transmission came over the police radios — US Park Police had issued the first warning to protestors, a law enforcement source told CNN.
With Barr gone from the scene, authorities made their move, with lines of federal officers in riot gear converging on the protestors.

A violent advance

The advance by Park Police was swift and sudden. There were fewer protestors in the park than there had been the day before, but the crowd was energized, alternating between chants supporting the movement — “Say his name: George Floyd!” — and other more aggressive chants aimed at the wall of forces in riot gear lined up facing them.
As authorities converged, demonstrators started running, smoke filled the air and a loud pop sounded of projectiles being fired at those fleeing. Canisters sending up thick clouds of smoke and irritants landed at their feet and all but the few with gas masks started coughing as they were pushed back.
Police clash with protesters during a demonstration on June 1, 2020 in Washington, DC. Police clash with protesters during a demonstration on June 1, 2020 in Washington, DC.
“People were running. And I was trying to help clear out people’s eyes,” said Rev. Gina Gerbasi, the rector at a different St. John’s Church in Georgetown who was at the Lafayette Square location on Monday evening. “Police were on the patio pushing people out. Tear gas, the flash bang things.”
“I am just a middle-aged white woman priest and a mom,” she said. “It was completely unprovoked. I didn’t hear bullhorns saying ‘the President’s coming.'”
A spokesperson for the Park Police said its officers were using pepper balls, not tear gas. Though the two have different chemical make-ups, they are both strong irritants that are used by law enforcement. Eyewitness accounts show canisters put off thick smoke that clearly contained an irritant that made people choke and cough.
On Tuesday, the Park Police issued a statement saying the decision to move on protestors was made to “curtail” violence, and that various objects had been thrown by protesters. CNN’s reporter who was on the scene all Monday afternoon did not witness any violence by the protestors, or anything being thrown by them.
The protesters who held the line confronted the advancing Park Police chanting “no justice, no peace.” Behind the row of police on foot was another on horseback. Deafening flash bangs were fired as they pushed forward. A young man hit by pepper spray was pushed by an officer as he shouted “I can’t see, I can’t see.”
“You’re shooting at people with their hands up!” one protester shouted. “We are not a threat!” shouted another.
The volleys kept coming. Protesters were flushed onto Connecticut Avenue, many coughing deeply, the canisters whizzing and spinning as they landed.
A middle-aged man was caught in a building’s alcove as the Park Police pressed forward, firing projectiles at him. He was holding his chest, clearly in distress. Demonstrators ran forward as the projectiles kept coming, helping to carry him away from the advancing forces.
By the time 7 p.m. finally arrived — when Washington’s curfew went into effect — the melee was all but over. The streets around the park and the White House had been emptied of protesters. The violence sent many home. Many others lingered and — now out on the streets where Washington’s police force has jurisdiction — were rounded up and detained for breaking the curfew.

A walk to remember

At 7:01 p.m. ET, Trump emerged from the North Portico of the White House, striding down the driveway and toward a cordon of law enforcement officers. Behind him trailed a large cadre of senior White House aides, including Ivanka Trump — carrying a designer purse with a Bible tucked inside — and her husband Jared, both senior advisers; chief of staff Mark Meadows; and press secretary Kayleigh McEnany.
President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020.President Donald Trump holds a Bible as he visits outside St. John's Church across Lafayette Park from the White House Monday, June 1, 2020.
Also joining Trump were Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, who had been summoned to the Oval Office in the preceding hours to update the President on efforts to use the military to tamp down on violence.
A US defense official told reporters Monday that Esper and Milley “were not aware that the Park Police and law enforcement had made a decision to clear the square.”
And the official suggested neither man planned to join Trump as he walked across Lafayette Square to the church.
“As that meeting concluded, the President indicated an interest in viewing the troops that were outside, and the secretary and the chairman went with him to do so. That was the extent of what was taking place,” the official said.
All of the aides who appeared alongside Trump were white; the President has only a few senior African American advisers and his sole black Cabinet member, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, was not present, though Trump and Carson spoke by phone earlier Monday.
Vice President Mike Pence, the President’s frequent emissary to religious conservatives, was also conspicuously absent from the walk to St. John’s. A source familiar with the matter suggested Pence did not join Trump out of deference and to allow the President “his own spotlight.”
“I think the vice president instinctively knows when it’s a presidential moment and when it’s not,” the source said. “Yesterday was very much a presidential moment.”
It’s not clear if the President asked Pence to join him for the walk, but the two men had their private weekly lunch earlier the same day.
Even as Trump stepped out of the White House and into Lafayette Square, some White House officials insisted the maneuver was unrelated to his photo opportunity.
Some officials claimed the push was aimed at establishing a broader perimeter around Lafayette Square and the blocks around the White House. White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere claimed the perimeter was expanded to help enforce DC’s 7 p.m. curfew — an explanation that strained credulity given security forces began to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to push back protesters before the curfew came into effect.
The officials could not explain why they needed to establish a perimeter in time for the curfew or why they did not do so earlier in the day, before a large group of protesters had amassed.
One White House official said Monday aides now recognize the operation to clear out protesters from the Lafayette Square area should have been carried our earlier in the day in order to avoid the chaos that erupted.
“Maybe they should have done it a couple of hours earlier,” the official said. “The timing didn’t seem to work out for what the optics were.”

A messy aftermath

As night descended on the capital Monday, and groups of protestors remained in the street in spite of a city-ordered curfew, Milley, Esper and Barr took to the streets of Washington to survey the ongoing military and federal law enforcement effort to clear the streets of protesters. Milley, whom Trump claimed would be “in charge” of the military response, surveyed the scene like a field general, camouflage military fatigues and all.
Barr monitored events, first in person near Farragut Square a few blocks from the White House. Video captured by news crews shows Barr standing on a broad sidewalk, milling around alongside men in suits, military officials in camouflage fatigues and law enforcement on bicycles, flashing red and blue light from nearby sirens reflecting off of his face. He later spent hours at a Justice Department command center.
After a news conference on Tuesday, Newsham, the DC police chief who has worked for the Metropolitan Police Department for three decades, lamented the show of force on Monday.
“The large majority of police officers in this country, certainly the police officers in this city, are very well meaning people trying to do the right thing,” he told CNN. “Whenever you have a police action that paints police in a negative light, it’s hurtful to me because that action can be attribute to all police officers,” he said.
At the same news conference, Bowser said she did not “see any provocation that would warrant the deployment of munitions and especially for the purpose of moving the president across the street.”
A couple hours earlier, Trump took to Twitter to tout the “overwhelming force” and “domination” in Washington the previous night, before thanking himself: “thank you President Trump!”

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On Poetry, Politics, and Candy Crush – The Boston Globe



Molly BallTim Coburn

In “Pelosi,” longtime political reporter Molly Ball charts the path that led House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to become one of the most powerful people in American politics. Ball has covered Washington politics for Politico, The Atlantic, and currently for Time magazine. She is an analyst for CNN and a regular on the PBS program “Washington Week.” She lives in northern Virginia with her family.

BOOKS: What are you reading currently?

BALL: To be totally honest, between working from home, home-schooling three kids, and doing a virtual book tour, I haven’t had much time for reading. I’ve been digging into the new Hilary Mantel, “The Mirror & the Light.” I love her. I’m not usually into historical fiction, but her trilogy transcends genre. I like good books regardless of genre. I’m not into science fiction but I love Margaret Atwood, and a few years ago I got into the South American writer Jose Saramago, whose books are kind of science fiction-y.

BOOKS: What was your last best read before the pandemic began?


BALL: The last couple of books I was reading when this hit were books by friends. My colleague Charlotte Alter’s “The Ones We’ve Been Waiting For,” which is about millennial politicians. The writing is so evocative and the descriptions of people are really fun. The other one is Olga Khazan’s “Weird,” which is a social science-y book about how being different can be an asset in life. She also writes about being a nerdy Russian Jewish immigrant in Texas. She’s hilarious.

BOOKS: Do you read many books about politics?

BALL: I actually don’t. I mostly read literary fiction and nonfiction. Politics is my day job and I need an escape but I did read Ezra Klein’s “Why We’re Polarized” just before the pandemic hit. That is phenomenal.


BOOKS: What kind of nonfiction books are you drawn to?

BALL: I love nonfiction novels. “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo is one of my favorite books of all time. That’s such a deeply researched book. “Random Family” by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc is another all-time favorite. It’s like 900 pages long but it’s so riveting.

BOOKS: Who are your favorite novelists?

BALL: Growing up, my favorite writer was James Jones, who wrote “From Here to Eternity.” As an adult I’ve gravitated to more women writers. I devoured the Elena Ferrante books. I love Alice Munro. My favorite book of the last 10 years was “Netherland” by Joseph O’Neill. It’s about cricket and 9/11, two subjects that interest me barely at all, but it’s so beautifully written. I picked it up because it was on Barack Obama’s reading list. I’m not necessarily an Obama fan but he has a good taste in writing.

BOOKS: Did you read any biographies as background for your own book?

BALL: There’s a great biography of one of Pelosi’s political role models, Philip Burton, “A Rage for Justice” by John Jacobs. He’s a fascinating character. Another friend of mine, Sally Bedell Smith, has written a number of great biographies. I read her book about Prince Charles, which is really interesting even for someone who’s not at all interested in British royalty.

BOOKS: What else do you read?


BALL: I was an English major in college and read poetry almost exclusively though I took a class on Joseph Conrad that changed my life. My thesis was on James Merrill. What blew my mind my freshman year was discovering “Paradise Lost.” I became obsessed with Milton. “Paradise Lost” is still one of my favorites.

BOOKS: Which poets do you read now?

BALL: I have a couple of shelves in my home library that I will dip into to soothe my mind. I always go back to Philip Larkin. I have a lot of his poems memorized and recite them to myself when I can’t sleep. I also go back to Merrill. A.E Stallings is a poet I like who’s working today. She’s American but lives in Greece. She’s a formalist but does some interesting things with the form.

BOOKS: What do you read for a guilty pleasure?

BALL: I don’t read for a guilty pleasure. My guilty pleasure is Candy Crush.

Follow us on Facebook or Twitter @GlobeBiblio. Amy Sutherland is the author, most recently, of “Rescuing Penny Jane” and she can be reached at

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Free Market Politics Part 2: Can We Fix America's Political System? – Harvard Business Review



July 02, 2020

The two-party system has been an entrenched feature of the U.S. electoral system since its inception. Is change even possible?

In the second episode of this special two-part discussion, business leader Katherine Gehl and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter discuss innovative reforms, like ranked-choice voting, that promote competition and accountability.

Later in the show, we talk with attorney and author Jeff Clements, of American Promise, about his efforts to reform campaign finance laws.

Want to explore more of the world of FOMO Sapiens? Follow Patrick McGinnis: FacebookLinkedInInstagramTwitter. Download the free FOMO Sapiens Handbook and more at

HBR Presents is a network of podcasts curated by HBR editors, bringing you the best business ideas from the leading minds in management. The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Harvard Business Review or its affiliates.

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Politics – The Economist



Police in Hong Kong made the first arrests under a draconian national-security law imposed from Beijing. Hong Kongers can now be jailed for life for vaguely defined crimes such as “subversion” or “conspiring” with anyone abroad to provoke “hatred” of the communist regime. Mainland secret police can now operate in Hong Kong. America’s House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill to put sanctions on banks that do business with Chinese officials who implement the crackdown. See article.

Boris Johnson reiterated his promise that Hong Kongers who were born before 1997, when the territory was handed back to China, could settle in Britain. The handover agreement back then stipulated that the city would retain its basic freedoms until at least 2047. See article.

Following months of talks, the UN Security Council passed a resolution calling for a 90-day global ceasefire to allow war-torn areas to battle covid-19.

India banned 59 apps developed by China’s tech giants, including TikTok, accusing them of threatening the country’s security. The apps have hundreds of millions of users in India. See article.

A terrorist outfit seeking independence for Balochistan, Pakistan’s largest province, claimed responsibility for an attack on the stock exchange in Karachi. The assailants killed three people before they were shot dead by police.

Iran issued an arrest warrant for Donald Trump. It asked Interpol for help in detaining him and 35 others it accuses of involvement in the drone strike that killed Qassem Suleimani in January. Suleimani was an Iranian general who oversaw Shia militias that carried out attacks all over the Middle East. Interpol dismissed Iran’s request.

Scores of people were killed during demonstrations in Ethiopia that erupted after the killing of Hachalu Hundessa, a prominent Oromo musician. His songs helped inspire a protest movement that led to the appointment of Abiy Ahmed as prime minister in 2018.

The leaders of Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania met to discuss ways of strengthening security to stop a jihadist insurgency in the Sahel. They were joined by Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, and Pedro Sánchez, the prime minister of Spain. France has more than 5,000 troops in the region.

Zimbabwe froze most mobile-money transactions to defend its ailing currency. It also suspended trading on the stock exchange, where traders had been observing share prices to estimate how much the currency is really worth.

Nearly 30 people, thought to be from the New Generation Jalisco drug gang, attacked the armoured car in which Mexico City’s police chief was riding. Two bodyguards and a passerby were killed. In the town of Irapuato, 24 people were slain by gunmen at a drug-rehabilitation centre. One of the government’s central pledges is to reduce gang violence.

Mexican police arrested a new suspect for the murder of 43 students in the southern state of Guerrero in 2014. An earlier report by the government contended that police had handed over the students to a gang, which killed the students and burned their bodies. The report was widely seen as flawed.

The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, which replaces the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), came into force. See article.

Mississippi’s legislature voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the state flag, which has flown outside the Capitol building since 1894. It is the last state to unstitch the emblem of the Confederacy from official regalia. See article.

Russians voted in a plebiscite on constitutional reforms. According to the electoral commission, 78% approved a package that includes inflation-proof pensions, a high minimum wage and a ban on gay marriage. It also allows Vladimir Putin to run twice more for president, and to sack judges. Voters had to say yes or no to the whole package. See article.

In France Emmanuel Macron’s party was hammered in the second round of local elections. The Greens won the mayor’s office in a number of big cities; the Socialists handily hung on to Paris. Mr Macron is now under pressure to relaunch his presidency with an extensive reshuffle. See article.

The first round in Poland’s presidential election was inconclusive, a rebuke to the incumbent Andrzej Duda, who is backed by the ruling Law and Justice party. Polls show him running neck and neck with the liberal mayor of Warsaw in the next round.

Ireland got its first-ever coalition government between its two historic main parties, Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. The new prime minister, Micheal Martin, replaced Leo Varadkar, who will return to the office in two years’ time if the coalition lasts that long. See article.

Britain’s prime minister, Boris Johnson, invoked the spirit of Franklin Roosevelt when he announced a “new deal” to rebuild the economy. Many of the “new” projects are already in the pipeline. Mr Johnson has urged his countrymen to go to their local for a pint when pubs reopen on July 4th. See article.

Coronavirus briefs

More states in America reimposed lockdowns amid a surge in covid-19. The number of daily cases nationally passed 50,000 for the first time. In California, which had been considered an early success, restaurants and other businesses in 19 counties were ordered to shut. In Arizona, where infections have doubled in the past two weeks, the governor ordered gyms, bars and cinemas to close again for at least a month. See article.

Leicester, a city in Britain, was put back under lockdown as cases there continued to rise, to three times that of the city with the next-highest rate. See article.

The European Union reopened its borders to residents from 14 countries where the virus is under control, such as Canada and New Zealand. The list does not include Brazil, Russia or the United States. China will be added if it reciprocates.

This article appeared in the The world this week section of the print edition under the headline “Politics”

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