Monday morning news – May 25, 2020


All 50 states now taking steps to reopen » All 50 states have now at least partially reopened to some extent easing coronavirus lockdowns. 

Illinois Democratic Governor J.B. Pritzker announced Sunday that the state is moving to Phase 3 of its recovery. Beginning Friday, many businesses will turn the lights back on.

PRITZKER: That includes retail, offices, service counters, personal care business, manufacturing, some health and fitness centers, youth sports, and restaurants and bars for outdoor dining. 

But Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said the state’s biggest city will lag behind the rest of the state. 

In New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said beginning this week, professional sports leagues can begin training camps in the state. 

CUOMO: Sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports. 

Major League Baseball will reportedly present a new economic proposal to the player’s union tomorrow as the two sides work toward starting a shortened 2020 season.

In Florida, the Universal Orlando theme parks will reopen June 5th, with limited capacity and a range of new safety measures. 

FBI launching internal probe of Flynn case » The FBI will conduct an internal review of the bureau’s handling of the Michael Flynn investigation. The probe will reportedly examine whether current FBI employees “engaged in misconduct.” 

The Justice Department recently moved to drop charges against the former national security adviser, citing wrongdoing within the FBI. 

And GOP Senator Marsha Blackburn said Sunday the Senate Judiciary Committee should also question those involved. 

BLACKBURN: It is about time that they did an investigation. And we need to bring all these people before us at Judiciary. If we need to do criminal referrals, we will do those. 

Trump administration officials are arguing that Obama-era former national security adviser Susan Rice’s now-public email shows how Democrats controlled the Russia probe back in 2017. 

Meantime, a federal appeals court is ordering the trial judge in the Flynn case to explain himself. When the Justice Department asked Judge Emmet G. Sullivan to drop the Flynn case, the judge instead hired a prosecutor and a former judge to argue against dropping it. 

Judge Sullivan’s unusual move came after more than 2,000 former DOJ officials publicly condemned the decision to drop the charges against Flynn. Now, Sullivan has hired a high-profile trial lawyer to defend his actions. 

Former Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said Sunday that the judge does not have discretion to overrule the Justice Department. 

WHITAKER: I think ultimately, it’s going to be a strange proceeding when the appeals court gets their filing from the judge trying to defend his actions. But General Flynn will be—the case will be dismissed and the charges will be no longer held against him. 

Flynn pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the FBI. But recently revealed evidence suggests a deliberate effort to entrap him.

Netanhayu corruption trial begins in Jerusalem » AUDIO: [SOUND OF DEMONSTRATION]

Those were the sounds heard outside of a Jerusalem courtroom on Sunday. Hundreds of impassioned supporters and critics of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gathered to mark the start of his corruption trial. 

Netanyahu entered the courtroom wearing a blue surgical mask and refused to sit until TV cameras left the room.

The prime minister declared “I stand before you with a straight back and head raised high.” He maintained his innocence and said the trial is a power play by political opponents.

Netanyahu is accused of accepting gifts and offering favors to powerful media moguls in exchange for favorable coverage of him and his family. 

China: U.S. pushing countries toward new Cold War » Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned Sunday that the United States is pushing the two countries to—quoting here—“the brink of a new Cold War.” 

Beijing is becoming increasingly rankled as U.S. leaders continue to condemn China’s handling of the coronavirus and other actions. Wang said some in Washington are “taking China-U.S. relations hostage.”

His remarks came as U.S national security adviser Robert O’Brien spoke about a proposed Chinese law that will crack down on liberties in Hong Kong. He said that could make it tough for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to certify that China is respecting democracy in Hong Kong. 

OBRIEN: Under the current circumstances, especially if the law is passed, it’s hard to see how Secretary Pompeo could make that certification. If he fails to make that certification, there are consequences that come with it, sanctions and others. 

Wang claimed many in the United States are fueling—quote—“countless lies and conspiracy theories” about China’s handling of the coronavirus.


(Ronen Zvulun/ Pool Photo via AP) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wearing a face mask in line with public health restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic, stands inside the court room as his corruption trial opens at the Jerusalem District Court, Sunday, May 24, 2020. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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