The World and Everything in It — June 1, 2020

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Good morning!

Chief Justice John Roberts joins the liberal justices in a surprise ruling late Friday. 

Plus the court considers the limits on congressional demands for information from President Trump’s banks and lenders.

NICK EICHER, HOST: That’s ahead on Legal Docket.

Also today, the Monday Moneybeat, some signs we may be near the bottom of the economic effects from the coronavirus response.

Plus, the WORLD History Book. Today, the story behind one of Churchill’s most famous speeches.

And Trillia Newbell on putting our fears in the right place.

REICHARD: It’s Monday, June 1st. This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Good morning!

REICHARD: Now here’s Kent Covington with the news.

KENT COVINGTON, NEWS ANCHOR: Protests continue, rioters strike near White House » AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

Protests continued across the country Sunday in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody one week ago. Most demonstrations were peaceful, like this march in Brooklyn:  

AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

But violent protesters and opportunists also struck once more from coast to coast. 

AUDIO: [Sound of protest]

In Washington D.C. officials this morning are sweeping sidewalks covered with shattered glass near the White House. Rioters and looters set fires, vandalized cars and buildings, and attacked law enforcement. Chief Peter Newsham of D.C. Metro Police said some of the rioters attacked officers with bricks and that’s not all.

NEWSHAM: And one of the things that we saw in this event that we have not seen in the past is they were throwing incendiary devices. 

As many as 50 Secret Service officers were also reportedly wounded. 

And D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser also said it was clear that some arrived with tools to commit acts of violence or—quote—“a strategy to distribute materials among them.”

BOWSER: So I would say the thing that we’re struck by is that it was an organized group that appeared more bent on destruction than on protests.

O’Brien: ANITIFA, foreign adversaries fueling violence » On Sunday, President Trump announced that the U.S. government will designate the far left group ANTIFA as a terrorist organization. 

National security adviser Robert O’Brien said ANTIFA members have been on the ground in various cities inciting and engaging in violence.

O’BRIEN: The FBI’s got to come up with a plan to deal with ANTIFA. This is not the first time that they’ve engaged in this activity. 

But O’Brien added that numerous entities are fueling violent unrest online—including several foreign foes. 

His remarks followed comments by Acting Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Marco Rubio. On Saturday, he tweeted that the intel community was seeing “VERY heavy social media activity” related to the protests from “accounts linked to at least three foreign adversaries”.

Rubio said they “are actively stoking and promoting violence and confrontation from multiple angles.”

And Robert O’Brien told ABC’s This week

O’BRIEN: Marco Rubio is 100 percent correct that our foreign adversaries are going to take advantage of this crisis to sew discord and to try and damage our democracy, and we’re not going to let that happen. 

O’Brien said Iran has routinely engaged in this kind of activity. He also said Russian activists may also be trying to fuel discord. But he added—quote— “That’s different from China, where “it’s coming straight from the government.”

Family identifies federal officer killed amid rioting » The family of a Federal Protective Service officer killed amid rioting in Oakland, California have identified him as 53-year-old Patrick Underwood.

Authorities said Underwood and another officer were guarding a federal building when someone pulled up in a vehicle and opened fire, striking both officers. The second officer has not been identified. He remains in critical condition. 

Local and Homeland Security officials say they believe the shooting is connected to protests over Floyds death. 

NASA astronauts arrive at space station aboard SpaceX capsule » SpaceX delivered two astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA on Sunday. 

AUDIO: Soft capture complete. Soft capture confirmed. Stand by for retraction and docking. 

Pilots Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken were poised to take over manual control if necessary, but everything went smoothly. The SpaceX Dragon capsule pulled up to the station and docked automatically.  

That followed a historic liftoff from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday.  

It was the first time a privately built and owned spacecraft has ever carried astronauts to the orbiting lab. 

Coronavirus continues to surge in India » India’s Health Ministry reported Sunday it recorded more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day. That’s another record high that topped the deadliest week for the country.

The confirmed infections have risen to roughly 182,000 with more than 5,000 fatalities. But those are only the confirmed cases. India has one of the lowest testing rates of any major country in the world. 

India is also suffering under a deadly heatwave and devastating swarms of locusts.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: the Supreme Court considers the dispute over the president’s financial records.

Plus, Trillia Newbell on taking a stand for righteousness.

This is The World and Everything in It.

NICK EICHER: It’s Monday morning and back to work on The World and Everything in It. Today is the 1st day of June, 2020.

Good morning to you, I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

Well, the Supreme Court finished up with oral arguments last month. Now the justices are busy writing opinions and we expect some later this morning. I’ll read over them and have analysis for you tomorrow. 

Before we get into remaining arguments, I’ve got one surprise decision to report. It came in late on Friday, a 5-4 ruling against a church, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the liberal justices to form a majority. 

Briefly, the facts. A church in California asked the Supreme Court to lift new state restrictions on in-person religious services. South Bay United Pentecostal Church said Governor Gavin Newsom’s order favors secular business over houses of worship. His order imposes 25 percent occupancy caps on some activities, but not others. It doesn’t impose the cap on restaurants, grocery stores, shopping malls, hair salons and the like. But houses of worship didn’t make his list, something the church says interferes with its First Amendment rights.

EICHER: And that matters. The Supreme Court previously decided that if the government wants to burden any of the guarantees of the First Amendment, it must meet two criteria.

First, the government must show a compelling interest. Public-health needs, namely combatting spread of disease, does meet that first prong.

The second prong government must meet is that its restriction is narrowly tailored; that is, written carefully, to place as few restrictions as possible on first liberties.

REICHARD: The majority justices issued a one-sentence decision not to issue the injunction. That’s not unusual. 

But what made this a surprise is that Chief Justice Roberts wrote his own concurring opinion. He cited the pandemic death toll and that there’s no known cure. Public-health officials acting in good faith, he wrote, should have the say given the changing nature of the coronavirus. He said church services are more like concerts and spectator sports; lots of people together for extended periods of time.

EICHER: The problem with that, according to the four dissenting justices, is that one of those is not like the others: the Constitution provides no express right to attend concerts or sporting events, where the First Amendment plainly protects the free exercise of religion.

The dissenters were Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, Samuel Alito, and Clarence Thomas. They wrote that the majority failed appropriately to analyze the issue. Namely, it skipped over the “narrowly tailored” prong of the analysis.

REICHARD: That ruling came just hours after the High Court also denied a request from two churches near Chicago for relief from 10-person limits on religious services. That case became moot after the state issued new guidelines similar to California’s.

These rulings are significant, but they do not shut the door to future requests for relief from shut-down orders.

Well, five arguments remain for us to cover. Today, we tackle two disputes related to President Donald Trump’s financial records. These arguments took 3-and-a-half hours, and they are distinct cases, but the issues are almost identical. So for the sake of simplicity I’ve edited audio from each one, but I’ll use them interchangeably to keep an easy and logical flow.

EICHER: So the question for the court is whether the law shields the president’s financial records from subpoena or investigation, including from the time before he took office.

Here, three different committees of the House of Representatives subpoenaed eight years of the president’s financial records. They did not subpoena Trump personally. They subpoenaed his accountants and lenders.

House committee members say they need the records to help them craft new laws about money laundering, conflicts of interest, and foreign interference in elections.

That one’s a federal level case.

At the state level, the District Attorney for the County of New York subpoenaed similar records as part of a criminal investigation. That involves alleged payments to two women as “hush money.”

REICHARD: President Trump sued to block the subpoenas as an illegal overreach and a fishing expedition by political opponents, all Democrats.

Justice Clarence Thomas asked a question no doubt on the minds of many people in these hyper-partisan times. Here he addresses Jeffrey Wall, Deputy Solicitor General, who argued in support of the president: 

THOMAS: What if it was clear from those statements that you reviewed that their intention was actually to remove the president from office rather than the sort of pretextual legislative reasons?

WALL: Yes. I think they made clear that the subpoenas are not in aid of valid legislation.

EICHER: And that subtext of pretext informed several questions, and not only from conservatives.

Listen to Justice Stephen Breyer lay out his concern about fairness. Here’s an exchange between Breyer and the lawyer for the House committees that issued the subpoenas, Douglas Letter is his name. Letter pointed out the documents his clients seek are for private citizen Donald Trump. Justice Breyer was skeptical:

BREYER: But the subpoenas that I’ve seen go far beyond that. They apply to 15 Trump affiliated entities, they ask for all documents related to opening of accounts, due diligence, closing, requests for information by other parties, etc. And if somebody subpoenaed you for that information, or subpoenaed your tax accountant wouldn’t you at least want to know what was being turned over? Wouldn’t you want to ask them? And might that not take time? And might that not take effort? So my problem is there may be burdens 
here and not just political burdens. And the fact that what I hold  today will also apply to a future Senator McCarthy asking a future Franklin Roosevelt or Harry Truman exactly the same questions. That bothers me.

REICHARD: Letter assured him that the subpoena recipients haven’t complained. Besides that, to do a good job investigating money laundering, the committees need lots of financial documents.

Much discussion had to do with what’s required to justify subpoenas involving a sitting president. What limiting principle should apply to balance competing interests?

Justice Sonia Sotomayor said Congress has a long history of getting records from presidents, and that congressional subpoenas are valid so long as, well, I’ll let her explain.

SOTOMAYOR: So long as there is a conceivable legislative purpose and the records are relevant to that purpose. I see a tremendous separation of powers problem when you’re talking about placing a heightened standard on an investigation that a committee is embarking upon.

Yet, Chief Justice John Roberts saw a problem with “any conceivable” legislative purpose being enough to justify a subpoena.

ROBERTS: The quotes in your brief is that it “concern a subject on which legislation could be had.” Could you give me a plausible example of a subject that you think is beyond any legislation that Congress could write?

LETTER: Uh, your Honor…

Letter struggled with this, eventually arguing that Congress generally has broad subpoena powers, not explicitly given, but implied from its other duties. Justice Thomas pinned him down:

THOMAS: Can you give me another example of a power, a legislative power, that is implied?

LETTER: (long pause) I’m sorry, your honor. I’m not coming up with something.

The other side came in for tough questioning, as well. Here’s Justice Elena Kagan addressing President Trump’s lawyer,  Patrick Strawbridge:

KAGAN: And what it seems to me you’re asking us to do is to put a kind of 10-ton weight on the scales between the president and Congress and essentially to make it impossible for Congress to perform oversight and to carry out its functions where the president is concerned.

Well, Strawbridge countered that the weight in this case actually favors the house committees. Those subpoenas go far beyond anything in presidential history. But what matters, he said, is that no legitimate legislative purpose exists for them. 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg turned the tables and drew on history in another question to Strawbridge:

GINSBURG: In so many of these prior cases, there was a cooperation.  For example, tax returns. Every President  voluntarily turned over his tax returns. So it gets to be a pitched battle here because President Trump is the first one to refuse to do that. But the aura of this case is really sauce for the goose that serves the gander as  well. So how do you distinguish, say, Whitewater, when President Clinton’s personal records were subpoenaed from his accountant, or even Hillary Clinton’s law firm billing rec…

But consent isn’t the measure of constitutionality, Strawbridge replied. And the Clinton cases didn’t challenge scope or legislative authority to request documents. 

I’ll end as I began, with Justice Thomas. The house committee lawyer assured the justices if the White House feels overwhelmed with too many subpoenas from the House and the Senate, it can cry uncle and Congress will stop issuing them. Justice Thomas wasn’t buying it.

THOMAS: Why would it be limited to the House and the Senate? I mean, it could be every grand jury. It could be every prosecutor. The concern that we had in the Clinton case is, at some point, this thing—it gets out of control, as one could be manageable, but 100 could be impossible…

LETTER: Not a single thing is required of the president or the White House.

THOMAS: I think we all know it’s about the President.

In case you didn’t catch that —the Chief Justice inadvertently talked over him— Justice Thomas said, “I think we all know it’s about the president.” 

Justice Thomas speaks as a man who was once targeted by Democrats in Congress to keep him off the Supreme Court.

Not to say these cases will be decided cleanly. They likely won’t be. The justices will have to come up with some limiting principle to cover subpoenas that aren’t mere pretexts for political shenanigans and that also permit legitimate oversight.

We could wind up with different opinions in the state case versus the federal case. And that’s this week’s Legal Docket.

MARY REICHARD: Coming up next on The World and Everything in It, the Monday Moneybeat.

NICK EICHER: Several economic reports last week and here now to help make them more meaningful to you is financial analyst and adviser David Bahnsen. David, good morning to you.

DAVID BAHNSEN, GUEST: Good morning, Nick.

EICHER: I guess we start with the unemployment claims. What I saw was 2.1 million new claims filed, still high, but I also noticed that the overall number of continuing claims fell to 21 million. Good news?

BAHNSEN: There’s a little nuance here. It’s certainly good news and we expect that that number is going to be dropping. It dropped by 3.9 million and unfortunately I don’t believe there were 3.9 million that fell off because Florida and California, they have to file every other week. So it was an off week for these two states that have a substantial amount of our unemployment. 

So there’s a little nuance in there, but either way we certainly know that there are people who filed for unemployment earlier in COVID who are not not filing continuous claims. And we further know that the number of people making new initial jobless claims is dropping quite a bit. The overall number is still very high, though. Don’t get me wrong. We have a lot of work to do. But headed in the right direction.

EICHER: OK and so in that light, let’s talk about the Commerce Department April numbers. This is a big report on personal consumption expenditures by far the biggest component of Gross Domestic Product. For April, PCEs down 13.6 percent, but I’ve seen economist surveys saying this probably represents the bottom or close to the bottom.

But I wanted to call attention to one particular component: PCEs, personal consumption expenditures way down, personal income up 10-and-a-half percent. 

How can that be?

BAHNSEN: Well, it’s because, unfortunately, the income level goes up when the denominator now takes out those people who are out of the workforce. And the people who are out of the workforce were in the lower deciles of income. And so imagine if the entire workforce was two people and one person made $50 grand and another person made $100 grand and the person who made $50 grand lost their job. Average wages would have gone up, right? That’s a silly example, but it’s actually the accurate way on a very simplistic level to illustrate what happened. 

And in terms of the expenditures numbers, we’re going to want to look again in June when we get the May numbers. But it is definitely very different than it would have been had this quarantine happened in any different of an age, anything lacking a digital component. Because the personal consumption—both in terms of retail shopping and food and beverage—is really much different than it would have been if people didn’t have access to e-commerce and food delivery and things. So the numbers are atrocious, but the numbers are also very distributed from where they otherwise would be because of the nature of our modern economy.

EICHER: The White House put the word out last week that through the summer, the White House will not be issuing economic forecasts. The reason, let me find the quote here: the economic data are fluctuating and that to try to project out would not provide a meaningful snapshot. 

But the Congressional Budget Office will be projecting, and I want to get your thought on this, CBO predicts that by the end of 2021, the economy overall will be smaller than it was at the end of 2019, two years with basically no or negative growth. And CBO projects unemployment above 8 percent. 

Does that ring true to you? Or are they just throwing darts at a dart board here?

BAHNSEN: Both things are true. It rings true and they’re throwing darts at a dart board. 

If I had to do my own dart throwing, I think 8 percent unemployment at the end of ’21, meaning 18 months from now, sounds too high. My number would have more of a 5 or a 6 handle. 

But as far as the GDP size, I expect that GDP will be back to where it was pre-COVID in late ’21, early ’22. But the more important number is when it gets back to its trend line. In other words, where GDP would have been apart from COVID, that is going to take a little longer.

I want to stay on a hobby horse I’ve been on, Nick, and that is not just the gross number of GDP—positive or negative—but the composition of GDP. The question mark is not the consumer.

Business investment will dictate how much the supply side of the economy gets prepared for growth and for innovation and for activity. And that, I think, is going to be a big question in how GDP or economic recovery looks in the quarters and years to come.

EICHER: David Bahnsen, financial analyst and adviser. David, thank you. 

BAHNSEN: Thank you so much, Nick.

NICK EICHER: Today is Monday, June 1st. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD History Book.

Today, a notable speech from 80 years ago, delivered just hours after one of the most daring rescues of World War II came to an end—the British evacuation of Dunkirk. Here’s Paul Butler with the back story and excerpts of the speech.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: In the spring of 1940, British and French forces were trapped. The Allies had been fighting to prevent a Nazi take-over of Belgium, but the German battle machine was too much. In the middle of May, Belgium surrendered to Hitler. More than 400,000 French and British troops retreated to the coast in hopes of escaping to England. 

For days, Winston Churchill and his military advisers had been planning a daring rescue operation. The strategy relied on hundreds of civilian and merchant ships to join the navy—as the Royal Air Force provided cover.

Audio here of Lieutenant General Sir Brian Horrocks from a 1956 BBC television special: 

HORROCKS: There is no doubt, the army was in a proper mess. And the two sister services, the Royal Air Force, and the Royal Navy did their best to get us out of there. 

The make-shift armada arrived off Dunkirk on May 26th. Operation Dynamo was underway. Naval admiral William Tennant: 

TENNANT: When we arrived on this long, sandy beach, there came from the direction of England, almost every conceivable kind of craft…Thames barges, and Dutch schuyts, and yachts, trollers, and drifters, and motor boats… 

While hundreds of thousands of soldiers awaited evacuation at the coast, Allied divisions reinforced the rear-guard and resisted to the end. British intelligence uncovered Hitler’s plan of attack, and strengthened those locations. After two days of stiff resistance, Hitler unexpectedly halted the ground assault, leaving the air forces to—quote—“finish them off.” But that didn’t happen. 

At the water’s edge, more than 1,500 British and Allied craft ferried forces back and forth over nine days. Nearly one in three ships did not return home. One hundred twenty-six merchant sailors died in the operation. 

In the planning stages, Churchill feared they’d only be able to rescue 30- to 40,000 troops. In the end, they successfully extracted 338,000 men from the beaches around Dunkirk. The people of England were ecstatic. 

But losses were still high. 68,000 troops were captured or killed. On June 4th, just hours after the conclusion of the operation, Sir Winston Churchill delivered one of his most famous speeches before the House of Commons. In it he warned the euphoric nation that the war was far from over. He vowed to never surrender and ended the speech with a veiled request for American intervention in the fight. 

The famous speech was not broadcast or recorded, but nine years later, Churchill gave it again. Here are edited excerpts from that 12-minute reenactment. 

WINSTON CHURCHILL: The enemy attacked on all sides with great strength and fierceness…

They sowed magnetic mines in the channels and seas; they sent repeated waves of hostile aircraft, sometimes more than a hundred strong in one formation, to cast their bombs upon the single pier that remained, and upon the sand dunes upon which the troops had their only shelter… 

It was in conditions such as these that our men carried on, with little or no rest, for days and nights on end, making trip after trip across the dangerous waters, bringing with them always men whom they had rescued. 

We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations… 

I have, myself, full confidence that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arrangements are made, as they are being made, we shall prove ourselves once again able to defend our Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tyranny, if necessary for years, if necessary alone… 

We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender…

Churchill kept his promise, even as his appeal to America for assistance went unheeded for more than 18 months. The U-S did eventually declare war on Germany and entered the conflict on December 11th, 1941. 

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book. I’m Paul Butler.

CHURCHILL: Would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

MARY REICHARD: Today is Monday, June 1st. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER: And I’m Nick Eicher. Up next, Trillia Newbell on overcoming the fear of man.

TRILLIA NEWBELL, COMMENTATOR: Have you ever heard someone talk about you behind your back? I have. It’s a strange. It’s painful. But it also has the ability to color the way you view others. 

I don’t trust others easily. It takes work for me to believe that people are genuine. But another unfortunate side effect is that I have to fight fear.

Proverbs 29:25 highlights the type of fear I’m thinking of: “The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”

There are many ways that the fear of man manifests itself in our thoughts and in our actions. We may change our behavior hoping to appeal to the watching eye of others. We may resist speaking Biblical truth in fear of rejection. We may be silent when it’s time to speak.

The fear of man places other human beings at the center of our affections rather than the Lord. That dishonors God. We are essentially worshipping other image bearers. When we fear what others think of us, we believe that that person’s opinion of us is more important than God’s opinion of us.

God gave us some practical insight into what this fear might look like. We see it in the story of Peter as he rejected Jesus. Jesus predicted that his friend and follower, Peter, would deny Him three times. Peter was adamant that he would not. 

Well, when pressed, Peter does deny Jesus (Luke 22: 31—34; 54—62). If you are familiar with Peter’s story, then you know he repented of that sin and boldly proclaimed the gospel to a multitude of people (Acts 2:14—41). God is a redeemer who uses broken people. 

No doubt we are under some heat in our current cultural moment. But if you think this is bad, think about the first century church. They faced incredible pressures. Peter was afraid to die because Jesus was literally being seized—death was imminent and real. 

But God doesn’t compare our troubles and our fears. He commanded them as He commands us: fear not. Our American culture may not produce the kinds of persecution that many Christians experience around the world, but it can produce a similar type of fear. 

The question for you and me is, are we going to shrink back, or stand up—with Jesus?

When we see injustice in the world—knowing that God is just—are we going to stand for righteousness or cower in fear? When we speak with someone who needs to hear the truth of the gospel, are we going to speak it? 

None of us will do this perfectly. There will be times when we ought to speak and don’t. Sometimes we will care more about our neighbor’s opinion than the Lord’s. But we can pray for boldness and courage. 

Proverbs 29:25 says those who trust in the Lord are safe. Because of that, we don’t need to fear the opinions of others. God is our refuge and strength. So we can speak a better word to our broken world.

I’m Trillia Newbell.

NICK EICHER: Tomorrow: Some retailers and restaurants are trying to do away with cash payments in favor of so-called contactless payments. But for shoppers without smartphones or credit cards, that’s a hardship.

And, travel restrictions mean babies born to surrogates in Ukraine are separated from their legal parents. That’s helped to bring critical attention to the whole practice. 

That and more tomorrow. 

I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD: And I’m Mary Reichard.

The World and Everything in It comes to you from WORLD Radio.

WORLD’s mission is biblically objective journalism that informs, educates, and inspires.

The Apostle Paul urged the church in Thessalonica to admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with them all.

Go now in grace and peace.

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