Midday News Wrap | WYPR

Midday News Wrap

Baltimore City Government

On Wednesday Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh released her plan for curbing the spike in violence in the city. Her violence reduction plan takes a holistic approach to fighting crime.  The mayor wants more training for police officers, increased access to housing and jobs, and free community college for Baltimore city public school graduates. Critics say the Mayor’s plan lacks accountability and measurable goals. 

Dominique Maria Bonessi is WYPR's City Hall reporter.

Edward Jackson is a professor of criminal justice at Baltimore City Community College. He’s also a former Baltimore City Police Department Colonel, who retired from the department in 2004. He was recently appointed by Mayor Pugh to Baltimore City’s Community Oversight Task Force. 

They join Tom to discuss the mayor crime plan and a crime reduction plan put forth by the city council's public safety committee led by 2nd district councilman Brandon Scott. 

AP Photos

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has impaneled a grand jury.  The Trump White House has called in the Marines, or at least one highly respected Marine General, to impose order in the West Wing, and to squash the constant barrage of leaks.  Those leaks, however, continue at an unprecedented pace.

A transcript of phone calls with the Presidents of Mexico and Australia were revelatory about the President’s negotiating style.  A transcript of a phone call with the head of the Boy Scouts will never be leaked, because the phone call was imagined by the President.  In West Virginia last night, he played hits from the campaign like “Lock her up!” and reveled in the defection of the state's Democratic governor to the Republican Party.  In Baltimore, the City Council and the Mayor wrestled over plans to stem the violence on city streets.  

A lot to parse in this week's News Wrap. Tom is joined today by Associated Press White House reporter Darlene Superville, on the line from Washington.  And joining us in the studio is Jean Marbella of the Baltimore Sun. She has been a writer and editor at the Sun for 30 years, currently serving on the Sun’s investigative and enterprise team.

Photo courtesy WBUR

It's the Midday News Wrap, with guest host Nathan Sterner sitting in for Tom Hall.  Among the stories Nathan spotlights in this week's review: the drama of competing healthcare bills, the wrangling and chaos within the Republican Party, and the still-unfolding puzzle of possible Russian ties to President Trump's inner circle.

 Early in the week, Senate Republicans lacked the votes for their latest proposal to replace the Affordable Care Act.  By Tuesday, President Trump announced, “We’ll let Obamacare fail.”  The confusion deepened later in the week with proposals to Repeal without Replace and Repeal with Delayed Replace.

Also this week, there was the drip, drip of revelations about exactly who else was in the room in June of 2016 when Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chief at the time, attended a meeting where they were promised Russian government help for their campaign and some dirt about Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.  Then on Thursday came the announcement that Trump Jr., Kushner and Manafort have all agreed to appear before Senate committees next week to discuss Russia and the 2016 election.

Andy Green, Editorial Page editor of the Baltimore Sun, and Richard Cross, a longtime Republican communications staffer in both Annapolis and Capitol Hill, are here with background and analysis on the week's developments.

But first, Julie Rovner is on the line from DC to help us make sense of the week’s healthcare news.  Rovner is chief Washington correspondent for Kaiser Health News, where she is the Robin Toner Distinguished Fellow.  If her voice is familiar to you, that’s because Rovner was a health policy reporter for NPR for 16 years before joining KHN.  She is the author of the book “Health Care Politics and Policy A-Z,” now in its third edition.  

Getty

On this Fête Nationale in France, President Trump has completed a quick trip to Paris where he visited Napoleon’s tomb, dined at the Eiffel Tower, viewed a military parade on the Champs Élysées, and got to know his younger French counterpart, Emmanuel Macron, a little better.

He made inappropriate remarks about the body of the first lady of France, but gone were disparaging remarks about how no one was going to visit Paris anymore. He promised to return, and Macron assured Mr. Trump that he was welcome any time.

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

Today, all eyes are on Hamburg Germany, the site of the G-20 summit, where about three hours ago, Donald Trump met Vladimir Putin for the first time as President. The meeting takes place as North Korea continues its sword rattling, the Syrian conflict continues to displace and kill thousands, big policy differences between the US and other G-20 members in areas like climate change are once again laid bare, and new economic agreements that exclude the US are taking shape.

courtesy CNN Photo

When Senate Republicans unveiled their health care bill a little more than a week ago, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it would be voted on this week -- before Congress’s July 4 recess.  But, on Tuesday of this week, McConnell, realizing he didn’t have the 50 votes needed to pass the bill, pulled the plug on the vote.  What’s next for the bill that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would result in 23 million more people without health insurance in the next decade?   

Also this week, the President’s Travel Ban is back, in part. The Supreme Court announced that it will hear arguments next fall regarding lower court decisions that stayed the President’s executive order: And that parts of President’ Trump’s revised travel ban could be enforced.

The Trump administration made further claims about fake news this week.  

We’ll take on these stories and others this week on the Midday News Wrap:  Tom is joined  in the studio by AP White House correspondent Julie Bykowicz and, on the line from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, by Dr. Carol Anderson, the Chair of African American Studies at Emory and author of the NYT best-selling book “White Rage.”   

Senate Republicans unveiled their health care bill yesterday. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says there will be a vote next week. Democrats are predictably, not happy, citing the bill’s deep cuts to the Medicaid program. Senator Chuck Schumer called the bill heartless. At least four republican senators Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and Ron Johnson have said they hope to get to yes, but they’re not there yet.

Former Minnesota police officer Jeronimo Yanez was found not guilty of all charges in connection to the 2016 shooting death of Philando Castile during a traffic stop. Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds live streamed on Facebook the moments immediately after he was shot. A dashcam video of the shooting was released after the verdict, but it's left many people wondering how the officer was acquitted? 

photo courtesy Arizona Republic

Last Wednesday, on a baseball field in Alexandria, VA, Republican Congressman Steve Scalise and three others were shot, including a Capitol Hill police officer who lives in Baltimore County.  Congressional leaders vowed to tamp down their vitriolic rhetoric.  But in a week that included the anniversary of the worst mass killing in US history, there seems to be no end in sight to this violence,  even in our political discourse. 

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh and DC Attorney General Karl Racine filed a lawsuit against President Trump for what they say is a violation of anti-corruption clauses in the Constitution. Congress has filed a suit too.  Jeff Sessions gave often defiant testimony to the Senate Intel Committee on Tuesday.  And there are now published reports confirming that President Trump is himself a subject of an investigation into possible obstruction of justice.  Plenty to talk about with Tom's News Wrap guests, Ayesha Rascoe, a White House correspondent for Reuters, and Alan Walden, who was last year's Republican candidate for Mayor of Baltimore.  

Former FBI Director James Comey was center stage yesterday in public and classified appearances before the Senate Intelligence Committee. Following Comey's public testimony, President Trump’s private lawyer pronounced the President vindicated. The President himself tweeted the same thing this morning. Many observers, however, disagree. Partisanship was by no means absent during Comey’s testimony. Like beauty, Obstruction of Justice is in the eye of the beholder.  The cloud of scandal hovering over the Trump administration is perhaps murkier than ever.  

Photo courtesy Bowie State University

It's the Midday News Wrap, our regular Friday review of the week's top local, national and international news. This week, as headlines focused on President Trump's first foreign trip, his 2018 budget proposal, and on the continuing investigation of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign, the nation was stunned by news of the May 20 stabbing death of Bowie State University student Richard Collins III.  The 23 year-old Collins, who had just been commissioned as a US Army lieutenant, was murdered by a University of Maryland/College Park student, who has been identified as a member of a white supremacist hate group on Facebook. How is the community responding to this tragedy, and what are school officials doing to address rising concerns about racially motivated attacks on their campus? Joining Tom on today's NewsWrap panel to discuss these and other issues in the news this week are Kamau High, managing editor of the Afro-American Newspaper and Dr. Kaye Wise Whitehead, an associate professor of communication and African and African American studies at Loyola University Maryland, and the author of “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America.”

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