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Coronavirus updates: 2-day-old baby dies from COVID-19 - ABC News
A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 329,000 people worldwide. Over 5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations' outbreaks. Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected country, with more than 1.5 million diagnosed cases and at least 93,606 deaths. Today's biggest developments:
Supreme Court justices raise concern about 'harassment' by subpoenas for Trump taxes, financial records - ABC News
A divided Supreme Court on Tuesday wrestled with the legality of sweeping subpoenas for President Donald Trump's personal financial records, raising concerns about the potential for "harassment" of a president by politically motivated investigators. At the same time, the justices seemed to reject a claim by the president's attorneys that he enjoys "absolute immunity" from any investigation into his private business while he's still in office. "The question then boils down to how can we both protect the House's interest in obtaining information it needs to legislate, but also protect the presidency?" Justice Brett Kavanaugh said, framing the debate. "How can the court balance those interests?" For more than three hours of oral arguments by teleconference, the justices did not appear to find consensus. Trump's personal attorneys were challenging subpoenas from three Democratic-led House committees and a New York prosecutor seeking a broad range of financial records held by the president's private banks and accounting firm. The committees are seeking the records to help draft government ethics and anti-money laundering laws; the Manhattan District Attorney has sought them as part of a probe into possible state financial crimes. Chief Justice John Roberts worried openly that the House committees are claiming a "limitless" ability to request private documents of a sitting president. Justice Stephen Breyer noted the subpoenas were seeking "a lot of information and some of it's pretty vague," adding that "there may be burdens" imposed on the president by forcing his banks and accounting firm to produce them. "One (subpoena) could be manageable, but 100 (subpoenas) could be impossible," said Justice Clarence Thomas of the potential aggregate impact of subpoenas on a president. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor defended the ability of lawmakers to issue subpoenas for broad legislative purposes. "One must investigate before drafting legislation," Ginsburg said. As debate shifted focus to a grand jury subpoena for Trump records issued by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the justices seemed to suggest that Trump and future presidents could, in fact, be subject to criminal process within some limitations. The chief justice invoked the court's unanimous 1997 decision in Clinton v. Jones which required then-President Bill Clinton to sit for a videotaped deposition in a civil suit brought by former Arkansas state employee, Paula Jones. "We weren't persuaded that discovery in that case could not proceed," Roberts said to Trump attorney Jay Sekulow. "I don't understand your theory." Justice Neil Gorsuch openly wondered why Sekulow was claiming subpoenas to a third-party custodian of the president's personal records would be "more burdensome" than what the court allowed in the Jones case, when Clinton had to be deposed. "You can't just look at one subpoena, but 2,300 (district attorneys) issuing them," Sekulow argued, warning the court against what he called a potential wave of investigations into presidents by local prosecutors. "He's the president of the United States. He's a branch of government." But even Trump's Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued before the court that there are circumstances in which a president should not be immune from subpoenas for information about his conduct as a private citizen. A prosecutor "has got to show that the information he's seeking is critical to making a charging decision," Francisco said, "that he can't get it anywhere else and the information he does have is insufficient." The justices spent more than 90 minutes debating what that standard should be and who, in cases of state investigations like New York's, bears the burden of proving it. Carey Dunne, attorney representing the New York district attorney, insisted the responsibility is on the president to contest a lawfully-issued subpoena in court by explaining how it infringes on his ability to do his job as president. Trump makes no such claim in the case of these subpoenas. "When a president acts as a private individual he or she has responsibilities like any other citizen," Dunne said. "This court has held they are not above having to provide evidence." If a president can show that his job is harmed by having to respond to a subpoena, Dunne said a prosecutor would "have to show objective basis for the investigation and reasonable probability information could be helpful." "Requiring a state prosecutor to get permission first for any request would undermine this court's prior rulings," he said. Sekulow insisted that the New York prosecutor's subpoenas -- and the House committee subpoenas -- were politically motivated and overly broad. "What's really happening here could not be clearer," Sekulow said. "The presidency is being harassed and undermined." Every lower federal court has ruled that the president's banks and accounting firm must comply with the House and grand jury subpoenas for his documents. If the Supreme Court agrees, Trump would likely have to turn over at least some financial records to investigators before Election Day. "More importantly, what it would say is that this president is not different from any other president, that all presidents have to comply with the rule of law and with court proceedings," said University of Pennsylvania law professor Claire Finkelstein, director of the school's Center for Ethics and Rule of Law. The court is expected to hand down its decision in the case by the end of June.
Trump's message to 'liberate' states dangerous: Washington Gov. Jay Inslee - ABC News
President Donald Trump's message to liberate states, as some Americans gather across the country to protest stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic, is basically encouraging illegal activity, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said Sunday on ABCs This Week. "To have an American president to encourage people violate the law, I can't remember any time in my time in America we have seen such a thing. It's dangerous, because it could inspire people to ignore things that could save their lives," he told ABC Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos. "And it's doubly frustrating to us governors," he added. "The president is asking people 'please ignore Dr. Fauci, Dr. Birx, please ignore my own guidelines I set forth.'" President Donald Trump has said during his daily briefings that he doesnt believe that protests against stay-at-home orders are putting people at risk of spreading or contracting COVID-19. In a Saturday briefing, in the midst of the debate over timelines for reopening the country, Trump reiterated his statements. Well, there is a lot of injustice. When you look at Virginia, where they want to take your guns away, they want to violate your Second Amendment. When you look at, I mean, look, I'm getting along very nicely with the governor of Michigan. She says don't buy paint, dont buy roses, dont buy -- shes got all these crazy things, Trump said. I believe somebody sitting in their boat in a lake should be OK. They shouldn't arrest people. Some of them are being unreasonable. I really believe that. Theyre being unreasonable. Inslee said Friday that Trump's "unhinged rantings and calls for people to liberate states could also lead to violence. Weve seen it before." On "This Week" Sunday he said that he hopes that there can be "restoration of leadership in the White House." While Trump and some states have pushed for quick reopening of the country, Inslee said he has encouraged people in Washington -- home to the first COVID-19 hotspot in the United States -- to continue staying at home for the time being. "Everybody is very anxious to have a date, you know, they're wanting to get out and see their grandkids, they're wanting to get back to work. People without a paycheck have extreme anxiety about this and so this is something very, very deep, to have that date to be able to shoot for, obviously, no one has a crystal ball," Inslee told Stephanopoulos. Washington is beginning to recover from the pandemic, but Inslee said there is still more work to do. "We still haven't gotten the curve going down, we're still plateaued, if you will," Inslee said. "We want to make sure we wrestle this beast to the ground. And the reason is, you have to get the infections down to a low enough number where you can handle it through very rigorous testing and robust testing." He said that the state is hoping to begin phasing into reopening some parts of the economy in the coming weeks -- but it certainly won't be all at once. "This isn't a light switch," Inslee said. "What I'm trying to encourage people is focus on what we can do today." Another thing that states are beginning to look at addressing is how to handle the 2020 election cycle that has been upended amid the pandemic. Washington state is one of the few which conducts elections entirely by mail -- another controversial topic between Trump and some Democratic leaders. Trump has argued in recent weeks -- as states grapple with how to conduct upcoming elections safely -- that administering elections by mail makes them more susceptible to fraud. Inslee said Sunday that is simply untrue. "This is a tremendous work in democracy. Because it's the easiest, safest, most reliable voting there is. Our numbers have gone up in voter participation. It's been a spectacular success. And certainly, when people risk their lives to go physically vote right now with this COVID epidemic, I know there are some in the other party who are afraid more people will vote if we have (mail-in voting)," Inslee said. "That shouldn't be a fear, that should be a hope. We should increase voter participation any way we can. Oregon has led this effort. It's been fantastic. Virtually, no fraud. Increased participation. People love it," he said.