Attorney behind inquiries into Trump allies resigns
As Trump supporters gather for the campaign rally in Tulsa tonight, Oklahoma has reported 331 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, pushing the state’s total to more than 10,000.
While Oklahoma is far from having the most coronavirus cases or deaths nationwide, the recent increase puts it among more than a dozen states moving in a troubling direction, according to data from Johns Hopkins.
Tulsa itself saw 136 new cases of coronavirus yesterday, as the daily growth in confirmed cases in Tulsa has continued to hit new records each day.
The number of new cases confirmed daily across Oklahoma has also risen sharply in the past week. The state has seen nearly 2,000 new confirmed cases since 13 June.
As coronavirus cases grew in Tulsa, which announced a then-record high of 96 new daily cases on Wednesday, the city’s public health director said publicly that he hoped the Trump rally would be postponed.
“I think it’s an honor for Tulsa to have a sitting president want to come and visit our community, but not during a pandemic,” Dr Bruce Dart said, according to the Tulsa World. “I’m concerned about our ability to protect anyone who attends a large, indoor event, and I’m also concerned about our ability to ensure the president stays safe as well.”
Only one additional coronavirus death was reported in Oklahoma on Saturday, pushing the state’s total to 368.
Across the United States, there were 29,909 new confirmed coronavirus cases, and 678 new deaths, according to Johns Hopkins data cited by Oklahoma’s public health department.
Donald Trump fires attorney behind inquiries into his allies
The US attorney general, William Barr, said on Saturday Donald Trump had fired Geoffrey Berman, the US attorney for the southern district of New York who has overseen investigations and prosecutions of key Trump allies including Rudy Giuliani and Michael Cohen.
Berman earlier refused to confirm his resignation from the prestigious role, despite Barr announcing it on Friday night.
Barr said Berman’s deputy, Audrey Strauss, would become the acting US attorney.
Leaving the White House for his rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump told reporters Barr was in charge of the issue and said: “I’m not involved.”
Barr had been widely accused of undermining Department of Justice independence even before he moved against Berman.
In a surprise statement released on Friday night, the attorney general said Trump intended to nominate Jay Clayton – chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission but with little experience as a federal prosecutor – as US attorney. The US attorney in New Jersey, Craig Carpenito, would be acting US attorney until Clayton could be confirmed by the Senate.
But Berman said he had not known of the move until Barr’s statement.
“I will step down when a presidentially appointed nominee is confirmed by the Senate,” he said. “Until then, our investigations will move forward without delay or interruption.
“I cherish every day that I work with the men and women of this office to pursue justice without fear or favor – and intend to ensure that this office’s important cases continue unimpeded.”
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