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In Annapolis, Maryland, a gunman armed with a shotgun and smoke grenades stormed the newsroom of the Capital Gazette newspaper on Thursday afternoon, killing five people and injuring two others. It marked the deadliest day for U.S. journalists since 9/11. The dead were identified as editors, reporters and staff: Rob Hiaasen, Wendi Winters, Gerald Fischman, John McNamara, and Rebecca Smith. Phil Davis, the courts and crime reporter for the Capital Gazette, tweeted, “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload.” Surviving journalists remained defiant and published a Friday edition of the Capital Gazette this morning. Police took the alleged shooter into custody alive. They identified him as Jarrod W. Ramos, a 38-year-old white man from Laurel, Maryland, with a history of posting violent threats on social media. Ramos unsuccessfully sued the Capital Gazette for defamation in 2013 after the paper reported on his online verbal abuse of a female former classmate—for which Ramos pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor harassment charge. A Twitter account bearing Ramos’s name in 2015 made an explicit threat against two employees at the Capital Gazette, saying, “it would be nicer to see [them] cease breathing.” One of those threatened, Tom Marquardt, reported the threat to police at the time, prompting officers to visit Ramos at his home. But police did not charge him, citing a lack of evidence. Marquardt responded to Thursday’s massacre saying, “In my day, people protested by writing letters to the editor; today it’s through the barrel of a gun.”
At the White House, President Trump ignored shouted questions from reporters about the Maryland massacre, after leaving his helicopter and crossing the White House lawn.
Reporter 1: “Mr. President, can you react to the shooting in Annapolis?
Reporter 2: “Could you please talk to us about the dead reporters in Annapolis?”
Reporter 1: “Mr. President, why do you keep talking about 'enemy of the people'?”
Reporter 2: “Do have any words of condolence for the families, Mr. President?”
Reporter 3: “Mr. President, why are you walking away?”
Reporter 2: “Why won’t you come and talk to us about that?”
Trump later tweeted, “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.” The president has frequently called the press “the enemy of the American people.” Thursday’s massacre came just two days after a former writer at Breitbart News, Milo Yiannopoulos, told the New York Observer, “I can’t wait for vigilante squads to start gunning journalists down on sight.”
In Washington, D.C., more than 600 women were arrested Thursday during a massive nonviolent civil disobedience action on Capitol Hill protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies. Protesters, chanting “We care” and “Abolish ICE,” and wearing mylar emergency blankets like those given to immigrants imprisoned in U.S. detention centers, flooded the Hart Senate Office Building for a sit-in protest demanding that immigrant children be released from U.S. custody and reunited with their families. Among the protesters was Linda Sarsour, co-organizer of the Women’s March on Washington.
Linda Sarsour: “In light of the dark moments that we have in our country, from ripping children from the parents to the Supreme Court decision on the Muslim ban, on the anti-abortion clinics, on breaking down labor, on Justice Kennedy retiring and us having to think about what our Supreme Court is going to look like for the next 30, 40 years, I feel inspired. I feel inspired by women from across the country who came here to risk arrest and say, ’We’re not going to sit back when this injustice is happening.’ So, the world is pretty messed up, but I feel hopeful and inspired.”
In Portland, Oregon, federal police from the Department of Homeland Security, wearing riot gear and wielding batons, raided an “Occupy ICE” encampment outside the offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, arresting at least eight people and clearing a path for Portland’s ICE office to reopen. The building had been effectively shut down for 11 days, after activists set up a 24/7 protest encampment demanding the agency be abolished.
Here in Brownsville, Texas, more than a thousand people gathered outside the federal courthouse to demand all of the families be reunited. After headlines, we’ll air voices from the demonstration. Thursday’s protests came ahead of a national day of action against Trump’s immigration policy planned for Saturday. Protesters organizing under the hashtag #FamiliesBelongTogether will gather outside the White House for a massive protest, with sister rallies planned in more than 600 other locations around the U.S.
In Guatemala City, Vice President Mike Pence told the presidents of Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras Thursday that the Trump administration will continue to stymie the efforts of Central American migrants seeking to enter the United States.
Vice President Mike Pence: “Among this flood of illegal migrants are human traffickers and violent gang members, like MS-13. But most are making the journey seeking economic opportunity, driven by the misguided belief that they can ignore the laws of the United States and enter our nation without consequences. I say, with great respect to the presidents gathered here, this exodus must end.”
Pence’s comments came as The Texas Tribune reported that immigrant children—including toddlers—are being ordered into court alone for their deportation proceedings. The children are not provided a lawyer but are handed a list of legal services organizations that might help them. One immigration lawyer in California described a 3-year-old child separated from their family climbing a table during a deportation proceeding, saying, “It really highlighted the absurdity of what we’re doing with these kids.”
Back on Capitol Hill, House lawmakers voted along partisan lines Thursday to demand that the Department of Justice produce documents related to Robert Mueller’s investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. The nonbinding resolution was passed on the same day that Republicans called FBI Director Christopher Wray and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Republicans repeatedly accused Rosenstein of withholding documents—at times shouting at the Trump-appointed second-in-command at the Justice Department, who oversees Mueller’s investigation. Democrats said after the hearing that Republicans are seeking a pretext to impeach Rosenstein in a bid to end the Russia probe.
In climate news, the central and eastern United States are bracing for what forecasters are calling a “dangerous and oppressive heat wave” this weekend that will include possible record high temperatures, with a heat index in Chicago that could reach 115 degrees on Saturday.
In China, a heat wave continued to bake Shanghai, Beijing and other northern cities, forcing the country to speed imports of liquefied natural gas to meet rising energy demand for air conditioners. Meanwhile, parts of Great Britain recorded their hottest temperatures ever measured in June on Thursday. In Scotland, the roof of the Glasgow Science Centre began oozing tar as parts of the structure melted in the unprecedented heat.
A Democratic National Committee panel has voted to dramatically limit the use of so-called superdelegates in its presidential nominating conventions. In 2016, Hillary Clinton began the primaries with a more than 400-delegate lead over Bernie Sanders by securing support from superdelegates—the 712 congressmembers, senators, governors and other elected officials who often represent the Democratic Party elite.
And President Trump has set his summit with President Putin for July 16. It will take place in Helsinki, Finland.