Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro says he’s defeated a coup attempt launched by opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the president of the Venezuelan National Assembly. On Tuesday morning, Guaidó appeared in an online video standing among heavily armed soldiers, calling for the military to oust Maduro, but the Venezuelan military appears to have remained largely behind Maduro. During the day, clashes broke out between backers of Guaidó and the Venezuelan government. There are reports of one death and more than 100 people injured. On Tuesday night, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro gave a televised address and denied claims by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that he had prepared to flee the country.
President Nicolás Maduro: “The skirmish in Venezuela has been defeated, and Mr. Trump set off a thousand expletives and lies. My god, how far are the men in the United States government willing to go?”
Maduro and Guaidó have both called on supporters to take to the streets today. We’ll have more on Venezuela after headlines.
In Britain, a judge has sentenced WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to 50 weeks in jail for skipping bail in 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden on sexual assault accusations—charges that were eventually dropped. He was afraid he would then be extradited to the United States. Last month, British police forcibly removed Assange from the Ecuadorean Embassy, where he had taken asylum for almost seven years to fight his possible extradition to the United States. After his arrest, U.S. authorities unsealed an indictment accusing Assange of conspiring with Army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, who leaked a trove of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks—including evidence of U.S. war crimes. A London court is set to hear an extradition request by the United States on Thursday.
The Washington Post is reporting special counsel Robert Mueller wrote to Attorney General William Barr in March complaining that Barr misled the American public when he summarized the Mueller report’s findings in a four-page memo sent to Congress. According to the Post, Mueller said Barr’s summary “did not fully capture the context, nature, and substance” of his work, adding, “There is now public confusion about critical aspects of the results of our investigation. This threatens to undermine a central purpose for which the Department appointed the Special Counsel: to assure full public confidence in the outcome of the investigations.” The revelation appears to directly contradict Barr’s sworn testimony to Congress on April 10, when Barr was questioned by Democrat Chris Van Hollen of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Sen. Chris Van Hollen: “Did Bob Mueller support your conclusion?”
Attorney General William Barr: “I don’t know whether Bob Mueller supported my conclusion.”
Democrats are demanding an immediate investigation into whether Barr deliberately sought to to mislead the public over Mueller’s findings. Barr is set to testify today before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
On Capitol Hill, a 35-year-old lawyer and activist who’s dying of terminal ALS testified Tuesday at an historic, first-of-its-kind congressional hearing on Medicare for all. Ady Barkan spoke to the House Rules Committee using a computerized system that tracks his eye movements and turns them into spoken words. In his emotional testimony, Barkan described how, even with a comparatively good health insurance plan, he still pays about $9,000 a month for medical care.
Ady Barkan: “All of us need medical care. And yet, in this country, the wealthiest in the history of human civilization, we do not have an effective or fair or rational system for delivering that care. I will not belabor the point, because you and your constituents are well aware of the problems: high costs, bad outcomes, mind-boggling bureaucracy, racial disparities, bankruptcies, geographic inequities and obscene profiteering. The ugly truth is this: Healthcare is not treated as a human right in the United States of America. This fact is outrageous, and it is far past time that we change it. Saying it loud for the people in the back: Healthcare is a human right.”
In North Carolina, two people were killed and four wounded Tuesday when a man with a pistol opened fire at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte on the last day of classes. The shooting sparked widespread panic across the campus, with students and staff huddling in offices while police locked down buildings for hours. Exams were canceled through Sunday. Police later arrested 22-year-old student Trystan Andrew Terrell, saying the suspect was “not somebody on our radar.” There was no apparent motive for the shooting. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been over 100 mass shootings in the U.S. so far this year.
In Minnesota, a jury has found former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor guilty of third-degree murder and manslaughter in the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond, an Australian woman who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home. Noor, who was seated in the passenger seat, shot Ruszczyk through the open driver’s-side window of the vehicle as she approached his police cruiser in her pajamas. This is Justine’s father, John Ruszczyk, speaking after the verdict.
John Ruszczyk: “Justine was killed by a police officer, an agent of the state. We believe he was properly charged with a crime. The jury has returned a verdict of guilty on murder three and manslaughter two. We are satisfied with the outcome.”
On Capitol Hill, black women leaders gathered Tuesday in defense of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, one of the first two Muslim congresswomen in history and the first member of Congress to wear a hijab. Omar says death threats against her have spiked in number since President Trump tweeted a video juxtaposing her image with footage of the 9/11 attacks. Democracy Now! was at Tuesday’s “Hands Off Ilhan Omar” event; we’ll play excerpts from it later in the broadcast and then go to Capitol Hill to speak with Congressmember Omar.
Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer emerged from closed-door talks with President Trump at the White House Tuesday saying they’ve made progress toward a $2 trillion plan to reinvest in U.S. infrastructure. News of the meeting prompted Republican lawmakers to express skepticism. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell rejected calls by Democrats to pay for an infrastructure bill by rolling back Republican tax cuts that overwhelmingly favor the wealthy, calling the proposal a “nonstarter.”
And in New York City, police arrested seven nonviolent protesters Tuesday as they peacefully blocked access to Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer’s Manhattan office. The youth activists with the Sunrise Movement are calling on the Senate Minority Leader to endorse the Green New Deal, a resolution calling for a transformation of the U.S. economy by funding renewable energy while ending U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
Youth activist: “I’m willing to get arrested and put my body on the line for the Green New Deal, because it means the bodies of all of the people who are being affected by the climate crisis. We are here demanding that Senator Schumer sign on to a Green New Deal. Stand with us, Chuck Schumer.”
Sunrise Movement leaders have asked Senator Schumer to convene town hall meetings to discuss his climate plan, but say their requests have been rebuffed or ignored. This is Aracely Jimenez, a resident of Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.
Aracely Jimenez: “I have lived in Sunset Park since I was 4 years old. It is a low-income, immigrant community of color. And it was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy. So I have seen what the climate crisis is going to do, what it’s already doing to communities like mine all across this planet. And when our Senate minority leader refuses to co-sponsor the only plan on the table that is going to address the crisis at the scale that science and justice demand, then that is unacceptable. I will not stand for it, and neither should you!”