In Kentucky, a gunman armed with an AR-15-style semiautomatic assault rifle killed five people at a bank in downtown Louisville Monday morning. Eight others were injured, including a police officer who was shot in the head and required brain surgery. Louisville police say they responded to reports of “shots fired” within three minutes and killed the shooter in an exchange of gunfire. Investigators identified the shooter as a 25-year-old employee of Old National Bank who live-streamed the massacre on social media as he targeted his co-workers. Kentucky’s Democratic Governor Andy Beshear said three close friends were among the victims, including the bank’s vice president, Thomas Elliott, a longtime Democratic Party donor.
Gov. Andy Beshear: “This is awful. I have a very close friend that didn’t make it today. And I have another close friend who didn’t, either, and one who’s at the hospital, that I hope is going to make it through.”
Just two hours after Monday’s mass shooting in Louisville, one person was killed and another injured at a community college less than two miles away. According to the Gun Violence Archive, there have been 146 mass shootings in the United States this year alone. The violence brought renewed focus to efforts by Republicans to further deregulate guns, including U.S. Congressmember Thomas Massie of Kentucky, whose district includes parts of Louisville’s suburbs. In 2021, Massie tweeted a photo of himself and six family members holding assault-style rifles, with the caption, “Merry Christmas! ps. Santa, please bring ammo.”
In Tennessee, the Metropolitan Council of Nashville voted unanimously Monday to reinstate Democratic Representative Justin Jones, just days after Republicans voted to expel him from the Tennessee House of Representatives for joining peaceful protests against gun violence. This is Nashville Metro Councilmember Delishia Porterfield, speaking just before Monday’s 36-0 vote.
Councilmember Delishia Porterfield: “Representative Jones was honest about who he was: a bold and unapologetic advocate for the community. The people chose their representative. And with this vote, we will send a strong message to our state government and across the country that we will not tolerate threats to our democracy.”
Following the vote, Representative Jones and more than a thousand supporters marched to the Tennessee Capitol, where Jones retook the oath of office. He later joined debate on the House floor during an afternoon session.
Rep. Justin Jones: “I want to welcome democracy back to the people’s House. That on last Thursday, members of this body tried to crucify democracy, but today we stand as a witness of a resurrection of a movement, of a multiracial democracy, that no unjust decision will stand.”
Representative Jones also immediately called for the resignation of the House Speaker Cameron Sexton. A second Democratic lawmaker who was expelled last week, Justin Pearson of Memphis, could be reappointed to the Tennessee House if a majority of the Shelby County Commission’s 13 members agree to it. Click here to see our coverage of this story, including our interviews with Representative Justin Jones
In Virginia, prosecutors in Newport News have filed criminal charges against the mother of a 6-year-old boy who shot and wounded his elementary school teacher in January. The shooting left Abigail Zwerner with an injury in her hand and chest. The boy’s mother faces one felony count of child neglect and one misdemeanor count of recklessly storing a firearm. Zwerner is suing the Newport News School Board and administrators who she says repeatedly shrugged off warnings that the student was making threats and appeared to have a gun.
The Biden administration has filed a lawsuit seeking to block a Texas federal judge’s ruling that revokes the Food and Drug Administration approval of the abortion pill mifepristone. The Justice Department is asking the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals to keep the order on hold until a final decision is made. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday the administration is prepared for a long legal fight.
Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre: “This decision further strips away Americans’ fundamental freedoms and interferes with a woman’s ability to make decisions about her own body. And it’s another step towards the ultimate goal, that we’ve heard over and over again from anti-choice officials that both the state and — at the both the state and national level, eliminating access to abortion for all women in every state.”
Separately, the Justice Department filed a motion in a federal court in Washington state asking for clarification, after that court issued a conflicting ruling on Friday ordering the FDA to maintain the status quo by keeping mifepristone available. The Washington ruling applies only to 17 states and the District of Columbia with Democratic attorneys general who sued over this issue.
Meanwhile, over 400 pharmaceutical industry executives have signed an open letter condemning the Texas federal judge’s ruling on medication abortions. The letter reads in part, “If courts can overturn drug approvals without regard for science or evidence, or for the complexity required to fully vet the safety and efficacy of new drugs, any medicine is at risk for the same outcome as mifepristone.”
In Burma, witnesses report about 100 people, including pregnant women and children, were killed today as the Burmese military junta bombed a village in the Sagaing region. A junta aircraft reportedly dropped two bombs and fired on people as they gathered for the opening of a new town office. Members of Burma’s government-in-exile condemned the attack as a “heinous act” that constitutes “a war crime.” The U.N. has warned of worsening humanitarian and human rights crises in Burma, with mass arrests, torture of prisoners, the killing of civilians, and media repression.
The United States and the Philippines have opened annual war games in what the Pentagon is calling the largest military exercise of its kind in the South China Sea. Nearly 18,000 troops have joined the drills, which will feature live-fire exercises. Australia’s armed forces are also taking part. The war games opened just after China concluded three days of military drills around Taiwan. Earlier today, protesters gathered outside the Philippines military headquarters as the drills got underway. This is Philippines opposition leader Renato Reyes.
Renato Reyes Jr.: “Clearly, the war games are intended to project U.S. power in Asia. It’s not intended to defend the Philippines. It’s not intended to help the Philippines modernize. It’s really intended to showcase U.S. power. And it is a preparation for war.”
Russia’s military has launched a fresh wave of assaults across nine territories of Ukraine, with dozens of airstrikes and missile attacks reported over the past 24 hours. There are also continuing reports of fierce fighting around Bakhmut, where a pro-Russia official claimed mercenaries with the Wagner Group have seized 75% of the besieged city. Elsewhere, Russia and Ukraine carried out a prisoner swap on Monday, with each side freeing about 100 POWs.
The Washington Post is reporting President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt — a U.S. ally and major recipient of U.S. military aid — recently ordered subordinates to produce up to 40,000 rockets to be covertly shipped to Russia. President Sisi reportedly tried to keep the shipments a secret “to avoid problems with the West.” Democratic Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut responded, “Egypt is one of our oldest allies in the Middle East. If it’s true that Sisi is covertly building rockets for Russia that could be used in Ukraine, we need to have a serious reckoning about the state of our relationship.” The revelations came as part of classified U.S. intelligence documents found in a trove of files leaked online earlier this year. We’ll have more on that story later in the broadcast.
The leader of Belarus has asked Russia to guarantee its security, in case it’s attacked by the U.S. or NATO powers. Authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko made the comments during a conversation Monday with Russia’s defense minister, who was visiting Minsk.
President Alexander Lukashenko: “In case there is an attack on Belarus, the Russian Federation would defend Belarus like its own territory. These are the kinds of security guarantees we need. Actually, in the 1990s, it was more or less discussed. Now, because of what the West has been doing, it has been forgotten about. What safety guarantees can America provide us? None, apart from provoking aggression towards us. We need full security guarantees from our brothers in Russia.”
Last month, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he planned to deploy so-called tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reversed his decision to fire Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, as violence against Palestinians intensifies following Israel’s recent brutal raids at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem. In a televised speech Monday, Netanyahu said their differences had been put aside to “continue to work together for the security of the citizens of Israel.” In his remarks, Netanyahu also denounced recent mass protests demanding his far-right government cancel plans to dramatically weaken Israel’s judiciary, blaming the opposition for the country’s deteriorating security. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of Tel Aviv Monday night in response; at least eight were arrested in clashes with police.
Israeli ultranationalist senior government officials joined thousands of Israeli settlers Monday as they marched to an illegal outpost near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, demanding Israel’s government legalize and repopulate the settlement. The march included Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, as well as Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, who promised to expand existing settlements and to help create new ones across the West Bank, which he called “our land.”
Bezalel Smotrich: “Evyatar will soon be legalized as promised by the previous government. This place will be bustling with Jewish life, upright, proud, lovers of the land and of the Torah.”
In Texas, Republican Governor Greg Abbott is planning to pardon a man convicted of murdering a Black Lives Matter protester. Daniel Perry was found guilty by a Travis County jury last week for killing 28-year-old Garrett Foster at an Austin racial justice protest in July 2020 following the police murder of George Floyd. Conservatives have rallied behind Perry, a former U.S. Army sergeant. A court docket incorrectly claimed Perry would be sentenced today; in fact, no sentencing date has been set. Later in the show, we’ll go to Austin, Texas, for an update.
U.S. authorities have arrested Roberto Antonio Garay Saravia, a retired army colonel from El Salvador’s army, over his role in the 1981 El Mozote massacre, where U.S.-trained Salvadoran military officers killed nearly 1,000 civilians across seven villages. Immigration and Customs Enforcement claims Garay hid his involvement in the massacre in his application to become a legal U.S. resident in 2014. Garay, who received combat training at Fort Benning’s School of the Americas in Georgia, is also linked to three other massacres from 1981 to '84 during El Salvador's war. He’s currently held in an immigration jail in Pennsylvania. If deported, Garay would likely walk free in El Salvador, as Salvadoran authorities have never issued arrest warrants against any military officers involved in El Mozote. The Reagan administration and the Salvadoran military junta covered up the massacre for years.