News Headlines 5/5/21

BIDEN SETS NEW COVID VACCINATION GOAL OF 70 PERCENT OF ADULTS BY FOURTH OF JULY: President Biden has set a new Covid-19 vaccination goal, aiming to have 70 percent of U.S. adults having receiving at least one dose of a vaccine by the Fourth of July. Speaking from the White House Tuesday (May 4th) about his new goal, Biden said, “I’d like to get it 100 percent, but I think realistically we can get to that place between now and July Fourth.” As of now, more than 56 percent of U.S. adults have gotten at least one vaccine dose. Demand for the vaccine has fallen significantly in recent weeks, and efforts to get people vaccinated are shifting accordingly. Biden yesterday called for states to make vaccines available on a walk-in basis and he will direct many pharmacies to do the same. He also said the administration will focus on three areas: adults who are hesitant about getting the vaccine; people who have had difficulty getting the vaccine or aren’t in a hurry to get it; and kids ages 12 to 15, once vaccines are approved for their age group.

DEATH TOLL IN MEXICO CITY SUBWAY COLLAPSE RISES TO 24: The death toll from the collapse of an elevated section of Mexico City’s subway system late Monday rose to 24 on Tuesday (May 4th), as crews worked to dismantle the wreckage. Only five of the dead had been identified. Another 27 or the more than 70 people injured remained hospitalized. Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said a Norwegian firm had been hired to investigate the accident, which was one of the deadliest in the history of Mexico City’s Metro. The collapse took place on the Metro’s newest line, which was built between 2006 and 2012. There had previously been allegations of poor design and construction on it.

JUDGE ORDERS JUSTICE DEPT. TO RELEASE 2019 MEMO ABOUT TRUMP OBSTRUCTION CHARGES RELATED TO RUSSIA PROBE: A federal judge has ordered the release a March 2019 Justice Department legal memo prepared for then-Attorney General William Barr before he announced that he’d concluded then-President Donald Trump hadn’t obstructed justice during the Russia probe. The Justice Department had refused to provide it in response to Freedom of Information Act request from a government transparency group, saying it was the private legal advice of attorneys and created before any formal decision on charges had been made, therefore not subject to FOIA requests. But U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said the memo contained strategic, not legal advice, and that the writers and the recipients already understood Trump wouldn’t be prosecuted. Barr issued a summary of Special Counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia report a month before it was released, and said the Justice Department had decided to clear Trump of obstruction of justice. Mueller, however, hadn’t reached a conclusion either way. Jackson was also critical of Barr in her order for his handling of the Mueller report in general.

CHAUVIN ATTORNEY FILES MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL: An attorney for Derek Chauvin, who was convicted last month of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, filed a motion Tuesday (May 4th) for a new trial for the former Minneapolis police officer. The motion details errors the defense claims were made during the trial that violated Chauvin’s rights to a due process and a fair trial. They include claims of mistakes made by the judge, prosecutorial misconduct, juror misconduct, witness intimidation and the impact of publicity on the jurors. AP cited Minneapolis defense attorney Mike Brandt as saying a request for a new trial is routine following a guilty verdict and often presents issues that will be raised on appeal.