WASHINGTON – Fearful of Donald Trump's actions in his final weeks as president, the United States' top military officer twice called his Chinese counterpart to assure him that the two nations would not suddenly go to war, a senior defense official said Tuesday after the conversations were described in excerpts from a forthcoming book.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mark Milley told Gen. Li Zuocheng of the People's Liberation Army that the United States would not strike. One call took place Oct. 30, 2020, four days before the election that defeated Trump. The second call was on Jan. 8, 2021, just two days after the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of the outgoing chief executive.
Milley went so far as to promise Li that he would warn his counterpart in the event of a U.S. attack, according to the book “Peril,” written by Washington Post journalists Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. Trump said Milley should be tried for treason if the report was true.
4 plead not guilty in Floyd federal case
Four former Minneapolis police officers charged with violating George Floyd's civil rights pleaded not guilty Tuesday in a federal hearing that included arguments on several pretrial motions, including requests to hold separate trials.
A federal grand jury indicted Derek Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J. Kueng and Tou Thao in May for allegedly depriving Floyd of his rights while acting under government authority on May 25, 2020, as Floyd, 46, was held face-down, handcuffed and not resisting.
Mistrial declared in Backpage.com case
A judge declared a mistrial Tuesday at the trial of the founders of the lucrative classified site Backpage.com on charges of facilitating prostitution and laundering money after deciding prosecutors had made too many references to child sex trafficking in a case where no one faced such a charge.
Michael Lacey, James Larkin and four other Backpage employees were accused of taking part in a scheme to knowingly sell ads for sex on the site. U.S. District Judge Susan Brnovich said that the cumulative effect of the child sex trafficking references made by prosecutors in opening statements and by witnesses for the government “is something that I can't overlook and will not overlook.”
Atlanta zoo gorillas contract COVID-19
At least 18 of the 20 gorillas at Atlanta's zoo have now tested positive for COVID-19, an outbreak that began just days before the zoo had hoped to obtain a veterinary vaccine for the primates, officials said Tuesday.
Zoo Atlanta had announced the first positive tests among the western lowland gorillas on Friday after employees noticed the gorillas had been coughing, had runny noses and showed changes in appetite. A veterinary lab at the University of Georgia returned positive tests for the respiratory illness.
Zoo Atlanta says the National Veterinary Services Laboratories in Ames, Iowa, confirms that at least four of the samples from the gorillas so far have tested positive for the delta variant of the virus.
Comic Norm Macdonald dies at 61
Comedian Norm Macdonald, a former “Saturday Night Live” writer and performer who was “Weekend Update” host when Bill Clinton and O.J. Simpson provided comic fodder during the 1990s, has died.
Macdonald, who was 61, died Tuesday after having cancer for nine years, but keeping it private, according to Brillstein Entertainment Partners, his management firm in Los Angeles.