In the aftermath of a shooting attack at a Republican Congressional baseball practice, commentators cast blame on heated rhetoric by Democrats, the Public Theater’s Julius Caesar production and the national atmosphere of polarization. Trump and Congressional leaders win praise for measured responses and calls for unity. The Trump administration moves to amend effective dates of travel ban to avoid its expiration before the Supreme Court can complete its review. Arrests made of attackers on peaceful protests outside Turkish embassy in DC during Erdogan’s visit last month. Trump’s lawyers excoriate leaks as Washington Post reports that Special Counsel Mueller is now investigating the President for obstruction of justice.
-Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director


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The most pressing threats and notable goings-on in free expression today


After the shootings, calls for unity amid recriminations and finger-pointing
From President Trump to congressional leaders of both parties to ordinary citizens came calls for prayers for the victims of the shootings in Alexandria, Va., that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and four others wounded, praise for the Capitol Police officers and, above all, words of reconciliation and unity. But barely on the edges of those remarks was another round of recriminations and a renewed debate about what has brought the country to a point of such division, and what, if anything, can be done to lower temperatures for more than a few minutes.

Solemn Trump Calls for Unity After Congressman’s Shooting
President Trump, a political agitator pressed into the unfamiliar new role of soothing a nation, called for bipartisan unity in his first statement responding to the shooting Wednesday morning. Mr. Trump, known for on-air improvisation and flouting presidential convention, approached this early test of his leadership with a gravity and sense of focus not seen since his well-received address to a joint session of Congress in February, when he called for a new era of bipartisan cooperation.

Trump tweaks travel ban timing
The controversial 90-day ban on issuance of visas to citizens of six majority-Muslim countries was set to run out Wednesday, and a 120-day halt to the admission of refugees was set to run out next month. However, because of injunctions, neither of the provisions took effect. Some opponents have argued that the legal disputes were moot or would be soon because of the time limits in the March order. So, Trump issued a presidential memorandum Wednesday declaring that the controversial provisions will kick in 72 hours after the court injunctions are lifted—if they ever are.

Two arrested after brawl outside Turkish ambassador’s residence in DC
Nine people were hospitalized after approximately two dozen protesters turned out in front of the ambassador’s residence, shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with President Donald Trump. The US State Department said the Turkish security involved in the altercation appeared to be embassy and Erdogan security staff; an official condemned the actions: “The conduct of Turkish security personnel earlier this week is deeply disturbing.” Turkish Ambassador Serdar Kılıç was summoned to the State Department the week after the brawl.

Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say
The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said.

Courthouse guard handcuffs reporter, seizes phone for photographing arrest
A New York state court officer ordered Post-Standard reporter Douglass Dowty to turn over his cell phone then handcuffed him about 10:45 a.m.; he remained in police custody for 10 minutes. Dowty was not charged. About a year ago, signs were posted warning the public not to take pictures in the hallways. Court administrators, however, said journalists could continue to do so. Dowty was covering court proceedings when a fight broke out outside the trial of a man accused of murder.


Turkey’s opposition begins protest march over MP’s imprisonment
Turkey’s main opposition party has begun a march from Ankara to Istanbul to protest against the imprisonment of an MP sentenced to 25 years in jail for allegedly leaking information to the press. It is the first time a CHP MP has been targeted since parliament voted last year to lift the immunity of members of parliament. The measure was primarily aimed at the pro-Kurdish party in the legislature but has now targeted the CHP, which controls a third of the seats in the assembly and voted to lift the immunity.

Egypt: Crackdown continues amid controversial land deal
Egypt’s recent blocking of 64 websites that are not aligned to state media’s narrative is part of the government’s crackdown on civil society. The latest move to cut off news websites came days before the Egyptian parliamentary committee was set to cast its final vote on the controversial transfer of two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to neighbouring Saudi Arabia. According to local media reports, a sit-in on the steps of the Journalists Syndicate in Cairo turned violent on Tuesday night, when police clashed with dozens of protesters, briefly arresting eight of them.

Missing Journalist Sparks Protests, Conflicting Stories
Authorities in Azerbaijan and Georgia are facing mounting criticism for their possible role in the apparent kidnapping of Afgan Mukhtarli, the Azerbaijani journalist who disappeared from Tbilisi on May 29 and was next seen two days later being led into a Baku courtroom. Mukhtarli has been charged with illegal border crossing, disorderly conduct, and currency violations. Police offer conflicting accounts of what happened to Mukhtarli, with the stories differing across borders and even within each country.

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