Liz Benjamin

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Embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has resigned after facing months of allegations over legal and ethical violations.

The president announced the resignation in a tweet in which he thanked Pruitt for doing an “outstanding job.”

The Trump administration says none of the 3,000 children who were torn from their families at the U.S. border have been reunited with their parents, despite a court order to do so within a 30-day period, or 14 days for children under 5 years old.

Former Fox News co-president Bill Shine has been named White House deputy chief of staff for communications and assistant to the president, the White House announced.

After her upset primary win in NY-14, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is flexing her newfound political muscles, endorsing candidates around the country even though she’s technically not even a member of Congress yet.

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had a private phone call with Trump earlier this week, during which he pressured the president to nominate federal judge Merrick Garland to replace U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy.

Black female leaders and allies expressed their “deep disappointment” with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Schumer for their “recent failure to protect” California Rep. Maxine Waters “from unwarranted attacks from the Trump administration and others in the GOP.”

Cynthia Nixon landed another endorsement in her gubernatorial bid to unseat Cuomo, this time from Brooklyn Councilman Antonio Reynoso, who said: “Politics as usual is not getting it done.”

Sen. Rand Paul and his wife opened up about the November attack by their neighbor that landed the Kentucky Republican in the hospital with six broken ribs and a struggle with chronic pneumonia — ostensibly over a yard dispute.

Manhattan federal prosecutors charged Therese Okoumou with three misdemeanor counts for climbing the base of the Statue of Liberty on July Fourth, saying the stunt deserves prison time.

Closing arguments in the Buffalo Billion trial are set for Monday.

Court officials are looking to expand a Manhattan pilot program that requires parties in many contract disputes, such as those involving commercial leases or construction, go through mediation prior to appearing before a judge.

Former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton will appear at the third annual Ozy Fest that takes place July 21 and 22 in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Potentially dangerous and unsightly conditions at an upscale Rensselaer County home ex-LG Mary Donohue once shared with her now-former (and deceased) husband are being cleaned up.

Republican Assemblyman Will Barclay is facing his first challenger in a decade: Democrat Gail Tosh.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today announced that advance sale tickets for the 2018 Great New York State Fair will be available Monday, July 9, including new discounts to make the Fair more affordable for New Yorkers and visitors.

NYC Councilman Joe Borelli, a Staten Island Republican and frequent Cuomo critic, writes: “(I)t cannot be lost on any objective New Yorker, Democrat and Republican alike, that this governor has failed in his declared goal of ending Albany’s stench.”

New York City will spend $1.8 million this year to roll out “mobile trauma units,” or buses filled with counselors and peacekeepers, to crime scenes throughout the city in an effort to ease tensions in communities after acts of gun violence.

The mid-Hudson Valley is in the midst of a craft beer renaissance. Home to 65 craft breweries, the region saw a 491 percent increase from 11 breweries in 2012 – the largest number of craft breweries of any region in the state.

Across upstate, there are cities and towns suffering from the effects of poverty, and a new ranking of the 50 poorest communities in the region includes three places in Central NY.

Tedisco Mourns Ex-Aide Killed in Motorcycle Crash

Sen. Jim Tedisco last night issued a statement mourning the death of his former aide, Albany Police Officer Dean Johnson, who was killed in an off-duty motorcycle crash in the town of Knox.

Johnson was 25 years old, and had only just joined the department last October, graduating from the Albany Police Academy in May.

In his statement, Tedisco said he was “heartbroken” over Johnson’s death, recalling him as a “wonderful, talented young man and dedicated public servant who truly wanted to make our community, state and nation a better place.”

“Dean was my legislative aide in the Senate and Assembly who worked very hard on behalf of constituents and to help people in need, and he did so always with a warm smile,” the Republican Schenectady lawmaker said. “Dean’s easy-going positivity was infectious and he had a wonderful way of making people feel comfortable. I knew his life-long dream was to be a police officer and I was so proud to see him graduate from the Albany Police Academy two months ago.”

Tedisco offered his “deepest prayers and condolences” to Johnson’s family, friends and girlfriend, who is a local TV news reporter, adding: “We are devastated by this loss and will miss him very much.”

Here and Now

It looks like we have turned a corner with the heat wave, though a heat advisory has been extended for parts of the state. Remain vigilant about hydration and be mindful of the weather forecast.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City.

President Donald Trump travels this afternoon to Great Falls, MT, where he will host a “Make America Great Again” rally at the Four Seasons Arena. He will then return to the East Coast, heading to his golf course resort in Bedminster, NJ.

At 9:30 a.m., NYC Councilman Antonio Reynoso will announce his endorsement of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, .H.S. 50 John D. Wells, 83 South 3rd St., Brooklyn.

At 1 p.m., Rep. Claudia Tenney tours BOTHAR Construction, family-owned business founded in 1999 that provides prime and subcontract construction services for residential, commercial, municipal and state agencies, 170 E. Service Hwy., Binghamton.

Also at 1 p.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Brownsville Recreation Center, 1555 Linden Blvd., Brooklyn.

At 2 p.m., on the first day of summer school, and with three weeks remaining until speed cameras in NYC expire, safe streets advocates and public officials call on Sen. Marty Golden to return to Albany to approve a bill to renew and expand the program, P.S. 215 Morris H. Weiss School, 415 Ave. S., Brooklyn.

Headlines…

A woman who climbed up to the robes of the Statue of Liberty to protest the separation of migrant families was taken into custody after a standoff with police on the Fourth of July.

The standoff created an unexpected spectacle in New York Harbor that culminated not long before the planned Independence Day fireworks were set to start nearby on the Hudson River.

The woman, identified by the Associated Press as Therese Patricia Okoumou, a 44-year-old immigrant from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, told first responders that she climbed onto the statue “for the children in Texas,” a NYPD officer told reporters.

Officers tried to persuade Okoumou to come down on her own – to no avail – for three hours.

China rejected “threats and blackmail” ahead of planned U.S. tariff hike, striking a defiant stance in a dispute companies worry could flare into a full-blown trade war and chill the global economy.

When the North Koreans were shooting off missile tests and detonating new, more powerful atomic bombs last year, President Trump responded with threats of “fire and fury.” But since the one-day summit meeting last month in Singapore, he has done an about-face, while the North’s nuclear program has continued.

Trump wished America a happy Fourth of July holiday yesterday and reserved special praise for the “American heroes” whose sacrifice he said helped the nation win her independence 242 years ago.

Scott Pruitt isn’t fully in the doghouse since the embattled EPA administrator was invited to Trump’s Fourth of July picnic and even got a shout-out from the president, though a senior administration official told CNN earlier in the day that Pruitt was “inching forward to the tipping point.”

When Trump meets Queen Elizabeth next week, he will become the 12th U.S. president that the monarch has met during her 66 years on the throne, the longest in British history.

Despite saying that he expected to have a decision on July 4 whether Trump would sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team, Rudy Giuliani said yesterday he had “no decision” to announce.

Newsrooms across the world have been urged to observe a moment of silence at 2:33 p.m. today for the five employees of The Capital who were killed in one of the deadliest attacks on journalists in U.S. history.

The Jamestown Post-Journal notes Cuomo’s campaign stands to benefit “quite a bit” from his post-Janus decision executive order protecting union agency fees.

Mike Kink, of Strong Economy for All, opines on the demise of Toys R Us, writing: “Wall Street billionaires destroyed America’s favorite toy store to make themselves even richer.”

Albany Police Officer Dean Johnson, a 25-year-old former aide to Sen. Tim Tedisco, died in an off-duty motorcycle crash in the town of Knox, Albany police confirmed late last night.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daughters joined their Kennedy relatives in trolling First Lady Melania Trump by wearing hand-painted “I really do care” jackets at the annual Hyannisport 4th of July parade.

A state or county criminal investigation that begins with abuse of the Donald J. Trump Foundation, such as the one launched by AG Barbara Underwood, need not be limited to violations of charity and election law. It can also examine his personal and business tax filings and, in the process, lawfully put his tax returns in the public record – if the governor so chooses.

State lawmakers are joining a national call for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which has been scrutinized in recent weeks as it carried out the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy that required the separation of children from their parents.

New York’s most senior Democratic lawmaker, Manhattan Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, plans to introduce legislation that would allow unions to include collective-bargaining costs in their contracts with government agencies to replace the mandatory fees banned under last month’s Janus v. ­AFSCME ruling.

Family members of an NYPD cop gunned down by two cold-blooded thugs are worried that the killers will soon be sprung, given the recent decisions by Cuomo’s parole-board appointees.

The asylum-seeking Guatemalan mom briefly reunited with her kids in New York after more than a month apart is fleeing gang members in her homeland who have threatened her 11-year-old son’s life, according to her lawyer.

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Della Pia Concedes to Mitrano in NY-23

The only cliffhanger race from last week’s congressional primaries is over, after Max Della Pia issued a statement conceding the NY-23 Democratic contest to his opponent, Tracy Mitrano.

Della Pia issued a concession statement after a partial counting of absentee ballots gave Mitrano a lead that he deemed to be insurmountable, even though the final results will not be certified until Thursday, saying he had done so in the interest of party unity.

Mitrano, who also has the Working Families Party line, will now move forward to challenge Republican Rep. Tom Reed in the November general election.

On primary night, Della Pia led Mitrano by just 26 votes, 7,022 to 6,996, with the three other Democrats in the race – Linda Andrei and Ian Golden, both of Ithaca; and Eddie Sundquist, of Jamestown – trailing significantly behind.

In his statement, Della Pia thanked his family and supporters for backing him and working on his behalf during his year-long campaign. He also thanked his four Democratic primary opponents, urging them to refocus their efforts on ousting Reed.

“We must all, as a team, work together – unified – to make sure a Democrat wins this district, in November,” Della Pia said. “You, your families, and your volunteers, all sacrificed so much to help you. For all that sacrifice, I thank you.”

“…Here’s the bottom line, folks – unless we all commit ourselves to work together and put all our shoulders to the wheel to win, all of our efforts up until now will be for naught. We are all better candidates because of each other. Each one of us. Now, working together, we can make a stronger, better party that can and must win in November.”

Reed has held his seat since 2010. Democrats have repeatedly tried unsuccessfully to dislodge him, but he appears to be comfortably situated in the GOP-dominated district, where he is an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump.

NY-23 has not traditionally been one on which the DCCC is focused as it works to try to win back the majority. But that perhaps could change if polls show this race tightening as Election Day approaches.

Extras

A programming note: There will be no blogging and no Morning Memo tomorrow due to the July 4th holiday. Also, for those of you who are Capital Tonight watchers, there will be no show tomorrow night. Everything will return to its normal schedule on Thursday. Have a safe and happy Glorious Fourth! Stay cool.

The Trump administration will encourage the nation’s school superintendents and college presidents to adopt race-blind admissions standards, abandoning an Obama administration policy that called on universities to consider race as a factor in diversifying their campuses, Trump administration officials said.

The individuals considered top contenders for retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Kennedy’s seat have produced a sparse record of legal rulings and writings on abortion, which makes it hard to predict how they might rule in cases related to that hot-button issue.

As Fourth of July travel heats up, the U.S. Secret Service is warning motorists, businesses and police of a disturbing surge in criminals’ stealing credit information at gas pumps.

The man charged with killing five people at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Annapolis, Maryland, sent three letters announcing his murderous intentions to kill “every person present,” police confirmed.

Cynthia Nixon has said that her twin experiences as a public school parent and an education activist are what drives her run. Both her supporters and her detractors say there are lessons to be learned from those experiences about how she might approach the job of governing.

Two of EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s top aides provided fresh details to congressional investigators in recent days about some of his most controversial spending and management decisions, including his push to find a six-figure job for his wife at a politically connected group, enlist staffers in performing personal tasks and seek high-end travel despite aides’ objections.

Pruitt directly appealed to Trump this spring to fire U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and let him run the Department of Justice instead, according to three people familiar with the proposal.

Democratic candidates are not writing off Trump ‘s supporters in the November midterm elections, despite a time of fierce political divisions, according to a former Hillary Clinton campaign staffer.

Trump’s son Eric reportedly rushed to help a woman who passed out near a Midtown subway station last week.

Ali Watkins, the New York Times reporter whose email and phone records were secretly seized by the Trump administration, will be transferred out of the newspaper’s Washington bureau and reassigned to a new beat in New York, The Times said.

The tiny but ultra-rich Gulf state of Qatar has agreed to buy one of New York’s most iconic buildings, the Plaza Hotel, for around $600 million, adding a development that was once owned by Trump to its luxury property portfolio.

Democrat Dylan Ratigan appears to have won a write-in campaign for the Women’s Equality nomination in the 21st Congressional District.

Ithaca decided to jump into a program designed by the state to get around part of the federal tax law, which allows municipalities to create charitable tax funds to receive donations from citizens in exchange for property tax credits.

Cuomo today announced that lane closures for road and bridge construction projects on New York State highways will be suspended beginning today until Thursday July 5, in order to accommodate travelers during the busy Independence Day holiday.

The Citizens Budget Commission says: “Rather than continue as the nation’s largest landlord, NYCHA should transition to an affordable housing steward employing a full range of strategies to preserve the affordability of its units.”

The soon-to-be ex-wife of Al D’Amato says she was barred from attending a Manhattan federal trial today where ​the former US senator was scheduled to testify — in violation of her constitutional rights.

Cuomo Insists He Isn’t Ignoring Byford

Gov. Andrew Cuomo today rejected a report that he is refusing to meet the man he hired to save NYC’s struggling subway system, Andy Byford, as “totally false,” insisting he has spoken to the downstate transit system head “a number of times.”

Cuomo was asked by reporters at an appearance earlier today in the Bronx to respond to a lengthy New Yorker profile of Byford, which reported that the new subway chief has been unable to get any meetings with either the governor or the mayor following his proposal of a multibillion-dollar plan to fix the system.

Cuomo has been lukewarm about the plan, dubbed “Fast Forward,” which has been estimated in the neighborhood of $37 billion. It would replace an antiquated signal system, redesign the way passengers pay fares, increase the number of subway cars, and install elevators at stations. It also calls for station repairs, an increased number of buses, and redesigned bus routes.

“We know what to do; we’ve known what to do for 50, 60, 70 years,” Cuomo said. “You have a 100-year-old system. You have 40-year-old cars. You have 80-year-old electric switches. You want to know the technical thing to do? Replace them. Repair them. That’s what you have to do. That’s what the emergency subway action plan was. That’s what the Byford plan is.”

But the governor stopped short of endorsing Byford’s proposal today, instead again trying to turn the conversation around by placing blame on NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio for what Cuomo sees as a refusal by the city to pay its fair – and legally required – share of improving the system.

“The question is: how do you finance the plan,” the governor said. “And New York City has been unwilling to finance one penny. We had the subway emergency action plan. We had it done a year ago. I said, we’ll fund it 50-50, state and New York City, and the city refused and absolutely nothing happened until I had the state Legislature force the mayor to pay half.”

“…The capital repair is the legal responsibility of the city,” the governor continued. “If the city and the state don’t cooperate and pay, the only alternative is to raise fares, or to raise tolls. And that is not an option that I’m willing to take…I believe New York City is going to have to pay its fair share of the plan.”

Cuomo: State to Consider Providing ‘Independent’ Lead Tests for NYCHA Kids

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said today that the state will look into the “massive undertaking” of providing free, independent blood tests for children who live in NYCHA apartments following the de Blasio administration’s admission that as many as 820 kids younger than six years old were poisoned between 2012 and 2016.

Cuomo cast the state’s potential involvement as a response to requests from the NYC public advocate, Tish James, (who, for the record, Cuomo is backing for state attorney general); as well as NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer, who is investigating the mayor’s office and the NYC departments of Health and of Housing Preservation and Development to determine who’s at fault for the situation.

The governor said he had asked state Health Commissioner Howard Zucker to put together a group of experts who would figure out how to provide tests on a voluntary basis for what he estimated would be “potentially hundreds of thousands of children.”

He referenced his own three daughters, and said he understood that parent “anxiety” is very high, as his would be if he was told his children might have elevated blood levels of lead, which has been demonstrated to be toxic, even at very low levels.

“The logistics of this situation would be formidable, but it’s the right thing to do,” Cuomo told reporters during a Q-and-A session in the Bronx.

“We have to figure out how to do it…I think it is the right thing to do. I think the parent anxiety is very high. Lead poisoning is nothing to be trifled with. For peace of mind, so a parent knows, offer independent testing…(at)no cost to the family.”

Cuomo gave no timeline for when testing would be offered. But he said independent testing is necessary beyond the efforts already undertaken by the de Blasio administration because “because there have been a lot of different stories…so people are unsure what’s right, what’s wrong, who’s right, who’s wrong.”

“Just to give parents confidence, get the state to bring in an independent testing agency that has no reason, no political motivation, no reason not to be 100 percent accurate and honest,” the governor said.

“And if parents have concern, your child can be independently tested, and we can bring confidence to the parents, which is my concern. I’m thinking of the parents.”

:…I think this is what we would do frankly for any community,” the governor continued. “It’s the obvious solution, and I think especially with what the NYCHA tenants have endured, it’s the appropriate response.”

The de Blasio administration released the number of children who tested with elevated lead levels after months of controversy and a $1 billion-plus settlement with the federal government over the dangerous and decrepit living conditions at NYCHA.

Asked if he agreed with the mayor’s claim that sources of lead poisoning can occur both inside and outside the home, adding: “It could be paint; it could be something else.”

“I’m not a scientist,” Cuomo said. “Obviously, there are a number of sources of lead in society, but it’s also proven that for young children, exposure to lead in the home is the predominant cause for lead exposure.”

“Now we haven’t used lead paint since 1961,, and we’ve been doing lead paint abatement for 50 years. In many ways this was a problem that was of the past…but there’s no doubt that the home is a primary source for infants, young children if they are lead poisoned. But the mayor’s right, there are numerous sources of lead in society.”

Cuomo noted that the state has already declared a state of emergency at NYCHA and ordered an independent monitor be appointed to oversee and expedite repairs to the agency’s deteriorating buildings.

Last month, the city reached a $2 billion settlement with federal investigators to repair deplorable conditions NYCHA apartments. A federal monitor will be appointed to indefinitely oversee the housing authority as part of that settlement, and, as a result, the state monitor has been rescinded.

Holyman Seeks Hymn Bill Veto

Sen. Brad Holyman, a Manhattan Democrat, has written a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, urging him to reject a bill passed by both houses the Legislature is session that establishes “an official state hymn of remembrance” for veterans, arguing it violates the constitutionally mandated separation of church and state.

The hymn, “Here Rests in Honored Glory,” was written by former Onondaga Community College Professor Emeritus, Dr. Donald Miller, and has been played in memory of our service men and women at events and ceremonies across the world, according to the bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli, a Syracuse-area Democrat.

The assemblyman called the hymn a “moving composition” and “a fitting tribute to those that served and made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.”

But Hoylman notes the lyrics of the piece include several overtly religious references, and appears to be based on a 19th century hymn traditionally sung on Palm Sunday to mark Christ’s entry into Jerusalem.

“As you can see, the lyrics are not only religious, but they are explicitly Christian, representing a clear violation of the Establishment Clause,” the senator wrote.

Hoylman also sought to link the hymn to the Trump administration’s travel ban, which was recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing that making a Christian hymn the official state hymn of New York contributes to a culture of “profiling and religious discrimination.”

Those were Cuomo’s own words in decrying the president’s ban, and deeming the high court’s decision to uphold it a “stain on this country’s history.”

Hoylman said that when the bill, which was sponsored by the Senate by retiring Deputy Majority Leader John DeFrancisco, an erstwhile GOP gubernatorial candidate, first came up in his chamber back in February, he requested as the ranking member of the Investigations and Government Operations Committee that it be removed from consideration to allow committee members to read the lyrics.

According to Hoylman, the committee never again considered the bill, which was discharged by the GOP Senate leadership in the final days of the session – “seemingly to avoid controversy” – and passed.

“As we prepare to celebrate July 4t1 this weekend, what better way to celebrate Independence Day than supporting the separation of church and state, a founding principle of our nation? In the spirit of American independence, I respectfully ask you to veto S6856A/A8704A,” Hoylman concluded.

Sen. Brad Hoylman asks Gov. Andrew Cuomo to veto hymn bill. by liz_benjamin6490 on Scribd

Gianaris Calls for Abolishing Ice

From the Morning Memo…

State Sen. Mike Gianaris, of Queens, is the latest Democratic elected official to call for abolishing ICE, taking that stand at a rally welcoming a Guatemalan woman detained at the U.S.-Mexico border to NYC for a brief visit with her three children, from whom she was separated at an Arizona immigration facility six weeks ago.

“ICE is a rogue agency under the direction of a rogue President and both must be stopped before more havoc is wreaked on people seeking a better life in our country,” Gianaris said. “We must abolish ICE and then abolish Donald Trump at the ballot box as soon as possible.”

According to his press release, Gianaris was the first person to welcome Yeni Maricela Gonzalez Garcia to Queens when a convoy in which she had made the cross-country trip to see her children – 6-year-old Deyuin, 9-year-old Jamelin and 11-year-old Lester – stopped by a rally held to offer her support.

Gonzalez Garcia was detained in Arizona for five weeks while her children were taken from her under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy, which has since been rescinded by an executive order signed by President Donald Trump.

Gonzalez Garcia’s children have been in the care of the Cayuga Center in East Harlem, which placed them in a foster home. She is scheduled to see them today, but it could be weeks before the family is permanently reunited.

Gonzalez Garcia was released from detention on a bond raised on a GoFundMe page organized by volunteers, led by Julie Collazo. Volunteers drove her across the country after she was freed.

Gianaris, the former deputy Senate minority leader and head of the Senate Democrats’ political arm, is one of a growing number of Democrats calling for ICE’s abolition in the wake of self-prossed Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocacio-Cortez’s upset victory in last week’s NY-14 primary primary over veteran Queens Rep. Joe Crowley.

Ocasio-Cortez traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border at the height of the “zero tolerance” policy controversy, and also call for abolishing ICE, making that a significant plank of her campaign.

Gianaris has long been close with Crowley, who has also served since 2006 as chair of the powerful Queens Democratic Party.

Here and Now

It’s still really hot. Take precautions as necessary.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is in New York City and Nassau County.

President Donald Trump has lunch with the secretary of defense. He then departs the White House en route to White Sulphur Springs, WV, where he will make remarks at the Salute to Service dinner being held at The Greenbrier, before returning to D.C.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray are traveling to Vermont as well as Ontario and Quebec in Canada for a family vacation.

At 10 a.m., Cuomo makes an announcement, Boricua College, Fourth Floor, 890 Washington Ave., the Bronx.

At 11 a.m., Rep. Adriano Espaillat and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer will visit NYCHA developments slated to undergo renovations under the Rental Assistance Demonstration program throughout the district, starting at Park Avenue East 122nd and 123rd Street, Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., NYC officials will announce specific services that the city is providing to children who were separated from their families at the border because of the federal immigration policy, NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Manhattan Room, 19th Floor, 150 William St., Manhattan.

Also at 11 a.m., the official weigh-in for the Nathan’s Famous International 4th of July Hot Dog eating contest takes place, Empire State Building, 350 Fifth Ave., Manhattan.

At 11:15 a.m., Rep. Eliot Engel, NYC Public Advocate and state AG candidate Letitia James, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, state Sens. Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Shelley Mayer, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, and others tour the Rising Ground facility, followed by a press conference, 463 Hawthorne Ave., Yonkers.

At noon, Cuomo makes an announcement, Hicksville Community Center, 28 W. Carl St., Hicksville, Long Island.

At 12:30 p.m., Westchester County Executive George Latimer announces the North Boardwalk at Playland, which has remained closed since Superstorm Sandy, will officially reopen in time for the 4th of July holiday, 1 Playland Parkway, Rye.

At 1 p.m., Connecticut U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will join Stew and Kim Leonard, who tragically lost their child in a pool drowning, Mill Pond Park Pool
123 Garfield St., Newington, CT.

At 4 p.m., GOP LG candidate Julie Killian tours The New Windsor along with the supervisor of the green emergency services facility, 555 Union Ave., New Windsor.

At 5 p.m., Killian tours the New Windsor Inclusive Playground.

At 6 p.m., Killian attends the Town of Newburgh Community Day, Cronomer Park, Powder Mill Road, Newburgh.

Headlines…

President Trump has written sharply worded letters to the leaders of several NATO allies, taking them to task for spending too little on their own defense and warning that the United States is losing patience with what he said was their failure to meet security obligations shared by the alliance.

Trump interviewed four prospective U.S. Supreme Court justices and had plans to meet with a few more as his White House aggressively mobilizes to select a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.

The White House refused to disclose the names of whom the president met with, but they reportedly were: the federal appeals court judges Amy Coney Barrett of the Seventh Circuit; Brett M. Kavanaugh of the District of Columbia Circuit; and Raymond M. Kethledge and Amul R. Thapar of the Sixth Circuit.

Trump denied a request to lower American flags in honor of the five victims of a deadly shooting at the Capital Gazette newspaper last week, according to Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, who made the ask.

Irish rock star and activist Bono warned that the United Nations and other international institutions including the European Union and NATO are under threat — and nations must work together to ensure their continued existence.

Trump reached out to Mexico’s new populist president-elect in an early, but potentially short-lived, show of détente, saying the two leaders engaged in a “good conversation” about border security and the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Police say orange-colored ecstasy pills bearing an image resembling Trump’s face are making the rounds in northern Indiana.

Robert Mueller, who has been leading a special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, likely possesses the tax filings of the National Rifle Association, which spent $30 million to help Trump get elected.

A discussion about how high U.S. interest rates should go in this tightening cycle could feature prominently in the release of minutes later this week of the Federal Reserve’s June 12-13 policy meeting.

When pressed about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win over longtime Rep. Joseph Crowley in Queens, Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth warned against Democrats shifting “too far to the left,” saying it could ostracize Midwestern voters.

Ocasio-Cortez said she embraces the “Democratic Socialist” label but doesn’t want to force other Democrats to do the same.

Bill Lipton, state director of the Working Families Party, said Ocasio-Cortez’s win was has provided “big momentum” for Nixon, adding: “Our phones are ringing off the hook from people who want to work on Cynthia’s campaign, who want to make contributions and who want to endorse.”

Gubernatorial candidate Cynthia Nixon, who backed Ocasio-Cortez just before her primary win, exchanged endorsements with another Democratic insurgent trying to topple a long-term incumbent: Julia Salazar, who is running in the September primary against eight-term Brooklyn state Sen. Martin Dilan.

Ocasio-Cortez is facing questions about whether she grew up in an urban Bronx neighborhood or on a quiet suburban street in Westchester County.

As a result of Kennedy’s retirement from the U.S. Supreme Court, abortion rights could become a significant issue in this year’s gubernatorial race in New York.

A woman publicly confronted EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt while he was eating lunch at a D.C. restaurant and urged him to resign, according to a Facebook post.

Samantha Dravis, the former policy chief at the EPA, told a congressional committee that Pruitt asked her to help find his wife a job as a fund-raiser at the Republican Attorneys General Association.

A federal probe into Facebook’s sharing of user data with Cambridge Analytica now involves the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department.

When Michael Cohen, Trump’s longtime personal fixer, sat down with “Good Morning America” for his first interview since federal agents raided his office in April, he said it was a step toward reaching his ultimate goal of “resolution.” But the interview raised more questions than it answered.

An Indian reporter at yesterday’s press briefing assured White House press secretary Sarah Sanders that she is welcome to eat at any Indian restaurant in the area.

Barbara Underwood, part of a coalition of 18 AGs, asked a federal judge to order the government to provide details about and access to victims of the Trump administration’s family separation policy on an expedited schedule. She filed new victim declarations like this one and this one.

Andy Byford, the much-heralded recent new head of New York City transit, told The New Yorker magazine that he’s been unable to get a sit-down with Mayor Bill de Blasio. A mayoral spokesman said a meeting has been scheduled for July 10.

The NY Post: “New York state’s budget is headed for disaster, a new report by Comptroller Tom DiNapoli warns — maybe not tomorrow, but within a few short years.”

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