All Things Considered

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The state of Georgia is juggling three crises: a rising number of COVID-19 cases, problems with voting access as the general election approaches, and the killings of two Black men,

Updated at 8:44 p.m. ET Thursday

Attorney General William Barr said Thursday that he doesn't believe President Trump has overstepped the boundaries between the White House and the Justice Department in a number of big recent cases.

Barr told NPR in a wide-ranging interview that he believes Trump has "supervisory authority" to oversee the effective course of justice — but Barr said that ultimately, the choices were made and carried through independently by the Justice Department.

In a new rule announced Thursday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos signaled she is standing firm on her intention to reroute millions of dollars in coronavirus aid money to K-12 private school students. The CARES Act rescue package included more than $13 billion to help public schools cover pandemic-related costs.

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Another state hitting new highs for coronavirus cases this week is Georgia. It's remaining open. And while Georgia fights the pandemic, it's also reckoning with the deaths of two Black men, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. To talk about how the state is handling these two crises at once, we called up the state's Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

Thanks for being here.

GEOFF DUNCAN: Yes. Thank you for the opportunity.

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Another state hitting new highs for coronavirus cases this week is Georgia. It's remaining open. And while Georgia fights the pandemic, it's also reckoning with the deaths of two Black men, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. To talk about how the state is handling these two crises at once, we called up the state's Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

Thanks for being here.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Another state hitting new highs for coronavirus cases this week is Georgia. It's remaining open. And while Georgia fights the pandemic, it's also reckoning with the deaths of two Black men, Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick and Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. To talk about how the state is handling these two crises at once, we called up the state's Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan.

Thanks for being here.

GEOFF DUNCAN: Yes. Thank you for the opportunity.

Whether it's online-only consultations, closed pharmacies or having to wonder whether going into an office is safe, the coronavirus has upended access to health care. And it has presented particular challenges for women and reproductive health.

As the U.S. begins to open back up, coronavirus clusters — where multiple people contract COVID-19 at the same event or location — are popping up all over the country. And despite drawing massive crowds, protests against police violence and racial injustice in Washington state weren't among those clusters.

In the last installment of Play It Forward, the series in which musicians give thanks for the artists who have inspired them, Ari Shapiro spoke with saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.

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The company Bayer announced today that it will pay roughly $10 billion to people who say they got cancer after using the company's most widely used weed killer. NPR's Dan Charles has that story.

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The coronavirus pandemic has left tens of millions of people without a safety net. Naida Lavon is one of them.

Lavon is 67 years old, a retired school bus driver, and she was recently furloughed from her part-time job at Avis Rent-a-Car. In March, she also found herself without a home so she started living in her minivan on the streets of Portland, Ore. For the past few months, Lavon has been keeping an audio diary of her experience being newly homeless.

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Our next guest has an important ritual - one that he considers sacred but one that many others might consider sacrilegious. It involves a movie, some ice cream and some alone time on the couch.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "YOU'VE GOT MAIL")

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The police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others — and the wave of protests that followed — have sparked a national conversation about how to prevent police killings and improve relationships between law enforcement and the communities they police.

Six years ago, police shot and killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., sparking a similar conversation. As a result, President Obama convened a panel of experts, activists, authors and academics to rethink policing in America.

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Thailand has gone a month without a confirmed COVID-19 case domestically and is now set to fully reopen, though foreign tourists may still have to wait. Michael Sullivan reports.

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Across the country, leaders and activists are seeking ways to improve relations between their communities and the police, including how to reduce encounters that lead to arrests and the use of force. In places such as Kansas City, Mo., this has renewed calls to ease marijuana laws.

Many state and local governments have decided it isn't safe yet to hold in-person eviction hearings in court during the pandemic. But apparently it's OK for people to be put out on the street during the outbreak if you do it after a Zoom call.

That's what's happening in some states as eviction moratoriums expire, and courts hold remote hearings for people who can't pay their rent.

For most artists, choreographing a Beyoncé music video might be a career peak. But for Teyana Taylor, who did it when she was just 15 years old, it was only the beginning. She was signed to Pharrell's label, Star Trak Entertainment, around that same time and since then, Taylor's grown up in the entertainment business, acting in movies, modeling, starring in reality TV shows, directing and dancing in music videos.

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Twice this week, the Supreme Court thrilled liberals and infuriated conservatives with its decisions, putting the spotlight once again on the man in the center chair, Chief Justice John Roberts. NPR's legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg reports.

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Well, now let's bring in Ken Cuccinelli. He oversees citizenship and immigration for the Trump administration at the Department of Homeland Security, and he joins me now. Welcome.

KEN CUCCINELLI: Good afternoon.

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