May 22, 2019

Investigators give up on Ralph Northam blackface probe

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Investigators could not determine whether the man posing in blackface on Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam's 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page was actually him, according to a 36-page report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: Northam, who still denies that he is the man in blackface next to a man dressed in Ku Klux Klan garb, was called on to resign by nearly every major Virginia and national Democratic official in the country earlier this year. Yet despite the massive pressure, Northam consistently said he plans on seeing his term through to the end.

The big picture: "With respect to the photograph on Governor Northam's personal page, we could not conclusively determine the identity of either individual depicted in the photograph," investigators wrote in the report. "The governor himself has made inconsistent public statements in this regard.”

  • The four-month long investigation by lawyers hired by EVMS interviewed several students and members of the yearbook staff at the time.
  • Investigators said they were not able to determine if the photograph was placed by mistake or without Northam's knowledge.
  • The lack of answers was blamed on how long ago the yearbook was made and the investigators' inability to contact some people who may have had more information.

When asked if he would take steps to provide Virginians with more answers, Northam told reporters that he suspects "this has been a thorough investigation. I've actually participated in the investigation, been present for the questioning the day they asked me of."

  • "I was elected to govern. I've got a great team. We're obviously refocusing on the inequities that exist across the commonwealth. I look forward to the next three years of our administration. We're going to keep Virginia the best state in the best country in the world."

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World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Brazil's Ministry of Health reported Sunday 15,813 new coronavirus cases and 653 more deaths within 24 hours. 362,211 have tested positive for the virus, which has killed 22,666 in the country.

By the numbers: Over 5.4 million people have tested positive for the virus as of Monday, and more than 2.1 million have recovered. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (over 1.6 million from 13.7 million tests). The U.K. is reporting over 36,800 deaths from the coronavirus — the most fatalities outside the U.S.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 5,401,701 — Total deaths: 345,060 — Total recoveries — 2,149,407Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of midnight ET: 1,643,238 — Total deaths: 97,720 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

President Trump doubled down on his push to reopen schools, tweeting late Sunday: "Schools in our country should be opened ASAP."

Zoom in: Trump pushed back on NIAD Director Anthony Fauci cautioning against the move earlier this month, calling his concerns "not an acceptable answer."