Dec 21, 2019

Trump admin sides with Bayer in court battle over weedkiller

Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency filed court papers on Friday backing German chemical maker Bayer AG in a "high-stakes court fight" over its weedkiller Roundup, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Context: Bayer is currently appealing a $25 million verdict in a case where a California man blamed Roundup for his non-Hodgkin lymphoma — one of thousands of similar cases, per the WSJ. Bayer argues that Roundup does not pose a risk for cancer.

Why it matters: The cases have caused Bayer's shares to plummet 23% since the original verdict in 2018, per the Journal. The company has divested from several business units and laid off thousands of employees globally.

  • Lawyers for the EPA and Department of Justice argue the verdict should be overturned because it'd be illegal for Bayer to post cancer-risk warnings on its bottles of Roundup, the Journal notes.

Yes, but: Three juries in a row have ruled in favor of the plaintiffs this past year, awarding them hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation.

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Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.