War of Words Continues
After Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) called President Trump “fat” in a recent T.V. interview, it was only a matter of time (hours) before the president hit back at the veteran congresswoman. Keeping true to form, Trump took a big pound of flesh out of Pelosi, questioning her mental state. MUST READ.
***Personal note: Today’s newsletter will be shorter than later normal considering we finally had our torn bicep tendon fixed yesterday and this one-armed-bandit could only do so much.
Just as House Democrats are pushing to investigate President Donald Trump over his COVID-19 response, and are also considering another impeachment trial, they are also targeting others for investigation.
Former congressman David Rivera, who received consulting fees from Venezuela’s state-run oil company, may soon find himself in the middle of another investigation/witch hunt. Freshman Miami congresswoman Rep. Donna Shalala (D) wants to investigate Rivera’s dealings, which sounds hypocritical because she has not called for the investigation of Hunter Biden who received millions of dollars from Communist China. Where’s the justice here? Read Me.
Here is a snapshot of the most up-to-date numbers from the Florida Dept. of Health:
Visit The Floridian
“Trump Calls Pelosi A ‘Sick Woman’ After ‘Morbidly Obese’ Comments” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – President Trump lambasted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as a “sick woman” with “a lot of mental problems” on Tuesday after she called him morbidly obese.” “Pelosi is a sick woman. She’s got a lot of problems, a lot of mental problems,” Trump told reporters on Capitol Hill after meeting with Senate Republicans. “We’re dealing with people that have to get their act together for the good of the country,” he added. Earlier during the press gaggle, reporters asked the president whether he had a reaction to Pelosi’s remark where she chastised Trump’s weight during a CNN interview Monday evening. “I don’t,” Trump said in response. “I don’t respond to her. I think she’s a waste of time.” The House Speaker criticized Trump for taking hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus, saying “its not a good idea” because he is “morbidly obese.” “As far as the President is concerned, he’s our President and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group — morbidly obese, they say,” Pelosi said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday evening. “So, I think it’s not a good idea.”
“Scott Voices Support for Trump’s WHO Letter” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – This week, President Donald Trump directed a letter to the World Health Organization’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, arguing that he would permanently freeze U.S. funding to the WHO. As well, Trump commented that the U.S. would reconsider its membership if the global health organization “does not commit to major substantive improvements” in the next 30 days. President Trump shared the letter on Twitter for his followers to read, and Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) commented on the letter, showing his support and arguing that the WHO has not acted in the best interest in the United States. Arguing that President Trump “is taking the right steps to protect American taxpayers,” the former Florida Governor added that “the WHO failed to do its job – to be a leader in global health. Instead they chose to be a puppet for Communist China.” Aside from the WHO, the Florida lawmaker has also criticized the Chinese Communist party, joining South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham (R) and other lawmakers in introducing the COVID-19 Accountability Act, which authorizes President Trump to impose sanctions against China and the Chinese Communist government if they do not cooperate and provide an account of the events that led up to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is one of many legislations that have been introduced with the goal of holding the communist government accountable.
“Shalala Supports Investigating Rivera’s Ties to Venezuela” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Florida Rep. David Rivera’s (R) $50 million contract with an oil company owned by the Venezuelan’s socialist government has been controversial because of the congressman’s vocal opposition to the Cuban communist government. This week, New Jersey Rep. Bob Menendez (D), the Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, directed a letter to the Honorable John C. Demers of the U.S. Department of Justice, calling for the Justice Department to review whether former Rep. Rivera violated the Foreign Agent Registration Act in his work for the Venezuelan Maduro regime and Venezuela’s state oil company Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. In the letter, Menendez argued that “recent press reports and a lawsuit suggest that former Congressman David M. Rivera (R-FL-25) worked on behalf of a foreign principal and conducted acitivities covered under the registration requirements of the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).” In turn, Menendez requested that “the Department of Justice review whether Mr. Rivera was in compliance with FARA, including whether he has an obligation to retroactively register as a foreign agent on behalf of the Maduro regime.”
“Obama Calls Biden “Honest, Measured Leadership”” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – The tension between President Trump and the World Health Organization has heightened with a letter directed to WHO Director-General Adhanom Ghebreyesus, saying that the WHO’s response during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic were “extremely costly for the world.” This comes amidst growing friction between the President and Democrats, which has resulted in Democrats pursuing a second impeachment. This, has caused Democratic leadership to slam the President and make a distinction between the President and former Vice President Joe Biden (D). In response to the President’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Biden campaign released a message to supporters saying that “this administration continues to lie, deflect, and assign blame.” The campaign added that “as president, the buck is supposed to stop with Trump – but this crisis has laid bare what we already knew to be true: Trump is unwilling to and incapable of leading the country.”
“Waltz Sponsors Secure United States Bases act” by The Floridian’s Daniel Molina – Attorney General William Barr has provided new developments regarding the military trainee that killed three U.S. sailors and wounded others at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola at the end of last year. With this, new legislation called the Secure United States Bases Act, sponsored by Florida Rep. Michael Waltz (R), would combat an act like this ever happening again. The Attorney General informed that the trainee was working with al-Qaeda operatives. The trainee in question, Mohammed Alshamrani was a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force, and the developments come after the FBI was able to break the encryption on Alshamrani’s iPhones. FBI Director Christopher Way informed reporters over the weekend that evidence found “shows that the Pensacola attack was actually the brutal culmination of years of planning and preparation by a longtime AQAP associate.” The AQAP is the al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. In response to the information that’s been uncovered, Florida rep. Waltz has released a statement, saying that the “announcement is an unfortunate reminder that terror still threatens America – and that it was on Florida’s own soil that a terrorist attack occurred in December.” Moreover, “though training foreign nationals to work with us is key to the success of our missions overseas, the United States must vet these foreign nationals thoroughly and properly, so we can ensure this tragedy never happens again.”
“Pelosi Criticized Trump As ‘Morbidly Obese’ That Shouldn’t Be Taking Hydroxychloroquine” by The Floridian’s Mona Salama – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) criticized President Trump for taking hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus, saying “its not a good idea” because he is “morbidly obese.” “As far as the President is concerned, he’s our President and I would rather he not be taking something that has not been approved by the scientists, especially in his age group and in his, shall we say, weight group — morbidly obese, they say,” Pelosi said in an interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Monday evening. “So, I think it’s not a good idea.” Pelosi’s remark on Trump’s weight came after the president revealed to reporters earlier Monday that he has been taking hydroxychloroquine, a drug used to prevent malaria and to treat autoimmune conditions, as a preventative measure against the coronavirus. During a press conference on Monday, Trump said been taking the antimalarial drug for about a week-and-a-half along with a zinc supplement as a preventative measure against the coronavirus. “I take it,” Trump told reporters during a meeting of restaurant executives. “I was just waiting to see your eyes light up when I said this.” He added, “I started taking it, because I think it’s good,” Trump said. “I’ve heard a lot of good stories. I get a lot of tremendously positive news on the hydroxy. And I say … what do you have to lose?”
“Rick Scott warns abortions and illegal aliens could receive taxpayer bailout” by The Floridian’s Javier Manjarres – Several of the bluest states across the nation continue to ask for assistance, or a bailout to get them out of the financial hole they dug themselves into before the COVID-19 virus put the brakes on the U.S. economy, and the American taxpayer may be on the hook. Florida Senator Rick Scott (R) recently got into a bit of a tussle with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo after penning an op-ed questioning the fiscal decisions New York made, which Cuomo’s overall leadership and decision-making. The two men went back and forth, but in the end, Scott prevailed when he put out a side-by-side fiscal comparison between Florida and New York that showed how much more fiscally responsible Florida. Now Sen. Scott has taken aim at California Gov. Gavin Newsom and his decision to offer monetary assistance to illegal aliens who have not been able to benefit from the federal stimulus packages but will now benefit from California taxpayer funds being made available to them. Scott warned that if Florida and other solvent states bailed out debt-ridden states like New York and California, abortions and illegal aliens would be taxpayer-funded. Scott tweeted at Newsom, asserting that “a bailout of liberal states will result in taxpayer funding for pensions, Planned Parenthood, and illegal immigrants.”
“Two states that opened early questioned over public access to Covid-19 data” by CNN’s Theresa Waldrop, Rosa Flores and Joe Sutton – Florida and Georgia, two states that were among the first to announce the reopening of businesses and public spaces amid the health crisis, have come under scrutiny for their reporting on Covid-19 cases. In Florida, Rebekah Jones, the official behind the state's "dashboard," a web page showing the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths in Florida that's been praised by Dr. Deborah Birx, says she was removed from the project and questioned the state's commitment to accessibility and transparency, according to Florida Today. In Georgia, data tracking Covid-19 cases in the state has come under question after a misleading chart was posted on the state Department of Public Health's web page, according to an article by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Late last Friday, Jones announced in an email to researchers and people who had signed up to receive updates about the data portal that she had been removed from her post at the Florida Department of Health, according to Florida Today. "As a word of caution, I would not expect the new team to continue the same level of accessibility and transparency that I made central to the process during the first two months," Jones wrote, according to Florida Today. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis contested the claims during a press conference Tuesday, referencing an email from Jones and said her words had been "misrepresented," and that the situation was "a non-issue."
“U.S. Air Force F-35 fighter crashes in Florida, pilot stable” by Reuters’ Rama Venkat – A U.S. Air Force F-35 fighter jet crashed upon landing on Tuesday night at a base in Florida and the pilot was ejected safely, the military said. "An F-35A Lightning II assigned to the 58th Fighter Sq crashed upon landing," the Eglin Air Force Base said bit.ly/2AD9IUW on Twitter, adding that the crash site was secured. The pilot was in stable condition and there was no loss of life or damage to civilians, it said. F-35A Lightning II is a single-seat, single-engine fighter aircraft made by Lockheed Martin Corp. The accident comes days after a F-22 jet crashed near the base bit.ly/2Zke4e3.
“Florida Department of Economic Opportunity Reemployment Assistance Update” by Florida Department of Economic Opportunity – The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity issued reemployment assistance updates on the Reemployment Assistance Claims Dashboard. As of May 17, DEO has paid 896,921 claimants a total of over $2.07 billion ($2,077,819,903). Pandemic Unemployment Assistance: The Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides unemployment benefits to those that may not otherwise be eligible under Florida’s state Reemployment Assistance program, including independent contractors and individuals who are self-employed. Individuals who have been impacted by COVID-19 and believe they may be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, can visit FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to apply and be considered for PUA. Applicants should utilize the following criteria when applying for PUA: Individuals who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or after April 5, 2020, and were deemed ineligible for state Reemployment Assistance benefits will receive additional application information from the Department. They can also visit FloridaJobs.org/cares-act for more information regarding these programs. Pursuant to the requirements of the CARES Act, 20 C.F.R. 625.4, and section 443.036, F.S., those who are self-employed, contract employees, gig workers, or others who applied for the state’s Reemployment Assistance benefits on or before April 4, 2020, should apply at FloridaJobs.org and select “File a Claim” to request PUA.
“Vice President Pence expected to offer encouragement to Central Florida's tourism leaders” by WESH’s Chris Guardaro – Vice President Pence is expected to land at the Orlando International Airport Wednesday morning. His visit will bring some buzz to an airport where officials are seeing a 91% decline in traffic compared to the same time last year. Orlando-area hotels are at 16% capacity and visitors are not rushing to our area at the same rate as prior years, according to Visit Orlando. "I'm sad to say we're seeing hotels and restaurants make final decisions to close every day," Carol Dover said. Dover is the head of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association and will join the Vice President's tourism recovery panel. Dover says businesses need more help from the federal government to survive and she's lobbying for relaxed spending rules on the Paycheck Protection Program. Dover tells WESH 2 News up to a third of restaurants might not open back up because of the coronavirus economic fallout. "Some of those hotels will open back up but not until we get travel going. People are not holding conventions," Dover said. A spokesperson for the Orange County Convention Center says 50 conventions are canceled or rescheduled, causing an estimated economic impact of more than a billion dollars. Pence is expected to offer encouragement to the tourism industry leaders on Wednesday, but without more relief funds, experts warn many businesses will not recover.
“Florida coronavirus: Lab blamed for thousands of inaccurate tests fires back” by WFLA’s Mahsa Saeidi – The lab company blamed for thousands of inaccurate COVID-19 test results ia breaking its silence. “All of this nonsense about the tests being not reliable and not being stored correctly is complete utter lies,” said Rick Martin, the CEO of the molecular lab MicroGenDX. “They want a scapegoat.” Florida health care company AdventHealth said it’s possible that as many as 33,000 Florida patients who took COVID-19 tests may have been told incorrect results, or received no results at all. AdventHealth puts the blame directly on a third-party lab; however, they’ve refused to identify that lab. “Are you the CEO of the lab that AdventHealth has cut ties with?” asked investigative reporter Mahsa Saeidi. “Yes,” said Martin. “I understand people being angry.” Linda Misner was tested on May 1 but she still has no idea if she’s COVID-19 positive. 8 On Your Side is working to help her get answers. “It was very frustrating not to get any results,” said Misner. According to Martin, MicroGenDX has processed nearly 60,000 tests for AdventHealth, including those now in question. AdventHealth states that they’ve notified the appropriate regulatory agencies and they don’t have confidence in the reliability of the tests. Martin fired back on Tuesday saying his company has worked with top institutions for more than a decade. “So if it was positive, they can trust it’s positive,” said Martin. 8 On Your Side asked why AdventHealth is stating the opposite. “Because they looked at the storage of the sample,” said Martin, “they made an assumption that those samples are no longer viable.”
“Florida Supreme Court to hear case between Alachua County and Sheriff Sadie Darnell” by WCJB Staff – A legal battle between Alachua County and Sheriff Sadie Darnell is headed to the state supreme court. The court announced Tuesday they will accept jurisdiction over the case, which centers around the sheriff's ability to move money around in her budget without approval from the county. A lower court sided with the sheriff last year. Initial briefs need to be submitted before a court date can be set.
“CDC, Florida report vastly different coronavirus testing numbers” by Orlando Sentinel’s Naseem S. Miller – The number of COVID-19 tests performed in Florida is far higher in data reported by the CDC than what’s reported by the state, according to a new analysis that calls the discrepancy “a cause for concern.” As of May 16, the state had performed close to 700,000 COVID-19 tests, according to the Florida Department of Health; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Florida had conducted more than 900,000 COVID-19 tests. With a 33% difference between the two agencies, Florida is one of 10 states to report such large discrepancies in testing numbers, with Florida being the most extreme case, according to an analysis by The COVID Tracking Project, which compared cases, deaths and testing numbers reported by each state and by the CDC’s Data Tracker. While Florida’s case and death numbers matched closely with CDC’s, the testing data did not, raising questions about how reliable the data is. Good data is not only important to gain the public’s trust but also it helps researchers and scientists to take measures that protect people’s health, said Dr. Jay Wolfson, Senior Associate Dean for Health Policy and Practice at the University of South Florida’s Morsani College of Medicine. “For years, we’ve underfunded the Department of Health. We’ve cut staffing. We’ve cut functions. We’ve reduced data analytics, so that when we have something like this suddenly come upon on us, we have a desperate need to have nearly real-time information about who’s getting sick and where they’re getting sick and what kind of symptom they’re displaying,” Wolfson said. “If we don’t have good data, then we’re literally flying blind.”
“DeSantis: It's a 'non-issue' that woman who designed Florida's coronavirus dashboard was ousted” by WTSP’s Andrew Krietz – As state leaders call for an investigation into the removal of the woman who designed Florida's much-lauded COVID-19 dashboard, Gov. Ron DeSantis on Tuesday called the situation a "non-issue." Rebekah Jones was tasked to publish COVID-19 data to the site, which tracks cases, deaths, hospitalizations and more on a daily basis -- at least twice a day during the peak of the pandemic. n an email dated May 15, sent to a group of people who get coronavirus updates and obtained by 10Investigates through a source at USF Health, Jones said her office stopped maintaining the system on May 5 "for reasons beyond" their control. Jones also said the state is making "a lot of changes" to how the data is presented. Government leaders have used vital case data to make decisions on how to react to COVID-19's spread. "I would advise being diligent in your respective uses of this data," Jones wrote. State Senator José Javier Rodríguez, a Miami Democrat, since has asked DeSantis for an investigation. Nikki Fried, the state's Democratic Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, tweeted the Florida Department of Health "censored data" and undermined public trust.
“Susan Rice's resurfaced 2017 comments denying knowledge of Trump team surveillance raise eyebrows” by Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn – A three-year-old interview clip of former National Security Adviser Susan Rice resurfaced Tuesday after the declassified email she sent to herself on the final day of the Obama administration was released. During an April 2017 appearance on PBS News Hour, Rice was asked about the then-breaking revelations about members of President Trump's transition team having been surveilled before he took office. "In the last few hours, we've been following a disclosure by the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, that in essence, during the final days of the Obama administration, during the transition after President Trump had been elected, that he and the people around him may have been caught up in surveillance of foreign individuals and their identities may have been disclosed. Do you know anything about this?" PBS anchor Judy Woodruff asked. "I know nothing about this," Rice said at the time. "I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today." Rice then pivoted to Trump's accusation that then-President Barack Obama had "wiretapped" him during the 2016 election, insisting that "nothing of the sort occurred." She later insisted that "no president, no White House can order the surveillance of another American citizen. That can only come from the Justice Department with the approval of a FISA court."
“Judge allows fraud suit against Trump, family and company to proceed” by CNN’s Erica Orden – A federal judge on Monday allowed a federal lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump, his three eldest children and his company of collaborating with a fraudulent marketing scheme to prey on investors to proceed. The lawsuit, originally filed in October 2018 and amended a few months later, alleges that in exchange for "secret" payments, Trump and three of his adult children used his former reality TV show "The Celebrity Apprentice" and other promotional events as vehicles to boost ACN Opportunity, a telecommunications marketing company linked to a nonprofit that used Trump's brand to appeal to teens. The lawsuit also accuses the Trumps of having profited off the poor and vulnerable, as people looking "to enrich themselves by systematically defrauding economically marginalized people looking to invest in their educations, start their own small business, and pursue the American dream." "Weighing the two 'most critical' factors -- likelihood of success on the merits and irreparable harm -- against each other, any prejudice that Defendants and ACN may suffer from proceeding with the litigation during the pendency of the appeal does not outweigh the strong likelihood that Defendants and ACN will not succeed on appeal," US District Court Judge Lorna Schofield wrote in her opinion. A lawyer for the Trumps didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
Four anonymous plaintiffs brought the suit, including what court papers describe as a hospice caregiver, a self-employed man who was once homeless and a food delivery driver.
“Senate Committee Approves Nominee for Director of National Intelligence” by WSJ’s Warren P. Strobel – The Senate Intelligence Committee approved Rep. John Ratcliffe’s nomination as intelligence chief on a party-line vote, moving the Texas Republican a step closer to becoming President Trump’s director of national intelligence. Mr. Ratcliffe’s nomination now will be taken up by the full Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that vote would take place “as soon as possible.” If confirmed, Mr. Ratcliffe would take over from acting national intelligence director Richard Grenell. The post oversees and coordinates 17 U.S. intelligence agencies with annual budgets of over $80 billion and tens of thousands of employees. An Intelligence Committee official said the panel’s closed-door vote was along party lines, with eight Republicans backing the nomination, and seven Democrats opposing it. Mr. Ratcliffe, a third-term congressman, is a member of the House Intelligence Committee and a former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas. Democratic lawmakers have been wary of him, saying he lacks the qualifications to lead U.S. intelligence agencies and was a partisan cheerleader for Mr. Trump during the president’s impeachment. The director of national intelligence traditionally has been seen as a nonpartisan post. During his confirmation hearing, Mr. Ratcliffe pledged to keep politics out of intelligence-gathering and analysis.
“After U.S. warning, Iran says its navy will still operate in Gulf” by Reuters’ Parisa Hafezi – The Iranian navy will maintain regular missions in the Gulf, the ISNA news agency reported on Wednesday, a day after the United States warned mariners there to stay away from U.S. warships. “The naval units of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman will continue their regular missions in accordance with professional principles as in the past,” ISNA quoted an unnamed military official as saying. The U.S. warning to mariners followed U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat last month to fire on any Iranian ships that harass U.S. Navy vessels. The Bahrain-based U.S. Naval Forces Central Command said in a statement its notice was “designed to enhance safety, minimize ambiguity and reduce the risk of miscalculation”. It follows an incident last month in which 11 Iranian vessels came close to U.S. Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf in what the U.S. military called “dangerous and provocative” behaviour. Tehran blamed its longtime adversary for the incident. Friction between Tehran and Washington has risen since 2018, when Trump quit Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with six powers and reimposed sanctions on the country that crippled its economy.
“Coronavirus patients in new Chinese cluster exhibiting symptoms different from Wuhan” by Fox News’ Brie Stimpson – Coronavirus patients in northeastern China are reportedly taking longer to recover from the virus and to exhibit symptoms than patients from the original outbreak in Wuhan, one of China’s top doctors told state TV Tuesday. Dr. Qiu Haibo, who is taking care of patients in the northeast, said the more than two-week incubation period is making it hard to keep the virus from spreading and could show the virus is changing, Bloomberg reported. Patients in the northeast also mostly have lung damage rather than in their heart, kidney and stomach as in Wuhan. At least 46 cases have popped up in three cities north of North Korea's border -- Jilin City, Shulan, and Shengyang -- which are under lockdown again. Of those infected, 26 have been hospitalized, according to Bloomberg. Last month, a study from Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China, found the virus had mutated into at least 30 different genetic mutations. "Drug and vaccine development, while urgent, need to take the impact of these accumulating mutations, especially the founding mutations, into account to avoid potential pitfall," the study said. The differences, however, could be because only the sickest patients were being treated when the virus first overwhelmed Wuhan and doctors can now pay more attention to the way symptoms manifest.
“Cash-crunched cities want states to give them a larger slice of congressional aid” by CNN’s Tami Luhby – Facing severe budget crunches of their own, cities want states to give them a larger slice of the coronavirus relief aid approved by Congress in late March. The National League of Cities compiled a report listing 32 states that are "withholding funding from most municipal governments, including all small and rural municipalities, with no indication when, or if, funds will ever be made available." The states include California, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, New York and South Carolina. The report was distributed to senators over the past day and will be sent to all members of Congress to help make the case that cities need more direct federal assistance, the league said. Lawmakers have been asking how the $150 billion they already provided to states and localities is being used. "States don't know if there is going to be additional dollars coming out of the federal government, so that's causing them to be hesitant to distribute all of these dollars at this time," said Clarence Anthony, the league's executive director. "They have to hold on and make sure as they go through this that they're able to also take care of those state budget shortfalls." The coronavirus has blown major holes in many state and local budgets as tax revenues plunge amid widespread layoffs and stay-at-home orders, which are slowly starting to lift. Congress allocated $150 billion to help states and large municipalities cover coronavirus-related expenses as part of a $2 trillion relief package, known as the CARES Act. But only 36 municipalities meet the criteria of having more than 500,000 residents, according to the league.
“Trump Administration Extends Order Blocking Migrants at Border” by WSJ’s Michelle Hackman and Andrew Restuccia – The Trump administration extended a public-health order allowing it to reject migrants crossing U.S. borders without giving them access to the asylum system until the government determines the new coronavirus no longer poses a danger to the public. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published the indefinite extension on Tuesday. The order was introduced in March for a duration of 30 days and extended in April for another 30 days. The public-health order allows the government to turn back any migrants it encounters crossing the border—including unaccompanied children and anyone asking for humanitarian protection—without taking them into custody or allowing them to file asylum claims. It is distinct from restrictions on nonessential travel across the Mexican and Canadian borders, which were introduced at the same time but which the government extended for only an additional 30 days on Tuesday. “This order has been one of the most critical tools the department has used to prevent the further spread of the virus and to protect the American people,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said in a written statement.
“Plaintiff in Roe v. Wade U.S. abortion case says she was paid to switch sides” by Reuters’ Jill Serjeant – Norma McCorvey, the woman known as “Jane Roe” in the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court Roe v. Wade ruling legalizing abortion, said she was lying when she switched to support the anti-abortion movement, saying she had been paid to do so. In a new documentary, made before her death in 2017 and due to be broadcast on Friday, McCorvey makes what she calls a “deathbed confession.” “I took their money and they took me out in front of the cameras and told me what to say,” she says on camera. “I did it well too. I am a good actress. Of course, I’m not acting now.” “If a young woman wants to have an abortion, that’s no skin off my ass. That’s why they call it choice,” she added. “AKA Jane Roe,” will be broadcast on the FX cable channel on Friday but was made available to television journalists in advance. It traces McCorvey’s troubled youth, how she became the poster child of abortion rights and her about-face in the 1990s when she announced she was baptized as a born-again Christian who campaigned against abortion. The documentary was filmed in the last months of her life before her death at age 69 in 2017 in Texas. The 1973 Supreme Court ruling has for decades been the focus of a divisive political, legal and moral debate. The Rev. Robert Schenck, one of the evangelical pastors who worked with McCorvey after her conversion to Christianity in the mid-1990s, looked stunned as he was shown her interview as part of the documentary.
“Planned Parenthood affiliates improperly applied for and received $80 million in coronavirus stimulus funds, feds say” by Fox News’ Gregg Re and Alex Pfeiffer – Thirty-seven Planned Parenthood affiliates applied for and received a total of $80 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), Fox News' "Tucker Carlson Tonight" has learned -- and now the federal government wants the money back, saying the affiliates should have known they weren't eligible for the coronavirus stimulus payouts. The Small Business Administration (SBA) is reaching out to each involved Planned Parenthood affiliate explaining that affiliates of larger organizations with more than 500 employees aren't eligible for PPP distributions, Fox News is told. The Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PFFA) alone has had more than 600 employees. A Planned Parenthood affiliate in Metropolitan Washington (PPMW), for example, will receive a letter stating that although self-certified that it was eligible for a $1,328,000 PPP loan in accordance with the SBA's affiliation rules, it will need to return the money. PPMW's request for money from the Trump administration came just months after the affiliate's president and CEO, Laura Meyers, promised to turn down federal funds. "Planned Parenthood is never going to allow the Trump-Pence administration to bully us into withholding critical health information from our patients," Meyers said last August, after the White House banned Planned Parenthood clinics from making abortion referrals if they wanted to continue receiving federal funds. At the time, Planned Parenthood vowed to give up federal funds entirely, rather than comply with the order.
“Lindsey Graham wants new probe into Russia investigation to be wrapped before election” by CNN’s Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb – Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham said Tuesday he wants to finish up his investigation looking at the origins of the FBI's investigation into the Russia investigation by September or October and release a public report before the election. "I want to do it before the election -- I want to get all the information out there," Graham told reporters in the Capitol on Tuesday. The South Carolina Republican also sought help from the acting director of national intelligence Tuesday to declassify additional information related to the "unmasking" of Americans that occurred during the Trump transition. Graham has announced his committee plans to vote on June 4 on a broad authorization to subpoena witnesses and documents related to the FBI's Russia investigation that became former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe, and foreign surveillance warrants obtained on a Trump adviser. Graham dismissed concerns it would look political, saying he had been "planning this for a long time." "I'm trying to explain to the American people what happened in Crossfire Hurricane," Graham said, a reference to the FBI's codename for the Russia investigation. "I gave Mueller all the space he needed to do his job. He's done his job, we got the Mueller report, we're going to do this by October."
“U.S.-China Tensions Rise as Trump Accuses WHO of Pro-China Bias” by WSJ’s Gordon Lubold and Drew Hinshaw – President Trump’s threat to cut off funding to the World Health Organization and revoke U.S. membership over the group’s handling of the coronavirus heightened tensions with China and sparked a new round of accusations between the two countries. In a four-page letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Monday, Mr. Trump said the organization had shown an “alarming lack of independence” from Beijing and failed to adequately respond as Chinese government officials sought to cover up the emerging health threat. The WHO has contested many of the assertions Mr. Trump made in the letter, which came as the organization convened a virtual 194-nation summit to evaluate the global response to the pandemic, and China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, accused the U.S. of “trying in vain to slander China’s prevention and control efforts in order to distract from its own mishandling of the crisis.” Wu Zunyou, a chief expert at China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that China shared information with the WHO and other countries in the early days of the epidemic quickly and transparently. U.S.-China relations have deteriorated in recent months as each side has aired allegations about the virus’s origins. Global health officials broadly agree that the outbreak originated in China, with many of the first confirmed cases of the new virus linked to a large animal and seafood market in Wuhan. Scientists say the virus likely came originally from bats—but it isn’t known exactly where or how it jumped to humans. Chinese officials have suggested, without presenting evidence, that the outbreak stemmed from U.S. soldiers visiting Wuhan for a sports competition, which Washington denies and many scientists have dismissed as groundless.
President Donald Trump @realDonaldTrump --@FoxNews is no longer the same. We miss the great Roger Ailes. You have more anti-Trump people, by far, than ever before. Looking for a new outlet!
Chuck Schumer - “This administration has been totally derelict in coming up with a testing program.”
Everyone is too busy looking for an open barbershop today...Kidding