The nationwide public outrage over President Donald Trump’s influence in the DOJ’s decision to reduce the requested prison time for his friend, confidant, and former advisor Roger Stone extended into Wednesday after the president tweeted his thanks and congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for “taking charge” of the case.
“Congratulations to Attorney General Bill Barr for taking charge of a case that was totally out of control and perhaps should not have even been brought,” Trump tweeted early Wednesday. “Evidence now clearly shows that the Mueller Scam was improperly brought & tainted. Even Bob Mueller lied to Congress!”
Trump’s claims are totally false, but the anger, outrage, and fear for the nation’s future many expressed in response are not. And some see his tweet as proof of coordination between Trump and Barr, especially after the president Tuesday announced he has the “absolute right” to direct the Dept. of Justice in who and how it prosecutes.
The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent sums it up:
Trump has now publicly admitted that his attorney general intervened in the case of his own longtime adviser — who obstructed an investigation into an attack on our political system — for the express purpose of undermining DOJ’s own investigative conclusions about himself. https://t.co/T3Q9tUMCdt
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) February 12, 2020
All four federal prosecutors in charge of the Roger Stone case quit within hours of the DOJ signaling it would intervene to reduce their sentencing recommendation.
Here’s how others are responding:
He commits his crimes in plain sight. And then boasts about them. https://t.co/LuWlQC5C0r
— Richard Stengel (@stengel) February 12, 2020
Trump has now just implicated Barr in writing. https://t.co/GYWUWmpusi
— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) February 12, 2020
Trump confirms that the Department of Justice is now part of his political operation https://t.co/uKF8hz3x4R
— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) February 12, 2020
Hey remember when conservatives threw a fit for Obama saying a police offer behaved stupidly? https://t.co/hthMlcLnCV
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) February 12, 2020
Fact Check: Roger Stone was convicted of 7 felonies by a jury of his peers in federal court, including obstructing a congressional inquiry, lying to investigators and attempting to block a witness’s testimony. https://t.co/3ei79bU9PH
— David Rohde (@RohdeD) February 12, 2020
Those transfers meant, for the Flynn and Stone cases, the DC US Attorney Jessie Liu stood in the shoes of Robert Mueller.
In recent days, Trump replaced Liu with one of Barr’s lackeys, initially promising her a Treasury job, and then unceremoniously dumping her.
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) February 12, 2020
Less than 4 years ago it was a major scandal that AG Lynch met w/ Former-President Clinton to chat about grandkids: she forced to recuse herself from the FBI’s bad faith attack on Secretary Clinton. Now President Trump is publicity directing AG Barr on everything “Justice” does.
— David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) February 12, 2020
The mob boss is congratulating his mob lawyer for gutting the case against one of his mob lieutenants. https://t.co/VZIFFTpcj2
— Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) February 12, 2020
1) Trump tweets that it’s unfair that his longtime adviser-turned-felon Roger Stone is facing a lengthy prison sentence
2) Trump’s Attorney General intervenes, reducing the prison sentence
3) Trump congratulates his AG for doing his bidding
This doesn’t happen in democracies. https://t.co/noEbg7fJUa
— Brian Klaas (@brianklaas) February 12, 2020
Shut up, you pathological lying, disgusting, racist, traitorous, criminal.
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) February 12, 2020
If you read about another country where the Leader intervened in a case to help his close friend/accomplice not be punished you would view that nation as a “banana republic” or an authoritarian regime–not a democracy. That is exactly what Trump is doing. It’s no different
— (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) February 12, 2020
I don’t understand how this isn’t illegal. https://t.co/44c8VwEZjf
— James O’Leary (@jamesoleary87) February 12, 2020
He’s not changed one iota… what’s next?
— And, by the way… (@TYoungRude) February 12, 2020
I don’t think you’re supposed to announce the tampering, champ. https://t.co/USdS5AG2D5
— Hank “Very legal and very good” Epton (@HankEpton) February 12, 2020
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Watch: Betsy DeVos Gets Snippy but Can’t Even Answer Basic Questions Before Congress
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos testified before a House Appropriations subcommittee Thursday and was repeatedly unable to answer basic questions, got snippy with Democratic lawmakers, and falsely claimed research cited by top Democrats was wrong and had been “debunked.”
(The numbers behind that research came from DeVos herself, according to this piece in the Washington Post.)
In an exchange with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI), DeVos got heated, refuted his claims, and yet was unable to give a correct answer.
“Everything you’re citing is debunked, ridiculous, so I don’t accept the premise of your question,” DeVos, putting the word “question” in air quotes, told Pocan.
Congressman Pocan was referring to reports that show more than 40 percent of charter schools funded in full or in part by the federal government “collected the grants and then either did not open, or have opened and shut down,” as the report’s author wrote in The Washington Post.
Pocan responded by correctly saying the reports have “actually not” been debunked.
Minutes later Pocan revisited the 40 percent failure rate of charter schools, to DeVos’ anger.
“That is not true, that has been a totally debunked report,” she declared, waving her finger. “It’s nothing but propaganda by an individual who has an in for charter schools.”
“So what percent of charter schools are failing?” Pocan asked.
DeVos’ mouth opened and her jaw dropped but she did not speak for several seconds.
“Do you have an idea?” Pocan pressed.
“I don’t have a state – national,” DeVos, flustered, replied.
“You’re the Secretary of Education and you don’t have this? You ‘know’ this report’s wrong, but you don’t –” Pocan said before being cut off.
“Charter schools are chartered by states, they are not chartered by the federal government,” DeVos said, smiling, as if she won a debate. She had not. She had, however, ignored that the report shows 40.5% of charter schools received some if not all of their funding from the federal government.
“You know that number’s not right but you don’t have a correct number,” Pocan responded.
“What I know is parents and families are choosing to send their children to charter schools,” said DeVos.
“So you don’t know the answer?” Pocan again asked.
“Parents and children are going to charter schools by choice,” DeVos repeated, showing she has little interest in anything but continuing to fund charter schools, regardless of the cost to taxpayers or the cost to students who don’t receive a good education, and the cost to public school students who lose funding every day a student attends a charter school instead of a public school.
That, too, is somewhat false. After three years of an anti-public schools Secretary of Education, parents are learning that charter schools “make up an outsized share of the number of public schools persistently graduating less than half of their students.”
Americans are “turning against” charter schools reveals another Washington Post report.
Watch this exchange between Devos and Pocan:
.@repmarkpocan: 40% of charter schools that you’re giving grant to are closing down
BETSY DeVOS: That’s a totally debunked report. It’s just propaganda
POCAN: So what percent of charters are failing? Do you have an idea?
P: You’re the secretary of education! pic.twitter.com/92K13Awaav
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 27, 2020
The California Coronavirus Patient Went Untested for Days Because CDC Criteria Weren’t Met
The first known case of coronavirus possibly the result of “community spread” in the United States was diagnosed in California, but despite doctors’ requests the patient was not tested for days. The New York Times reports the CDC refused to test because the patient did not meet CDC’s “narrow testing criteria.”
“Upon admission, our team asked public health officials if this case could be Covid-19,” a letter sent by doctors at the University of California, Davis Medical Center said. The doctors requested testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Since the patient did not fit the existing C.D.C. criteria for Covid-19, a test was not immediately administered. U.C. Davis Health does not control the testing process.”
The CDC announced the first suspected case of “community spread” coronavirus in the U.S. Wednesday, just around the time President Donald Trump was delivering a press conference during which he minimized the threat of coronavirus.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed an infection with the virus that causes COVID-19 in California in a person who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient with COVID-19,” the CDC reported.
“At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown,” the CDC added. “It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown. It’s also possible, however, that the patient may have been exposed to a returned traveler who was infected.”
The CDC’s website currently states it has tested 445 people for coronavirus. As of Wednesday there were 60 confirmed cases in the U.S.
Image of coronavirus via CDC
‘We Can’t Control That Price’: Trump HHS Secretary Won’t Promise a Coronavirus Vaccine Will Be Affordable for All
As the coronavirus quickly marches toward officially becoming a pandemic, the Trump administration is working hard to give the appearance they are managing the crisis. On Wednesday Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar repeated President Donald Trump’s claim that a vaccine for the deadly, quick-spreading virus would be ready soon. Trump had actually appeared to suggest “very soon,” which is false.
But soon or very soon, it won’t be either for everyone.
Experts agree a coronavirus vaccine won’t be ready for the general population more than a year. And while many would assume that would mean it would be available for everyone, HHS Secretary Azar has something different in mind.
What Sec. Azar has in mind should come as no surprise, given that Azar once was president of a top major pharmaceutical company, a division of Eli Lilly and Company.
Here’s U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) questioning Secretary Azar Wednesday, only to find out the Trump administration will not ensure a coronavirus vaccine is affordable to all.
SCHAKOWSKY: “You’re saying that it will, for sure, be affordable for anyone who needs it.”
AZAR: “I’m saying we would want to ensure that we work to make it affordable, but we can’t control that price, because we need the private sector to invest…Price controls won’t get us there.”
In other words, the companies that can create vaccines fast enough get to set the prices. And Azar is saying the federal government will not make sure everyone can afford it.
Here’s the clip of Azar not assuring Rep. Schakowsky a covid-19 vaccine will be affordable to all. pic.twitter.com/Z8aNd4wLWj
— Michael McAuliff (@mmcauliff) February 26, 2020
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