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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Watch: After Doing Fox News Gig HHS Secretary Blows Off White House Reporters’ Coronavirus Questions, Just Walks Away

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Markets are crashing in large part over the Trump administration’s incompetence and total inability to inspire confidence in the face of the coronavirus pandemic. The DOW a few minutes ago was down more than 2100 points, a historic sell-off following a week where the market saw its steepest one-day decline since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is under fire given he is one of the top Trump administration officials directly in charge of any health crisis response. Under his watch the CDC has grossly bungled the coronavirus testing and experts say the U.S, is totally unprepared to handle this disaster.

Reporters were angered by Secretary Azar’s refusal to answer their questions Monday afternoon, pointing out to the HHS chief that he had time for a Fox News interview but would not take questions from the White House press pool – a group far less likely to give him a pass.

Here’s Secretary Azar at 10:35 AM telling Fox News what a great job President Trump is doing, and that the president’s top focus is the coronavirus outbreak. He’s then forced to admit, “I haven’t spoken to the president yet this morning,” which seems to destroy his claim. (Trump spent the morning at a $4 million Florida fundraiser, after spending the weekend golfing.)

Here’s Secretary Azar speaking just outside the White House late Monday morning ditching reporters and refusing to answer their questions.

Those questions included, “Do you still not know how many people have been tested  for coronavirus?”, “What’s your plan for the unemployed?”, and “Where are the tests? Have they been delivered?”

 

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

‘Very Concerned’ Fauci Issues Stern Warning: ‘Would Not Be Surprised if We Go Up to 100,000’ New COVID-19 Cases a Day

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Dr. Anthony Fauci made a rare appearance Tuesday, speaking on Capitol Hill to issue a stern warning about the coronavirus crisis.

“We are now having 40-plus thousand new cases a day,” Fauci, the top infectious diseases expert at the National Institutes of Health, told Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around.”

Right now nearly 2.7 million people in the U.S., at minimum, have been infected with the coronavirus. Deaths are just under 130,000. CDC Chief Dr. Robert Redfield last week said he believes the actual number of cases could be ten times higher.

Watch Dr. Fauci:

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

A Day in Tweets: What Trump Was Actually Focused on the Day His Briefing Reportedly Included the Russia Bounty Plot

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More information is coming out on the timeline of when President Donald Trump was reportedly briefed on a Russian plot to offer bounties for the killing of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

“American officials provided a written briefing in late February to President Trump laying out their conclusion that a Russian military intelligence unit offered and paid bounties to Taliban-linked militants to kill U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan,” The New York Times reported Monday evening, citing “two officials familiar with the matter.”

“The new information emerged as the White House tried on Monday to play down the intelligence assessment that Russia sought to encourage and reward killings — including reiterating a claim that Mr. Trump was never briefed about the matter and portraying the conclusion as disputed and dubious,” the newspaper reported. “But that stance clashed with the disclosure by two officials that the intelligence was included months ago in Mr. Trump’s President’s Daily Brief document — a compilation of the government’s latest secrets and best insights about foreign policy and national security that is prepared for him to read. One of the officials said the item appeared in Mr. Trump’s brief in late February; the other cited Feb. 27, specifically.”

Due to the president’s fixation with sharing his thoughts on Twitter, we can see what he was focused on on February 27th.

Trump started February 27th on Twitter by hyping an upcoming campaign rally in North Carolina, which the president was hosting despite the pandemic.

He then retweeted a quote from Fox News anchor Trish Regan, blasting CNN for their coverage of the pandemic.

Trump then praised his Coronavirus Task Force for a “great job” and said cases of COVID-19 “look to be going down.”

Trump then attacked former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

He then accused CNN of being “fake news” in a second tweet quoting Trish Regan.

He also praised a clip of Diamond and Silk, saying it was “so nice!”

Then came complaints he was being blamed for America’s coronavirus response.

He then again praised his administration’s response to coronavirus.

And he finished his day on Twitter with threats to withhold federal funding from U.S. cities.

The next day, Trump traveled to South Carolina, where he was holding a 2020 reelection rally despite the pandemic.

 

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AMERICA IN CRISIS

Bill Barr Wants an ‘Autocratic President’ — and He’s Made ‘Significant Progress’ Getting One: Ex-Bush DOJ Official

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Donald Ayer, a former deputy attorney general who served under President George H.W. Bush, has issued a startling warning about Attorney General Bill Barr’s goals in pushing for the expansion of powers under the executive branch.

In an interview with The New Yorker, Ayer said that Barr has been all too eager to make the Department of Justice into President Donald Trump’s personal squad of attorneys whose job is to serve him and not the American public.

“[Barr’s] systematic trashing of the department’s traditions of even handedness and independence have helped him make significant progress toward his goal of an autocratic President,” Ayer said. “I think Barr is getting as much out of Trump as Trump is getting out of Barr. All for his own reasons of wanting the President to have complete and unchecked power.”

David Laufman, a former head of the Justice Department’s counterintelligence section, tells The New Yorker that the consolidation of power around the president hasn’t just been limited to the DOJ.

“I think we need to be careful not to be too lackadaisical in recognizing the significance of what is happening throughout our government, not just in law enforcement and intelligence but the attempted politicization of our public health system,” he said.

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