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Trump ‘Personally’ Pressured CDC, FDA, NIH to Allow Untested Malaria Drugs to Be Used to Treat Coronavirus: Report

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President Donald Trump personally intervened in the medical approval process, calling top officials from three of the nation’s leading federal government medical agencies to pressure them to allow drugs untested for use in treating the novel coronavirus to be used for that purpose.

Top  officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received telephone calls from the President of the United States, who “personally pressed” them to make the malaria drugs, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine available.

“Rarely, if ever, has a U.S. president lobbied regulators and health officials to focus their efforts on specific unproven drugs,” Reuters reveals in its exclusive report. “Shortly afterward, the federal government published highly unusual guidance informing doctors they had the option to prescribe the drugs, with key dosing information based on unattributed anecdotes rather than peer-reviewed science.”

His calls launched a “cascade of federal action.”

Trump’s focus came after a Fox News interview in mid-March of a a lawyer the conservative cable network said was associated with a small French study, who said “we have strong reason to believe that a preventative dose of hydroxychloroquine is going to prevent the virus from attaching to the body and just get rid of it completely.”

Related: Trump Official Peter Navarro Sputters and Flails After Lack of Medical Qualifications Exposed in Train Wreck CNN Interview

Two days later, that same attorney, appears on Fox News again, declaring, the president “has the authority to authorize the use of hydroxychloroquine against coronavirus immediately.”

Just one day later Trump began his campaign to promote the malaria drugs, despite only anecdotal evidence and that one small French study.

“On March 19, Trump vowed to make the drugs more widely available. ‘It’s shown very encouraging – very, very encouraging early results,’ he said at a press conference. ‘And we’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately. And that’s where the FDA has been so great. They – they’ve gone through the approval process; it’s been approved. And they did it – they took it down from many, many months to immediate.’

The drugs had not, in fact gone through the FDA’s “approval process” to treat coronavirus, nor had they been approved by the FDA to do so.

Two days after that. Trump posted these tweets:

“Now, millions of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine pills are on their way to the public, donated by drugmakers, including Novartis’ Sandoz, Bayer and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. The FDA issued an emergency authorization on March 28 allowing them to be prescribed and distributed from the Strategic National Stockpile.”

 

 

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Trump-Loving God-Fearing MyPillow CEO Claims First Amendment Right to Lie About Voting Tech Companies

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MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell is building a high-profile legal team to defend him against a billion-dollar defamation suit that he hopes will land before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The staunch Donald Trump ally has hired veteran First Amendment attorney Nathan Lewin and is getting advice from Alan Dershowitz for his defense against Dominion Voting Systems, which alleges that Lindell defamed the company with baseless claims about the 2020 election, reported The Daily Beast.

“I want to take this all the way to the Supreme Court,” Lindell has repeatedly said. “I’m not stopping.”

The 85-year-old Lewin helped prosecute Jimmy Hoffa for Bobby Kennedy’s Justice Department, and later represented Jodie Foster, former attorney general Edwin Meese, President Richard Nixon and John Lennon, and Dershowitz — who defended Trump during his first impeachment — gave a preview of Lindell’s defense.

“Our position is that Dominion is the government, for purposes of the First Amendment,” Dershowitz said. “The government delegated to them the most important governmental function, mainly counting votes in a presidential election, and they are therefore subject to criticism in the exact same ways that the government would be subject to criticism in that situation, and criticism of how the government conducted a presidential election is the highest bar protecting the First Amendment right to criticize such action.”

Dershowitz is not an attorney of record in the case, but he confirmed that he’s been helping Lindell’s team craft a defense.

“I’ve been on conference calls repeatedly with [Lindell’s] legal team, sometimes Lindell is on, sometimes he’s not,” Dershowitz said. “My role is to come up with ideas as they pertain to the First Amendment. I give them cases, and I suggest First Amendment theories — my role is limited to advising on the First Amendment issues at hand.”

 

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Experts Slam Fox News for Wrongly Attacking VP Harris for ‘Repeatedly Failing to Salute Military’

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Fox News is taking fire from military experts after the conservative media outlet and some of its strongest allies attacked Vice President Kamala Harris for not saluting members of the U.S. Military. As experts explained, Harris is not a member of the military nor in the chain of command, and it would be inappropriate for her to do so. It would also signal a weakening of civilian control.

“Vice President Kamala Harris is facing criticism for appearing to break with precedent and failing to salute the honor guard when boarding Air Force Two,” Fox News’ Evie Fordham wrote in an online article on Tuesday. “Video reviewed by Fox News showed that her predecessors, former Vice President Mike Pence and President Biden, regularly saluted the honor guard in the same situation.”

Tom Nichols, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College who formerly was a fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, slammed Fox News, saying it would be “incorrect” for her to salute, and they know they’re wrong.

Task & Purpose, a military news site reported on the “conflict” before Fox News did, concluding, “there is no requirement that the President or Vice President of the United States return a salute.”

But a veteran speaking to The Chicago Tribune back in 2015 went even further.

“In the military, saluting is a part of ceremony and it’s very prescriptive. If you’re not in uniform, you can’t salute,” Eric Potter, a 32-year veteran of the military said.

“Saluting soldiers is not a recommended way to honor current or former members of the Armed Forces,” the editorial team at Aircraft Compare wrote. “Even members of the Armed Forces do not salute when out of uniform. A salute is part of the official protocols that active soldiers follow. Outside official duties, the military salute is rarely displayed.”

Meanwhile, Fox News host Sean Hannity “reported” on the “scandal” on his own site:

Former NYC “top cop,” and convicted felon Bernie Kerik, who served in the U.S. Army and should know better, called not saluting “disgraceful.”

Jonathan Ladd, associate professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy and the Department of Government joined in noting Fox News is wrong:

As did Military.com congressional reporter Steve Beynon:

 

 

 

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Trump Political Appointee and Anti-LGBTQ Christian Right Activist Sues Biden After Refusing to Resign

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Roger Severino

Roger Severino, a former Trump appointee at the Dept. of Health and Human Services who targeted LGBTQ Americans in his religious crusade as head of the Office of Civil Rights is suing the Biden administration for firing him from his appointment by the former president to an obscure but powerful federal government agency known as ACUS.

He is refusing to resign, despite being a political appointee.

“President Biden’s attempt to remove me contrary to law exposes his lofty promises of healing and uniting all Americans as nothing more than cynical manipulation,” Severino defiantly told Newsweek.

“Because I am not one to be bullied, not even by the President himself, I will not resign my duly commissioned post and look forward to seeing how President Biden tries to justify his vindictive actions in court.”

Severino’s lawsuit claims that “President Biden has no constitutional authority under Article II to terminate Mr. Severino’s appointment to the Council.”

“The Council” is the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS), which holds sway over how U.S. government regulatory agencies operate.

Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, who covers the courts and the law, writes on Twitter that “Severino’s substantive argument … seems to suggest that ACUS is part of no branch of government, but instead sits outside the executive branch on some heavenly plane.”

He calls the lawsuit “bonkers, BONKERS, just eye-melting galaxy-brain-level drivel.”

Severino spent his four years in the Trump administration working tirelessly to kill protections, many installed by the Obama administration, for LGBTQ patients, effectively promoting discrimination based on gender and sexual orientation. He also expanded opportunities for people of faith to claim anti-religion discrimination by creating the Conscience and Religious Freedom Division at HHS.

At HHS Severino called Obama-era protections for transgender patients “unnecessary.”

And in defending an anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” regulation, Severino told reporters, “Patients want doctors who match their values.”

As NCRM has previously reported, Severino has been called a “radical” anti-LGBTQ religious right activist by the Human Rights Campaign. He once served as CEO and counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a religious right non-profit that opposes separation of church and state. He has also served as the Director of the DeVos family’s Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity.

He is married to Carrie Severino, president of the Judicial Crisis Network, which spent millions to install President Donald Trump’s extremist judges, including reportedly tens of millions of dollars to help secure Trump’s three Supreme Court nominees.

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