US Monthly Headline News March 2020 Page 1
by Joseph Zeballos-RoigPresident Trump said at a Fox News town hall forum that he intended to cut entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare. Trump was asked during the interview about the $23 trillion national debt, which has continued surging under his watch. He campaigned on 2016 on wiping it out but instead passed laws like the 2017 tax cuts, which piled more onto it. At the town hall, Fox News host Martha MacCallum told the president that if "you don't cut something in entitlements, you will never really deal with the debt," and Trump immediately responded. "Oh, we'll be cutting," he said to the Scranton, Pennsylvania, audience. "We're also going to have growth like you've never seen before." The comments appear to be a reversal from Trump's promise to leave the two largest federal government programs untouched in a second term. In a CNBC interview last month, Trump expressed a willingness to cut funding for both programs. "At the right time, we will take a look at that. You know, that's actually the easiest of all things, if you look," he told CNBC's Joe Kernen.
'Broken' Coronavirus Testing Process in U.S. Coud Have Enabled Covid-19 to Spread 'Silently' for Weeks, Experts WarnBy Kashmira GanderExperts fear a "broken" system for testing suspected cases of the deadly new coronavirus in the U.S., which has reached more than a dozen states, has set the country back in containing the disease and enabled it to silently spread. Following weeks of setbacks with screening for COVID-19, the head of the White House coronavirus task force, Vice President Mike Pence, told reporters in Minnesota on Thursday according to CNN, "We don't have enough tests today to meet what we anticipate will be the demand going forward." Earlier in the week, Pence told media at the White House screening restrictions had been lifted so "any American can be tested" for the illness, according to The New York Times, although the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told Politico that capacity on Tuesday stood at 15,000, and was expected to rise to 75,000 this week. Thursday's admission came after the head of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Dr. Stephen Hahn told a White House press briefing on Monday that industry estimates indicated "by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed," The New York Times reported. Hahn said there would be a "substantial increase in the number of tests this week, next week, and throughout the month" after the agency said it would allow private laboratories and companies to make their own tests to increase capacity. Asked whether the U.S. would hit its million test goal, Pence spokesperson Katie Miller told CNN on Thursday, "We're not missing it." But experts have told Newsweek snafus have lost the country precious time in controlling the spread of the disease. Earlier this week, the CDC controversially stopped reporting the number of individuals who have or are being tested for COVID-19, explaining on its website "now that states are testing and reporting their own results, CDC's numbers are not representative all of testing being done nationwide." While the health agency's website (accurate as of March 5 and due to be updated at noon today) reported a total of 99 cases across 13 states, a dashboard maintained by Johns Hopkins University pooling data from the CDC as we as local health departments put the figure at 233. The New York Times tracker said people with COVID-19 have been treated in 20 states, and 14 have died. Medical doctor and former Democratic candidate for U.S. Congress Dena Grayson, who played a role in the development of drugs to treat the deadly Ebola virus, told Newsweek: "the government has made some blunders in our pandemic preparedness by not quickly deploying functional coronavirus testing kits nor having sufficient testing capacity early on, when containment (via contact tracing and quarantines) would have been much more feasible."
“I don’t know what went wrong,” a former CDC chief told The Atlantic.By Robinson MeyerAlexis C. MadrigalIt’s one of the most urgent questions in the United States right now: How many people have actually been tested for the coronavirus? This number would give a sense of how widespread the disease is, and how forceful a response to it the United States is mustering. But for days, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has refused to publish such a count, despite public anxiety and criticism from Congress. On Monday, Stephen Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, estimated that “by the end of this week, close to a million tests will be able to be performed” in the United States. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence promised that “roughly 1.5 million tests” would be available this week. But the number of tests performed across the country has fallen far short of those projections, despite extraordinarily high demand, The Atlantic has found. “The CDC got this right with H1N1 and Zika, and produced huge quantities of test kits that went around the country,” Thomas Frieden, the director of the CDC from 2009 to 2017, told us. “I don’t know what went wrong this time.” Through interviews with dozens of public-health officials and a survey of local data from across the country, The Atlantic could only verify that 1,895 people have been tested for the coronavirus in the United States, about 10 percent of whom have tested positive. And while the American capacity to test for the coronavirus has ramped up significantly over the past few days, local officials can still test only several thousand people a day, not the tens or hundreds of thousands indicated by the White House’s promises.
By Glenn Kessler“The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we’re doing. And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more accurate and rapid fashion. That was a decision we disagreed with. I don’t think we would have made it, but for some reason it was made. But we’ve undone that decision.” “This was a very big move. It was something that we had to do and we did it very quickly. And now we have tremendous flexibility. Many, many more sites. Many, many more people. And you couldn’t have had that under the Obama rule, and we ended that rule very quickly.” — Trump, additional remarks at the same meeting. When things get tough in the Trump administration, the president has a default position — blame Barack Obama. The administration has been under fire for its failure to quickly expand testing for coronavirus across the United States; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had distributed flawed tests to state and local health departments. The lack of tests, compared with countries like South Korea that have tested tens of thousands of people, has meant the possible spread of the virus in the United States may be hidden. Trump suggested the problem instead was an “Obama rule” on testing that his administration had recently overturned. But this turns out to be completely wrong. Let’s explore.The FactsThis is a fact check that turns out to be about a complex and technical issue that had attracted little attention outside trade press and a small community of experts. But the quick answer is there was no Obama rule, simply “guidance" that was never acted on because Congress stepped in and decided it would craft the necessary legislation, according to experts we consulted. The Trump administration, in fact, has been working with Congress on such legislation.
Steer clear of MAGA hats: They're being told the whole thing is a hoax, and their leader's got it under controlBy Heather Digby PartonPresident Trump said that Russian interference in the 2016 election a hoax perpetrated by the Democrats to destroy his presidency. He claimed his impeachment was a Democratic hoax too and last week he said the coronavirus — or at least media coverage of the coronavirus — was one as well. None of those were hoaxes. But that doesn't mean hoaxes don't exist. In fact, when it comes to the coronavirus crisis, disinformation, propaganda and hoaxes abound. Ironically, one of the sources is, you guessed it, Russia. That's unnerving, to say the least. But the story is confusing, with social media platforms insisting they are uninformed about these activities and the government refusing to share its methodology. Unsurprisingly, the right wing has eagerly jumped on some of the disinformation, such as the lie that the virus is a Chinese bioweapon. In fact, one of the president's most fervent supporters, Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas, went on national TV to spread it, doubling down when called on it by experts. It's unclear where Cotton got his "hypothesis" but it had already been debunked by numerous sources at the time he was telling millions of people it was possible. As Richard Ebright, a professor of chemical biology at Rutgers University, told the Washington Post, "There's absolutely nothing in the genome sequence of this virus that indicates the virus was engineered. The possibility this was a deliberately released bioweapon can be firmly excluded." The Bill and Melinda Gates conspiracy theory took hold deep in the right-wing fever swamp early on. BuzzFeed reported on it back in January: If these rumors and lies were started by the Russian government it just proves, once again, that they know their targets. But the truth is that Americans don't really need their help. The right-wing media is doing a great job of misleading half the country all by themselves.
Warren slams 'bullying' Sanders supporters as she exits race, says candidates are responsible for followers' actionsBy Nicholas Wu USA TODAYAs she exited the presidential race, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., took a swipe at the "bullying" and "online nastiness" of supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and said presidential candidates were responsible for the actions of their supporters who do "dangerous, threatening things to other candidates." "It's not just about me. There's a real problem with this online bullying and sort of online nastiness," Warren said in a Thursday evening interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow when asked about Sanders supporters' online attacks on Warren. Maddow referenced Sanders supporters calling Warren a "snake" and a "traitor," and attempting to recruit a primary challenger against her. Warren cited Sanders supporters' attacks on "women of color, immigrant women" who led a union in Nevada, saying, "They actually published the phone numbers and home addresses of two women...and really put them in fear." Sanders told Maddow Wednesday evening he was "aghast and disgusted" by his supporters' actions, but told the MSNBC host, "by the way, Rachel, if you don't think that doesn't come into our campaign, talk to Sen. Nina Turner," referring to his campaign co-chair. Warren, though, thought Sanders' explanation was not enough, saying, "We are responsible for the people who claim to be our supporters and do really dangerous, threatening things to other candidates."
Previously unseen documents from a Soviet archive show how hard Mr. Sanders worked to find a sister city in Russia when he was a mayor in the 1980s. Moscow saw a chance for propaganda.By Anton TroianovskiYAROSLAVL, Russia — The mayor of Burlington, Vt., wrote to a Soviet counterpart in a provincial city that he wanted the United States and the Soviet Union to “live together as friends.” Unbeknown to him, his desire for friendship meshed with the efforts of Soviet officials in Moscow to “reveal American imperialism as the main source of the danger of war.” That mayor was Bernie Sanders, and the story of his 1988 trip to the Soviet Union has been told before. But many of the details of Mr. Sanders’s Cold War diplomacy before and after that visit — and the Soviet effort to exploit Mr. Sanders’s antiwar agenda for their own propaganda purposes — have largely remained out of sight. The New York Times examined 89 pages of letters, telegrams and internal Soviet government documents revealing in far greater detail the extent of Mr. Sanders’s personal effort to establish ties between his city and a country many Americans then still considered an enemy despite the reforms being initiated at the time under Mikhail S. Gorbachev, the Soviet general secretary. They also show how the Kremlin viewed these sister city relationships as vehicles to sway American public opinion about the Soviet Union. “One of the most useful channels, in practice, for actively carrying out information-propaganda efforts has proved to be sister-city contact,” a Soviet Foreign Ministry document provided to Yaroslavl officials said. The documents are part of a government archive in Yaroslavl, Russia, which became the sister city of Burlington. The files are open to the public, though archivists there said that, until now, no one had asked to see them.
U.S. Supreme court halts scheduled execution of Alabama man convicted of killing three police officersBy Brendan O'Brien(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court halted the execution of an Alabama man on Thursday just 30 minutes before he was due to be put to death for his role in the 2004 killing of three police officers while they were attempting to arrest him for dealing drugs. The court issued the stay in order to review the case against Nathaniel Woods, 43, who had been scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Thursday evening at the Holman Correctional Facility in Atmore, Alabama. Woods and his friend Kerry Spencer were convicted for the 2004 murders of Birmingham police officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm and Charles Bennett. On the morning of July 17, 2004, Woods and his friend Kerry Spencer got into a “hostile, profanity-laced” argument with Owen and police officer Michael Collins and threatened them, court documents showed. Later that day, the officers along with Chisholm and Bennett went to Woods’ apartment to serve him a warrant and arrest him for dealing drugs. In a brief chaotic encounter, the officers were met by a spray of gunfire. Owen, Chisholm and Bennett were killed and Collins was wounded, according to court documents. Prosecutors said Spencer was the gunman, but accused Woods of being an accomplice to the murders. In December 2005, Woods and Spencer were convicted of capital murder and attempted murder and sentenced to death. Spencer remains on death row. The case has garnered the attention of Martin Luther King III, the son of the late civil rights leader, who wrote a letter to Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, asking her to intervene.
By BERNARD CONDONNEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner has sold his stake in a company investing in Opportunity Zone projects offering tax breaks he had pushed for in Washington, sparking criticism that he was benefiting from his White House role. A filing at the Office of Government Ethics released Monday shows that Kushner received permission to defer capital gains taxes on the sale of his stake in Cadre, a digital platform for smaller investors in commercial properties. Kushner’s holding in the private Cadre was worth between $25 million and $50 million, according to a financial disclosure report he filed with federal ethics officials last year. A person familiar with the sale said Cadre asked Kushner last summer to consider selling because of worries that some potential new investors in the firm might raise conflict-of-interest issues. The person was not authorized to speak of Kushner’s personal finances and spoke only on a condition of anonymity. Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump, pushed for the Opportunity Zone tax breaks to be included in Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. The breaks offer investors big cuts in capital gains taxes if they put money into businesses and buildings in 8,700 poor, struggling neighborhoods across the country that otherwise might not attract the money.
By Erin Alberty and Bethany RodgersThe Utah Coronavirus Task Force — headed by the lieutenant governor — said President Donald Trump “spread ... misinformation” when he suggested people could recover from COVID-19 while going to work. While warning that Trump had downplayed the dangers of exposure, state officials noted that the federal government doesn’t have enough tests for everyone who thinks they may have the virus. “DO NOT go to work if you have symptoms that match COVID-19. Stay home to avoid making others sick,” the Task Force tweeted Thursday. “Even if you have very mild symptoms, going to work sick could be dangerous to others. Let’s work together to stop the spread of misinformation like what’s in this video.” The state’s tweet included a recording of Trump saying: “We have thousands, or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better.” Trump made the remarks during a phone interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, which aired Wednesday night. As critics decried the president’s comments, which contradict advice from the CDC, Trump responded in a tweet Thursday:
A white student in Missouri sent a meme to black classmates that included a racial slur, school district saysBy Alaa Elassar, CNN(CNN) Two black students at a Missouri middle school were sent a racist meme by a white classmate, the school district said, and the parents of one of the students want changes to the district's policies dealing with acts of racism. "Upon learning of what has reportedly happened, the school's administrators responded immediately," Webster Groves School District Superintendent John Simpson said in a statement. "You can be assure that this kind of behavior has no place in our schools and will not be tolerated." The two eighth graders at Hixson Middle School were at lunch February 27 when they were sent a meme with a photograph of a white man spraying a young black child with a hose, the district said. Superimposed on the image was the phrase: "Go be a n***er somewhere else," according to Shaun Swearengen, the father of one of the students, who posted it on Facebook. The school confirmed to CNN that the meme that was posted was the one sent to the students. The school investigated the incident and identified the student who sent the photo, Webster Groves School District spokeswoman Cathy Vespereny told CNN. While one of the students declined to receive the file, Swearengen's daughter accepted it and her phone instantly pulled up the photo, which left her feeling hurt and confused, Swearengen told CNN. The file was sent via AirDrop, which allows iPhone users to share files wirelessly between phones, he said. The 14-year-old immediately called her mother, who said she was "in tears" when she saw the image. "I've been crying on and off all day, all night ... every time I see the picture I just immediately start crying because I just can't believe someone would think that was OK to send to my child," Yolanda Morris, the student's mother, told CNN affiliate KMOV. Although his daughter has always been to predominantly white schools where she was one of the only black students, Swearengen said this was the first time she was exposed to what he called "blatant racism." The incident has left her "extremely hurt" and he said she'll need counseling because of the situation. "The staff at Hixson will provide support and care for those affected today and in the days and weeks to come, and create a space for children and staff to share any feelings that emerge from what they experienced, saw, or heard," Simpson said in his statement.
By Katelyn Polantz, CNNWashington (CNN) A federal judge Thursday criticized Attorney General William Barr for his handling of the Mueller report when it was released last spring, saying Barr's early description of the report didn't match the special counsel's actual conclusions. Judge Reggie Walton asked if Barr's actions were a "calculated attempt" to help President Donald Trump and opined the attorney general had a "lack of candor" with the public and Congress. "The Court cannot reconcile certain public representations made by Attorney General Barr with the findings in the Mueller Report," Walton wrote on Thursday. Barr's initial publicly announced interpretation of the findings from former special counsel Robert Mueller "cause the Court to seriously question whether Attorney General Barr made a calculated attempt to influence public discourse about the Mueller Report in favor of President Trump despite certain findings in the redacted version of the Mueller Report to the contrary." Barr has been under fire for months for his apparent political moves to protect the President and his allies from within the Justice Department. Walton said he will review the full Mueller report himself to make sure the Justice Department didn't over-redact it for public release. Walton said he was "troubled" by Barr's initial, quickly released letter clearing the President of wrongdoing and distancing his campaign from Russian interference in American politics. Walton also took issue with Barr's press conference about Mueller's findings and other public statements before the report was made public. "The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller's principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr's intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report -- a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report," Walton wrote.
Trump’s dangerous efforts to downplay the Covid-19 threat are out of step with experts from his own government.By Aaron RuparOn the same day that the World Health Organization (WHO) pegged the global death rate of the novel coronavirus at 3.4 percent — a figure higher than earlier estimates — President Donald Trump went on Sean Hannity’s Fox News show and insisted it’s actually not that bad. As cases spread across the United States (in part because of expanding testing) and states declare public health emergencies, Trump cited a “hunch” to make a case that the mortality rate is actually “a fraction of 1 percent.” He recklessly dismissed the WHO mortality rate as “really a false number,” used bogus numbers to compare the coronavirus to the much less deadly seasonal flu, and didn’t discourage people with Covid-19 (the disease caused by coronavirus) from going to work. It was a blizzard of dangerous, irresponsible misinformation, all delivered within a span of just over two minutes. Hannity responded not by challenging the president, but by quickly changing the topic. The episode illustrated the dangers of Trump leading a response to a public health emergency — and how out of step he is with public health experts within his own administration.“Now, this is just my hunch”Trump’s soliloquy about an illness he misleadingly described as “this corona flu” began after Hannity asked him to respond to the WHO’s 3.4 percent death rate figure (which the organization said could vary by region). He was also asked about the possibility that the Summer Olympics scheduled for this summer in Tokyo could be delayed.
“DEFINITELY DO NOT GO TO WORK IF YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS PLEASE AND THANK YOU,” MSNBC’s Chris Hayes responded to Trump’s suggestion.By Lee MoranTwitter users took President Donald Trump to task after he suggested in a rambling interview that it would be OK if people infected with the coronavirus ignored official advice to isolate and went to work instead. Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Wednesday night: A lot of people will have this and it’s very mild. They’ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don’t even call a doctor. You never hear about those people. So you can’t put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu and/or virus. So you just can’t do that. So, if you know, we have thousands or hundreds of thousands of people that get better just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work. Some of them go to work, but they get better. rump has been peddling falsehoods and downplaying the virus threat amid his administration’s haphazard response, even as COVID-19 illnesses spread in the U.S. Critics on social media appeared exasperated by Trump’s “go to work” suggestion, which contradicts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that people with COVID-19 should “not go to work school or public areas” and “avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.”Not a doctor or a virologist or anything but DEFINITELY DO NOT GO TO WORK IF YOU HAVE CORONAVIRUS PLEASE AND THANK YOU. https://t.co/CpSxbvCHGs — Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) March 5, 2020
Since 9/11, homegrown violent extremists have carried out over 20 attacks in the U.S., federal authorities said Wednesday.By Corky SiemaszkoThe FBI has not done enough to identify and fight homegrown extremists, the Department of Justice’s internal watchdog said Wednesday. The agency also failed to follow up on some cases that had been flagged as potential threats to the country, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in his report. “The FBI has not taken a comprehensive approach to resolving deficiencies in its counterterrorism assessment process,” Horowitz concluded. The FBI defines homegrown violent extremists as “global jihad-inspired” individuals who were radicalized in the United States and are not taking marching orders directly from “foreign terrorist organization” like Al Qaeda or the Islamic State militant group. Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, homegrown American jihadis have carried out over 20 attacks in the U.S., Horowitz wrote. The best-known example of this was the married couple Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, who in 2015 massacred 14 people and wounded 22 more in San Bernardino, California, before they were killed in a police shootout. While Malik pledged allegiance to ISIS before embarking on the shooting spree, the FBI concluded that neither he nor Malik were directed by a foreign terrorism outfit. In fact, they had become radicalized before the rise of ISIS and were not on the FBI's radar, the agency reported.
By Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield, CNN(CNN) President Donald Trump sought to lay blame on the Obama administration for slowing down new diagnostic testing, but a Republican senator's office and a lab association said this is not correct. "The Obama administration made a decision on testing that turned out to be very detrimental to what we're doing," Trump said Wednesday during on a meeting addressing the coronavirus outbreak. "And we undid that decision a few days ago so that the testing can take place in a much more rapid and accurate fashion." An aide to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, said the Obama administration made no such rule change. The aide, Taylor Haulsee, said the Obama administration did propose that the Food and Drug Administration have more oversight over approving diagnostic tests, but that did not go through. "There has not yet been significant regulatory reform of diagnostics passed by Congress," Haulsee said.
The trial for a Russian firm is set to open in Washington next month.By JOSH GERSTEINU.S. prosecutors say they have a witness who will directly implicate a Russian businessman known as “Putin’s chef” in schemes to carry out election interference overseas. The mystery witness is prepared to testify at a criminal trial set to open in Washington next month in a case special counsel Robert Mueller brought accusing three Russian companies and 13 Russian individuals of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a prosecutor declared at a recent court hearing. The anticipated testimony will focus on the most prominent Russian national charged in the indictment, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a St. Petersburg restaurateur who enjoys close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and who has expanded his business empire to become a key contractor for the Russian military. Prosecutors say Prigozhin ran the Internet Research Agency, a Russian firm that allegedly sponsored and coordinated online troll activity during the 2016 U.S. election. None of the charged individuals are known to have been arrested or surrendered to face the charges, but one of the charged companies linked to Prigozhin, Concord Management and Consulting, hired American attorneys to fight the case. Evidence at the trial had been expected to consist primarily of emails, budgets and similar records detailing the effort, described in the indictment as Project Lakhta. Where the United States obtained all the records is not clear, but some appear to have come from email accounts hosted by U.S. providers. Relatively dry testimony was also anticipated from officials who enforce U.S. laws on election funding, foreign-sponsored political activity in the U.S, and visa issuance. So, the prosecution’s mention at a Feb. 21 hearing of a live witness prepared to detail face-to-face dealings with Prigozhin about election-focused efforts came as a surprise. Assistant U.S. Attorney Luke Jones said that the witness, who was not publicly named, is set to testify about election-related discussions at “a meeting” with Prigozhin.
“These are frail, medically compromised people,” said an attorney at the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy, who opposes the change.By Suzy Khimm and Laura StricklerThe Trump administration last year moved to roll back regulations aimed at preventing infections from spreading in nursing homes, a decision that is facing renewed criticism for endangering the elderly amid the coronavirus outbreak. With older, vulnerable residents living in close quarters, nursing homes face a heightened risk from the coronavirus — a majority of the nine deaths reported in the U.S. so far from the virus were residents of a long-term care center in Washington state. But over the last three years, the Trump administration has advanced — with the support of the nursing home industry — an effort to ease regulations on long-term care facilities and has taken significant steps to reduce fines for violations. Of particular concern in nursing homes is what experts call “infection control” to halt or prevent the spread of disease within health care facilities. Last July, the Trump administration proposed rolling back regulations requiring all nursing homes and other long-term care facilities to employ infection prevention specialists at least part time, citing “excessively burdensome requirements” on the industry. Under the proposal, which is still working its way through federal rule-making, nursing homes would be allowed to use consultants for infection prevention rather than hiring staff. “These are frail, medically compromised people, and they need to have someone focused on infection,” said Toby Edelman, a senior policy attorney at the nonprofit Center for Medicare Advocacy who opposes the proposed change.
Jill Wine-Banks, the only woman on the Watergate prosecution team, says Trump is clearly worse than NixonBy Dean ObeidallahJill Wine-Banks has seen the Donald Trump story before — at least in a manner of speaking. It played out for her in 1973, when she became the first and only woman serving on the Watergate prosecution team. As she writes in her new book, "The Watergate Girl: My Fight for Truth and Justice Against a Criminal President," Donald Trump reminds her of Richard Nixon, "corrupt, amoral, vindictive, paranoid, ruthless and narcissistic." But will Trump's story end the way Nixon's did, with him leaving the White House in disgrace? When I spoke to Wine-Banks on "Salon Talks," the current MSNBC legal analyst shared her improbable story of breaking barrier after barrier. She was the first woman to serve as a staff lawyer in the Department of Justice's crime and labor racketeering section, then became part of the Watergate team and after that she made history when she was tapped by President Jimmy Carter to serve as the first female general counsel for the U.S. Army. But as Wine-Banks explained, she never set out to be a trailblazer. She simply had no choice because women in the legal field — as well as in larger society — had largely been limited to what men in power would allow them to achieve. She refused to accept that. Wine-Banks told me she believes Nixon should have been indicted for his crimes and criminally prosecuted in 1974. But Leon Jaworski, the special prosecutor in charge of the Watergate investigation, refused to allow his prosecutors to charge a sitting president.(Nixon was later pardoned by his successor, Gerald Ford, which meant he could not be criminally charged after leaving office.) There's an interesting open question that Wine-Banks discusses: Had Nixon had gone to prison, would that have deterred Trump from his wrongdoing by making clear that even presidents are not above the law? Regardless of that hypothetical, Wine-Banks is adamant that Trump should be indicted for his criminal activity, from his hush money to Stormy Daniels in violation of federal campaign finance laws to his pressure campaign against Ukraine's president, urging him to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden. You get the sense that Wine-Banks would love to be part of the prosecution team that may one day prosecute Donald Trump. She told me she believes that "Trump is more dangerous" than Nixon because he does not respect the rule of law and because the Republican Party is defending every action Trump takes. This is an alarming warning coming from a person who saw Nixon's criminality up close. Watch my "Salon Talks" episode with Jill Wine-Banks here, or read a transcript of our conversation below, lightly edited for length and clarity.
A contempt hearing for the firm linked to ‘Putin’s chef” produces prickly exchanges between the defense and the judge.By JOSH GERSTEINThe Justice Department signaled Monday that it could back away from plans to put a Russian company on trial next month on a criminal charge that it bankrolled online and offline troll activity during the 2016 U.S. presidential race. During a court hearing in Washington, a prosecutor questioned whether the firm linked to an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin — Concord Management and Consulting — was sufficiently involved in the American legal process to demand a trial on the criminal conspiracy charge obtained by special counsel Robert Mueller in 2018 as part of a broader indictment of Russian companies and individuals. Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam Jed, who served on Mueller's staff and is still assigned to the case, said Concord's defiance of a court-approved subpoena raised doubts about its commitment to the U.S. trial. "We're starting to have some concern about whether Concord is really participating in this case," Jed told U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich. "We envision a possible situation where it would not be either possible or prudent to adhere to the current trial schedule." Screening of potential jurors for the trial has already begun. Potential jurors are scheduled to appear in court April 1 with the trial set to begin in earnest the following week. Friedrich seemed startled by Jed's suggestion of a postponement, although she indicated earlier in the half-hour-long hearing that she was frustrated with the company's limited response to a subpoena seeking various documents about its corporate structure, calendars of key personnel and internet use. The judge, an appointee of President Donald Trump, said she was highly suspect of Concord's failure to provide any documents in response to a request for the internet addresses the company used over a four-year period. Prosecutors say the firm's response was so lacking that the company should be held in contempt of court.
Trustpilot, a website where consumer reviews are posted, said Monday it was suspending reviews on the page for The Honey Pot while it investigates.By Doha MadaniA black-owned business was subjected to a wave of negative reviews after the company's founder was featured in a Target ad, where she said she hoped her success could pave the way for black girls. Bea Dixon was featured in a Target commercial called "Founders We Believe In: The Honey Pot," where she spoke about how difficult it was for her to start her line of feminine hygiene products. Dixon credited Target for working with her and helping her company get stocked at retailers nationwide. “The reason why it’s so important for Honey Pot to do well is so that the next black girl that comes up with a great idea, she can have a better opportunity," Dixon said at the end of the ad. "That means a lot to me." Although the ad was originally released in early February, a swarm of people left negative reviews for the company on Monday. Many of the one-star reviews left on consumer review website Trustpilot accused Dixon, and Target, of discriminating against white people in the commercial. "Boycott The Honey Pot Company, and Target. RACIST. White people hating comments not going to be tolerated," one reviewer wrote. Another review accused Dixon of fueling racism and wrote that "she make the statement for the next black girl why should the color of her skin matter- totally racist and inappropriate."
Justice Department releases more than 600 pages of notes from witnesses during Mueller investigationBy Katelyn Polantz, Marshall Cohen, Ellie Kaufman, David Shortell and Erica Orden, CNNWashington (CNN) The Justice Department on Monday released over 600 pages of notes from major witness interviews during former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, including FBI memos called 302s from top Trump campaign advisers Jared Kushner, Rick Gates, Paul Manafort and Trump Tower meeting attendee Rob Goldstone. This is the sixth time CNN has received from the Justice Department documents regarding the Mueller investigation, as part of a 2019 lawsuit filed in conjunction with BuzzFeed News. The previous releases have fleshed out details that Mueller summarized in his final report regarding President Donald Trump's and his campaign's actions. The memos so far have revealed, for instance, how top Trump campaign officials witnessed the President and other Trump campaign officials pushing for the release of stolen Democratic emails and supported a conspiracy theory that Ukraine hacked the Democrats in 2016. At times, the documents have given much fuller portraits about what the Russia investigations' top cooperators said, including how former deputy director Andrew McCabe saw FBI staff crying in the hallways after Trump fired then-director James Comey, or how the investigators handled their witnesses, like when they gave the former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos a granola bar following his arrest. The memos were typed up by agents or prosecutors after they questioned each witness. More documents are scheduled to be released each month until this summer. Here are highlights from the documents:Kushner interview notes released after intel reviewAfter two months of a delay, the Justice Department finally released on Monday the interview memo of Kushner speaking with the special counsel's office on April 11, 2018. Kushner spoke with the Mueller team that day about his interactions with Russians, including then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who told him at a reception, "we like what your candidate is saying" and later on as they discussed using the Russian Embassy to communicate. He also spoke to them about meeting with the Abu Dhabi crown prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and other connections to United Arab Emirates. They asked him about Trump's firing of Comey and about the Trump Tower meeting with Russians in June 2016.
By Hollie Silverman and Holly Yan, CNN(CNN) Six people have died in Washington state as the United States grapples with more than 90 cases of the disease. Five of the deaths are from Seattle and King County, county health official Jeffrey Duchin said Monday. The sixth death happened in Snohomish County, said Heather Thomas, spokeswoman with the Snohomish Health District. So far, every death from novel coronavirus in the United States has been in Washington state. A recent surge of cases nationwide has prompted new travel restrictions, school closures and emergency declarations. But now is not the time to panic, US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams said. "I want folks to understand that we knew this was coming, we told folks that this was going to happen and it is why we've been preaching preparedness from the very start," Adams said Monday. "Caution is appropriate. Preparedness is appropriate. Panic is not." The CDC says you should wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to wash the backs of your hands and under your nails. The World Health Organization recommends staying at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from anyone who may be infected. If you're the one feeling sick, cover your entire mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. But don't use your hands. Use either your bent elbow or a tissue that you throw away immediately afterward. Two dozen new cases were reported over the weekend, including the first two deaths from the virus in the United States.More than 90 cases have been reported nationwide, including:45 former passengers of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, the site of a recent outbreak and quarantine3 Americans recently repatriated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak17 people believed to have contracted the virus through travel26 people who got sick from another person in the United States, including some who don't know who the source was
Opinion by Elie Honig(CNN) Friday's Court of Appeals decision permitting former White House counsel Don McGahn to ignore a congressional subpoena is a constitutional earthquake. If the ruling -- by two judges, with a third dissenting -- stands, the McGahn decision will fundamentally shift the ground beneath our system of checks and balances. It will tilt the legal terrain against Congress in favor of not just the Trump administration (for now), but the presidency itself. The fact that McGahn -- according to special counsel Robert Mueller, a direct witness to acts that met the requirements to bring obstruction charges against President Donald Trump -- will not testify is actually the less important story here. (Trump has denied any wrongdoing.) As a refresher: in 2017, Trump asked McGahn to have Mueller fired, and then later asked McGahn to lie and deny that Trump had made the previous request of him. Any non-president would have been indicted for this conduct. Seems like a relevant point for Congress to investigate, but alas, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has let McGahn and the White House off the hook (again: for now, at least). The even bigger story here is that the McGahn ruling essentially guts Congress's ability to conduct oversight of the executive branch, now and in the future. After the Mueller report came out, the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed McGahn for his testimony. The White House, however, invoked a doctrine of "absolute immunity," claiming that it had the absolute right to instruct executive branch officials to simply ignore any congressional subpoena, anytime, for any reason. A federal district court judge promptly gave the White House's absolute immunity claim the legal smackdown it deserved. The judge ruled that McGahn must comply with the subpoena, and dismissed the White House's argument as "a fiction" that gets the concept of constitutional separation of powers "exactly backwards." The judge noted, "Presidents are not kings. " In overturning the district court judge, the Court of Appeals actually did not so much rule as cop out. The Court of Appeals did not even consider whether this notion of "absolute immunity" holds any legal legitimacy. Instead, the Court of Appeals whimpers that the case "asks us to settle a dispute that we have no authority to resolve," and huffs that the dispute is "unfit for judicial resolution." Translation: Congress and the White House, you can duke this out, and we'll just stay over here, out of harm's way.
By Faith Karimi, Mallika Kallingal and Theresa Waldrop, CNN(CNN) A second person has died in Washington state and five more people have tested positive with the novel coronavirus, health officials said Sunday.Four of the new cases, including the second death, are among residents of a long-term nursing facility where officials have been investigating a possible outbreak of coronavirus. The second death was a man in his 70s who died Saturday, Seattle & King County Public Health said in a release. A fifth case was reported in Snohomish County, the county's health department said in a release. The five new cases are presumptive, meaning they have been tested positive by a public health lab and are pending confirmation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, 13 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus in the state, including a man whose death was reported Saturday, making him the first coronavirus fatality in the United States. The 13th case reported late Sunday is a man in his 40s. He is in critical condition, the health department said. The other three new cases reported Sunday are a woman in her 80s, a woman in her 90s and a man in his 70s. All have underlying health conditions and are in critical condition. Two other cases were confirmed by Seattle and King County Public Health officials earlier Sunday. They are both males in their 60s with underlying health conditions. One is "in critical but stable condition" at Valley Medical Center in Renton. The other is in critical condition at Virginia Mason Medical Center, a news release said. "This number is expected to rise as more people are tested and results confirmed," according to a news release from the health department. However, the two new coronavirus cases are not linked to the long-term health facility where the other coronavirus cases were identified, Katie Ross, a spokeswoman for Washington Health Department, told CNN. The other cases are a high school boy, a woman who traveled to South Korea and an unidentified man.
By Dan Merica, Donald Judd and Paul LeBlanc, CNNWashington (CNN) Pete Buttigieg will end his campaign for President on Sunday, multiple aides tell CNN, ending an unlikely campaign that vaulted the once-unknown mayor from South Bend, Indiana, to a top presidential contender. Buttigieg was scheduled to fly from Selma, Alabama, to Dallas, Texas, but during the flight he informed reporters that he would be flying back to his hometown of South Bend to make an announcement on the future of his campaign.That announcement, aides said, is that he is ending his run. Buttigieg made the decision on Sunday, aides said, after he struggled to compete in South Carolina's primary and had little path toward success on Super Tuesday. "He believes this is the right thing to do right now for our country and the country to heal this divided nation and defeat President Trump," the aide said. The aide added: "He decided that now was the time and, I think that is exactly why he is getting out. He believes this is the right thing to do." Buttigieg's campaign was a barrier breaker: The former mayor, by first winning delegates in Iowa, became the first gay candidate to earn presidential primary delegates for a major party's nomination. But Buttigieg's campaign struggled to nationalize its operation after success in Iowa and New Hampshire. The former mayor's struggles to win over voters of color, a key base to the Democratic Party, proved insurmountable in Nevada and South Carolina, two states where Buttigieg finished significantly behind the race's frontrunners. And the mayor's lack of momentum heading into Super Tuesday sunk the upstart campaign.
By William Cummings USA TODAYVice President Mike Pence on Sunday defended comments from President Trump and his supporters accusing Democrats of politicizing the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, including Donald Trump Jr.'s assertion that his father's opponents hope the disease "kills millions" of Americans. "When you see voices on our side pushing back on outrageous and irresponsible rhetoric on the other side, I think that's important, and I think it's justified," Pence said when asked about the remarks from Trump Jr. and others on NBC News' "Meet the Press." Since the outbreak began, Trump has taken fire from liberal pundits, Democrats on Capitol Hill and his 2020 election opponents for comments that appeared to downplay the severity of the threat from the virus, including an assertion that it would simply die out once the weather warms. Critics also accused him of trying to defund programs and agencies designed to deal with exactly this kind of threat. COVID-19:Has the coronavirus outbreak entered a dire phase? 'Boom' of US cases 'should be expected' Globally, there are more than 86,000 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus and nearly 3,000 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., there are at least 76 confirmed cases, and the first U.S. death was reported over the weekend in Washington state. On Friday, Trump told a crowd of supporters at a campaign rally in South Carolina that the coronavirus was the Democrats' "new hoax" to use against him – the same term he used for the investigation into Russian election interference and his impeachment. The next day, Trump clarified that he was calling the Democrats' criticism – which he suggested ignored his administration's efforts – a hoax, not the actual virus. Several of Trump's surrogates took his attacks further. Right-wing radio host Rush Limbaugh said, "It looks like the coronavirus is being weaponized as yet another element to bring down Donald Trump." Limbaugh – who had previously espoused a debunked theory that the virus had been born in a Chinese biological weapons lab – said the virus was "nothing but the common cold" and that concerns about it were driven by "media hype."
By Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN(CNN) A federal judge on Sunday ruled that it was unlawful to appoint Ken Cuccinelli to lead the agency responsible for processing US immigration requests. The judge also invalidated a set of policies for the asylum seekers who are part of the case. Advocacy groups filed a federal lawsuit last year challenging the legitimacy of his role as acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, asking the court to set aside asylum policy changes issued shortly after he took office. Cuccinelli is currently serving as the acting Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees USCIS. The lawsuit argued that Cuccinelli, who took over at the agency on June 10, 2019, did not satisfy the legal requirements to serve as the director under Federal Vacancies Reform Act ("FVRA") and the Constitution. US District Court Judge Randolph D. Moss ruled that Cuccinelli was not lawfully appointed to serve as acting director and that, as a result, he lacked authority to issue two of the directives challenged in the lawsuit. However, Moss wrote that he is "unconvinced" the court should extend this relief to other "asylum seekers who were processed under the defective directives." "Those individuals are not parties to this case, nor is this case a class action," he wrote. CNN has reached out to USCIS for comment.
By Amy Graff, SFGATEThe U.S. Surgeon General's office shared a stern message with the American public on Twitter Saturday. "Seriously people- STOP BUYING MASKS!" the government agency tweeted. "They are NOT effective in preventing general public from catching #Coronavirus, but if healthcare providers can’t get them to care for sick patients, it puts them and our communities at risk!" Jerome M. Adams is the current U.S. Surgeon General. Panic about the coronavirus is spreading more rapidly than the virus itself, and many are stocking up on masks designed to filter small particles. Businesses are sold out, while others are limiting how many a customer can buy. Amazon is policing its site, trying to make sure sellers don't gouge panicked buyers. Amid the run on masks, government agencies aren't recommending the public wear them to protect themselves from the virus.
Coronavirus live updates: Postal worker in Washington tests positive; Rhode Island announces 1st caseThe USPS employee is one of six presumptive positive cases in the state.By Julia JacoboThe global death toll of coronavirus has reached nearly 3,000 people as countries around the world continue to report their findings to the World Health Organization. At least 70 cases and one death have been detected in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Italian officials announced Sunday that the number of positive cases of coronavirus is now at 1,694, including 806 additional cases on Sunday -- marking a 91% one-day increase. The majority of the cases, 887, are in Lombardy, while 277 are located in Emilia Romania and 263 in Veneto, the Italian Civil Protection reported. Twenty-one regions are reporting positive cases. Officials also announced 13 more deaths in the country, bringing the total to 34 and making it a 62% increase since Saturday. In France, 130 people have tested positive to date, 73 of which are new, marking a 125% one-day increase, Director General of Health Department Jerome Salomon said in a press conference Sunday. Two new cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Washington state, according to health officials. The cases include a male in his 60s, who has underlying health conditions but is stable, and another man in 60s with underlying health conditions but is in critical condition. Both cases are in King County, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the county to six. One of those cases is a U.S. postal worker, county's health administration stated. The risk of being infected through packages is "very low," according to the CDC. "There is likely very low risk of spread from products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures," according to the CDC website. "Coronaviruses are generally thought to be spread most often by respiratory droplets. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 associated with imported goods and there have not been any cases of COVID-19 in the United States associated with imported goods."
A Trump re-election could mean little or no progress for cannabis at the federal level.By Sean Williams (TMFUltraLong)Over the next decade, there are few industries expected to grow as quickly as marijuana. Even taking into account the near-term struggles associated with getting a nascent industry off the ground, Wall Street is looking for between $50 billion and $200 billion in worldwide annual sales by 2030. That'd be up from the $10.9 billion in legal sales logged in 2018. Among the opportunities available to pot stock investors, none is pronounced than the United States. The U.S. is likely to account for between 33% and 50% of global weed sales by 2030. To date, 33 states have legalized medical marijuana, with 11 of these states also giving the OK for adults to consume recreational cannabis. There's also a strong likelihood that these figures will increase following the November 2020 election. Yet as of now, marijuana remains an illicit substance at the federal level.Marijuana's Schedule I classification is a bigger problem than you may realizeEven though surveys consistently show that a majority of adult respondents favor legalizing recreational and medical cannabis in the U.S., lawmakers haven't changed its Schedule I classification. This means it's a substance that's entirely illegal, considered prone to abuse, and not recognized as having any medical benefits. Since individual states have been allowed to regulate their own cannabis industries, this scheduling may not seem like a big deal. But make no mistake about it, the ongoing classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance is making life difficult for direct players operating from seed-to-sale, and the ancillary players that aren't even coming in contact with the plant. As an example, companies that sell a Schedule I substance are subject to Section 280E of the U.S. tax code. This section of the code was developed back in the early 1980s to disallow drug dealers from writing off their "business expenses" on their federal income-tax return. Inadvertently, it today keeps cannabis businesses in legalized states from taking any normal corporate income-tax deductions, save for cost of goods sold. This tends to result in very high effective tax rates for profitable pot companies relative to "normal" businesses.
By Drew ArmstrongWashington State officials are investigating a potential outbreak of coronavirus at a health facility that cares for elderly, vulnerable patients, after two people at the facility were infected. Two people at a LifeCare nursing facility in Kirkland, Washington, were diagnosed with the virus, health officials there said Saturday. One is a health-care worker in her 40s, and is in satisfactory condition at a local hospital. The other is an female resident of the facility in her 70s, and is in serious condition at the same hospital, local health authorities said. In addition, more than 50 residents and staff at the facility have shown symptoms of a respiratory illness, according to Jeff Duchin, health officer for public health in Seattle and King County. Tests of the residents are ongoing. “We are very concerned about an outbreak in a setting where there are many older people,” Duchin said on a call with reporters Saturday. “We’re going to send a team into the facility tomorrow to do an assessment.”
By Jessie Yeung, Brett McKeehan and Amy Woodyatt, CNN2 more coronavirus cases confirmed in WashingtonFrom CNN's Melissa AlonsoSeattle & King County Public Health "announced on Sunday two more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in King County residents, bringing the total of confirmed cases" in the county to six, and eight in the state, according to a Seattle & King County Public Health press release. The two new cases are both males in their 60s with underlying health conditions. One is "in critical but stable condition" at Valley Medical Center in Renton. The other is in critical condition at Virginia Mason Medical Center, the release said. "This number is expected to rise as more people are tested and results confirmed," according to the release. A spokesperson for Washington Public Health said they were aware of the new cases.
By Daniel PolitiA patient infected with COVID-19 in Washington state has died, becoming the first person to die of the new virus in the United States. The King County patient is believed to have contracted the virus from “community spread” rather than travel, officials said. The man who died was in his 50s and had underlying health conditions, according to health officials in Washington state. There was a bit of confusion on that end because President Donald Trump had said in a news briefing Saturday that the person was a “medically high-risk patient in her late 50s.” Trump characterized har as “a wonderful woman.” Earlier, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee had referred to the patient as male. “It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends,” Inslee said. “We will continue to work toward a day where no one dies from this virus.” Inslee declared a state of emergency Saturday and directed agencies to use “all resources necessary” to respond to the coronavirus outbreak. Amid the increase in cases, the U.S. banned travel to Iran, extending the existing travel ban to any foreign nationals who had been in that country over the past 14 days. The State Department also increased travel warnings and is recommending Americans not travel to parts of Italy and South Korea. Vice President Mike Pence announced the new measures alongside Trump, who said his administration was considering additional travel restrictions, including possibly closing the U.S. border with Mexico. “We’re thinking about all borders,” Trump said.
Azar says he's personally overseeing investigation into HHS whistleblower allegations on coronavirusBy Melissa Quinn CBS NewsWashington — Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said he is personally involved in examining allegations raised by a whistleblower that agency employees who helped quarantined American evacuees from Wuhan, China, lacked the proper training and protective gear. He also denied any possible exposure to the coronavirus led to its spread on the West Coast. "We are aggressively looking to see whether there is validity to the concerns," Azar said Sunday on "Face the Nation." "What the American people need to know is that we now have passed well over 14 days since any HHS employee had contact with the individuals involved. Nobody is symptomatic. Nobody has the disease." A whistleblower filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel alleging the agency sent more than a dozen workers to receive American evacuees from Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated, who had neither "proper training for infection control of appropriate protective gear." The whistleblower, an employee with the Administration for Children and Families at HHS, warned that the staff may have been exposed to the deadly virus since they hadn't been trained in using the protective equipment and had face-to-face contact with evacuees. According to the complaint, the workers didn't show symptoms indicating they were infected and weren't tested for coronavirus. Azar said the Department of Health and Human Services takes the protection of its workers "very seriously" and wants to ensure isolation and quarantine procedures are followed. But he said it was "absolutely not the case" that the employees who received American evacuees tipped off the spread of coronavirus cases on the West Coast. "Even if these allegations prove to be true, there was no spreading of the disease from this, and we have offered — even though it is not medically indicated — we have offered to test any HHS employees involved. If they would like that extra peace of mind, we want to do that for employees," he said. There are currently 71 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S., and the first coronavirus death in the U.S. was reported Saturday. The death roll around the world is nearing 3,000.
By Devan Cole, CNNWashington (CNN) Former Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday slammed the Trump administration's handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak, saying he would handle it differently if he were president. "We knew that this was coming. Back as far as January. They didn't even begin to prepare the testing kits. I mean, this is something that's kind of elementary. We talked about testing kits, we're now going to get them," Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" after being asked about the administration's response. There had been a strain on testing capabilities since novel coronavirus was first detected in the United States in January. In the early weeks of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was the only facility in the US that could test for the virus. Since then, coronavirus test kits have been shipped to labs across the country, but some produced inconclusive results. The CDC said it would remake parts of the test kits, and Vice President Mike Pence told Tapper on the same program Sunday that more than 15,000 kits have been mailed to state and local clinics. "Look, I don't want to talk down the possibility of us being able to do this well, but, you know, the idea that Donald Trump said just several days ago this was a Democratic hoax. What in God's name is he talking about?" Biden added Sunday. "Has he no shame?" The President said at a rally in South Carolina Friday that Democrats are now "politicizing" the virus. "Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus," Trump said. "They have no clue, they can't even count their votes in Iowa." On Saturday, Trump clarified that he doesn't think coronavirus itself is a "hoax," but the criticism is. Asked if he regretted calling it a hoax during Friday's rally, Trump said he didn't.
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