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May 15, 2020

Coronavirus Whistleblower Testifies ‘There’s No Plan’ for a Vaccine

This Day in History | 1942

Congress passes a bill establishing a women’s corps in the U.S. Army, creating the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps (WAACs) and granting women official military status.

Good Morning Middle Americans, 

The finger pointing has begun. Dr. Rick Bright, who once led the Department of Health and Human Services Department’s vaccine program bashed the Trump administration for not heading his warnings in the early days of the pandemic during his Capitol Hill testimony. . President Trump downplayed Dr. Bright’s criticism saying, ‘to me he is a disgruntled employee”

We also got another round of devastating unemployment numbers. One out of every four American workers has applied for unemployment benefits in the past month. Devastating. And economists are warning that this may be a more prolonged economic downturn. 

And it looks like the pandemic is hurting president Trump among Republicans. The president often touts his approval numbers among Republicans, but a new poll from Rasmussen Reports shows that 23% percent of Republicans want the GOP to nominate someone other than Trump to be president. Ouch. 

Finally we have an update on Sen. Richard Burr, who has now stepped down as Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has turned over his cell phone to the FBI. Also GA Sen. Kelly Loeffler has turned over documents to the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee. 

Read all about it. 

-Fraser Dixon

Ousted Whistleblower Dr. Rick Bright unloads on Trump Admin’s Coronavirus Response

(NBC News) – An ousted top Health and Human Services official testified Thursday before Congress that the Trump administration’s timeline for a coronavirus vaccine is likely too optimistic — and that there’s “no plan” to mass produce and distribute one.

Hopes for a vaccine to be ready in 12 to 18 months assume that “everything goes perfectly,” the official, Dr. Rick Bright, told the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health, adding, “We’ve never seen everything go perfectly.”

Bright also said he had warned the administration about shortages of personal protective equipment, and he faulted President Donald Trump and senior officials for having minimized the outbreak early on — with, he said, deadly consequences.

“I believe Americans need to be told the truth,” Bright said. “We did not forewarn people. We did not train people. We did not educate them on social distancing and wearing a mask as we should have in January and February. All those forewarnings, all those educational opportunities, for the American public could have had an impact in further slowing this outbreak and saving more lives.”

One in Four US Workers Claiming Jobless Benefits

(AP) – Nearly 3 million laid-off workers applied for U.S. unemployment benefits last week as the viral outbreak forced more companies to slash jobs even though most states have begun to let some businesses reopen. 

Roughly 36 million people have now sought jobless aid in just the two months since the coronavirus first forced businesses to close down and shrink their workforces, the government said Thursday. An additional 842,000 people applied for aid last week through a separate program for self-employed and gig workers. 

All told, the figures point to a job market gripped by its worst crisis in decades and an economy that is sinking into a deep downturn. The pace of new applications for aid has declined over the past several weeks but is still four times the record high that prevailed before the coronavirus struck hard in March.

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23% of Republicans Think GOP Should Nominate Someone Other than Trump

(Rasmussen Reports) – Republicans overwhelmingly expect President Trump to be their nominee this fall, but nearly one-in-four GOP voters would prefer someone else.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 23% of Likely Republican Voters think their party should find someone other than Trump to be their presidential nominee. Seventy percent (70%) disagree. Only seven percent (7%) are undecided.

See the poll here

NC Sen. Richard Burr Steps Down as Senate Intel Chair During Coronavirus Stock Sale Probe

(CNBC) – Sen. Richard Burr stepped down as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, a day after FBI agents seized his cellphone as part of a criminal investigation into his stock sales during the early weeks of the coronavirus pandemic.

Speaking to reporters outside his Senate office on Thursday, Burr said the federal criminal probe is “a distraction to the hard work of the committee, and the members and I think that the security of the country is too important to have a distraction.” 

Federal agents served a search warrant Wednesday to Burr’s attorney for the senator’s cellphone, NBC News reported, citing Justice Department officials. They also said the seizure was approved at the highest levels of the Justice Department, a phrase widely understood to mean that Attorney General Bill Barr signed off on the decision.

Read more here

Related: GA Sen. Loeffler Supplies Documents to DOJ, SEC, Ethics Regarding Stock Sales

(Atlanta Journal Constitution) – Georgia U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler has supplied records about stock trading on her behalf to the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee, her office announced.

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