Trump administration

December 31, 2021

Former Surgeon General Warns Against CDC Guidance

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams warned the public against following the recent update to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) COVID-19 guidelines shortening the recommended quarantine duration for asymptomatic people to five days.

“Regardless of what CDC says, you really should try to obtain an antigen test (I know- easier said than done) and confirm it’s negative prior to leaving isolation and quarantine,” Adams tweeted. “There’s not a scientist or doctor I’ve met yet who wouldn’t do this for themselves/ their family.”

“I love the CDC. Grew up wanting to work there and have been one of their most ardent defenders. I never dreamed the day would come when I would advise people NOT to follow their guidance,” Adams wrote in a follow-up tweet.

On Monday, the CDC reduced their recommended quarantine time from 10 days to five for asymptomatic individuals with COVID-19.

“People with COVID-19 should isolate for 5 days and if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms are resolving (without fever for 24 hours), follow that by 5 days of wearing a mask when around others to minimize the risk of infecting people they encounter,” the CDC said in a statement.

The update came after the CEO of Delta Airlines wrote a letter to the CDC requesting that it shorten their recommended quarantine time from 10 days to five.

The CDC said the decision was sparked by science that indicated most virus transmission occurs earlier in its course.

But the Biden administration’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, indicated that getting people back to work was the inspiration behind the update.

“The reason is that with the sheer volume of new cases that we are having and that we expect to continue with omicron, one of the things we want to be careful of is we don’t have so many people out,” Fauci told CNN’s Jim Acosta on Monday, adding that he thought the decision was a good choice.

“If you are asymptomatic and you are infected, we want to get people back to the jobs, especially those with essential jobs,” he added.

When asked if it’s difficult for Americans to keep track of the CDC’s changes, Fauci said: “It just makes sense, keeping them out for five days.”

“I don’t think it’s confusing,” he added. “I think it’s a rather crisp recommendation.”


Trump’s surgeon general criticizes CDC guidance

November 17, 2021

Mainstream media fails to address bogus info used in Trump-Russia coverage

After the primary source of the Trump-Russia dossier was charged with lying to the FBI, mainstream news outlets have largely failed to address 2017 coverage that utilized the bogus intel.

Sara Fischer, the media columnist for Axios, called it “one of the most egregious journalistic errors in modern history, and the media’s response to its own mistakes has so far been tepid.” Axios never published the dossier or reports based on its contents.

“Outsized coverage of the unvetted document drove a media frenzy at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency that helped drive a narrative of collusion between former President Trump and Russia,” Fischer wrote.

WaPo corrects and removes large portions of two articles

Following British ex-spy Christopher Steele’s arrest, The Washington Post corrected and removed large portions of two articles. For his part, Post media critic Erik Wemple has written extensively on the handling of the dossier by the outlet and other publications.

BuzzFeed doubles down

In 2017, BuzzFeed News published the document in its entirety, and the outlet says it has no plans to remove it. The dossier is still accessible on their website, with a note reading, “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors.”

“My view on the logic of publishing hasn’t changed,” Ben Smith, editor-of-chief of BuzzFeed at the time and current media columnist for The New York Times, told Axios.

The outlet previously defended its decision, successfully arguing in a 2018 lawsuit that because the FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia, the dossier itself was newsworthy, whether the intel was authentic or not.

“That brand of asymmetry helps explain why many people mistrust CNN.”

CNN, MSNBC, and others fail to act

Axios asked CNN and MSNBC if they planned to address the coverage on the dossier, but neither outlet responded.

Last week, Wemple sharply rebuked CNN for failing to retract its claim that the Steele dossier is “corroborated.” Wemple noted that network hosts including Wolf Blitzer and Don Lemon repeatedly claimed on-air that CNN had verified or corroborated substantial portions of the document.

“That brand of asymmetry helps explain why many people mistrust CNN,” he wrote.

Wemple asked Mother Jones Washington bureau chief David Corn if he planned to make corrections. “My priority has been to deal with the much larger topic of Russia’s undisputed attack and Trump’s undisputed collaboration with Moscow’s cover-up,” Corn said.

The Wall Street Journal said they’re aware of the serious questions raised by the allegations” and assured Axios that it will “continue to report and to follow the investigation closely.”


The media’s epic fail

November 14, 2021

Former Chief of Staff fails to appear for Jan. 6 deposition

Mark Meadows, the former White House Chief of Staff for the Trump administration, failed to appear in front of the House committee investigating Jan. 6.

Staffers waited in a room with a stenographer but left nine minutes after the Friday morning deadline. Ahead of the scheduled deposition, Meadows’s attorney, George J. Terwilliger III, said his client would not cooperate until the courts ruled on former President Trump’s claims of executive privilege.

“The issues concern whether Mr. Meadows can be compelled to testify and whether, even if he could, that he could be forced to answer questions that involve privileged communications,” Terwilliger said. “Legal disputes are appropriately resolved by courts. It would be irresponsible for Mr. Meadows to prematurely resolve that dispute by voluntarily waiving privileges that are at the heart of those legal issues.”

“No matter how important the subject matter of the committee’s work, decades of litigation over Executive Privilege shows how critically important it is for a president to have access to advice and counsel without fear that political opponents in Congress will later be able to pull away the shield of confidentiality that protects candor in those communications,” he added.

Still, the committee could refer Meadows to the Justice Department for contempt of Congress.

“The Select Committee will view Mr. Meadows’s failure to appear at the deposition, and to produce responsive documents or a privilege log indicating the specific basis for withholding any documents you believe are protected by privilege, as willful non-compliance,” Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-MS) wrote on Thursday ahead of the scheduled deposition.


Mark Meadows did not appear for deposition with January 6 committee

November 13, 2021

BREAKING: Steve Bannon indicted for refusal to comply with Jan. 6 subpoena

A federal grand jury indicted Steve Bannon, a former top adviser to then-President Donald Trump, for failing to comply with a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

According to the Justice Department, Bannon was indicted on two counts of contempt of Congress. One count for refusing to appear for a deposition and the other for refusing to provide documents in response to the committee’s subpoena.

Attorney General Merrick Garland said the indictment reflected the Justice Department’s commitment to ensuring that it “adheres to the rule of law.”

“Since my first day in office, I have promised Justice Department employees that together we would show the American people by word and deed that the department adheres to the rule of law, follows the facts and the law and pursues equal justice under the law,” Garland said.

CNN reported that a judge had already signed an arrest warrant for Bannon.

Each count carries a minimum of 30 days of jail, with a maximum sentence of one year.


Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon indicted by federal grand jury for contempt of Congress

Photo by Gage Skidmore. License: CC BY-SA 2.0.

September 27, 2021

Report: Trump administration considered kidnapping, assassinating Julian Assange

A report from Yahoo News claims that the Trump administration considered kidnapping and even possibly assassinating WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in 2017.

Some senior officials “at the highest levels” requested “sketches” or “options” for how to assassinate him, according to a former senior counterintelligence official. “There seemed to be no boundaries.”

Though US intelligence officials had been monitoring Assange for years, the plans to take extreme measures against him came amid the “embarrassment” of WikiLeaks’ publication of CIA hacking tools known as “Vault 7,” in what the organization called “the largest data loss in CIA history.”

“There was an inappropriate level of attention to Assange given the embarrassment, not the threat he posed in context,” one former official said. “We should never act out of a desire for revenge.”

Former President Donald Trump denied the plans.

“It’s totally false, it never happened,” Trump told Yahoo News. “In fact, I think he’s been treated very badly.”


Kidnapping, assassination and a London shoot-out: Inside the CIA’s secret war plans against WikiLeaks

Photo by Wikileaks Mobile Information Collection Unit, licensed under CC BY 2.0

September 17, 2021

Clinton campaign lawyer pleads not guilty to charge in Trump-Russia probe

Michael Sussmann, a former lawyer for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign law firm, pleaded not guilty on Friday to lying to the FBI, a charge from a special counsel investigating the origins of an FBI probe of potential links between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign.

Special counsel John Durham issued Sussmann an indictment Thursday for making false statements during a Sept. 2016 meeting with James Baker, then General Counsel of the FBI.

The indictment accused Sussmann of erroneously telling Baker he did not represent “any client” when he met him to provide evidence of alleged links between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank.

Sussmann is the second person prosecuted in Durham’s probe into officials who investigated Trump-Russia connections.


Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann pleads not guilty after allegedly lying to FBI

September 16, 2021

Multiple calls for Gen. Mark Milley’s resignation amid China claims

Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley faces calls for his resignation amid reports of “secret” phone calls with China. New information from the upcoming book “Peril” claims that Milley contacted his Chinese counterpart toward the end of Trump’s term, promising he would provide advance notice of any impending military strikes.

Retired Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman, a noted Trump critic, took to social media to voice his opinion on the matter.

“If this is true GEN Milley must resign,” Vindman tweeted. “He usurped civilian authority, broke Chain of Command, and violated the sacrosanct principle of civilian control over the military. It’s an extremely dangerous precedent. You can’t simply walk away from that.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) called on President Joe Biden to fire Milley. Rubio released a statement arguing that Milley “worked to actively undermine the sitting Commander in Chief.”

“These actions by General Milley demonstrate a clear lack of sound judgement, and I urge you to dismiss him immediately,” Rubio wrote.

Former acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller said that if reports of Milley’s “anti-Constitutional involvement in foreign policy prove true, he must resign immediately.”


Retired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman says Gen. Milley ‘must resign’ if his secret calls with China occurred

September 15, 2021

Former Trump advisers warned of government’s ‘critical mistakes’ in early pandemic response

According to recently released correspondence, former President Donald Trump’s top advisers used encrypted emails to warn of the government’s “critical mistakes” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Virologist Steven Hatfill, a consultant for the Trump administration, warned White House trade director Peter Navarro in February 2020 that the nation didn’t have an appropriate sense of how many covid-positive cases were in the US.

“In truth we do not have a clue how many are infected in the USA. We are expecting the first wave to spread in the US within the next 7 days,” Hatfill wrote to Navarro on Feb. 29.

“This will be accompanied by a massive loss of credibility, and the Democratic accusations are just now beginning. This must be countered with frank honesty about the situation and decisive direct actions that are being taken and can be seen in the broadcast news.”

Hatfill blamed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ineffective testing kits. Both advisers expressed frustration with Dr. Anthony Fauci for rebuffing their efforts to promote the use of hydroxychloroquine.

The House select committee on COVID-19 obtained the correspondence as part of an ongoing investigation.

“These exchanges add to the growing body of evidence that the Trump Administration knew the significant risk posed by the coronavirus but failed to execute an effective strategy to reduce the loss of American lives,” committee chairman James Clyburn (D-SC) wrote in a letter to Navarro. “The Select Subcommittee seeks to understand what the leaders in the Trump Administration knew, when they knew it, and how their decisions may have contributed to the catastrophic loss of life.”


Former Trump advisers used private emails to warn of ‘critical mistakes’ in pandemic response

September 12, 2021

Trump 2024 White House bid more likely than ever

Former President Donald Trump has been hinting at the idea of running again in 2024, but he has ramped up the speculation in recent weeks.

While there is a lot of time left before the 2024 election cycle kicks off, Trump’s would-be rivals within the GOP are aware of a potential collision course.

“I think [Trump running] feels like more of a possibility now than it did before,” an aide to one Republican eyeing a 2024 run said. “That doesn’t mean you stop what you’re doing altogether. Until he says what he’s going to do, that’s not an option.”

“That being said, yeah, I think he’s putting a lot of candidates on notice, reminding them that he’s still in the mix.”

Trump’s allies are fueling talk of his return to the campaign trail as well.

“I think he is definitely running in 2024,” said Jason Miller, a close associate and senior adviser to Trump’s 2020 campaign. “He has not said the magical words to me, but if you talk to him for a few minutes, it’s pretty clear that he’s running, and I think just what we’ve seen unfold in Afghanistan recently has really just emboldened that.”


Allies see rising prospect of Trump 2024 White House bid

September 11, 2021

Giuliani associate pleads guilty in foreign donation plot

Igor Fruman, an associate of Rudy Giuliani, pleaded guilty on Friday to solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national. He could receive a sentence of up to five years.

The federal charge stems from a case accusing Fruman, 56, of funneling foreign money to US campaign coffers.

These aren’t the first charges Fruman faced. He and Lev Parnas, another Giuliani associate, were indicted in October 2019 for conspiracy to violate the ban on foreign donations to federal and state elections, making false statements, and falsifying records to the Federal Election Commission. Both men, who were close with Giuliani when he was former President Trump’s lawyer, pled not guilty.

On Friday, when Fruman entered his guilty plea, he told the judge he was in contact with a potential investor who was a foreign national. He sent the individual a list of possible donations to politicians in states legalizing marijuana — as Fruman was trying to launch a cannabis business.

“I deeply regret my actions and apologize to the court,” Fruman said.

His sentencing is set for January 21.


Giuliani associate Igor Fruman pleads guilty to solicitation of a contribution by a foreign national

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