House Democrats Request Interviews With These 11 Trump Officials Over ’88 Incidents of Political Interference’ in Covid Response

Rep James Clyburn listens to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar at a hearing before the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis

Michael A. McCoy, Pool/Getty Images

The House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis has issued a statement and a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra and CDC Director Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky naming 11 former Trump officials over what they say are “more than 88 incidents of political interference” by the administration in the public pandemic response.

The committee, chaired by Rep. James Clyburn of South Carolina, announced the expansion of their probe into the pandemic response in a Monday morning release.

“Today, Chairman James E. Clyburn and all Democratic Members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis advanced their investigations into the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic by requesting documents and transcribed interviews from three former Trump Administration political appointees and eight current and former public health officials who were involved in the prior Administration’s failed response efforts,” the statement reads.

The committee cites the number of incidences of political interference they say were identified by staff analysis, which documented “at least 88 incidents of the Trump Administration’s political interference in the coronavirus response,” a number which includes 27 the committee identified in December of last year.

In the letter to Secretary Becerra and Dr. Walensky, the Democrats expand on that point.

To date, the Select Subcommittee has identified at least 88 instances in which Trump Administration officials injected politics into public health decisions—including attempting to alter, delay, or block the release of scientific reports and guidance on the coronavirus, pressuring public health experts to adopt politically motivated talking points that downplayed the threat of the virus and conflicted with science, and seeking to retaliate against public health officials who provided truthful information to the public. These incidents degraded every major facet of the prior Administration’s public health response and severely hindered the country’s ability to respond effectively to the pandemic.

The committee’s statement also references an email, released today (PDF), “containing additional evidence that high-ranking Trump Administration appointees, including former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield, may have instructed career CDC staff to conceal evidence of political interference.”

The statement lists the names of each of the individuals with whom the committee is seeking interviews, and includes links to the individual letters constituting those requests.

Those names are:
• Amanda Campbell, former Deputy Chief of Staff, CDC
• Kyle McGowan, former Chief of Staff, CDC
• Nina Witkofsky, former Acting Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor, CDC
• Dr. Nancy Messonnier, former Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, CDC
• Dr. Anne Schuchat, former Principal Deputy Director, CDC
• Jay Butler, Deputy Director of Infectious Diseases, CDC
• Christine Casey, Editor, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, CDC
• Kate Galatas, Deputy Director for Communications, CDC
• Bill Hall, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS
• Michael Iademarco, Director of Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, CDC
• Mark Weber, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs, HHS

Below, read the letter from Rep. Clyburn and the select committee to Secretary Becerra and Dr. Walensky, embedded as a PDF. Click here to read the committee press release and statement online.

Select Subcommittee Letter to Becerra and Walensky re Interview Requests 7-26-21 by Caleb Mediaite on Scribd

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Steny Hoyer Praises ‘Real Republicans’ Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger After ‘Absurd’ Insult From Kevin McCarthy

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House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer snapped back at Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) for attacking his fellow representatives, Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL).

Hoyer spoke on Monday with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, who rolled footage of McCarthy calling Cheney and Kinzinger “Pelosi Republicans” and suggesting he might politically punish them for their involvement in the January 6th House Select Committee. McCarthy also complained that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is predetermining the investigation’s findings because she blocked him from putting Donald Trump’s allies on the committee, whereas Cheney and Kinzinger have held the former president personally responsible for the storming of the Capitol.

Hoyer was asked for his retort to McCarthy, and he answered “that’s absurd.”

“If anybody looks at the voting records of Mr. Kinzinger and Mrs. Cheney, they will know that they haven’t voted with Speaker Pelosi except on the most bipartisan of bills,” Hoyer said. “They are real Republicans.”

As Hoyer continued to note the conservative credentials of both lawmakers, he added that the key difference between them and their colleagues is “they both believe in the truth.” He also praised Cheney and Kinzinger for their “courage and commitment” while predicting they’ll preserve the integrity of the committee’s efforts.

“Truth ought to be an intellectually honest pursuit,” Hoyer said, “and that’s what Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are going to do.”

Hoyer went on by suggesting that the committee should subpoena McCarthy and compel him to testify about the phone call he had with Trump while the former president’s supporters were ransacking the Capitol.

I don’t know what his role was, but in talking to the president, I think the American people ought to hear from him what he said and what the president said in return.

Watch above, via MSNBC.

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Mehdi Hasan Asks Why US Still Sanctioning Iran as Covid Cases Surge

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MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan asked why the United States continues to sanction Iran despite a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

As of Sunday, the seven-day average of coronavirus cases in Iran is 24,024, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

During The Mehdi Hasan Show on Sunday the host asked U.S. Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley about “the humanitarian situation in Iran.”

“Coronavirus cases are surging. The country is crippled by those economic sanctions from the U.S., many of them from [former President Donald] Trump. President [Joe] Biden talked extensively, I remember, even during the campaign, about humanitarian exemptions, a pause on sanctions,” continued Hasan. “Where is all of that? If you’re an Iranian sitting in Tehran this evening, Rob, struggling to put food on the table for your family, would you think President Biden has done enough to help during this pandemic?”

Hasan omitted that there are humanitarian exemptions for U.S. sanctions on Iran. The regime has refused coronavirus assistance from the United States. Malley acknowledged the exemptions but dismissed them as ineffective.

Malley replied, “Well, my first blame, my government first, but I’ll let the Iranian people decide that.”

“I think what President Biden said, and you’re right, he said it during the campaign and he said it since,” he continued. “That we inherited a sanctions architecture that he’s asked his team to review to make sure that the humanitarian exemptions can be effective. The administration issued a general license to allow Iran to more easily import all that it needs to combat Covid.”

However, said Malley, the exemptions won’t “make the real difference.”

“What will make the real difference is if the sanctions are lifted because they’re so multilayered and that’s what we’ve prepared to do if Iran is prepared to do if they will do what they said they would do which is a mutual return to compliance,” he continued.

Since April, there have been six rounds of talks in Vienna between the United States and the parties to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal, to get the United States and Iran back into that agreement, which the former withdrew from in 2018, reimposing sanctions in addition to enacting new ones as part of what the Trump administration called “maximum pressure” on Iran.

The United States and Iran are meeting indirectly with European intermediaries shuttling between the two parties. On the campaign trail, Biden pledged that the United States would re-enter the nuclear deal if Iran returned to compliance.

Malley stated that the United States is prepared to lift not only the sanctions lifted and then reimposed under the 2015 deal but also the sanctions that Trump enacted.

“We’re prepared to go much further and lift the sanctions that were imposed in violation of the deal, but Iran has to do its part,” said Malley. “And what is troubling is that at this point, it is still not said it’s prepared to do what it needs to do and it’s asking us to do more than the deal requires.”

Watch above via MSNBC.

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Jen Psaki Reveals White House Approach to Fox News: ‘Not the Fight We Want’ Right Now

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White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has been pretty clear in her willingness to leave no communications platform unused in Covid vaccine outreach, and as if to prove her point, she sat down (remotely) with Snapchat’s Peter Hamby, host of “Good Luck America.

The interview featured her take on President Joe Biden’s knowledge of pop star Olivia Rodrigo (who recently visited the White House for a pro-vaccine messaging video), and challenging Facebook on misinformation. But it was Psaki’s addressing the White House communications strategy with Fox News that caught Mediaite’s eye.

The interview was conducted by Hamby — a Snapchat personality, and former CNN reporter — and judging by the softball questions, this was a conversation in which the White House was most interested in participating.

“A big question I have is you work for Obama going back to his first campaign work for the State Department when Trump was in office and now you’re working for Biden in those intervening Trump years,” Hamby noted. “What have you noticed is the biggest shift in media? What’s changed?”

Psaki explained that “You need to be able to speak through a range of formats in order to reach the public. That’s your objective. That means doing a range of platforms that weren’t even around 10, 15 years ago.” She then explained that effective outreach “also means doing a range of platforms that may not like the president because you still need to reach the public where they are. A lot of people still watch Fox News so great. Do they like the president or even like me? Most days? No, but that’s OK. Our job is not only to talk to people who like us.”

Hamby noted that, in his esteem and at the end of the Obama administration,” the point of view and the communications team was that there’s no point in talking to Fox and other Democrats kind of adopted that viewpoint that they’re only going to last Democrats. We don’t need to deal with them.” In case there was any confusion about Hamby’s point of view, viewers were treated to a clip of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) saying “Here’s the deal about Fox News executives. They’re running a hate-for-profit scam.”

“Why should a Democrat engage with Fox News? What’s the point?” Hamby asked.

“Well, first, we don’t do a lot of the personalities on Fox,” she replied. “The president’s number one goal still is beating the pandemic. Our objective is to put people back to work and we need to talk to Fox and Fox viewers in order to do that. Now, they are not waiting for the president, the vice president, many other people from the administration to tell them what to do? But they might listen to medical experts or some of our doctors. They might — there might be information that strikes them because it’s so fact-based.”

“Our view at this moment is we don’t have to approve everything they do editorially of everything their personalities say and do, but it is still a platform for us to communicate with the public,” she said. “And frankly, the other piece of it is getting in a fight with Fox News at this point in time for the administration isn’t particularly constructive coming off of an administration that completely destroyed trust in media, trust in institutions. That’s not the fight we want to fight right now.

“We want to fight a fight about getting the pandemic under control and things that actually impact people’s lives,” she concluded.

Watch above via Snapchat.

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Candace Owens Calls for UFC to Replace the NFL as National Pastime in Scorching Rant on ‘Woke’ Athletes: ‘It’s the Only Real Sport Left’

The NFL plans to include the song often referred to as the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing prior to major league events this season, just as they did last year.

The song will be played in addition to The Star-Spangled Banner, not replace it. But Candace Owens still believes the decision should force sports fans to replace the NFL as America’s national pastime, a term previously reserved for baseball for more than 100 years.

“What America needs is a new favorite pastime, as it should no longer be football or any sport that endorses segregation,” Owens said on a recent episode of her talk show Candace.

NFL TV partners typically only air the national anthem ahead of special events, such as the Super Bowl. At-home viewers are unlikely to even see the national anthem or Lift Every Voice and Sing performed during regular-season weeks, meaning the NFL’s decision has almost no impact on the product being delivered to audiences.

“Might I suggest the UFC,” Owens offered as her replacement for the NFL. “Which is exploding right now and it’s because they do not get involved in politics. They are not woke and they do not bend the knee.”

Dana White (UFC president), we’ve had him on this show, I’m a big fan of the UFC.” the conservative firebrand continued. “I think it’s the only real sport left. It’s just such a sad, sad circumstance that we are in when you are quite literally claiming to be fighting racism while at the same time introducing segregation.”

White has preached political apathy for his sport, but the bombastic UFC president didn’t hide his views when he touted former President Donald Trump at the Republican national convention in 2016 and 2020.

Watch above via Candace

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The View Unanimously Condemns Montana Man Who Confronted Tucker Carlson: ‘Anyone That Tries to Rationalize it is Gross’

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The hosts of The View unanimously condemned the man who confronted Tucker Carlson at a Montana fly fishing store this weekend — denouncing his decision to publicly accost the Fox News host.

“I’m against public confrontations like that especially when you are in a hostile state of mind,” Joy Behar said of the incident, in which a man named Dan Bailey approached Carlson to label him “the worst human being known to mankind.”

Behar went on to give some advice to viewers: “If you have something to say to me, tweet it, but, you know, don’t come up to me with your hostility. I don’t like that.”

While Behar defended Carlson’s right to a “safe space,” she later reasoned that “when you are spewing lies that cost people their lives, actually no place is safe for him, and people like him.”

The host later rationalized Bailey’s decision to confront the Fox News host, as she likened Carlson to someone wearing a life jacket on the Titanic while advising others against wearing one too — noting that he has not yet encouraged his viewers to take the Covid-19 vaccine despite having received the shot himself.

“This is what he thinks of his viewers,” she said. “He’s more interested in ratings and getting attention than he is in his viewers’ lives and there are people like this guy in Montana who will not have it, but — and the fact that he was very, very nice about it you’ll notice. He did not become a threat. He just basically quietly said, you are the worst human being for doing what you are doing. So you can’t really fault him on that end.”

Sunny Hostin similarly condemned Bailey for approaching Carlson, noting that the host was on vacation with his family, yet pointed to Carlson’s own advocacy for public confrontation.

“You should be safe from being accosted or being confronted, and so in that sense, I agree that something like that shouldn’t happen, but when you think about Tucker Carlson, he himself has said things, like in April of this past year. This year Tucker Carlson told his audience to harass people who wear face masks outside,” Hostin said. “He also said that members of the public should report parents to police and child services if they see children wearing masks as they play. He said — he called mask-wearing repulsive and said that parents forcing their children to wear masks in public should be reported for child abuse, and he also told his viewers that it was their duty to report.”

“And then just last week, even though we have been seeing some Fox News personalities now saying, listen, you should get the vaccine, it saves lives. Tucker Carlson on the other hand contradicted his colleagues and told viewers to ignore medical advice on television, and he averages 3 million viewers a night, and so this is the type of thing that he’s been up to. All of this misinformation,” she continued. “And I’m just not surprised that he was confronted by someone that obviously viewed his show because he’s encouraged that kind of behavior.”

Meghan McCain offered the strongest defense of Carlson, comparing the incident to Whoopi Goldberg’s similar experiences with hostility, and lamented the fear she feels when in public with her husband, The Federalist’s Ben Domenech.

“Maybe you guys thought that man was being polite. I thought he was being a total jackass and incredibly rude, and we’re living in a time when people like Steve Scalise are being shot and wounded to the point where we don’t know if he’s literally going to survive and now he has to walk with a cane because people aren’t in control of themselves and aren’t in control of their mental health and they want to take out their aggression on public figures,” McCain argued. “It was incredibly dangerous.”

The host went on to criticize Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) for previously telling her supporters to get confrontational with members of Donald Trump’s administration

“I now feel in any life, Ben and I have to talk about what restaurants we feel safe going to. I think about what places I am comfortable taking Liberty to. I need to think about what kind of neighborhood I’m living in,” she said. “Tucker Carlson’s wife once barricaded herself in her home in their pantry and called the police because so many protesters were outside their home here in Washington, D.C. trying to accost them. This isn’t normal.”

“Any rationalization that this is normal and should be accepted in the United States of America is not only indecent, but it’s beyond the pale of any expectation of any kind of decorum in a society like the United States of America,” she continued. “And anyone that tries to rationalize it is gross, and that man should apologize to Tucker Carlson.”

While Sara Haines slammed Carlson’s talking points as “egregious,” both she and Goldberg also criticized public confrontations, noting the chance of a potentially violent escalation.

“I’m used to being spoken to in odd ways by different people, and I just try to be as calm as I can,” Goldberg concluded. “It doesn’t help though when you go out and you encourage other people to do it to people you disagree with. So it’s kind of a slippery slope, so maybe if we all stop encouraging people to go out and yell at folks in public, maybe we can sort of dial it back a bit. I think that might be better for all of us, but what am I? Just a talking head, y’all. Just a talking head.”

Watch above, via ABC.

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Donald Trump Jr. Tops Poll of Most Popular Republicans

Donald Trump Jr. is among the most popular members of the Republican Party when his father is excluded, according to a new survey.

His “net favorability” topped the field with a net 55 percent of Republicans saying they held a favorable view of him, according to the poll, which was conducted by Fabrizio, Lee & Associates and published by Axios on Monday. He held a statistical tie with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who received a favorable rating from 54 percent of Republicans.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) received a favorable rating from 24 percent of his party’s members, besting Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) by more than 20 points. Just 2 percent of respondents said they held a favorable view of McConnell. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) — who was ousted from House GOP leadership this year after continuing to criticize former President Donald Trump — clocked in even lower, with a net negative rating of 43 percent.

The survey included 800 respondents polled between July 6-8. Due to the fact the survey merely measured favorability ratings for the party’s top figures, it is not clear whether the numbers would translate into political support in the event the individuals named competed against each other for the GOP’s presidential nomination in 2024.

In contrast to Fabrizio’s findings, a July straw poll taken at the Conservative Political Action Conference found 68 percent of attendees would support DeSantis for president in 2024 if the elder Trump did not run. Just 4 percent said they would support Trump Jr.

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McCarthy Rips Cheney and Kinzinger as ‘Pelosi Republicans’, Doesn’t Rule Out Retribution For Participation in 1/6 Committee

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attacked fellow Republicans Liz Cheney (WY) and Adam Kinzinger (IL) for their involvement in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s select committee to investigate the storming of the U.S. Capitol.

McCarthy spoke to reporters on Monday while he was at the White House for President Joe Biden’s commemoration of the Americans with Disabilities Act. McCarthy whacked Cheney and Kinzinger for their upcoming participation on the committee, saying “never in the history of America has a speaker picked the other side, so they’re predetermining what comes out.”

McCarthy concluded by referring to Cheney and Kinzinger as “Pelosi Republicans,” plus he offered a vague “we’ll see” when asked if he’ll try to politically punish the two by stripping them of their other committee assignments.

Cheney has issued a response to McCarthy’s dig at her:

Ever since the U.S. Capitol was besieged by Donald Trump’s supporters seeking to violently overturn the 2020 election, Cheney and Kinzinger have outspokenly criticized the former president and his big lie that the election was “stolen” from him. Both have held Trump personally responsible for the events of January 6th, which resulted in Cheney being stripped of leadership role among Congressional Republicans to McCarthy’s obvious approval.

As McCarthy railed against the Jan 6 committee in recent days, Cheney has slammed him for waging his political war against it, and Kinzinger confirmed on Sunday that he would join the committee too as a matter of bipartisanship. McCarthy retaliated by complaining that Pelosi is stacking the investigative committee to advance her “pre-conceived narrative” about the Capitol riot.

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Parkland Survivor’s QAnon Dad Believes Massacre Was a Hoax, Berates Him for ‘Being Part of It’

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A survivor of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida said his father now thinks the massacre was a hoax.

The survivor of the 2018 shooting, who is now 18 years old, spoke to Vice after writing in a Reddit post that his father came to believe that shooting was a hoax after taking an interest in the QAnon conspiracy theory.

Vice did not disclose the identity of the survivor, who the outlet identified as Bill, and was “part of the final graduating class of survivors of the 2018 shooting” that killed 14 students and three school staff.

“I think my dad has gone fucking insane,” he wrote in the Reddit post. “It’s going way too far and I have trouble processing the last 5 months. He’s always been very conservative, but now QAnon has consumed his life to the point where it’s tearing our family apart along with my mental health.”

The survivor explained that in January his father watched a video of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) harassing David Hogg, and came to believe the conspiracy theory that the shooting was a hoax, carried out by “​​a radical commie actor,” in order to push gun control.

“It started a couple months into the pandemic with the whole anti-lockdown protests,” Bill explained to Vice. “His feelings were so strong it turned into facts for him. So if he didn’t like having to wear masks it wouldn’t matter what doctors or scientists said. Anything that contradicted his feelings was wrong. So he turned to the internet to find like-minded people which led him to QAnon.”

Bill said that when his father is drunk he accuses him of being a part of the hoax: “You’re a real piece of work to be able to sit here and act like nothing ever happened if it wasn’t a hoax. Shame on you for being part of it and putting your family through it too.”

Read the full interview here.

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Tom Brady Denialism: Fans Question Validity of Quarterback’s Viral Video Playing Catch

Tom Brady’s social media team continues to perform just as well as the quarterback’s football team, who are coming off a Super Bowl championship season.

Since ditching New England for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Brady’s social media presence has grown immensely, with his most recent video amassing more than nine million views on Twitter alone. The video is either an impressive display of passing by Brady … or seamless editing by his social media team.

“Training camp starts this week. I’m looking forward to having some actual receivers again,” Brady captioned as he can be seen playing catch with the jugs machine. Brady threw three darts into the crevice of the machine, which is designed to automatically throw footballs. The quarterback then catches the returned balls as the jugs machine spits them right back.

Last week, Brady joked at the White House that 40 percent of the population were still in denial of the Bucs Super Bowl victory. Football fans are similarly questioning the validity of his viral video. The 43-year-old quarterback is great, maybe the best of all time, but fans were skeptical of the precision passing, arm strength, and catching ability Brady displayed in the video.

“I think that’s fake. In fact, I was told it is,” Albert Breer of The MMQB wrote Monday. “But for it to be fake … holy crap, did the editor freaking crush it.”

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