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Member since: Tue Nov 9, 2004, 05:15 PM
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White House warns COVID-19 cases at dire levels, says patient care could be compromised

Source: The Hill

The White House coronavirus task force is issuing a dire warning to states, writing that given the already rampant spread of the virus across the U.S., a further surge in cases following Thanksgiving threatens to overwhelm the health care system and compromise patient care.

“We are in a very dangerous place due to the current, extremely high COVID baseline and limited hospital capacity; a further post-Thanksgiving surge will compromise COVID patient care, as well as medical care overall,” reads the White House report sent to states and obtained by The Hill.

The report includes a series of urgent warnings, a stark contrast to President Trump himself, who has been largely quiet on the coronavirus crisis recently and has focused on vaccine development when he does discuss it.

The warnings come as the United States is reporting a record-setting level of more than 150,000 new cases every day. More than 98,000 people are in hospitals with COVID-19, placing extreme stress on the facilities' capacity. Experts fear that a further surge will come soon in the wake of Thanksgiving gatherings and travel.

Read more: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/528331-white-house-warns-covid-19-cases-at-dire-levels-says-patient-care-could-be

Biden plans to keep Wray as F.B.I. director.

Source: NYTimes

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. has no plans to remove Christopher Wray, the F.B.I. director installed by President Trump, if he is still in the job when the new administration comes in, according to a senior Biden official.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said Mr. Biden’s team was “not removing the F.B.I. director unless Trump fired him.”

Two spokesmen for Mr. Biden did not respond to a request for comment.

But the decision to leave Mr. Wray in place would be a return to the norms around F.B.I. directors, who are confirmed by the Senate and are supposed to have 10-year terms, and are rarely fired. Dismissing them requires an explanation about why such an extraordinary measure would be taken.

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2020/12/02/us/joe-biden-tump#biden-plans-to-keep-wray-as-fbi-director

Wisconsin governor calls Trump lawsuit an 'assault'

Source: AP

MADISON, Wis. -- President Donald Trump's attempt to overturn Wisconsin's election results by tossing ballots only from the state's two most heavily Democratic counties is an “assault on democracy,” attorneys for Democratic Gov. Tony Evers said in filings with the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

The filings, made late Tuesday, come as the state's highest court is weighing Trump's request to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in Milwaukee and Dane counties. Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump by a 2-to-1 margin in those counties on his way to a 20,682-vote win statewide.

Trump is not challenging any ballots in the state's other 70 counties, the majority of which Trump won. Trump's legal challenges in other states to overturn election results have failed.

In Wisconsin, Trump wants to skip lower courts, saying in his lawsuit that there isn't time to go through the normal process due to the looming Dec. 14 date when electors will gather to cast the state's 10 Electoral College votes.

Read more: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/wisconsin-governor-calls-trump-lawsuit-assault-74505294?cid=social_twitter_abcnp

Release of PPP loan recipients' data reveals troubling patterns

Source: NBC News

Sweeping data released by the Small Business Administration on who benefited from pandemic relief programs raises questions about the equitability and distribution of loans intended for small businesses, an initial analysis by NBC News shows.

The analysis found that properties owned by the Trump Organization as well as the Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, profited from the program.

After months of litigation, the SBA released the dataset Tuesday night on every small business that received a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) or Economic Injury Disaster (EIDL) loan.


Over 25 PPP loans worth more than $3.65 million were given to businesses with addresses at Trump and Kushner real estate properties, paying rent to those owners. Fifteen of the properties self-reported that they only kept one job, zero jobs or did not report a number at all.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/business-news/release-ppp-loan-recipients-data-reveals-troubling-patterns-n1249629

Parscale says Trump should have been more empathetic on coronavirus

Source: The Hill

Former Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale says that President Trump’s biggest policy error ahead of the 2020 election was showing a lack of public empathy about the novel coronavirus.

“People were scared,” Parscale said in an interview with Fox News host Martha MacCallum that aired Tuesday evening. “I think if he would have been publicly empathetic, he would have won by a landslide there. He could have leaned into it instead of run away from it.”

Parscale, who was pushed out of the role of campaign manager over the summer, said Trump’s decision to push for reopening the country instead of displaying empathy about COVID-19 hurt him with suburban voters in swing states like Georgia and Pennsylvania that Trump ultimately lost to Joe Biden, who is now president-elect.

Parscale described the move as the biggest “policy error” of the campaign, differentiating it from technical errors.

Read more: https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/528279-parscale-says-trump-should-have-been-more-empathetic-on-coronavirus

Georgia election official addresses Trump directly and demands he stop inciting violence


Barr appoints special counsel in Russia probe investigation

Source: AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General William Barr has given extra protection to the prosecutor he appointed to investigate the origins of the Trump-Russia probe, giving him the authority of a special counsel to complete his work without being easily fired.

Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that he had appointed U.S. Attorney John Durham as a special counsel in October under the same federal statute that governed special counsel Robert Mueller in the original Russia probe. He said Durham’s investigation has been narrowing to focus more on the conduct of FBI agents who worked on the Russia investigation, known as Crossfire Hurricane.

The investigations grew out of allegations of cooperation between Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and Russians to help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

With the 2020 election approaching, Barr told the AP on Tuesday, “I decided the best thing to do would be to appoint them under the same regulation that covered Bob Mueller, to provide Durham and his team some assurance that they’d be able to complete their work regardless of the outcome of the election.”

Read more: https://apnews.com/article/election-2020-donald-trump-robert-mueller-statutes-elections-ae0275b4eb23981c1e6fbf9fc49c3239?utm_source=Twitter&utm_campaign=SocialFlow&utm_medium=AP

Trump Tells Pompeo: Go Wild on Iran, Just Don't Risk 'World War III'

Source: The Daily Beast

President Donald Trump may only have seven weeks left in office, but he’s given his top advisers the green light to batter the Iranian regime—anything that doesn’t hazard a full-on war before Joe Biden is inaugurated.

According to multiple U.S. officials familiar with the matter, in recent weeks Trump has taken a more passive role in personally overseeing Iran policy for the critical final months until Inauguration Day. One White House official last week described Trump as mostly “checked out” on this major foreign policy issue, having become consumed by his bumbling legal effort to steal the 2020 election amid the coronavirus pandemic, as well as by other his pet grievances of the moment.

But Trump has given some of his most hawkish administration officials, particularly his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, carte blanche to squeeze and punish the Islamic Republic as aggressively as they wish in the coming weeks. All Trump asks is that they don’t risk “start[ing] World War III,” as the president has specifically put it in several private conversations with Pompeo and others, according to two senior administration officials.

That has left a host of options at the outgoing administration’s disposal—among them, a suffocating sanctions regime and a studied silence in the face of the assassination of Iranian nationals. Two officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the administration is set to announce new sanctions on regime-linked companies and individuals in the coming weeks to solidify a years-long effort to paralyze Tehran’s economy.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-tells-pompeo-go-wild-on-iran-just-dont-risk-world-war-iii?ref=home

Biden readies major stimulus push and flurry of executive actions in first 100 days

Source: CNN

(CNN)President-elect Joe Biden and his transition team are preparing for an early, all-out push to pass an ambitious new stimulus bill, while also drawing up plans for a flurry of executive actions aimed at delivering on campaign promises and undoing the Trump administration's efforts to undermine key government agencies.

Biden will be inaugurated in January with a pressing mandate to confront simultaneous and interwoven public health, economic and racial crises. At the same time, his team will take over the work of spearheading one of the most complicated, politically fraught mass vaccination campaigns in American history.

Biden's agenda for his first 100 days in office will, according to both those close to him and outside groups in contact with his top aides, center on two key avenues of action: the passage of a broad economic aid package and, where legislation is not necessary, a series of executive actions aimed at advancing his priorities. Containing the Covid-19 pandemic, launching an economic recovery and tackling racial inequality are his most urgent priorities, transition officials say.

The scope of stimulus legislation will likely turn on the results of the Senate run-offs in Georgia in early January, a little more than two weeks before Biden is inaugurated. If either Democrat fails to unseat their GOP incumbent rivals, and the body remains under the thumb of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, Biden's ambitions will be checked from the outset. The immigration legislation Biden said he plans to send to the Congress within his first 100 days would likely be dead on arrival.

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2020/12/01/politics/biden-first-100-days/index.html

Chris Krebs hints at legal action against Trump campaign lawyer who suggested he be 'shot'

Source: Axios

Former CISA Director Chris Krebs is hinting at legal action against Trump campaign lawyer Joe DiGenova, who suggested Krebs should be "taken out at dawn and shot."


The big picture: DiGenova made the comment on Monday during an interview on Newsmax with host Howie Carr.

Krebs responded to DiGenova's comments in an interview with the Today Show on Tuesday, stating, "It's certainly more dangerous language, more dangerous behavior."

"And the way I look at it is that we are a nation of laws, and I plan to take advantage of those laws. I've got an exceptional team of lawyers that win in court, and I think they're probably going to be busy."

Read more: https://www.axios.com/krebs-cisa-digenova-trump-election-security-cyber-f4276746-7ae5-4032-b59b-97c944b790ae.html?utm_campaign=organic&utm_medium=socialshare&utm_source=twitter
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