The Past 24 Hours Or So

Your Daily Dose of Trump and His Administration News

  • Pence named Larry Kudlow to the coronavirus task force. But just two days ago Kudlow said the virus was pretty well “contained.” He also tapped longtime health official and ambassador-at-large Debbie Birx to serve as the White House coronavirus response coordinator. Birx has worked for decades in the medical field, largely focusing on combating and preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS.
  • A Trump-appointed federal judge on Thursday said she’s considering holding in contempt of court a Russian firm charged with interfering in the 2016 presidential election after it failed to comply with a government subpoena.
  • The US Army Corps of Engineers has indefinitely suspended a $19 million study of measures to protect the New York City region from devastating storm surges and damage from rising seas. The $19 million study, funded by the U.S. government, New York and New Jersey, was to last at least six years. It began in 2016, four years after Hurricane Sandy hammered the East Coast. 

The Corps’ decision stalls a proposal to build a five-mile retractable storm-surge barrier that could protect New York harbor, stretching from Long Island’s Rockaways to the New Jersey coast.

  • President Donald Trump’s administration is considering invoking special powers through a law called the Defense Production Act to rapidly expand domestic production of protective masks and clothing to combat the coronavirus in the United States. The law grants the president the power to expand industrial production of key materials or products for national security and other reasons.
  • Director of The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci told associates that the White House has instructed him not to say anything else without clearing it with them first. Earlier, on Fox News, Fauci said, “It would be unrealistic not to realize when you have multiple countries in which you have sustained outbreak, that the chances are there being spillover into our country, namely a pandemic.” 

It was later reported that all government health officials and scientists will have to clear statements about the coronavirus outbreak with the office of Vice President Mike Pence, in an effort to tighten the White House’s control of messaging about the virus.

  • The Department of Education will cut $5.4 million from a rural school grant program that provides aid to rural schools serving students from low-income families. The Rural Low-Income Schools program provides money for schools under the broad guideline of improving student achievement. States hit hardest include: Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Hampshire, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming. 
  • A senior official within Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services is seeking federal protection after becoming a whistleblower and raising concerns about the safety of workers dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. The whistleblower alleges officials at HHS sent more than a dozen workers to receive the first Americans evacuated from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, without proper training for infection control or appropriate protective gear. 
  • President Trump weighed in on the effort to renew a set of expiring surveillance authorities, appearing to side with a group of conservative lawmakers whose ambitious plan for a near-term overhaul of the critical FBI tool is opposed by Attorney General Barr and other Trump allies.

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