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Navarro Throws Another White House Health Expert Under Bus Over Hydroxy

Navarro Throws Another White House Health Expert Under Bus Over HydroxyWhite House trade adviser Peter Navarro publicly bashed yet another White House public health expert on Monday while touting an unproven anti-malarial drug, saying he took “exception” to coronavirus testing czar Brett Giroir dismissing hydroxychloroquine as an effective coronavirus treatment.Days after CNN cut short a Navarro interview after he kept repeating the racist phrase “China virus,” the network invited him on for yet another contentious segment that featured the combative Trump aide disseminating coronavirus disinformation.Navarro, who has been an outspoken proponent of hydroxychloroquine and has repeatedly attacked top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci for warning about the drug’s lack of efficacy, doubled down on his embrace of the drug while taking aim at Giroir.“One of the president’s chief advisers on the coronavirus pandemic, Adm. Giroir, he said given five studies now that have found the drug hydroxychloroquine—that there’s no proof that it helps with COVID-19 patients,” host Jim Sciutto noted. “I just wonder, given your past public support for it, is it time for the administration to focus on proven treatments for COVID rather than one that has not been proven?”Navarro—who recently groused that the government is “sitting on millions of doses” of the drug—shot back that he takes “exception to Giroir’s analysis, adding that the HHS official “hasn’t looked at the data” within the past two weeks.“It’s his job to look at data,” Sciutto interjected.After demanding that CNN bring on a couple of doctors who claim the drug is beneficial for COVID-19 patients—CNN had actually interviewed one of them hours earlier—Navarro brushed off the large number of experts criticizing hydroxychloroquine.“My view of this now is doctors' opinions are a dime a dozen and some doctors say it doesn’t work,” he exclaimed. “You’ve got some doctors who say it does.”The CNN host, meanwhile, retorted that this isn’t a “both sides thing,” prompting Navarro to insist that is exactly what it is.“No, it is a both sides. It is—it is both sides,” he declared.Sciutto went on to note that several high-quality double-blinded clinical trials show that there is no benefit to the drug and that the FDA has revoked emergency use of hydroxychloroquine due to concerns over potentially deadly side effects.“This hasn’t passed muster so why all the focus on that drug,” the CNN anchor wondered aloud. “Why not focus on things that work like remdesivir?”Undeterred, Navarro claimed that there is now a study that shows hydroxychloroquine “works better” than remdesivir—even though White House coronavirus coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said just last week that randomized trials have shown the anti-viral drug has no efficacy as a treatment. She also reiterated that there appears to be no benefit to hydroxychloroquine.Team Trump has suddenly rallied back around the controversial malaria drug after a fringe doctor—who believes that demon sperm causes female medical problems and “alien DNA” is being used in medication—proclaimed it a coronavirus “cure” in a viral video last week. Despite that doctor’s bizarre past claims, President Donald Trump has called her “spectacular,” “very respected,” and an “important voice.”Chris Wallace Confronts Trump Campaign Spox Jason Miller: Admit ‘You’re Losing’Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor: DOJ Under ‘Heavy Pressure’ to Spare Trump’s Friend

Ex-Roger Stone Prosecutor: DOJ Under ‘Heavy Pressure’ to Spare Trump’s FriendOne of the prosecutors who quit the Roger Stone case in disgust over interference from Attorney General Bill Barr will tell the House Judiciary Committee that the “highest levels of the Department” wanted to spare Stone, a friend of the president’s, years of prison time. “What I heard—repeatedly—was that Roger Stone was being treated differently from any other defendant because of his relationship to the President,” according to a statement from Aaron Zelinsky, one of ex-Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s prosecutors. In February, Zelinsky and three colleagues resigned from the Stone prosecution after Timothy Shea, then the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, recommended a substantially shorter prison term than the seven to nine years Zelinsky recommended. Stone was convicted of lying to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 election, witness tampering and obstructing a congressional inquiry. Shea was a former senior aide to Barr who now runs the Drug Enforcement Administration.  Zelinsky’s statement calls out Shea by name as “receiving heavy pressure from the highest levels of the Department of Justice to cut Stone a break, and that the U.S. Attorney’s sentencing instructions to us were based on political considerations.” He called the department’s pursuit of a sentence shorter than its own sentencing guidelines “unheard of” for an “unrepentant” defendant like Stone, who threatened the judge presiding over his case. The judge, Amy Berman Jackson, sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison. “I was also told that the acting U.S. Attorney was giving Stone such unprecedentedly favorable treatment because he was ‘afraid of the President,’” Zelinsky said of Shea.Trump Ally Roger Stone Gets 40 Months for Lying, Witness-TamperingZelinsky’s testimony, delivered after the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed him, will come at professional risk. He remains a federal prosecutor in Maryland. An attorney for Zelinsky, the former Office of Director of National Intelligence general counsel Robert Litt, declined to comment. According to Zelinsky, Shea and his team attempted at least three times in February to get the Stone prosecutors to agree to a reduced sentence. First they requested that Zelinsky’s team not apply the full term the sentencing guidelines suggested. When Zelinsky—along with Adam Jed, Jonathan Kravis, and Michael Marando—refused, Shea’s team told them “to say that whatever the Guidelines recommended, Stone should get less.” They rejected that, as well. Finally, Shea provided “an instruction” to omit from their sentencing memorandum references to Stone’s conduct at trial, such as a threat to Berman that Stone posted on Instagram. Zelinsky says in his statement that he threatened to resign on Feb. 10. Trump rapidly attacked his team’s sentencing memorandum as a “miscarriage of justice.”Zelinsky criticized the more lenient memorandum Shea’s office produced as “unethical” in a colloquy with a Department colleague that he references in his prepared statement. “I take no satisfaction in publicly criticizing the actions of the Department of Justice, where I have spent most of my legal career. I have always been and remain proud to be an Assistant United States Attorney,” Zelinsky closes his prepared remarks by saying. Zelinsky will be joined by DOJ antitrust colleague John W. Elias, who will testify about antitrust investigations under Barr that concerned him enough to bring them to the department inspector general's attention. Wednesday’s hearing is slated to feature no Justice Department witnesses on Barr or Shea's behalf, though former Attorney General Michael Mukasey is also scheduled to testify. The committee’s Democratic majority is in open conflict with Barr over everything from the similar leniency shown to ex-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to Barr’s specially deputized federal police during the D.C. Black Lives Matter protests to Barr’s deceitful attempt at firing the acting U.S. attorney in New York. Last month, they requested a Justice Department inspector general inquiry into Barr’s “politicization” of numerous department actions. But the House Democratic leadership, having lost its fight to impeach Trump, is reluctant to attempt removing Barr from office—meaning that Wednesday’s hearing with Zelinsky may be a high-water mark for pressure on the attorney general. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Journalists Under Attack Show How Trump’s Hate for the Press Has Spread

Journalists Under Attack Show How Trump’s Hate for the Press Has SpreadJournalists have been attacked all over the world while on the job covering protests for years, but never like they were this week in the United States during the George Floyd protests.At least half a dozen incidences of arrests and attacks were reported in protests across the United States this weekend. Some were high profile, like the live-on-air arrest of CNN journalist Omar Jimenez and his crew Friday morning. Others got less attention, like Los Angeles Times reporter Molly Hennessy-Fiske getting pelted with rubber bullets and tear gas or the two Los Angeles Times photographers who were briefly taken into custody. To All Black Journalists: We See You, We Support YouWAVE-TV reporter Kaitlin Rust, who was covering protests in Louisville Saturday night, was shot with pepper bullets while live on air. Video showed a police officer aiming directly at her and her crew. “I’ve been shot! I’ve been shot!” Rust, who was wearing a fluorescent vest, carrying a microphone, and standing in front of a camera, can be heard screaming. Police later apologized for the incident. The next day, MSNBC reporter Garrett Haake also appeared to be hit by a police projectile while reporting live from Washington D.C. “We're gonna make some moves here,” he told the anchor, just moments before he was apparently hit. “We’re gonna end up in a place we don’t wanna be here if we’re not careful.” A crew in Denver tweeted after they were targeted by police there with paintballs and tear gas. “Luckily, I ducked,” one of the journalists wrote. The video journalist who was shooting the protests wasn’t so lucky and was struck.Andrea May Sahouri, a breaking news reporter for The Des Moines Register, said she was arrested Sunday while reporting on protests at a local mall. In a video posted to Twitter from the back of a police car, Sahouri said she was in a crowd of people running from police when she stopped to help her boyfriend, who was hit with tear gas. She said officers approached her, pepper sprayed her, and zip-tied her hands, even as she told them she was a reporter. “I’m just doing my job as a journalist, I’m just out here reporting,” she said.Wall St. Journal reporter Tyler Blint-Welsh reported his ankle was in “searing pain” after NYPD officers allegedly hit him in the face with riot shields and pushed him to the ground. “I was backing away as request, with my hands up,” he tweeted. “My NYPD-issued press badge was clearly visible. I’m just sitting here crying.” Anti-Trump protesters in front of the White House turned their anger to Fox News journalist Leland Vittert who told the Associated Press, “We took a good thumping. The protesters stopped protesting whatever it was they were protesting and turned on us and that was a very different feeling.”Briana Whitney, a reporter in Phoenix, was attacked on air and tweeted, “THIS IS NOT OKAY. This is the moment I was intentionally tackled by this man while I was on air trying to report what was happening during the protest at Phoenix PD headquarters. I feel violated, and this was terrifying. Let us do our jobs. We are trying our very best.”In Chicago, freelance reporter and Daily Beast contributor Jonathan Ballew said he was pepper-sprayed even as he brandished his press credentials.KDKA TV journalist Ian Smith said he was attacked while covering protests in Pittsburgh. “They stomped and kicked me,” he wrote under a photo of him in the back of an ambulance. “I’m bruised and bloody but alive. My camera was destroyed. Another group of protesters pulled me out and saved my life. Thank you!”Journalists have been attacked in the U.S. before, but not nearly as often or as brutal as this weekend. Speaking to The Washington Post, Suzanne Nossel, chief executive of PEN America, blamed animosity towards the press on Trump. “By denigrating journalists so often, he has degraded respect for what journalists do and the crucial role they play in a democracy,” she said. “He’s been remarkably effective in contributing to this topsy-turvy sense that journalists are the opposition.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.



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Coronavirus: Pastor under house arrest defies stay-at-home order and holds packed church service

Coronavirus: Pastor under house arrest defies stay-at-home order and holds packed church serviceLouisiana pastor Tony Spell wore a court-issued ankle bracelet while defying a statewide stay-at-home order to host a packed church service on Sunday during the coronavirus pandemic.The Pentecostal preacher of Life Tabernacle Church in Central led services inside the church and sought donations to his legal defence despite being placed on house arrest after refusing to tell a judge whether he would continue to lead services at the church.



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Colombian capital's mayor under fire for lockdown breach

Colombian capital's mayor under fire for lockdown breachProsecutors in Colombia are investigating Bogota mayor Claudia Lopez for allegedly breaching the country’s strict quarantine rules against the spread of the coronavirus. The state prosecutor’s office said it was investigating Lopez after a video circulated on social media at the weekend showing the mayor shopping at a supermarket with her wife, a senator. The leftist mayor is married to member of the country’s senate, Angelica Lozano.



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Saudi, Russia outline record oil cut under U.S. pressure as demand crashes

Saudi, Russia outline record oil cut under U.S. pressure as demand crashesOPEC, Russia and other allies outlined plans on Thursday to cut their oil output by more than a fifth and said they expected the United States and other producers to join in their effort to prop up prices hammered by the coronavirus crisis. The planned output curbs by OPEC+ amount to 10 million barrels per day (bpd) or 10% of global supplies, with another 5 million bpd expected to come from other nations to help deal with the deepest oil crisis in decades. Global fuel demand has plunged by around 30 million bpd, or 30% of global supplies, as steps to fight the virus have grounded planes, cut vehicle usage and curbed economic activity.



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India to go under total virus lockdown, says PM Modi

India to go under total virus lockdown, says PM ModiIndia’s 1.3 billion people will go under “total lockdown” for 21 days to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Tuesday, sparking panic buying with shoppers clearing out shelves. “From 12 midnight today (1830 GMT Tuesday), the entire country will be in lockdown, total lockdown,” Modi said in a national television address to the world’s second most-populous nation. “To save India, to save its every citizen, you, your family… every street, every neighbourhood is being put under lockdown.”



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