Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr, a Republican from North Carolina, had a blunt warning in February about the dire impact of the novel coronavirus during a private event in Washington. NPR obtained a recording of Burr speaking on February 27 at a North Carolina state society event, in which he warned about the dangers the virus posed to the US at the same time that President Donald Trump was downplaying the risk of coronavirus. In his remarks at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, a private GOP social club, Burr warned attendees they might have to alter their travel, schools could close and the military would get involved in the response inside the US. "There's one thing that I can tell you about this: It is much more aggressive in its transmission than anything that we have seen in recent history," Burr said, according to the recording obtained by NPR. "It is probably more akin to the 1918 pandemic." read more
Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Tuesday that he was unaware of any indication from his agency that physical barriers along America's borders would help halt the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. " contradicting an assertion President Donald Trump made earlier in the day. Appearing before House lawmakers to testify about the public health crisis and the White House's budget request for his agency, Redfield was asked by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) if the CDC's recommendations for combating the coronavirus addressed whether "structural barriers" at the borders "would be of any use in mitigating" the growing outbreak. "Not that I've seen," Redfield replied.
Cutting to the heart of the matter with her characteristic bluntness, Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez this week pointed out the absurdity of placing Pence in charge of a potentially looming health crisis. "Mike Pence literally does not believe in science," she tweeted on Wednesday. "It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic. This decision could cost people their lives. Pence's past decisions already have," she said. read more
Sixty-four white supremacists have been sentenced to a combined total of 820 years' imprisonment in what is believed to be the largest collective prosecution of white supremacists in the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Texas. read more
Rudy Giuliani associate Lev Parnas has shown up unexpectedly on Capitol Hill, where he is demanding to meet with senators to tell his side of the impeachment scandal story. read more