By Robert A. Vella
Habitual lying is a trademark of the Trump administration because this thoroughly corrupt president demands loyalty and obedience from his subordinates regardless of cost. However, these underlings also realize that Donald Trump may well lose his reelection bid and that their service to him might damage their professional reputations and could even leave them exposed to civil and/or criminal liability. So, these officials are trying to walk a very fine line between subservience and malpractice. Such is the case today with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy who was pressured into admitting yesterday that he had discussions with Trump campaign personnel about his highly controversial restructuring changes at the U.S. Postal Service, and with FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn who confessed to making false claims on Sunday about an unproven blood plasma treatment which Trump is promoting as a miracle cure for COVID-19.
Meanwhile, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James is seeking legal enforcement of subpoenas issued under a state investigation of the Trump Organization for financial fraud. Eric Trump seems to be the main target since he has openly refused to comply with the subpoenas.
The Republican, err I mean Trump National Convention began last night with a parade of Trump insiders and sycophants who spewed out streams of disinformation, demonizing attacks on Democrats, while avoiding the President’s actual record on the coronavirus pandemic and economic collapse. At the same time, former FBI Director James Comey, former RNC Chaiman Michael Steele, and many other notable Republicans, spoke in opposition to Trump at a rival event called the Convention on Founding Principles (CFP20) which will continue this week. When a president is so polarizing that even his own political party is torn over him, it speaks volumes about the character of the man as well as his reelection chances.
After telling Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va. [in the House Oversight Committee hearing], that he has “had no contact with the Trump campaign” about the Postal Service, [Louis] DeJoy backtracked to clarify that he has discussed his new role with “friends … that are associated with the campaign.”
“Did you not tell the Board of Governors this month, in August, that in fact you had had contact with the Trump campaign to ask them to stop their attacks on the postal service and voting by mail?” Connolly asked.
“I have put word around that this is not helpful,” DeJoy said.
“So you did have contact with the Trump campaign, for a good purpose?” Connolly followed up.
“I’m trying to think,” DeJoy said. “When you say the Trump campaign, I have not spoken to Trump campaign leadership in that regard. I’ve spoken to people that are friends of mine that are associated with the campaign, yes.”
At a news conference on Sunday announcing the emergency approval of blood plasma for hospitalized Covid-19 patients, President Trump and two of his top health officials cited the same statistic: that the treatment had reduced deaths by 35 percent.
Mr. Trump called it a “tremendous” number. His health and human services secretary, Alex M. Azar II, a former pharmaceutical executive, said, “I don’t want you to gloss over this number.” And Dr. Stephen M. Hahn, the commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, said 35 out of 100 Covid-19 patients “would have been saved because of the administration of plasma.”
But scientists were taken aback by the way the administration framed this data, which appeared to have been calculated based on a small subgroup of hospitalized Covid-19 patients in a Mayo Clinic study: those who were under 80 years old, not on ventilators and received plasma known to contain high levels of virus-fighting antibodies within three days of diagnosis.
What’s more, many experts — including a scientist who worked on the Mayo Clinic study — were bewildered about where the statistic came from. The number was not mentioned in the official authorization letter issued by the agency, nor was it in a 17-page memo written by F.D.A. scientists. It was not in an analysis conducted by the Mayo Clinic that has been frequently cited by the administration.
“For the first time ever, I feel like official people in communications and people at the F.D.A. grossly misrepresented data about a therapy,” said Dr. Walid Gellad, who leads the Center for Pharmaceutical Policy and Prescribing at the University of Pittsburgh.
New York State Attorney General Letitia James has called on a judge to compel Eric Trump to comply with a subpoena as part of the state’s investigation into the Trump Organization’s financial dealings.
The investigation stems from Congressional testimony by Donald Trump‘s former attorney Michael Cohen who said the president’s “annual financial statements inflated the values of Trump’s assets to obtain favorable terms for loans and insurance coverage, while also deflating the value of other assets to reduce real estate taxes,” James said in a statement.
The New York AG’s office has been investigating the Trump Organization for over a year on various deals, including the attempted purchase of the Buffalo Bills, according to court papers. James said despite offering cooperation, the organization has not turned over key documents her office has sought in the investigation, and has instructed key witnesses, including Donald Trump’s son Eric, to refuse to testify under oath despite subpoenas.
Republican Trump National Convention
CFP20 – How to Watch – Tune in Monday, August 24th at 8:30 pm ET for the opening night of the Convention on Founding Principles: Featuring: – R. Derek Black, Advocate for Anti-Racism – Amanda Carpenter, Political commentator and author – Mona Charen, Political commentator and columnist – Vicki Courtney, Evangelical author and public speaker – Mark Galli, religion journalist – Michael Hayden, Former CIA and NSA Director – Clarence Mingo, Businessman and former Ohio Republican official – James Comey, Former FBI Director – Michael Steele, Former Chairman, Republican National Committee – Evan McMullin, Co-Founder, Stand Up Republic – Mindy Finn, Co-Founder, Stand Up Republic – Heath Mayo, Founder, Principles First
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