(AP) – Russia is sending a plane with medical supplies such as masks to help the U.S. fight the coronavirus pandemic. The plane will arrive today after President Trump accepted an offer earlier this week from Russian President Vladimir Putin to send personal protective equipment and other gear.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs tweeted a photo of its largest cargo aircraft filled with boxes of masks and equipment to “help save the lives of American citizens.”
Trump Administration officials say the U.S. will immediately put items to use that are approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
(Washington, DC) – Lawmakers are pressing CDC Director Robert Redfield about the growing coronavirus threat.
During a House hearing, Connecticut Democrat Rosa DeLauro stressed that it is a real and growing crisis. She argued that the U.S. is behind the curve on the availability and distribution of coronavirus test kits. Redfield said health officials are working hard to push accurate tests out as quickly as possible. He cited a government “regulatory process” that had to be navigated.
Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said a “deadly new disease is just a plane ride away.” He noted that there is a long road ahead with many unknowns.
New York Democrat Nita Lowey called the coronavirus crisis an emergency and criticized the Trump administration’s response.
Meantime, California Democrat Barbara Lee noted that store shelves have been stripped of hand sanitizer and said many people need it if they can’t get to a source of hot water and soap. Redfield said he could not address shortages in the consumer supply chain but he vowed to look into it.
The number of deaths in the United States from the coronavirus is topping 100. West Virginia reported its first case of the virus making the total number of cases in the U.S. is just over 58-hundred. A large majority are being reported in New York and Washington state. Cases have now been confirmed in all 50 states and Puerto Rico.
Illinois reported its first death today as a result of the virus, joining 18 total states. Nearly 85-percent of those who have died were older than 60 and about 45-percent were older than 80. Of the first 100 reported fatalities, many people appear to have had underlying health conditions including diabetes and kidney disease.
(Washington, DC-AP) — The director of the CDC says the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow. Doctor Robert Redfield told reporters the number has gone over 600 cases, but the increase was expected as time goes on.
Cases have been reported in at least 35 states and the District of Columbia. Redfield says they are keeping an eye on several community outbreaks.
He argued that despite the increase in cases, the risk of the illness to Americans remains low.
Five members of Congress are now isolated after being exposed to someone with coronavirus. And two of them spent time with President Trump.
Matt Gaetz of Florida was on Air Force One today and Doug Collins of Georgia shook Trump’s hand Friday. Both men decided to stay home out of caution.
Same goes for California Congresswoman Julia Brownley who also closed her DC office for the week. This comes after Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar went into self-quarantine yesterday.
(Washington, DC-AP) – CDC officials say a coronavirus outbreak in the U.S. appears inevitable. After closed briefings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill today, Dr. Nancy Messonnier spoke with news reporters and said it’s not a matter of if but when.
The U.S. has 53 confirmed cases, including 36 people evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan.
Meanwhile, Health Secretary Alex Azar is facing more heat over the growing coronavirus threat. During a House hearing, Azar defended the Trump administration’s request for two-point-five-billion-dollars in emergency funding to prepare for the coronavirus.
Democrats have called it too little, too late. New York Democrat Nita Lowey criticized the Trump administration for budget cuts in U.S. global health programs, including at the CDC. She called it disastrous.
Azar said the emergency funding request is flexible and stressed that more money could be requested later, if necessary. Meantime, Oklahoma Republican Tom Cole said the threat of a global pandemic is more serious than a major terrorist attack.
(Washington, DC-AP) – Democrats are angry that congressional leaders were not briefed before the U.S. airstrike that killed a top Iranian military leader in Iraq.
Lawmakers are expected to get a classified briefing on the incident this week. The briefing will likely be conducted by CIA Director Gina Haspel, Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Meantime, House Democrats are planning a vote this week on a war powers resolution aimed at limiting President Trump’s military actions on Iran. The House resolution would have little chance of passage in the Republican-led Senate.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the airstrike endangered U.S. service-members and diplomats by “risking a serious escalation of tensions with Iran.” The House resolution would have little chance of passage in the Republican-led Senate.
(Washington, DC) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says President Trump has been held accountable and insists that “no one is above the law.” Talking with reporters at the Capitol, Pelosi called this week’s impeachment of the President a solemn and necessary action. She said she has not decided who will prosecute the case in a Senate trial and when the articles of impeachment will be formally submitted to the Senate. Pelosi argued that the process guiding a Senate trial should be fair.
Pelosi dismissed questions about critical comments from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell suggested that House Dems are getting cold feet about sending impeachment articles to the Senate. Pelosi said she doesn’t care what Republicans think.
There are two articles of impeachment: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress.
(Kiev-AP) – President Trump’s personal attorney is back in Ukraine seeking to shift attention off the impeachment inquiry and on to political rivals.
The New York Times reports Rudy Giuliani met with a former Ukrainian prosecutor and is a key figure in the impeachment inquiry in Budapest on Tuesday.
He’s now in Kiev meeting with other former Ukrainian prosecutors.
All three of the former prosecutors have been accused of corruption in the past. The Times says Giuliani is talking to them for a documentary series that will debunk the case for impeachment.
(Washington, DC-AP) – The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing President Trump of “witness intimidation, in real time.”
During a break in testimony in the latest public House impeachment hearing, California Democrat Adam Schiff suggested that a tweet from Trump, during the hearing, was designed to have a chilling effect on witness testimony. Trump attacked testimony from former U.S.-Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.
Trump tweeted, “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad.” Asked to respond to the tweet, Yovanovitch defended her long service as a U.S. diplomat. She said — “I actually think that where I’ve served over the years, I and others have demonstrably made things better, for the U.S. as well as for the countries that I’ve served in.”
Yovanovitch also said it is important for Ukraine to “move out of Russia’s orbit.” The veteran diplomat said Russian influences have fueled considerable corruption in Ukraine. She alleged that “foreign and corrupt interests” have “hijacked” U.S.-Ukraine policy. She also argued that the State Department has been “hollowed out from within.”
Yovanovitch was recalled earlier this year after running afoul of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who was conducting unofficial diplomacy in Ukraine. Giuliani was pressuring Ukraine to launch an investigation of Democrats.
(Washington, DC-AP) – A federal jury says President Trump’s confidante Roger Stone is guilty on all seven counts. Stone was brought to trial as part of the Mueller investigation for his attempts to learn what information WikiLeaks had on hacked Democratic emails during the 2016 election.
Stone was charged with lying to Congress, obstruction of justice and witness intimidation. The jury deliberated for less than two days.
The 67-year-old Stone could face up to 50 years in prison. Stone’s attorneys had argued that he was not intentionally dishonest.
They also claimed the case against their client was politically motivated. Stone has been a longtime friend and adviser to Donald Trump since well before he decided to run for president in 2016.
(Portland, OR-AP) – A federal judge is blocking a Trump administration policy that denies visas to immigrants without health insurance. The decision is based on claims by immigrant activists that the policy would separate immigrant families.
The White House says the policy is aimed at protecting American taxpayers from having to foot the bill for immigrants’ health care.