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‘Not totally in the loop’: Republicans fear Mike Pence has lost his spot in Trump’s inner circle

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On the heels of Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation it has been revealed that Vice President Mike Pence spent weeks doing television interviews delivering information based on Flynn’s statements. That information from Flynn has now been found to be a lie and intelligence officials and former officials revealed Flynn discussed American sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to the inauguration.

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Writing for the Washington Post, Robert Costa and Ashley Parker noted that no one sought to tell Pence that he had been misled for weeks, despite having the information. In fact, Pence only found out after the Washington Post broke the story that Flynn lied. Yet, aides to both the president and vice president report that the men speak on the phone or in person multiple times each day.

William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, asked if the ordeal weakened Pence and claimed that everybody is trying to figure out that fact.

Marc Lotter, a spokesman for the vice president, told the Post that Pence only became aware of the Flynn situation last Thursday. “He did an inquiry based on those media accounts.”

Some close to Pence report that he was “blindsided” and “frustrated” by the misleading information. Pence was said to have urged Flynn to publicly apologize instead of resigning, however. It was the White House that found what Flynn did to be unacceptable and took action. After Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus and White House counsel Don McGahn had a conversation with Flynn, Pence decided the former lieutenant general should go.

According to the Post, Pence and Priebus were both troubled by the conversation, “expressed dismay both with Flynn’s answers and the dawning reality that Flynn had deceived Pence.”

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White House officials told the Post that keeping Pence out of the loop wasn’t intentional, rather it was a result of confusion. Despite a long relationship with McGahn, the White house counsel briefed Trump, Priebus and Steve Bannon, assuming that they would pass the information on to the vice president if he needed to know.

“Pence is trying to play a long game, keeping his head down and keeping his powder dry, assuming some of the more flamboyant types will blow up or blow out and he will be there as a trusted counselor a year or so from now,” Kristol said. Adding, “the long game can mislead you. If you end up keeping your powder dry and never using it, you end up being just another guy in the White House.”

Republicans on the hill think it’s harmful to Pence, however. “It’s another example of him not being totally in the loop,” one Republican told the Post.

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Donald Trumps needs a coronavirus scapegoat — and right now it’s China

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"If we are at war, who is the enemy?" asks Fred Hiatt, editorial page editor for The Washington Post in a smart piece that examines the question of who constitutes a target for a self-declared "wartime president."

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Some Trump supporters ‘delight’ in defying pandemic protocols to stick it to liberals: report

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Alternet 2020

Pandemic modelers warn that Trump’s lies may increase the spread of COVID-19

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Welcome to another edition of What Fresh Hell?, Raw Story’s roundup of news items that might have become controversies under another regime, but got buried – or were at least under-appreciated – due to the daily firehose of political pratfalls, unhinged tweet storms and other sundry embarrassments coming out of the current White House.

Epidemiologists model how an infectious disease outbreak may spread within and between communities. The computer models are based on research into past epidemics, the virulence of a pathogen,the  severity of the illness it causes and various other factors. But these scientists assume that leaders will offer a coherent response to the crisis, and that people will modify their behavior appropriately. Trump, the conservative press and the Republican base are upending those assumptions.

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