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Here’s how Pelosi and Schumer called Trump’s bluff — and hung the shutdown around his neck

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In a deep dive into the relationship between House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Politico reveals that the two have formed a pact that any dealings with President Donald Trump will be conducted jointly as a show of power.

According to the report, Trump sought to speak with Schumer alone in the hopes of getting the senator to work with him on getting a border wall deal that would pass muster in Senate with the help of Democrats.

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Despite a history of having one-on-one meetings with the president, Schumer said no more, telling the president’s advisers: “Only with Nancy.”

Forced to meet with the two together, Trump allowed the media to cover their now-public debate where the frustrated Trump blurted out that he would be proud to shut down the government — which has come back to haunt him.

According to the report, “Republicans have tried to drive a wedge between the duo for more than a month now. They’ve cast Schumer as eager to cut a deal and Pelosi as an impediment. They’ve floated the idea that Pelosi would be more willing to compromise after she was elected speaker.”

Instead, as Politico reports, “By setting a model of unity, Schumer and Pelosi have also kept moderates in their caucus from breaking ranks and underscored how difficult it will be for Trump to get Democrats to fold. From House freshmen in Trump-held districts to centrist Senate Democrats like Joe Manchin of West Virginia, they’ve all said: Open the government, then let’s talk about the border.”

Democratic lawmakers say the dynamic works because each one recognizes what the other brings to the table.

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“She is the lead Democrat by virtue of her title and majority status,” explained Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VVA). “He kind of is playing the role of wingman right now [but] I think Chuck is a pro and I think he understands roles ebb and flow.”

Added Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), “It forces Republicans to think differently about their strategy if they see Nancy and Chuck as a unit for the next two years.”

You can read more here.

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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."

While it is obvious that the enemy, in this case, is a tiny, sticky, invisible microbe that stubbornly gloms onto surfaces or leaps through the air to weaponize subway cars or shared gym equipment or a touch to the face.

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

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A new report from The Atlantic's McKay Coppins reveals that some conservative Trump supporters are intentionally defying recommended social distancing protocols as a way to stick it to their political foes.

In his article, Coppins interviews Georgia resident Geoff Frost, who says that older conservatives who play at his local country club have made a habit of blowing off recommendations against shaking hands and sharing golf carts during the worst public health crisis the United States has faced in decades.

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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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