When news first broke that the two Giuliani-linked Soviet-born businessmen who were indicted on charges of interfering in U.S. elections had given $50,000 to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ campaign last year, a spokesperson for DeSantis claimed that the governor barely knew who the men were. Now, thanks to the Tampa Bay Times, video and photos of DeSantis enthusiastically hugging the two men at his victory party have been released.
Since then, DeSantis finally acknowledged that he indeed had a relationship with Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, who have become major figures in the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump’s presidency.
From the Tampa Bay Times:
…the pictures show Parnas wearing a badge stating “official guest” and the two standing next to DeSantis’ teacher from his Dunedin grade school days, a fixture at Tampa Bay area campaign events. Ferré later said “donors were likely invited” by his campaign to the party.
After the images came out, DeSantis admitted that he knew Parnas but he “didn’t know the other guy as much.”
It’s still not known why the contribution, which took place one day before President Trump endorsed DeSantis, was given, but prosecutors contend that the pair’s contributions were in exchange for political favors. DeSantis has since ordered his political committee to return the $50,000 donation.
The Miami Herald reported Wednesday that Parnas and Fruman may have sought a foothold into Florida’s lucrative medical marijuana market. As of Friday, DeSantis had not called for an investigation. A lawyer for the men didn’t respond to a request for comment.
In many respects, Parnas and Fruman reflect the pool of people DeSantis turned to when he declared his candidacy as a relatively unknown congressman and Trump ally. Running for governor without the support of Florida’s GOP’s establishment, DeSantis leaned on Trump’s network of financiers, some with backgrounds that likely would have raised red flags in other campaigns.
Read the Tampa Bay Times’ full report here.
Trump blows up at Fox News reporter for asking him about disbanding pandemic team
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump lost his temper at a coronavirus press briefing when Fox News correspondent John Roberts asked him about his administration disbanding the pandemic response team.
"We didn't do that. That turned out to be a false story," said Trump. (It is not a false story.) "Now you're starting to go — are you working for CNN?"
"I'm pointing out what they have said and what you have said, that's all," said Roberts.
"Fox isn't so easy either, don't kid yourself," whined Trump. "Look, John, let me tell you something. You know that's a false story. What you just said is a false story, this doctor knows it better than anybody ... you shouldn't be repeating a story that you know is false."
More than 1 in 5 ventilators in federal government stockpile is holding for emergencies don’t work
As the coronavirus is raging through the United States, President Donald Trump has begun releasing personal protective equipment from federal stockpiles as well as much-needed ventilators. Unfortunately, however, one in five ventilators from the government don't work.
The New York Times reported Wednesday that there are 10,000 ventilators that the government is holding back for the next wave of the emergency.
"But what federal officials have neglected to mention is that more than 2,000 of the lifesaving devices are unavailable after the contract to maintain the government’s stockpile lapsed late last summer, and a contracting dispute meant that a new firm did not begin its work until late January. By then, the coronavirus crisis was already underway."
Pro-Trump reporter banned from White House briefing room for ignoring social distancing guidelines
On Wednesday, the White House Correspondents Association announced that it would be banning One America News Network reporter Chanel Rion from the press briefing room, after she repeatedly refused to follow social distancing guidelines imposed as a safety precaution against coronavirus.
The WHCA taking action after OANN staffer Chanel Rion repeatedly broke the agreed-upon rules --> https://t.co/8uTRLaVSbd
— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) April 1, 2020