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Intelligence agencies saw growing risk from coronavirus-like outbreak — but stayed quiet for fear of Trump’s wrath

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U.S. intelligence agencies have been warning against the likelihood of a global pandemic — just as coronavirus seems poised to become — but have recently backed down for fear of angering President Donald Trump.

Intelligence analysts assessed in 2017 and 2018 that a pandemic could strain resources and harm the global economy, but they agreed not to release a public warning so far this year because they’re reluctant to discuss intelligence that might displease the president, officials told NBC News.

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“We assess that the United States and the world will remain vulnerable to the next flu pandemic or large-scale outbreak of a contagious disease that could lead to massive rates of death and disability, severely affect the world economy, strain international resources, and increase calls on the United States for support,” said the most recent worldwide threat assessment, issued in January 2019 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

But so far this year the leaders of intelligence agencies have agreed not to release their threat assessments publicly, which has prevented Congress from getting public testimony about the implications of the outbreak’s impact on the economy and national security.

The intelligence analysis found that outbreaks are being spread from animals to humans, just as COVID-19 is believed to have originated — and analysts even mentioned a close cousin to the coronavirus strain in one report.


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Democrats win another voting rights victory as absentee restrictions struck down in South Carolina

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On Monday, voting rights attorney Marc Elias reported that a federal court has blocked a restriction on absentee ballots for the upcoming South Carolina primary.

The ruling undoes a requirement that mail-in ballots be accompanied by a witness.

BREAKING: @DCCC, @TheDemocrats, and @scdp score major voting rights victory in South Carolina. Federal Court blocks witness requirement for absentee ballots in June primary.

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GOP ripped for refusing to remove Trump from office: ‘Folly of that failure becomes clearer by the day’

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Republicans seeking to keep control of the United States Senate were harshly criticized by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for failing to remove President Donald Trump from office during impeachment.

"For four years now, as both a candidate and president, Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked America’s voting system, falsely claiming voter fraud any time it suited his needs. In a new low, last week he threatened the federal funding of two states over their reasonable moves to facilitate mail-in voting," the newspaper noted in an editorial published online on Memorial Day. "What does it say that the head of the world’s leading democracy is so intent on undermining that democracy?"

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Fox News commentator slammed for mocking Joe Biden’s decision to wear a mask

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On Monday, during his observance of Memorial Day, former Vice President Joe Biden donned a face mask in accordance with CDC guidelines — a contrast with President Donald Trump, who has frequently refused to wear a mask even in some places that require them.

But Fox News senior analyst Brit Hume went out of his way to mock how Biden looked wearing it.

This might help explain why Trump doesn’t like to wear a mask in public. Biden today. pic.twitter.com/9l1gw1ljBE

— Brit Hume (@brithume) May 25, 2020

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