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Trump is doing what ‘predators’ do — ‘he’s grooming his victims’: former federal prosecutor

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During a panel discussion on MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell this Tuesday night, former federal prosecutor Barbara McQuade argued that President Trump’s latest round of pardons and commutations is designed to normalize the notion that “corruption is not a big deal.”

According to host Lawrence O’Donnell, none of Trump’s action make sense now unless it is somehow related to the trial and sentencing of his longtime confidant Roger Stone.

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“If Roger Stone is not willing to do a single night in prison, never mind all the way to [the November election], then Donald Trump may be facing a pardon demand, in effect, from Roger Stone right now,” O’Donnell said.

“I think President Trump is doing what predators do, and that is grooming his victims,” McQuade replied. “He is desensitizing the public to this idea that corruption is not a big deal, and so by pardoning people like Rod Blagojevich and others who were engaged in corrupt activity … he is saying to the world, ‘These aren’t serious crimes, nobody got hurt, they weren’t violent, and so similarly when Roger Stone’s name is the next one to come up for a pardon, he just gets groups into that whole category of people who haven’t done anything all that bad.”

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Trump administration quietly guts COVID-19 paid leave provision that already excluded 75 percent of workers

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The Trump administration has quietly issued new guidance that will exempt many small businesses from having to provide some workers with paid leave during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department of Labor issued a temporary rule Wednesday that effectively exempted businesses with fewer than 50 workers from being required to provide 12 weeks of paid leave for workers whose children are suddenly at home from school or child care under the coronavirus stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump is deploying national guardsman to provide pandemic support without any health benefits: report

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The National Guard are an essential part of the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and thousands of them have potentially been exposed to infected civilians, making it a particularly dangerous and important time to serve.

But according to The Daily Beast, the guard has been deployed in a way that prevents them from being eligible for the military's health care system.

"The approximately 20,000 guardsmen who have been called up to help states around the country deal with the spread of the coronavirus are federalized on what’s called Title 32 status, which puts them in command of their various state governors but with the federal government paying costs," wrote senior national security correspondent Spencer Ackerman. "But according to the National Guard’s advocates and the U.S. governors’ association, the guardsmen are activated on orders that last 30 days. That puts them one single day shy of the requirement allowing the military health insurance system known as TRICARE — think of it as Medicare For All In Uniform — to cover them."

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Vaccine researchers grew ‘alarmed’ as Trump’s CDC wasted weeks of their time with a flawed coronavirus test: report

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According to a report from the Washington Post, in the early days as health officials became concerned about the possibility of the COVID-19 pandemic blossoming out of China, researchers sat and wasted days they could have used to start developing a vaccine because they were assured by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that a testing kit was on its way.

As it turned out, that test was flawed.

Relying on emails and interviews, the Post is reporting, "On a Jan. 15 conference call, a leading scientist at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention assured local and state public health officials from across the nation that there would soon be a test to detect a mysterious virus spreading from China. Stephen Lindstrom told them the threat was remote and they may not need the test his team was developing 'unless the scope gets much larger than we anticipate,' according to an email summarizing the call."

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