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Trump-loving megachurch pastor arrested for packing church with hundreds despite COVID-19 warnings

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A Florida megachurch pastor was arrested on Monday after repeatedly flouting warnings by local officials not to hold services during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister announced the arrest warrant Monday issued against Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne, who led crowded services Sunday at his at The River at Tampa Bay Church, reported WTVT-TV.

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“His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” Chronister said.

Howard-Browne, an outspoken supporter of President Donald Trump, refused to close its doors despite a “safer at home” order issued by the county meant to slow the spread of the coronavirus outbreak.

“They are trying to beat me up, you know, over having the church operational,” Howard-Browne said on a livestream of Sunday’s services. “But we are not non-essential.”

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The pastor was charged with unlawful assembly in violation of public health emergency rules, a second-degree misdemeanor, and State attorney Andrew Warren warned that others could also face charges for disobeying public health orders.

Records show he was was booked into a local jail and released about 40 minutes later after posting $500 bail.

The sheriff estimated 400 to 500 worshipers packed Sunday’s services, and he chastised Howard-Browne for telling his followers that the coronavirus was a hoax.

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“I was appalled and also frightened at the fact that those individuals were thinking and believing they were doing the right thing,” Chronister said. “How many people are they going to infect if they have this #COVID19 now that they’re going to spread it back to the community as they return back to where they live?”

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MSNBC’s ‘demotion’ of ‘feckless’ Chuck Todd celebrated: ‘Hurray! More Nicolle, less Chuck’

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MSNBC host Chuck Todd was moved to an earlier timeslot where his show, "Meet the Press Daily," will likely earn lower ratings. Meanwhile, Nicolle Wallace seems to have been promoted to a two-hour timeslot leading into primetime.

Wallace, who has extensive experience in Washington, previously served in George W. Bush's White House until abandoning the GOP as the era of Trump came to power.

Todd has made several missteps where he's been unwilling to press GOP leaders who lie openly and obviously on camera.

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George Conway blasts ‘blundering cheat’ Trump in new op-ed: ‘His name should live in infamy’

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Prominent conservative attorney George T. Conway III has written yet another Washington Post op-ed blasting President Donald Trump.

"If there’s one thing we know about President Trump, it’s that he lies and he cheats. Endlessly," Conway wrote. "And shamelessly. But still, mostly, incompetently."

"So it should have come as no surprise that Trump finally went where no U.S. president had ever gone before. In a tweet last week, he actually suggested that the country 'Delay the Election.' That trial balloon was a brazen effort to see if he can defraud his way into four more years in the White House," he explained. "And why not try? After all, Trump has managed to swindle his way through life, on matters large and small, essential and trivial."

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Trump’s ‘delay the election’ tweet laid the groundwork for him and his followers to have an excuse if he loses

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Writing in The New York Times this Monday, Gail Collins and Bret Stephens discuss their contention that President Trump is seeing the writing on the wall regarding the 2020 election, an analysis born from his recent tweet where he suggests delaying the election.

According to Stephens, Trump's tweet is a sign that he knows "in his heart" that he's going to lose in November.

"He’s laying the groundwork not for a coup but for an excuse, both for himself and for his followers," Stephens says. "It creates a mythology to explain defeat, attack Joe Biden and keep the Trump family relevant in the Republican Party. The fact that he’d pull a stunt like this is another reason it’s so important that he lose in a landslide in November."

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