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Trump administration refuses to close America’s national parks — and now their staffs are up in arms

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Park Ranger Tia Vaughn tells Deputy Secretary Mike Connor about her first season working at Lake Clark National Park and Preserve. Photo by National Park Service.

America’s national parks are still open during the coronavirus pandemic, and it’s causing revolts among staff members who say they and their communities are being put at risk.

The Daily Beast reports that staffers at the Grand Canyon National Park are begging their bosses to temporarily shut down the park until the worst of the disease has passed.

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“We feel our boss is not meeting up with our pleas,” one Grand Canyon ranger tells the publication. “It’s political, to keep up the image… I feel people’s idea of the Grand Canyon is that you can isolate, but there’s two entrances. They are all going to the same view stations and same trails. It funnels people to the same spots.”

Dustin Stone, a former human resources employee at Alaska’s Klondike Goldrush Historic National Park, tells The Daily Beast that he resigned his job because his boss was not taking the threat of the virus seriously.

“Being told over and over again that, ‘The system is working, trust the system, it’s taking its time,’ was like being given the middle finger over and over again,” Stone explained in an interview. “There is no time for bureaucracy right now when hours are so important.”

The National Parks Service says that it has so far found at least seven of its employees have been infected with the virus, although the agency in recent days has grown more secretive when it comes to confirming cases.

“Smoky Mountain National Park Spokesperson Dana Soehn on Saturday said she could no longer confirm the coronavirus case she had previously confirmed… citing the new policy,” The Daily Beast writes.

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2020 Election

Trump’s Georgia rally will be a ‘grievance-fest’ and he’ll ignore the GOP’s Senate candidates: Republican insiders

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According to a report from the Independent, Georgia Republicans are nervously eyeing Donald Trump's planned rally in their state late Saturday having no idea whether he will lend them a hand holding onto the two seats in the U.S. Senate or whether he will spend the time ranting about the election he believes was stolen from him.

With both Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler's seats at stake -- as well as control of the U.S. Senate -- Republicans have been working overtime to correct the impression that voter fraud led to the state's 16 Electoral College votes going to former Vice President Joe Biden and cost Trump a second term.

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CNBC’s Rick Santelli ripped as ‘psychopath’ for on-air ‘meltdown’ over COVID-19 restrictions

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CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin and Rick Santelli clashed over coronavirus restrictions, setting off another round of discussion on social media.

The conservative Santelli loudly insisted that bars and restaurants, which are shut down in many areas, were no more dangerous than large retailers, which have mostly been allowed to stay open, and Sorkin cut him off.

“Rick, just as a public-health and public-service announcement for the audience, the difference between a big-box retailer and a restaurant or, frankly, even a church, are so different it’s unbelievable,” Sorkin said, as Santelli kept interrupting. “Going into a big-box retailer, you’re wearing a mask.”

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Federal judge says Trump pardon of Michael Flynn may have been ‘too broad’: report

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A trial judge has raised the possibility that the federal judge overseeing the case of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn could find that President Trump's pardon of Flynn may be "too broad," according to The National Law Journal.

The comments “came unexpectedly” during a Freedom of Information Act hearing about releasing documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's office, according to BuzzFeed reporter Jason Leopold.

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