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Trump calls legally protected whistleblowing a ‘racket’ as fired scientist rips president’s failed COVID-19 response

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Dr. Rick Bright (Screen Capture)

President Donald Trump late Sunday railed against legally protected whistleblowing as a “racket” that should be investigated after federal scientist Dr. Rick Bright—who was fired from his post at Department of Health and Human Services last month—condemned the White House’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic as fatally slow, disjointed, and inadequate.

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In a Sunday night tweet-storm, Trump baselessly called Bright a “fake” whistleblower and a “disgruntled employee who supports Dems” after CBS News aired the scientist’s “60 Minutes” interview.

“I’m frustrated at our inability to be heard as scientists… We don’t yet have a national strategy to respond fully to this pandemic.”
—Dr. Rick Bright

“I don’t know this guy, never met him, but don’t like what I see,” the president continued. “How can a creep like this show up to work tomorrow and report to [HHS Secretary Alex Azar], his boss, after trashing him on T.V.? This whole Whistleblower racket needs to be looked at very closely, it is causing great injustice and harm.”

Bright is a leading vaccine expert who said in a formal whistleblower complaint to the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) earlier this month that he was removed from his position at HHS in April in retaliation for questioning the administration’s promotion of untested Covid-19 treatments like hydroxychloroquine.

The ousted head of HHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority also alleged that Trump administration officials pressured him to steer lucrative federal contracts to companies with “political connections” to the White House. Bright said he was moved to a lower-ranking role at the National Institutes of Health.

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The OSC, the independent agency that investigates whistleblower complaints, found that there is evidence supporting Bright’s claim that he was the target of retaliation by the Trump administration and informed the scientist’s lawyers that it will ask HHS to stay his removal.

Irvin McCullough, deputy legislative director at the Government Accountability Project, characterized Trump’s tweet as a threat to dismantle federal whistleblower protections and urged members of Congress to condemn the president’s comments.

“How can federal employees feel safe to speak up when the president wants to take away their legal protections?” McCullough said in response to Trump’s tweet, which was hardly the first time the president has publicly attacked a whistleblower.

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In his appearance on “60 Minutes,” his first public comments since testifying before the House last week, Bright pushed back against Trump’s claims that he is merely a “disgruntled” employee.

“I am not disgruntled, I am frustrated at a lack of leadership,” Bright said. “I am frustrated at a lack of urgency to get a head start on developing live-saving tools for Americans. I’m frustrated at our inability to be heard as scientists… We don’t yet have a national strategy to respond fully to this pandemic.”

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Watch the full interview:


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2020 Election

GOP senator offended LDS community after likening Trump to a ‘selfless’ Book of Mormon hero: report

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Politics and religion are colliding out west after comments a Republican senator made while stumping for the president.

"Sen. Mike Lee drew criticism from members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this week after comparing President Donald Trump to Captain Moroni, a heroic and selfless figure in the Book of Mormon," The Arizona Republic reported Friday evening.

"To my Mormon friends, my Latter-day Saint friends, think of him as Captain Moroni," Lee (R-UT) said, pointing to Trump. "He seeks not power, but to pull it down. He seeks not the praise of the world or the ‘fake news,’ but he seeks the well-being and the peace of the American people."

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2020 Election

Al Franken warns voters Mitch McConnell ‘is not as charming as he looks’ on HBO’s ‘Real Time’

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Former Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) showed off the sense of rumor that put him on "Saturday Night Live" during a Friday night appearance on HBO's "Real Time" with Bill Maher.

The two politically-minded comedians had a fascinating debate on what would happen if President Donald Trump refuses to leave office on January 20, 2021.

Franken said that would be a good thing, as it would mean Trump lost and would be escorted from the premises. Maher, however, had far less faith in America's institutions.

The two agreed to disagree on the topic.

Franken urged viewers to vote for Democrats in Senate races, warning that if Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) remains in power he would block everything a potential Joe Biden administration might try to accomplish.

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2020 Election

HBO’s Bill Maher takes on ‘Trump thugs’ and super-spreader rallies in final ‘Real Time’ before the election

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HBO "Real Time" host Bill Maher reviewed the latest news on the Friday night before 2020 election.

"Four days until the election," he noted. "As Stormy Daniels once said, 'Let's just get this over with!'"

He noted the huge turnout and said, "the Supreme Court said some of the votes may even be counted."

"Trump has not been this scared of the mail since the draft," he joked.

Maher also took on the "Trump thugs" and counseled voters on an obscene comment they could say to MAGA poll watchers.

The host also discussed Trump's super-spreader events and the COVID-19 outbreak in the White House.

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