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Dr. Fauci reveals he’s no longer meeting with Trump as COVID-19 task force withers away

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Anthony Fauci appears on CNN (screen grab)

A STAT Q&A with Dr. Anthony Fauci revealed that the top infectious diseases expert in the country no longer has the meetings with President Donald Trump that he once did. Nor is the Coronavirus Task Force meeting as often as they once were.

The United States surpassed 104,000 deaths from the virus, and it’s expected that there will be an uptick in COVID-19 cases as states continue reopening. At the same time, unrest in cities has prompted police to use pepper spray and tear gas, which can cause coughing and sneezing from people who may be asymptomatic but have the virus.

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Dr. Fauci explained that he understands the desire for states and cities to reopen and for Americans to get back to work and some sense of normalization.

“But it’s a big country, and the dynamics of the outbreak are different from one part of the country to another. If people want to get out, they’ve really got to gauge it with the level of the outbreak in their particular area,” he explained.

“When I see a situation where there is a region, a state, a city, a county where there’s a considerable amount of viral activity there, and you see people crowding around bars — and there were several pictures of that, that was quite striking over the last couple of days — or on boardwalks, where they’re very, very close to each other, I do get concerned,” he went on.

When asked if he speaks to the president about the work being done to create the vaccine, Dr. Fauci answered simply, “no.”

“We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting, we’d meet with the president. So, I was meeting with him four times a week back, a month or so ago,” he said. “But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly, my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased.”

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Read the full interview with STAT.


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Trump supporters linked to Steve Bannon pushing ‘fantastical rumors’ to try to ‘pizzagate’ Joe Biden: report

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NBC News on Thursday published a blockbuster report on efforts to smear former Vice President Joe Biden.

"Some of the same people who pushed a false conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton that first emerged in 2016 are now targeting Hunter Biden, Joe Biden's son, with similar falsehoods. Their online posts are garnering astronomical numbers of shares on social media," NBC News correspondents Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny reported Thursday.

"The fantastical rumors, which NBC News is declining to repeat verbatim, echo specific plot points central to 'pizzagate,' a viral disinformation campaign that predates QAnon but also falsely alleges a vast conspiracy of child abuse," NBC News explained. "There is an important difference, however. The pizzagate-style rumors in 2016 were largely confined to far-right message boards like 4chan and parts of Reddit. But the Hunter Biden iteration of the same conspiracy theory took off last weekend with the help of speculation from conservative TV hosts and members of Congress. Their theorizing can be traced back to a new website that has been promoted by President Donald Trump and his surrogates."

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2020 Election

Pennsylvania AG warns Trump campaign poll watchers to stop videotaping voters

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On Thursday, The Daily Beast reported that the attorney general of Pennsylvania is warning Trump campaign surrogates to stop videotaping voters dropping off mail-in ballots.

"In a statement, Josh Shapiro, the Democratic state attorney general, said, 'Pennsylvania law permits poll watchers to carry out very discrete and specific duties — videotaping voters at drop boxes is not one of them,'" reported Blake Montgomery.

"The campaign has filed complaints with Philadelphia officials based on the videos, alleging fraud on the part of several voters who submitted two or three ballots, according to The New York Times," continued the report. "The Trump campaign initially said the purpose of the videotaping was to catch voters who dropped off a large number of fraudulent ballots rather than one or two, according to the Times."

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2020 Election

GOP candidate attacks opponent with racist website about his adviser working for ‘non-white males’

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The 2020 campaign cycle continues to get uglier with a North Carolina Republican making explicitly racist attacks on his Democratic Party opponent.

"Anew attack website put up by the Madison Cawthorn campaign includes an explicitly racist broadside against his opponent, Moe Davis (D-NC), for associating himself with people who want to 'ruin white males.' For real," Tim Miller of The Bulwark reported Thursday.

"The website, MoeTaxes.com takes aim at Davis over one of his advisors Tom Fielder. It says that Fielder 'quit his academia job in Boston to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker who aims to ruin white males.' Putting the atrocious syntax aside… Quitting one’s job to work for someone who isn’t white is . . . a problem now? Booker’s blackness is the issue that offends you?" Miller asked. "In Donald Trump’s white grievance party, apparently so."

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