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Trump’s vaccine contracts scrutinized over special protections for drug execs: report

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According to Politico, the Trump administration’s contracts with drug companies to produce a COVID-19 vaccine have transparency problems, with drug executives shielded from disclosing conflicts of interest.

“The arrangement, which is covered through a $611,500 contract for ‘Operation Warp Speed,’ raises more questions about the transparency of the pandemic response and the roles of outside contractors, including top coronavirus vaccine adviser Moncef Slaoui, who are helping steer the government’s $10 billion development program,” reported Dan Diamond. “It’s also paying for several other consultants whose roles have not been previously reported, including Carlo de Notaristefani, a pharmaceutical industry veteran who the Department of Health and Human Services said is overseeing all of the program’s manufacturing. As consultants, instead of political appointees, Slaoui and de Notaristefani can sidestep the ethics disclosures required of federal workers.”

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Slaoui’s conflicts were first reported in May by The New York Times. He has declined to divest from his holdings, despite the controversy, and the Trump administration will not force him to do so.

According to the report, “The contract also covers William Erhardt and Rachel Harrigan, who are both former Pfizer executives. HHS declined to specify their tasks when asked about their roles; Harrigan is listed as a clinical adviser in the HHS directory.”

“For a drug company executive with clear conflicts of interest who is already skirting government ethics rules to be given ‘free’ housing by a private contractor who was awarded a vague $600,000 government contract smacks of the kind of corruption that is unacceptable in any government program,” said Eli Zupnick, who is affiliated with progressive activist group Patients Over Pharma. “Examples like these are exactly why [Operation Warp Speed] needs to be brought out of the shadows.”

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Experts issue dire warning on Trump executive action on unemployment insurance

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"Literally every new detail about these executive orders confirms that in addition to being wildly unconstitutional, they will do absolutely nothing to help anyone who's suffering."

On top of serious questions about the directive's legality and workability, experts are warning that President Donald Trump's executive action to extend the federal boost to unemployment benefits at $400-per-week—using $44 billion in funds meant for disaster relief—leaves out the poorest Americans by design.

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Senior officials battling White House over urgent risk of reopening schools

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Public health officials are increasingly worried that states -- especially in the South -- are not seriously considering the coronavirus risks associated with reopening schools.

Trump administration officials have insisted to governors that reopening schools could be done safely, but senior officials have recently pressed White House officials to improve their messaging about the potential risks, reported The Daily Beast.

“If you have Trump going out there and saying everything is fine there’s a risk that that’s what people are going to think going back,” said one senior official. “There’s a real possibility that counties won’t implement all the measures outlined in the [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines and will just say, ‘Look, we’re doing the best we can and that’s it.’ There’s no one to enforce that stuff.”

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WATCH: COVID truther goes on wild rant about communism after getting pulled over by cops

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A South Carolina woman this week was caught on video going on a wild rant about Jesus and communism after a police officer pulled her over because her anti-vaccination signs were completely obscuring her car's rear window.

The video shows that the woman was driving a car that was covered in signs that protested not just economic shut downs, but also simply testing people for COVID-19.

After the officer pulled her over, she demanded to see his badge number and started yelling at him.

The officer tried to calm her down and told her there was no reason to be upset.

"Oh, no reason to get upset just because we're in communist Greenville, South Carolina?!" she yelled back. "I am not being disorderly! I have freedom of speech! You're being disorderly!"

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