By Joseph Tanfani and Jason Szep (Reuters) - When lawyers asked Donald Trump more than a decade ago to identify who estimated values on some of his signature properties, he shrugged and pointed to his longtime accountant, Allen Weisselberg. “I think ultimately probably Mr. Weisselberg,” he said, testifying in 2007 in a defamation lawsuit he brought against a journalist, a case that hinged on whether Trump had inflated the value of his business empire. “I never got too much involved, other than I would give my opinion.” A judge dismissed that suit, but Trump’s comments illustrate the challenges...
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Rival vaccine makers declined request from Johnson & Johnson for help with blood clotting issues: report
According to an exclusive report from the Wall Street Journal, Johnson & Johnson requested help from rival COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers Pfizer and Moderna with help investigating blood clotting issues with their offering intended to curb the pandemic and were turned down.
Earlier in the week, the CDC issued a warning about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine and urged a pause after a reported six patients -- all women -- developed blood clotting problems.
Friday morning, the Wall Street Journal claimed J&J reached out to their competitors and were rebuffed with the exception of AstraZeneca.
"Johnson & Johnson privately reached out to Covid-19 vaccine rivals to ask them to join an effort to study the risks of blood clots and speak with one voice about safety, " the report states before adding, "Pfizer and Moderna executives declined the offer, saying their vaccines appeared safe, the people said. The pair also objected because they didn't see the need to duplicate the efforts of regulators and companies already looking for blood-clot cases and investigating the cause, the people said. One company's concern: The safety of the Pfizer and Moderna shots could be tarnished by association, some of the people said."
The report adds, "Only AstraZeneca, which had been buffeted by similar blood-clotting concerns for weeks, agreed, the people said."
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A gym in Quebec City that has defied lockdown orders during the COVID-19 pandemic has now been linked to hundreds of cases, including one death.
The CBC reports that the Canadian health officials believe the Mega Fitness Gym 24H in Quebec City served as a super-spreader center for the novel coronavirus in the weeks before it was officially shut down for defying pandemic restrictions.
"To date, there have been 224 people infected at the gym, and another 356 related cases involving outbreaks at 49 workplaces," reports the CBC. "A 40-year-old man who trained at the gym has died."
The gym's owner, a man named Dan Marino, has grown notorious in recent months for attacking pandemic restrictions, and has even written social media posts questioning the effectiveness of masks and downplaying the severity of the pandemic.
Before it was shut down, Marino's gym was in violation of multiple health orders, including mandating that patrons maintain social distance and requiring employees to wear protective gear.
Raymond Tellier, an infectious diseases specialist, medical microbiologist and associate medical professor at McGill University, tells CBC that the mass outbreak from one single gym was nothing less than "stunning."
"This is the kind of setting where if you don't have proper ventilation and if you have too much crowding, you could indeed have a superspreading event linked to aerosol," he said. "This one is remarkable."
A new favorite has emerged among possible Republican presidential successors to Donald Trump.
Wealthy GOP donors are lining up behind the 2022 re-election campaign for Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is moving past former vice president Mike Pence and other potential contenders should Trump choose to sit out the 2024 presidential race, reported Politico.
"He's in the top tier, should he choose to run for president," said Art Pope, a conservative donor and chair of the influential Bradley Foundation.
Republican donors appreciate DeSantis' refusal to institute strict measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, and they see him as a potentially more attractive version of the last president.
"[He's] a nicer version of Trump," said Joanne Zervos, a New York City donor who specifically mentioned DeSantis' handling of the pandemic.
DeSantis aides insist he's focused on his re-election campaign, but the governor is building a nationwide donor network that resembles the foundation George W. Bush built for his 2000 presidential campaign during his own re-election race for Texas governor two years earlier.
"[He] has a major political future in the Republican Party," said Don Tapia, who served as Trump's ambassador to Jamaica and will host a DeSantis fundraiser at his Arizona home. "[He's a] strong candidate I would truly look at."
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