Democrats Fear Trump Could Go After Rest Of Panel Overseeing Stimulus Spending After He Fired Watchdog
The lawmakers rush to add in a provision that the other members couldn't be removed like the panel's head, Glenn Fine. President Donald Trump gave no reason as to why he ousted Fine. Meanwhile, the White House prepares for an onslaught of congressional reviews into its response to the pandemic. And Trump's allies and other Republicans are worry that his daily briefings are doing more political harm than good.
Trump Removed The Head Of The Coronavirus Bailout Oversight Board. Its Members Could Be Next.
In the wake of President Trump’s move to push aside the official who was supposed to lead the coronavirus bailout watchdog group, four other members are just as vulnerable. Trump was able to remove the panel’s chosen head, Glenn Fine, by naming a new Defense Department inspector general and bumping Fine to the No. 2 job at the Pentagon watchdog office. No longer an acting inspector general, Fine was disqualified from serving on the panel he was supposed to lead. (Arnsdorf, 4/9)
White House Braces For Congressional Probes Of Coronavirus Response
Late last month, when asked how the administration will hold the Treasury Department accountable for the $500 billion coronavirus relief fund the department is administering to large businesses, President Trump had a blunt, yet predictable answer. “Look, I’ll be the oversight. I’ll be the oversight,” he told reporters. Ten days later, Trump announced he would be nominating a lawyer in the White House counsel’s office, Brian Miller, to serve as the special inspector general for pandemic recovery. (Faulders, Santucci and Kolinovsky, 4/10)
White House Reverses Position After Blocking Health Officials From Appearing On CNN
Vice President Mike Pence's office reversed course on Thursday afternoon, after declining for days to allow the nation's top health officials to appear on CNN and discuss the coronavirus pandemic, in what was an attempt to pressure the network into carrying the White House's lengthy daily briefings in full. After this story was published, Pence's office allowed for the booking of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield for CNN's Thursday night coronavirus town hall. Dr. Anthony Fauci was also booked for Friday on "New Day." (Darcy, 4/10)
The New York Times:
Trump Keeps Talking. Some Republicans Don’t Like What They’re Hearing.
In his daily briefings on the coronavirus, President Trump has brandished all the familiar tools in his rhetorical arsenal: belittling Democratic governors, demonizing the media, trading in innuendo and bulldozing over the guidance of experts. It’s the kind of performance the president relishes, but one that has his advisers and Republican allies worried. As unemployment soars and the death toll skyrockets, and new polls show support for the president’s handling of the crisis sagging, White House allies and Republican lawmakers increasingly believe the briefings are hurting the president more than helping him. (Martin and Haberman, 4/9)
Trump Team Ramps Up Scrutiny Of Funds To WHO
U.S. agencies and departments that channel money to the World Health Organization have been asked not to send more such funds this fiscal year without first obtaining higher-level approval, two people familiar with the issue said. The decision comes after President Donald Trump threatened to cut off funding to the U.N. global health body over allegations that the WHO’s leaders are too friendly to China and made missteps in the early days of the coronavirus crisis. (Toosi and Diamond, 4/9)
The Washington Post:
Trump Forges Ahead With Broader Agenda As Coronavirus Upends The Country
In recent days, as the coronavirus pandemic has ravaged the country, President Trump’s administration has ousted two key inspectors general, moved to weaken federal gas mileage standards, nominated a young conservative for a powerful appeals court and sent scores of immigrants back across the southern border without a customary hearing. It’s a whirlwind of activity taking place away from the spotlight that highlights how the twin crises of a viral outbreak and an economic slowdown have not slowed Trump’s aggressive push to advance his broader agenda in the months before he faces voters. (Olorunnipa, 4/9)
Melania Trump Promotes Wearing Face Masks. Her Husband, Not So Much.
First lady Melania Trump used her platform to promote health officials' recommendation on wearing face masks — though her husband has said he won't wear one. The first lady on Thursday posted a picture of herself wearing a mask on Twitter, emphasizing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation that Americans wear face masks in public to help slow the spread of coronavirus across the U.S. (Ward, 4/9)