What Now?! – May 9, 2020

“The impact of the coronavirus-induced economic shutdown tore through the U.S. labor market in April at historic levels, slashing 20.5 million workers from nonfarm payrolls and sending the unemployment rate skyrocketing to 14.7%,” CNBC reports.

“Both numbers easily smashed post-World War II era records and help reflect the profound damage done through efforts used to combat the virus.”

New York Times: “If anything, the report understates the damage. The government’s definition of unemployment typically requires people to be actively looking for work. And the unemployment rate doesn’t reflect the millions still working who have had their hours slashed or their pay cut.”

Politico: “The U.S. economy is sitting in its deepest hole since the Great Depression, with more than 33 million Americans losing their jobs in just seven weeks and an unemployment rate likely to top 20 percent this year under the weight of the coronavirus pandemic.”

“And it’s likely to take years — perhaps much of the next decade — to dig out.”

“President Trump is agitating for a rapid reopening of the U.S. economy to help reverse the damage quickly, hoping a swift bounce back would boost his reelection prospects in November. But the recovery is likely to be weighed down by severe damage to the private sector and a resistance to returning to the old normal, keeping the jobless rate still near 10 percent — the high of the Great Recession — by the end of 2021, a year into the next presidential term in office.”

New York Times: “Georgia police on Thursday arrested a white father and son and charged them with murder in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man whose death in February has recently attracted widespread outrage.”

“Much of that anger has been focused on the fact that no charges had been brought against the father and son, Gregory and Travis McMichael, ages 64 and 34.”

“The decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation’s top disease control experts for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic came from the highest levels of the White House,” according to internal government emails obtained by the Associated Press.

“The files also show that after the AP reported Thursday that the guidance document had been buried, the Trump administration ordered key parts of it to be fast-tracked for approval.”

“A complete breakdown in communication and coordination within the Trump administration has undermined the distribution of a promising treatment,” Axios reports.

‘The drug, remdesivir, hasn’t made it to some of the high-priority hospitals where it’s most needed, and administration officials have responded by shifting blame and avoiding responsibility.”

Washington Post: “Trump’s information-control tactics are being replicated in states across the country, where governors are lifting stay-at-home orders against the advice of public health officials…”

“Administration officials say the moves reflect a shift, driven by Trump, away from focusing on the health challenges caused by the pandemic and toward restarting economic activity and pulling the country out of recession. The evolution is being driven in part by the political calendar, with just six months before voters decide the president’s fate.”

David Ignatius: “With the Justice Department’s move Thursday to drop its case against former national security adviser Michael Flynn, it’s useful to go back to a basic question: If Flynn did nothing wrong when he called the Russian ambassador on Dec. 29, 2016, the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for interfering in the presidential election, why did he conceal it?”

Lawfare: “The government’s 20-page brief is not an honest document—perhaps the reason that it is signed only by Timothy Shea, the interim U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia—and not a single one of the career prosecutors who worked on the case.”

“History is written by the winners, so it largely depends on who is writing the history.” — Attorney General Bill Barr, in an interview with CBS News, when asked how history would view his dropping of criminal charges against Michael Flynn.

Washington Post: “Trump advisers are discussing deploying the Flynn case as a weapon against putative Democratic nominee and former vice president Joe Biden this fall — and also are contemplating a possible visit to the White House by Flynn in the coming weeks.”

“President Trump voiced uncertainty Friday over the future of his FBI director, Christopher Wray, a day after the Justice Department moved to throw out the guilty plea of the president’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn,” the Washington Post reports.

Said Trump: “It’s disappointing. Let’s see what happens with him. Look, the jury’s still out.”

The number of workers who have tested positive for the coronavirus at an Iowa meat plant doubled on the same day that the facility reopened following a two-week closure, the Des Moines Register reports.

Susan Glasser: “When I went to college, we used to joke during exam period that you were really in trouble when you started to lie to yourself and believe it. The President and at least some of his most fervent supporters appear now to be in the lying-to-yourself-and-believing-it stage of the pandemic. Truth has become so inconvenient that it’s better left aside for some alternate, less inconvenient reality. This is, of course, not the first time in the Trump Presidency, or even the first time during this pandemic, that there has been such a gap, but it appears to be a moment when there is a widening and very likely unsustainable gulf between Trumpian truth and what is actually happening.”

“That’s because the numbers are the numbers and, for Trump and for America, they look terrible… Trump appears to me to be increasingly terrified at the very real prospect of losing in November, as both national polls and surveys in battleground states currently show him doing.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backed off claims there was “enormous” evidence the coronavirus came from a Wuhan lab, ABC News reports.

Said Pompeo: “There’s evidence that it came from somewhere in the vicinity of the lab, but that could be wrong.”

He added: “We’ve seen evidence that it came from the lab. That may not be the case.”

“President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed the coronavirus pandemic and other bilateral issues in a phone call Thursday, as tensions between the two countries remain high,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

According to Bloomberg, Trump said he discussed the U.S. investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election with Putin, calling the probe a “hoax.”

“The White House is considering another possible delay in the deadline for filing federal taxes along with additional measures aimed at providing economic relief for Americans that can be adopted without legislation from Congress,” NBC News reports.

“Tax Day has already been pushed to July 15 but could be extended further to September 15 or as late as December 15.”

Bloomberg: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi dismissed President Trump’s recent call for a payroll tax cut and changes in the capital gains tax, saying that wouldn’t help the millions of workers thrown out of their jobs and others struggling in an economy shut down by the pandemic.”

“Pelosi is speeding to finalize a multitrillion-dollar coronavirus relief package, hoping to put the bill on the House floor next week — a timeline that even some senior Democrats dismiss as unlikely,” Politico reports.

“Pelosi had hoped to release the draft bill — which some Democrats worry could cost upward of $2 trillion — on Friday. But that timeline is slipping as members from all corners of the caucus pressure leadership to stuff the ballooning bill with their priorities, many of which were left out of the previous four aid packages negotiated with Republicans. Senior Democratic aides said Pelosi and the committees will be working through the weekend on the package.”

“The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court to temporarily block a ruling that requires the Justice Department to give Congress certain secret grand jury material from the investigation conducted by former special counsel Robert Mueller,” the Washington Post reports.

“Chief Justice John Roberts on Friday put a temporary hold on the release of Mueller grand jury materials to the House while the court considers the Trump administration’s request for a longer delay,” CNN reports.

“A lower court ruled in March that the House Judiciary Committee has a ‘compelling need’ to view the secretive details prosecutors had collected from witnesses about President Trump.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

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