Phil Shiver



The Biden campaign recently published an attack ad with misleading edits that made it appear like President Donald Trump was being dismissive of nurses during a White House visit.

The video, posted to Twitter by presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden, appears to show Trump rudely interrupting a nurse after she notes that she has been reusing her N95 mask because supplies of personal protective equipment have been “sporadic.”

“Sporadic for you, but not sporadic for a lot of other people,” Trump cuts in. The video eventually closes with display text that reads: “Happy National Nurses Week from the president (only to nurses who agree with him).”

“But there’s some important footage missing from the ad,” Washington Post fact-checker Glenn Kessler said.

What actually happened?

The video centers on a meeting that Trump hosted in the Oval Office last week with nurses to celebrate the signing of a National Nurses Day proclamation.

During the meeting, Sophia Thomas, president of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, mentioned that supplies of PPE have been, in some cases, “sporadic” in certain “pockets” around the country.

“I’ve been reusing my N95 mask for a few weeks now. I just broke out a new one to come here, just in case I needed to wear it,” Thomas said. “My youngest patient has been 4 days old — a 4-day-old infant. And so PPE has been sporadic, but it’s been manageable, and we do what we have to do.”

Following Thomas’ remarks, the president jumped in to counter, but not in the aggressive way that the Biden campaign’s edits make it seem.

Here’s a full unedited clip of the exchange:

Also, at Trump’s interjection, Thomas immediately replies, “Oh, no. I agree, Mr. President. Absolutely.”

Here’s more from Kessler:

The Biden video does two tricky things. First, it shows Thomas only saying “Oh,” eliminating the fact that she says she agrees with Trump. Then, the video highlights Trump crossing his arms when he says the line about hearing the opposite.

The impression left is that Trump is a jerk, cutting Thomas off mid-sentence and then folding his arms in a defiant stance. But that’s misleading, especially because she said she agreed with him. (We acknowledge that being challenged by a president might make many people back off a bit, but that’s still not an excuse for eliminating her response.)

The rest of the video shows Trump bragging about “tremendous supply.” It leaves out the fact that two other nurses at the event told Trump that they did not see any issues, including one nurse from New Jersey who said that she often saw news reports about supply issues, but that “in reality, I’m not seeing it. I’m in a hot zone right now.”

According to the Post, the Biden campaign defended the ad.

“Trump’s failure to act quickly — and his erratic leadership since — has left America dangerously behind where we need to be, especially in getting basic life-saving protective gear to nurses, doctors, and other essential workers on the frontlines of this fight,” a campaign spokesman said in a statement. “Instead of listening to the direct concerns of nurses and other heroes combating the coronavirus about the shortages of protective equipment they face, Trump decided to throw a tantrum in the Oval Office and downplay the fact that health care workers are being forced to risk their lives every day because he has abjectly failed to do his job.”

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Biden campaign gets caught deceptively editing video to make President Trump look bad

Is anyone surprised?

Several top officials sitting on the University of Delaware board — which is currently keeping Joe Biden’s Senate records secret despite previously promising to release them — have close personal and financial ties to the former vice president, Fox News reported Thursday.

John Cochran, the chairman of the board and longtime Biden donor, even paid “top dollar” for Biden’s house in 1996, reportedly paying $1.2 million despite it not being in great condition.

What’s the background?

In 2012, Biden delivered 1,875 boxes of “photographs, documents, videotapes, and files” and 415 gigabytes of electronic records to his alma mater, the University of Delaware. The records spanned his 36-year Senate career. At that time, the university said it planned to make the papers publicly available “two years after Biden’s last day in elected public office.” That would have been January 2019, but the day before Biden announced his presidential campaign, the board changed the timetable.

The records have still not been released, and that fact is more pertinent now than ever due to recent sexual assault allegations against Biden by former congressional aide, Tara Reade. Reade alleges that Biden assaulted her in 1993, forcibly penetrating her with his fingers after she was asked to bring the then-Delaware senator his gym bag.

Reade claims that she filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Senate in 1993. She also says that she told three other staffers more generally about Biden’s harassment, though not about the specific assault. Many believe that Biden’s Senate records could confirm whether those claims are truthful.

As pressure mounts for Biden to address the allegations, this week, both The Atlantic and the Washington Post joined the calls for Biden to instruct the board to release the records.

What are the details?

The board has come under increased scrutiny since the allegations resurfaced, as well. Now it appears that several members have close ties with the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Shortly after Biden’s house was purchased by Cochran for the full asking price, MBNA, a financial services company where Cochran worked, hired Hunter Biden into a lucrative management-prep role.

According to Fox News, “As Hunter cashed the checks, Biden was pushing successfully on the Senate floor for legislation that would make it harder for consumers to file for bankruptcy protection — benefiting companies like MBNA.”

Several others on the board have a history of donating large sums of money to Biden’s political campaigns.

Here’s more from the Fox News report:

Terri Kelly, the former president and CEO Of W.L. Gore & Associates, has served on the university’s board of trustees since 2014 — and donated the maximum legal amount to Biden in 2019.

Carol Ammon, who has been on the board since 2013, has given more than $10,000 to Biden’s campaign and affiliated PACs, federal election records show.

John Paradee, a lawyer, joined the board in 2018. He has also donated heavily to Biden.

John Carney, the state’s governor and another board member, has also donated more than $1,000 to Biden.

Claire DeMatteis served as counsel to Biden. Since 2001, she has given over $16,000 to Democratic PACs, including Biden’s, called Unite our States.

Chai Gadde, a CEO, has donated thousands to Biden.

William Lafferty, a partner at a Delaware law firm who serves on the board as well, has also given more than $2,500 to Biden’s campaign.

The Biden campaign has denied the allegations, but Biden himself has yet to face a single question on the matter.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: University of Delaware board members who refuse to release Joe Biden’s Senate records have close financial ties with him: report

‘We’re going to let the science, facts and data drive our decision-making’

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem (R) announced plans to launch a statewide trial Monday to formally test the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine — the anti-malaria drug touted by President Trump — against the novel coronavirus.

The action makes South Dakota the first state in the nation to implement a trial to test the drug’s effectiveness in treating and preventing COVID-19.

In order to collect data about the potential treatment, doctors in the state have been instructed to prescribe the drug, along with the antibiotic azithromycin, to willing COVID-19 patients who desire to be a part of the trial.

“From Day One, I’ve said we’re going to let the science, facts and data drive our decision-making in South Dakota,” Noem said in a statement, according to Fox News.

Noem said that she has been in cooperation with the federal government in preparation for the trial.

“I made direct requests to President Trump and Vice President Pence to supply us with enough hydroxychloroquine so that it could be made available for every hospitalized person the state may have, as well as those for health care workers on the frontlines and those in the most vulnerable populations,” Noem said.

“Today, I’m pleased to report we have received the initial doses we need,” she added.

President Trump has been optimistic about hydroxychloroquine since three separate studies showed it to be a potentially effective at treating and preventing the disease. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration fast-tracked the drug for the treatment of COVID-19 in late March.

Health experts such as Dr. Anthony Fauci have tempered the president’s optimism, saying that proof of the drug’s effectiveness is anecdotal.

“[Tests were] not done in a controlled clinical trial. So you really can’t make any definitive statement about it,” Fauci suggested, according to ABC News.

Now, South Dakota will attempt to scientifically settle that issue.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announces statewide hydroxychloroquine trial to formally test its effectiveness against COVID-19

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating jumped 5 percentage points to 49% in the latest Gallup survey, matching the highest mark of his presidency.

Trump enjoyed a 49% approval rating in late January and early February during the time of his acquittal in the Senate impeachment trial. That week was a really good week for the president. But since then, his rating had dropped. Now it appears that the president is again enjoying a “small rally of public support,” as he has reclaimed his all-time high.

The bump is likely due to a favorable view of how Trump has handled the COVID-19 outbreak within the United States, Gallup reported:

Trump’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic may be behind his higher overall approval rating. Americans give the president generally positive reviews for his handling of the situation, with 60% approving and 38% disapproving. Ninety-four percent of Republicans, 60% of independents and 27% of Democrats approve of his response.Trump also gained favor from two unlikely sources: Democrats and independents. While the president’s approval rating among Republicans held steady at just over 90%, his approval rating among Democrats grew by 6 points and grew among independents by 8 points in the recent survey.

Gallup noted that in times of crisis sitting presidents often experience a boost in favorability, especially among members of the opposing party. Trump’s ramped up response to the coronavirus, starting on March 11 with his national address on the seriousness of the issue and moving into his 15-day social distancing advisory on March 16, appears to have played a major factor in the bump to his rating.

It remains to be seen if that rally of support continues, especially as the president weighs relaxing community mitigation measures in order to save the economy. During a virtual Fox News town hall Tuesday, Trump announced that he hopes to reopen the country and get the economy “raring to go” by Easter.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Gallup: Trump’s approval rating jumps 5 points to 49%, matching his all-time high

According to reports from the Los Angeles Times and Bloomberg News — not exactly right-wing media outlets — the federal stockpile of N95 respirator masks was depleted under the Obama administration but never replenished, despite two separate recommendations to do so.

Critics of the current administration have blamed President Donald Trump for the shortage of respirator masks that has left the country looking for ways to mass-produce them in time to fight the spread of the coronavirus.

But a Sunday report from PJ Media found that stockpile shortage can be traced back much further back than to January or even nearly four years ago to Trump’s inauguration. The problem began in 2009 under the Obama administration.

What are the details?

In 2005, the George W. Bush administration published the “National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza,” which outlined a strategy for the federal government to assist state and local efforts in the event of a pandemic. A key part of the strategy was for the federal government to distribute medical supplies, such as N95 masks, from the Strategic National Stockpile.

Then, in 2009, the H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak swept through the United States, infecting 60 million Americans, hospitalizing 274,304, and killing 12,469, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the outbreak, the Obama administration pulled roughly three-fourths of the masks from the stockpile to manage the spread, but never replenished the supply.

Here’s a crucial excerpt buried near the bottom of a recent Bloomberg News story:

The national stockpile used to be somewhat more robust. In 2006, Congress provided supplemental funds to add 104 million N95 masks and 52 million surgical masks in an effort to prepare for a flu pandemic. But after the H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009, which triggered a nationwide shortage of masks and caused a 2- to 3-year backlog orders for the N95 variety, the stockpile distributed about three-quarters of its inventory and didn’t build back the supply.

Another article published by the Los Angeles Times last week made the same point but went even further by detailing how the Obama administration failed to restock the supply even after two separate organizations urged them to take action:

After the swine flu epidemic in 2009, a safety-equipment industry association and a federally sponsored task force both recommended that depleted supplies of N95 respirator masks, which filter out airborne particles, be replenished by the stockpile, which is maintained by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

According to Charles Johnson, president of the International Safety Equipment Association, the Obama administration pulled roughly 100 million masks during the swine flu epidemic, but the advice to replenish the supply was never heeded.

“Our association is unaware of any major effort to restore the stockpile to cover that drawdown,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Why does it matter?

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar reported in February that the stockpile now consisted of only 12 million N95 masks, which is only a tiny fraction of the 300 million he approximated the nation’s health care system would need.

Both the Times and Bloomberg reported that many medical centers across the country are already running out of masks and have resorted to constructing protective medical gear out of office supplies household items.

“We are very close to being out of face shields,” Becca Bartles, executive director of infection prevention at Providence St. Joseph Health, which consists of 51 area hospitals, told Bloomberg. “Masks, we’re probably a couple of days away” from running out, she added.

To grow the supply, President Trump is calling on businesses with the capabilities to manufacture masks or donate protective masks they already have in their supply to local hospitals.

Some are urging Trump to use the Defense Production Act of 1950 — which gives the president authority to demand that business manufacture war-time materials — to order businesses to produce masks. Thus far, Trump has maintained that he will do so only as a last resort.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Reports: Obama admin used up the stockpile of N95 masks but never replenished the supply, despite recommendations to do so

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice — who was elected as a Democrat but later switched to the Republican Party — signed a bill into law Monday that protects babies who are born following attempted abortion procedures.

The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act, which penalizes physicians who don’t provide the newborn baby medical care, moved through the state’s House and Senate with near unanimous support before reaching the governor’s desk.

“This is an absolute no-brainer as far as I’m concerned,” Gov. Justice said. “I’ve said for a long time, even back before I took office as governor, that I would support measures like this because every human life — born or unborn — is precious and truly a gift from God.”

What’s the background?

West Virginia’s newly signed law is nearly identical to the federal “born-alive” bill that was blocked by 41 Democratic senators in a vote on Capitol Hill last week.

The legislation, both in West Virginia and in D.C., came in response to comments by Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam last year that indicated an openness to abortions after birth, or infanticide.

“If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen,” Northam said while discussing a controversial state-level abortion bill in a radio interview last year. “The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that’s what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother.”

Pro-life lawmakers took Northam’s comments and the surrounding discussion as a sign that the Democratic Party had moved radically to the left on the abortion issue, and that further protections needed to be made.

‘It’s just common sense’

“If I had my way, I would stand up here and say I stand for life in all cases, all the time,” Gov. Justice said in a ceremonial bill signing at the state Capitol. “It’s unbelievable that we even have to go through this process for something that seems like it’s just common sense. But, at the same time, we should be really proud that we’re defending the lives of our most vulnerable.”

“So today we’re going to put a stake in the sand that says for us, for us at least, we stand for life and we stand for the right stuff,” he added.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Democrat-turned-Republican West Virginia governor signs ‘born alive’ bill into law: ‘An absolute no-brainer as far as I’m concerned’

Coming down to Biden vs. Sanders

Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D) plans to exit the race for president and endorse former Vice President Joe Biden, various outlets reported Monday.

Klobuchar’s decision to drop out of the nominating contest comes just one day before voters cast ballots in her home state of Minnesota as a part of Super Tuesday, the largest delegate handout of the primary season.

According to CNN, Klobuchar will officially announce her decision to suspend her campaign and endorse Biden at a rally for the former vice president in Dallas Monday night.

Klobuchar joins a growing number of candidates who have dropped out in the days following Biden’s decisive win in South Carolina, including former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer.
The senator was unable to capitalize on momentum following her surprisingly strong third-place finish in New Hampshire last month. In the South Carolina primary over the weekend, Klobuchar finished a distant sixth with just over 3% of the vote.

On Sunday, Klobuchar was forced to cancel a rally in her home state after Black Lives Matters protesters seized the stage.

Mayor Pete is also rumored to endorse Biden

With the Democratic Primary increasingly becoming a two-man race between Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — and with the prospects of a Sanders nomination alarming the less-radical wing of the party — more endorsements for Biden may continue to roll in.

As such, an endorsement from Buttigieg is “likely,” CNN’s Jeff Zeleny reported Monday, though the timing of the possible endorsement remains unclear.

Interestingly, despite the boost that an endorsement from Klobuchar (and potentially Buttigieg) might give, Zeleny is also reporting that Biden’s team desired that other candidates would stay in the race to cut into Sanders’ amassing of delegates. Specifically, Biden’s team was hoping that Klobuchar and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would stay in the race to deny Sanders delegates in Minnesota and Massachusetts.

On Tuesday, 1,357 delegates, or about one-third of the total delegates, will be at stake as 14 states hold nominating contests.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Amy Klobuchar to end presidential bid and endorse Joe Biden; Pete Buttigieg rumored to be backing former VP, too

‘Three cheers for future accountability’

Attorney General William Barr issued an order Wednesday restricting the launch of any investigations into 2020 presidential candidates without first coming through the Department of Justice.

The new order, announced in a memo obtained by The New York Times, aims to avoid upending the presidential election, as was the case in 2016 when the FBI’s inquiries into both the Trump and Clinton campaigns disrupted the election process.

What are the details?

Barr, who has been an outspoken critic of the FBI’s investigation into the Trump campaign, said in the memo that the Justice Department has a duty to ensure that elections are “free from improper activity or influences.”

“In certain cases, the existence of a federal criminal or counterintelligence investigation, if it becomes known to the public, may have unintended effects on our elections,” he wrote.

Under the new guidelines, the FBI will be required to receive a written sign-off from Barr before opening any politically sensitive investigations into presidential candidates or their senior staff or advisers.

Also, the Times notes, before FBI officials can investigate Senate or House candidates or their campaigns, they must also “notify and consult” with relevant leaders at the DOJ.

Barr’s order comes after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report last December found that FBI officials falsified information and made numerous significant errors in their probe into Trump’s former campaign aide, Carter Page. Barr has since launched an investigation into the investigators regarding the origin of the Trump-Russia probe.

But the call for accountability should be bipartisan, as 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton was also unhappy with the way the FBI handled an investigation into her alleged use of a private email server as secretary of state. The FBI reopened the investigation just days before the election, in a move that Clinton argues cost her the presidency.

‘Three cheers for future accountability’
Barr previewed the policy at a news conference in January. It is the first official policy change to land in the aftermath of the 2016 Trump-Russia probe.

In an op-ed following the presser, the Wall Street Journal editorial board offered a glowing review.

“Henceforth, both an AG and the FBI director must sign off on any proposed counterintelligence investigation into a presidential campaign,” the op-ed recounted. “Three cheers for future accountability,”

The WSJ board noted how incredible it was that “no such basic rule has existed” previously, recalling IG Horowitz’s alarm over FBI policy at the time, which didn’t even require that “a senior [DOJ] official be notified” about an investigation into presidential candidate.

This “loose system,” they said, “made a presidential probe too easy” and enabled FBI leadership, like former director James Comey, to shrug off responsibility for the department’s crucial missteps during the investigation.

This will not be the case during the 2020 election cycle, at least.

According to the Times report, the requirements outlined in the memo will remain in effect through the remainder of the current election cycle, and after that will be reviewed based on its effectiveness.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: To avoid a repeat of 2016, AG Barr issues an order restricting the launch of any investigations into 2020 presidential candidates

A new anti-Trump advertisement produced by Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign mistakenly included a photo taken of caged migrants during the Obama administration, The Daily Caller reported.

The ad, which was posted on Twitter Sunday night, was meant to criticize the “change” that has occurred since President Trump took office.

“America demanded change, and change is what we got,” the narrator states before a montage of footage is rolled purportedly displaying events that have taken place during Trump’s presidency.

A good portion of the photos and videos displayed as part of the montage aim to show the negative effects of Trump’s immigration enforcement policies on the southern border. At one point during the montage, a photo of migrants caged in at a holding facility is shown.

The photo’s inclusion in the ad encapsulates what the Bloomberg campaign views as Trump’s harsh treatment of immigrants. The only problem is that this photo was taken in 2014 during Barack Obama’s presidency.

The Daily Caller compared the still image from the video to a photo taken by Ross D. Franklin of the Associated Press on June 18, 2014 and concluded that they are the same image.

For example, the crossed legs of the individual laying down in the Bloomberg photo is the same as the crossed-legged individual seen in the middle of Franklin’s photo. The placing of the three mats near the head of the individual are stacked in the exact same position, as well.

In the background of both images, one individual with a black shirt is seen sitting next to others with white shirts. Additionally, a row of five individuals with white shirts are seen sitting together, their backs turned to the camera, at a table in both images.

We’ve included the photo so that you can see for yourself:

The photo’s description reads: “Detainees sleep and watch television in a holding cell where hundreds of mostly Central American immigrant children are being processed and held at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Nogales Placement Center on June 18, 2014, in Nogales, Arizona.”

TheBlaze has reached out to the Bloomberg campaign for comment, and the story will be updated accordingly.

At the time of this story’s publication, the ad had not been amended or removed from Twitter.

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Whoops: Mike Bloomberg’s anti-Trump ad shows photo of caged migrants from Obama’s presidency

It is ‘malpractice’ not to debunk the claims

On Monday, Joe Biden’s presidential campaign issued a warning to reporters and editors in a circulated memorandum demanding that they debunk claims of corruption against him.

The memo, titled, “The Imperative for Honest Coverage of Trump’s Ukraine Conspiracy Theory,” dealt specifically with the charge that then-Vice President Biden, as the Obama administration’s point man in Ukraine, pushed for a Ukrainian prosecutor to be fired by threatening to withhold aid to the country.

The fired prosecutor, Victor Shokin, was reportedly removed at the same time he was investigating Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company where Biden’s son, Hunter, sat on the board.

It is ‘malpractice’ not to debunk the claims

According to the Biden campaign, President Trump’s impeachment was due in large part to his efforts to spread this theory.

“[Trump’s] objective was to pressure the Ukrainian government into spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory: that Vice President Biden engaged in wrongdoing when he executed official United States policy to remove a corrupt prosecutor from office,” communications director Kate Bedingfield wrote in the memo.

In the memo, Bedingfield cites numerous mainstream news outlets that agree with Biden’s version of the story and that discredit the theory that Biden pushed for the firing of the prosecutor to cover up corruption.

Accordingly, she goes on to instruct the media to “state clearly and unambiguously that [such claims of corruption] have been discredited and debunked” during their ongoing impeachment coverage.

To do otherwise would be journalistic “malpractice,” she warns.

“It is not sufficient to say the allegations are ‘unsubstantiated’ or that ‘no evidence has emerged to support them.’ Not only is there ‘no evidence’ for Republicans’ main argument against the Vice President — there is a mountain of evidence that actively debunks it. And it is malpractice to ignore that truth.”

Reporting on the news, The Hill called the Biden campaign memo the “strongest rebuke yet” of corruption allegations against the candidate.

The media falls in line
Despite numerous outlets having reported the claims as false, Republicans and Trump defenders are not so convinced.

In fact, it was Biden himself who added fuel to the theory’s flame when he openly bragged on camera about successfully securing Shokin’s firing during a meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations in 2018.

“I said, ‘I’m telling you, you’re not getting the billion dollars.’ I said, ‘you’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money.'” Biden recalled.

“Well, son of a bitch,” he continued to laughter. “He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

But, HotAir reported that following the memo’s release, already some in the media have agreed to the campaign’s imperative.

MSNBC’s Heidi Przybla said on air that the campaign’s warning is “a preemptive strike against the disinformation that is really at the heart of the president’s defense.”

“This is a reminder … that the entire premise of the [president’s] argument is debunked. It is not just unsubstantiated,” she continued, repeating the talking points.

Another MSNBC reporter, they note, tweeted out the talking points:

Author: Phil Shiver

Source: The Blaze: Biden campaign issues warning to the media: Fall in line and debunk corruption claims

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