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White House doctor prescribed hydroxychloroquine for Trump, McEnany says | TheHill – The Hill

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President TrumpDonald John TrumpPro-Trump outside groups raise .8 million in April Biden wins Oregon primary Graham to release report on his probe into Russia investigation before election MORE‘s physician prescribed hydroxychloroquine for him as a preventative measure against the coronavirus, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany confirmed Wednesday amid criticism and questions about whether Trump is actually taking the drug.

“Yes, the doctor did prescribe it for him. And he took it after having several discussions with Dr. [Sean] Conley about its efficacy,” McEnany told David Brody of CBN News.

McEnany’s comments came two days after the White House released a brief letter from Conley that said he and Trump had determined the benefits of taking the anti-malaria drug prophylactically to guard against COVID-19 outweighed the risks. But the letter did not explicitly state that the doctor had prescribed hydroxychloroquine, nor did it include information about Trump’s dosage.

Trump told reporters on Monday that he had started taking hydroxychloroquine after championing it as a potential treatment for the coronavirus despite limited evidence from the medical community. The president said at the time that he had asked his doctor about taking it but that it was not explicitly recommended for him.

“I asked him, ‘What do you think?'” Trump said, recalling the conversation. “He said, ‘Well if you’d like it.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I’d like it. I’d like to take it.'”

Though Trump and some media figures have touted the drug’s potential use in preventing or treating the coronavirus, studies have shown it has had limited efficacy. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning last month that hydroxychloroquine should not be taken outside of a hospital or clinical trial because of the risk of severe heart rhythm problems.

McEnany has in recent days defended the president’s decision to take the drug while at the same time attempting to make clear that average Americans should not do the same without a prescription from their doctor.

She connected the ingestion of hydroxychloroquine to the “right to try” legislation Trump signed in 2018 that allows terminally ill patients access to experimental medical treatments not yet approved by the FDA.

“So you know, you do have a right to try it, in essence, to reflect on the language of the president’s previous legislation that gives people the right to try and the waning days of their life or when they’re facing a fatal illness,” she said.

McEnany accused the media of “fear-mongering” and said the press “all to often” leaves the “nuances” of the drug’s safety and risks out of its coverage of Trump’s decision to take hydroxychloroquine.

“No one should be taking this drug if not prescribed by a doctor, it’s very important to say that. Only your doctor can say that this is for you and prescribe it to you,” McEnany told CBN News. “But nevertheless, to completely act as if this is some sort of poison when there are many, many Americans and many people around the world taking this for Lupus and other illnesses, it just does more harm than good.”

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Coronavirus latest: US death toll tops 100000 – Financial Times

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Journalists in 50+ countries explore developments in global commerce from every perspective.
For Premium subscribers, we offer our dedicated ‘FT Free Trade’ newsletter every Tuesday and Thursday.

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White House doesn’t detail Trump’s rationale for removing watchdogs to top GOP senator – CNN

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The letter, which Grassley swiftly blasted as having “failed to address” the congressional requirement that there “ought to be a good reason” for such dismissals, comes in response to the Iowa senator’s request that Trump explain why he had ousted State Department Inspector General Steve Linick and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson.

“President Trump expects that inspectors general, like all other executive officers, will fulfill their proper role as defined by Congress and ultimately as constrained by the Constitution,” the White House letter said. “When the President loses confidence in an inspector general, he will exercise his constitutional right and duty to remove that officer.”

READ: White House letter to Chuck Grassley says Trump acted within his authority in ouster of IGs

Grassley responded in a statement Tuesday night, saying in part, “I don’t dispute the president’s authority under the Constitution, but without sufficient explanation, it’s fair to question the president’s rationale for removing an inspector general. If the president has a good reason to remove an inspector general, just tell Congress what it is.”

“Otherwise, the American people will be left speculating whether political or self-interests are to blame. That’s not good for the presidency or government accountability.”

Grassley, the chamber’s most senior Republican, has been a longtime defender of whistleblowers and government oversight and has broken with Trump on the topic several times during his presidency.

The President had announced his intent to remove Linick earlier this month — a move that drew immediate condemnation from top Democrats, who accused Trump of engaging in a pattern of retaliation against public servants charged with oversight of his administration.
And Linick’s removal came after Trump’s April ouster of Atkinson, who had told Congress about the whistleblower complaint that led to Trump’s impeachment.

“Government Accountability isn’t only a Republican issue or a Democrat issue,” Grassley said Tuesday. “Inspectors general shouldn’t be politically motivated or politically targeted. And those of us in Congress have a duty to promote accountability, regardless of who is in office.”

“Oversight’s been important in past administrations and it will continue to be in the future. I hope the new-found appreciation for inspectors general by some of my colleagues and those in the media doesn’t sunset at the end of this administration,” he continued.

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Schumer, Democrats claim outside Trump advisor helps rig the judicial nomination process – CNBC

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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and several of his fellow Democratic lawmakers are scrutinizing one of President Donald Trump’s outside advisors and his multimillion-dollar “dark money” network for its work on the president’s judicial nominations.

Schumer, D-N.Y., along with Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, chair of the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., published a report on Wednesday that said that Leonard Leo, a conservative activist, and his influential network have rigged the judicial nominating and approval process. 

The report said it is the first of what will be several attempts by congressional Democrats to highlight what they argue are examples of “corruption and conflicts of interests now spreading around the Trump judiciary.” The future efforts will include proposed legislation, although the report didn’t expand upon what those proposed laws will look like. 

Whitehouse told CNBC after publication that one of their goals with future legislation is to focus on revealing anonymous donors that fuel outside groups on both sides of the political spectrum.

“They all have to go, they all have to disclose,” he said. “This is not just for Republican leaning groups that have to disclose,” he explained. 

The move comes as the campaign to take control of the Senate heats up. The GOP has a 53-47 majority, but it is defending more seats than the Democratic Party in this fall’s elections. The Senate approves nominees to the federal judiciary, including the Supreme Court. Four Republican-held Senate seats — in Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina and Maine — have been deemed toss-ups by political analysts at the Cook Political Report.

The report also comes after Schumer and Whitehouse, along with other senators, co-signed a letter blasting Leo and his aligned group. 

Since Trump became president in 2016, he has turned to Leo to help guide his selections for judicial appointments, including to the Supreme Court. Leo supported Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch during the buildup to their confirmations to the high court. Leo’s guidance has led to close to 200 Trump judicial nominations being confirmed by the Senate. 

The Democrats’ report said Leo and the nonprofit conservative Federalist Society are a key part of an all-out effort to swing the courts toward nominees that are often supported by Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Leo was the executive vice president of the group before he created a new group, CRC Advisors, which is dedicated to promoting Trump’s court appointees going into his reelection fight with Joe Biden.

Leo is still co-chairman of the Federalist Society, which focuses on conservative and libertarian legal theories. Democrats argue, however, that it has become a tool for Republicans and is directly aligned with Trump. 

“While the Federalist Society develops and promotes pro-corporate, pro-Republican donor legal theories, it has also become the linchpin of Republican efforts to select and confirm judges,” the report said. 

Leo responded to Schumer and the Democrats’ claims in a text message to CNBC late Tuesday, suggesting that they should be more focused on responding to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“You know what they say, if you don’t succeed at first, try and try again. Glad to see Senate Democrats are focused on Covid recovery, particularly those from New York,” he said. 

Citing news reports, including one from 2018 by CNBC, the Democrats’ study breaks down how the Federalist Society is funded by organizations linked to the Koch family and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. It goes on to show a web of nonprofits and outside groups linked to Leo that have attempted to have an impact on the nomination process either through public relations campaigns or various forms of lobbying. These judicial groups are mainly funded by anonymous donors. 

The report also highlights the political operatives behind the large-scale judicial campaigns, such as the Judicial Crisis Network, and their ties to Leo. 

“JCN spent $7 million opposing President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland. It then spent $10 million more to support the confirmation of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch (targeting ‘vulnerable Democrat Senators’), and pledged another $10 million in advertising campaigns to support Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination,” the report said. 

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