Aaron Blake Profile picture
Senior political reporter, writing for The Fix at The Washington Post. aaron.blake@washpost.com
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26 May
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Wis.) asks acting HHS IG Christi Grimm whether gov't is looking into Vitamin C or Vitamin D + Zinc as potential treatments for coronavirus.

Grimm says she hasn't looked into that -- but adds that Vitamin C is often fraudulently offered as a potential cure.
Grothman is now asking Grimm about the possibility of an inflated coronavirus death toll -- noting different death rates across country.

Grothman also suggests hospitals might be inflating death tolls and/or unnecessarily putting people on ventilators to get more funding.
If anything, the data suggest coronavirus deaths are actually significantly under-counted. Yet this persists.

Read 5 tweets
19 May
GOP defense of Trump taking hydroxychloroquine -- including via Pence -- is this was doctor-approved and people should consult doctors.

But Trump has a history of apparently steamrolling his doctors into saying what he wants, dating back to Bornstein, who alleged exactly that.
Trump's doctors have regularly made dubious projections about his health and cast them through remarkably rose-colored glasses.

More on this here: washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/…
Bornstein said, "I can state unequivocally, [Trump] will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency" -- despite not having any way of reviewing the health of all of his predecessors.

Bornstein later said Trump had dictated the letter.

Read 5 tweets
19 May
What’s crazy is how quickly the conventional wisdom today coalesced around the idea that the president of the United States is just lying to us for fun about a drug he’s taking in the midst of a pandemic.
And for good reason — given all the “just being sarcastic” stuff recently.
What’s also crazy is people thinking this will suddenly make the Pompeo/IG story go away.
Read 4 tweets
6 May
I assume this will make people who have criticized the WHO for covering up for China furious.
Thing is, despite the revisionism going on, Trump and WHO had similar postures toward China when this started. Both treated it with kid gloves in hopes of getting compliance.

Some will argue they're different somehow, but it all lent credibility to China during alleged coverup.
It's also one thing for Trump to generally praise China's response, as he did initially.

It's another for him to strongly reject the idea of a coverup on Feb. 7 after being advised twice in January that he should push for more transparency.
Read 5 tweets
4 May
I can't believe people are tweeting this. This is based up data that the CDC website says is a lagging indicator because it's based on actual death certificates.

Another portion of the CDC website says clearly: 65,737 deaths.

There is no revision.

It's right there at the top:

"Provisional death counts are based on death certificate data received and coded by the National Center for Health Statistics as of May 1, 2020. Death counts are delayed and may differ from other published sources."
Look at the data. Did people suddenly stop dying in the last few weeks -- not just from coronavirus, but from all causes?

Of course not. They just haven't received or coded the death certificates.
Read 4 tweets
14 Apr
Undersold and important from Monday's briefing:

Trump and Fauci both sought to downplay the idea that health officials wanted stronger mitigation efforts weeks earlier than they were implemented.

But they didn't actually dispute what has been reported.

NYT reported health officials concluded in mid-February that stronger mitigation was needed.

But it didn't say that was actually recommended to Trump. In fact, Trump reacted poorly to Messonnier's Feb. 25 statement about "inevitable" spread of the virus, and they backed off.
Fauci was careful to say he and Birx first "formally" recommended stronger mitigation shortly before Trump heeded the recommendation on March 16.

But the report wasn't that this recommendation had been made in February; it was just that health officials CONCLUDED it was needed.
Read 5 tweets
3 Apr
Trump says he's signing a Defense Production Act order to "prohibit export of scarce health and medical supplies by unscrupulous actors and profiteers."

3M has said stopping its overseas shipments would make others stop shipping to US and could lead to decrease in U.S. product.
Here's what 3M said about the impact of stopping its shipments to Canada and Latin America.

Trump now indicates he's going to force it to stop, using DPA.

Trump now says repeatedly, "We're not happy with 3M."
Read 4 tweets
3 Apr
Both the mayor of New York City and the governor of Georgia now say they were completely unaware of this very essential fact about the coronavirus, which health officials have stated publicly since January.
If de Blasio and Kemp were indeed being told privately there were no asymptomatic transmissions, that's petty scandalous for health officials.

If they weren't, that's pretty scandalous for de Blasio and Kemp.
Fauci was citing asymptomatic transmission as far back as January, and there were repeated public statements and even CDC guidance stating as much.

de Blasio seems to be saying he got private advice otherwise?

Read 6 tweets
22 Mar
.@jaketapper on Defense Production Act: "Has the president, as of now ... ordered any companies to make more of any of these critical supplies?"

FEMA head Peter Gaynor: "No. We haven't yet."

Trump said twice Friday that not only had he invoked DPA, but he had begun using it.
@jaketapper Medical professionals and hospitals have sent Trump a letter begging him to start using the DPA

Read 5 tweets
11 Feb
49% of Utahns say Romney's vote to remove Trump makes them feel positively toward him.

40% feel negatively.

To me, this speaks to Romney's political capital in Utah. There is no way 49% of Utahns support removing Trump, but he's still getting that many to view his decision positively.
Another poll showed 6 in 10 Utahns opposed Trump's impeachment. Yet only 4 in 10 are judging Romney negatively for it.

Read 4 tweets
22 Jan
This it not a conclusion of the intel community, the Mueller Report or committees.

Some may have said certain pieces of Russia's effort weren't sophisticated. Anyone who says conclusively that 77k votes in 3 states weren't shifted is selling snake oil. It's unknowable.
This was hacking a major party. Hard to believe it didn't "affect the vote" in some measure. It did not *alter* ballots cast, but affecting includes persuasion.

Were 77k affected? Nobody knows. But almost impossible to think it was 0. Mueller called it "sweeping and systematic."
I suspect what this is about is pretending "affect the vote" = altering cast ballots, which is a trick Trump's legal team has played. That's hardly the only way to affect an election, though.
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
Haley's team explains comment about Dems "mourning" Soleimani:

"Mourning comes in different forms...Leading Democrats are aggressively arguing that we would be better off if Qassem Suleimani was still alive today. That is effectively mourning his death.”

Worth emphasizing that Dems aren't actually saying we'd be better off with Soleimani around. Many of them have emphasized he was an awful person. They just questioned the strategic wisdom of it.
"Mourning" is a word that carries very specific connotations that include grief and sorrow. It suggests a regard for the deceased person, which is not in any way what Democrats have expressed.
Read 4 tweets
3 Jan
Pence says Iran "assisted in the clandestine travel" of 9/11 terrorists.

9/11 Report says terrorists traveled through Iran because it was known it didn't stamp passports, but "no evidence that Iran or Hezbollah was aware of the planning for what later became the 9/11 attack."
Page 241 of the 9/11 Commission report:

9/11 report does say "there is strong evidence that Iran facilitated the transit of al Qaeda members into and out of Afghanistan before 9/11, and that some of these were future 9/11 hijackers."

This was the practice for al Qaeda members, because Iran wanted strong relations.
Read 5 tweets
10 Dec 19
Zelensky aide Andriy Yermak disputes Sondland's testimony on their alleged Sept. 1 interaction.

"Gordon and I were never alone together. We bumped into each other in the hallway next to the escalator, as I was walking out.”

This is the time when Sondland said he told Yermak that the military aid was likely conditioned on announcing the investigations.

Yermak: "And I remember – everything is fine with my memory – we talked about how well the meeting went. That’s all we talked about."
Yermak on military aid freeze:

"We honestly said, ‘Okay, that’s bad, what’s going on here?’ We were told that they would figure it out. And after a certain amount of time the aid was unfrozen. We did not have the feeling that this aid was connected to any one specific issue.”
Read 6 tweets