The pandemic and the Russia probe have collided, in more ways than one.
Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort are not the only Russia probe-tied folks to seek permission to serve the remainder of their prison sentences from home in order to avoid exposure to the coronavirus, which has been spreading rapidly in prisons across the U.S.
Just last week, reports surfaced revealing that Cohen would be allowed to serve the remainder of his three-year sentence from home. Manafort has requested similar treatment, and, according to Politico, another convicted Russia probe character Rick Gates has requested to serve the rest of his 45-day “intermittent” sentence from home as well. Gates — Manafort’s former business partner who pleaded guilty to special counsel Robert Mueller’s charges and cooperated extensively with the probe by testifying against Manafort — expressed concern that being moved in and out of jail would be a health risk to his wife, was has breast cancer. Last December Gates was sentenced to serve 45 weekend days in jail and was given three years of probation.
Outside the requests for house arrest, Mueller’s Russia probe has also found its way back into the headline in recent days as the country struggles to combat the pandemic. Over the weekend, Trump was asked whether he’d consider pardoning Manafort as well as Roger Stone — whose requests for a new trial were rejected last week. Trump dodged the question about his pardon plans and instead opted to bash the FBI for investigating members of his campaign in the first place.
“They’re scum,” he said during his press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak. “They’re human scum.”
Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following.
What The Investigations Team Is Watching
Matt Shuham is looking into a recent press release put out by the Republican Party of Virginia. The state party appears to be encouraging voters to disrupt the governor’s press conference on COVID-19 today to ask the governor if “shutting down Virginia is actually for our health.”
What The Breaking News Team Is Watching
Dr. Anthony Fauci gave a warning on Monday morning to the protesters rioting against governors’ stay at home orders: You’re shooting yourselves in the foot. “If you jump the gun and go into a situation where you have a big spike, you’re going to set yourself back,” he said of those threatening to flout the orders for the sake of the economy. We will continue to track these ongoing protests. They’ve broken out in at least three states across the U.S. and escalated in over the weekend.
So much for Trump’s accusation that the WHO was “covering up” the pandemic when it started emerging. While Trump pulled the U.S.’s funding from the crucial United Nations agency over his concerns that the WHO didn’t properly handle the COVID-19 outbreak, new reports show that over a dozen U.S. officials worked at the World Health Organization and warned the Trump administration of the growing COVID-19 threat all the way back in January.
1:00 p.m. ET: Trump will have lunch with the vice president.
5:00 p.m. ET: The White House coronavirus task force will hold its daily briefing.
Yesterday’s Most Read Story
Seeing the ‘Open The Economy’ Protests In Their Proper Light — Josh Marshall
What We Are Reading
Calling Me a Hero Only Makes You Feel Better — Karleigh Frisbie Brogan
Sea Turtles Thriving In Thailand After Beach Closures — Jack Guy and Carly Walsh