Where Things Stand: More Reports That Trump Was Warned

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Today's task... WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during the daily briefing of the coronavirus task force in the Rose Garden of the White House on April 27, 2020 in Washington, DC. Today's task force briefing is the first since Friday. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 28, 2020 11:47 a.m.
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There have been dozens of news reports in recent weeks suggesting President Trump was warned about the dire circumstances surrounding the coronavirus pandemic around the same time that he was downplaying the spread publicly.

The Washington Post added fodder to that argument with a new report on Monday evening, revealing that Trump was warned in at least 12 different classified intelligence briefings throughout the months of January and February about the virus spread. The warnings were reportedly included in the President’s Daily Brief, a document given to presidents each day to inform them of the most severe and sensitive developments and threats around the globe.

It’s been known for some time that Trump rarely reads the briefing and has requested that it be read to him orally instead. But, per the Post, Trump was made aware in these reports that the virus was spreading and China was hiding information about the deadliness and contagiousness of the disease. Around the same time, we saw the President comparing the deadly virus to the flu and downplaying the need for swift action in the U.S.

Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following today:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Tierney Sneed will be monitoring the turnout and results of Ohio’s re-do primary election throughout the day today, which is on track to have a very low turnout, perhaps the lowest presidential primary in Ohio in decades. If you remember, today’s deadline for mail-in primary voting follows a series of circumstances last month that caused mass confusion over when and how voting would take place amid the coronavirus spread.

As Tierney lays out in this Twitter thread, the mail-in primary in Ohio is experiencing some of the same issues that voters saw in Wisconsin earlier this month. Keep an eye out for the rest of Tierney’s coverage on the results today.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Last night, Trump rejected Joe Biden’s prediction that he would attempt to delay the upcoming election, saying he “never even thought of” doing so. “Let him know I’m not thinking about it at all, not at all,” Trump told reporters at his COVID-19 task force press briefing. Biden issued a warning last week that Trump would likely attempt to use the chaos of the pandemic to push back the general election. We’ll keep an eye on this back-and-forth.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) under the Trump administration yanked funding from a study on bat-to-human virus transmission that would help scientists understand where coronaviruses like COVID-19 come from. Trump’s allies have baselessly accused the study’s researchers of giving grant money to a lab in Wuhan, China that’s at the center of a right-wing conspiracy. The theory alleges COVID-19 escaped from the lab and caused the pandemic. We’ll keep tracking any fallout here.

If You Read Anything On COVID-19 Today, Read This

Yesterday, Tierney Sneed reported on a new memo released by Attorney General Bill Barr encouraging federal prosecutors across the U.S. to be on the “lookout” for any social-distancing orders in states that might be “violating the constitutional rights and civil liberties of individual citizens.”

Today’s Rundown

11:00 a.m. ET: Trump will meet with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at the White House.

12:30 p.m. ET: Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.

3:00 p.m. ET: Trump will address small business leaders and speak about supporting them through the PPP in the Rose Garden.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Kelli Ward Urges ‘Reopen’ Protesters To Masquerade As Health Care Workers — Kate Riga

What We Are Reading

Denuded Of Tourists, Paris Reveals Its Old Beating Heart — Adam Nossiter

Key Coronavirus Crisis Links

TPM’s COVID-19 hub.
Josh Marshall’s Twitter List of Trusted Experts (Epidemiologists, Researchers, Clinicians, Journalists, Government Agencies) providing reliable real-time information on the COVID-19 Crisis.
COVID-19 Tracking Project (updated data on testing and infections in the U.S.).
Johns Hopkins Global COVID-19 Survey (most up to date numbers globally and for countries around the world).
Worldometers.info (extensive source of information and data visualizations on COVID-19 Crisis — discussion of data here).
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