Where Things Stand: Workers Without A Choice

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DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump gives a kiss on the cheek to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds during a campaign rally inside of the Knapp Center arena at Drake University on January 30, 2020 in Des... DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 30: U.S. President Donald Trump gives a kiss on the cheek to Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds during a campaign rally inside of the Knapp Center arena at Drake University on January 30, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. President Trump is campaigning in Iowa a few days before nation’s first presidential caucuses. (Photo by Tom Brenner/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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Risk your health to return to work or lose your unemployment benefits.

That’s the choice some workers in Iowa will be forced to make on Friday when the state partially reopens 77 of its 99 counties. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R) has pushed for the reopening of restaurants, some bars, malls, fitness centers and retail stores across the state, a move in line with the Trump administration’s efforts to reopen the country for business amid the coronavirus outbreak.

While Democrats and scientists have cautioned against such reopenings, Iowa’s furloughed workers in those industries won’t have much of a choice come Friday. According to the Des Moines Register, workers without a valid excuse for returning to work when called back will lose their unemployment benefits. Texas is reportedly considering instituting a similar requirement — mandating a choice that no employee should have to make during a pandemic.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is following up on reports that the Navy will continue its investigation into the captain of the USS Theodore Roosevelt, despite recommending last week that he be reinstated. Capt. Brett Crozier was fired earlier this month for raising alarm about the spread of the coronavirus on board his ship.

Tierney Sneed is covering a ruling that was finally made in the Kansas proof-of-citizenship voter registration requirement case, a requirement that was championed by then-Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

Josh Kovensky just published a piece on the significant decrease in U.S. car accidents, and the deaths and injuries tied to them, as the workforce stays home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

Jared Kushner went on Fox News this morning to praise the administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, notably on the same day that the U.S. death toll surpassed that of the Vietnam War. We’ll continue to monitor the administration’s attempts to clean up publicity about Trump’s response to the pandemic.

Trump is reportedly now forcing his intelligence community — which he has referred to as the “deep state” throughout his presidency — to look into his conspiracy that the World Health Organization (WHO) covered up COVID-19 data when the virus first broke out in China. Trump yanked funding from the WHO earlier this month over this baseless belief. We will keep an eye on this development.

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

Matt Shuham reports on the case of two California men who were recently arrested for attempting to sell millions of dollars worth of 3-ply and KN95 protective masks. The feds say it was all a sham.

Earlier coverage of COVID-19 related fraud:

Today’s Rundown

11:00 a.m. ET: Trump met with the governor of Louisiana in the Oval Office.

12:30 p.m. ET: Trump will have lunch with the secretary of state.

4:00 p.m. ET: Industry executives will gather for a roundtable discussion in the State Dining Room with Trump about reopening the economy.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Lockdowns Didn’t Flatten The Curve, Tucker Carlson Muses, COVID-19 Just Isn’t That Deadly — Matt Shuham

What We Are Reading

NYPD Breaks Up Massive Crowd Gathered For Rabbi’s Funeral In Brooklyn — Tim Stelloh

Democrat Kweisi Mfume Projected To Win Special Election For The Late Elijah Cummings’ House Seat — Clare Foran

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