Where Things Stand: Of Course Giuliani Is Behind This

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Warsaw, Poland, 13/02/2019 - A press briefing held prior to the rally of the Iranian community in Europe on the prospects for establishing a sustainable and lasting peace in the Middle East and the Iranian regime's d... Warsaw, Poland, 13/02/2019 - A press briefing held prior to the rally of the Iranian community in Europe on the prospects for establishing a sustainable and lasting peace in the Middle East and the Iranian regime's destructive role in that region of the world. Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City, in this briefing said, a group of youths with ropes around their necks represented those executed by the theocracy during forty years of religious dictatorship in the country. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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April 6, 2020 12:16 p.m.
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President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani is apparently whispering in the President’s ear again. This time, it’s about an unproven cure to COVID-19.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Giuliani described himself as a special science adviser to Trump and said he has had several one-on-one calls with the President in recent weeks, hyping the efficacy of the use of an anti-malaria drug to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. The use of the drug to treat or even cure the novel disease has not been proven, but Trump, and some of his White House advisers, have seized on a flawed study that claimed the drug, hydroxychloroquine, could treat the disease at the center of the pandemic.

“I discussed it with the President after he talked about it,” Giuliani told the Post in an interview. “I told him what I had on the drugs.”

Giuliani has been hyping the drug as a cure for COVID-19 via Twitter and on his podcast for some time now and it’s no surprise — given his history of peddling conspiracies to Trump personally — that he now has the President’s ear. Trump’s been desperate to reignite an economy tanked by the pandemic and Giuliani’s pushing the kind of quick-fix, but highly unproven, cure that’s bound to get the President’s attention.

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

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is looking into an outbreak in Rockland County New York and accusations of anti-Semitism over how it’s been handled.

Kate Riga is reporting on the efforts by Republicans in the Wisconsin state legislature over the weekend to block the governor’s attempt to delay the election amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

It seems a lifetime ago, but Trump hasn’t forgotten those who he perceives wronged him throughout the impeachment inquiry and trial. Over the weekend, Trump fired Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, the man responsible for the handling of the whistleblower complaint whose allegations launched the impeachment inquiry. Last night, Atkinson accused Trump of firing him for how he handled the complaint, which focused on Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president.

“It is hard not to think that the President’s loss of confidence in me derives from my having faithfully discharged my legal obligations as an independent and impartial Inspector General, and from my commitment to continue to do so,” Atkinson said in a statement. We’ll keep an eye on this development.

Meanwhile White House trade adviser Peter Navarro recently had an argument with Dr. Anthony Fauci in private over the efficacy of anti-malaria drug against COVID-19. According to a new report, Fauci had pointed out that the single study Navarro cited on the drug was flawed, which reportedly set off the adviser. Navarro dug in his heels on the drug this morning, telling CNN John Berman that his background as a “social scientist” made him qualified to discuss how to treat the coronavirus. We’ll continue monitoring this back-and-forth.

Today’s Rundown

12:30 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 briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

What’s Up With The Feds Seizing PPE Shipments to States and Hospitals? — Josh Marshall

What We Are Reading

This Brooklyn Landlord Just Cancelled Rent For Hundreds Of Tenants — Matthew Haag

Inside The Secretive Group Trying To Bring Down North Korea’s Regime — Bradley Hope, John Lyons and Alastair Gale

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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