ICYMI: Your TPM Weekend News Roundup

April 16, 2021 6:35 p.m.

The Pause

  • The CDC and FDA recommended a pause on distributing Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday while the agencies review the six reported cases of people getting blood clots after receiving the vaccine. Several states ceased distribution immediately after the federal agencies announced their recommendation.
  • Later on Tuesday, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said the Biden administration had obtained “more than enough” supply of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines that the J&J pause would not disrupt vaccine rollout.
  • This week White House officials reportedly had a difficult call with governors who were frustrated by the chaos caused by the federal government’s recommendation. Zients tried to reassure those who may now distrust the government’s handling of the vaccine rollout process, saying that the announcement “should give the American people confidence” in the FDA and CDC’s “commitment to transparency and protection of public health.”
  • Meanwhile, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla announced that his company had ramped up production and could deliver 10 percent more doses by the end of May than originally agreed.
  • As of Friday evening, distribution of the J&J shot remains on hold: The CDC’s advisory panel that is reviewing the vaccine announced on Thursday that it was postponing a vote on lifting the recommendation, saying they still needed more information.


GaetzGate Details Get Messier  

  • Reports surfaced earlier this week revealing that people close to former President Trump rejected Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) requests to meet with the former president. Trump’s aides also reportedly discouraged him from sticking up for the congressman who is embroiled in scandal following reports that he is being investigated by the feds over allegations of sex trafficking involving a 17-year-old. Trump then issued a statement denying reports that he refused to meet with Gaetz.
  • The New York Times reported this week that Joel Greenberg, Gaetz’s associate who has been indicted multiple times, is assisting the feds in their investigation into the lawmaker. A slew of new details about Gaetz’s September 2018 trip to the Bahamas came out this week. That trip reportedly included at least five young women, and may have included the young woman who is the focus of the sex trafficking investigation.
  •  CNN spoke to some of the women who reportedly partied with Gaetz and described a drug and booze fueled scene in which at least one person said payments were provided for sex. Those payments could be part of the news that broke this week that revealed Greenberg made more than 150 Venmo payments to dozens of women and one 17-year-old.
  • House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) addressed the issue — sort of — during his weekly press conference on Thursday, saying he’s spoken with Gaetz about the allegations and that Gaetz claimed he’s innocent. McCarthy also said that if Gaetz was indicted he would be removed from his committees.


Another Police Killing In Minneapolis

  • The police shooting of a Black motorist Sunday brought more grief and turmoil to the Minneapolis area in the midst of the ongoing trial of Derek Chauvin for the alleged murder of George Floyd last year. Here’s our Monday piece on what we knew about the shooting as details emerged.
  • Police said the officer who shot the Black motorist Daunte Wright mistook her gun for a taser, noting she shouted “taser” repeatedly before firing the weapon.
  • Both the officer who shot Wright, Kim Potter, and the police chief who claimed the shooting was accidental, Tim Gannon, resigned Tuesday. Potter was charged with second-degree manslaughter on Wednesday.
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