HHS

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 31, 2020 -- People ride bicycles on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the United States, Aug. 30, 2020. The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States reached 5,994,855 as of 9:28 p.m. EDT on Sunday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. (Photo by Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty)
Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Miss., Sunday, Dec. 20. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool)
Nurse Kathe Olmstead prepares a shot as the world's biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)
The Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant is shown in Portage, Mich., Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
UKRAINE - 2020/04/29: In this photo illustration the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) web page displayed in internet on a pc screen and a coronavirus image on a mobile phone.The number of the COVID-19 coronavirus confirmed cases in the United States exceeded one million and exceeded three million in the world, according of COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
A man receives a H1N1 swine flu vaccine at XXXXX on October 27, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea. The Korea Food and Drug Administration approved domestically developped vaccines last week, the government plan to vaccinate 35 percent of South Korean population until next February.
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 01:  Former Trump campaign official Michael Caputo arrives at the Hart Senate Office building to be interviewed by Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, on May 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. The committee is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.  (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
LOUISVILLE, KY - JUNE 23:  A polling worker (left) cleans a voting booth between voters during Tuesday’s primary election on June 23, 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Exposition Center is the only polling location for Tuesday’s Kentucky primary in Jefferson County, home to Louisville and 767,000 residents.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
WINSTON SALEM, NC - SEPTEMBER 08: President Donald Trump addresses a crowd during a campaign rally at Smith Reynolds Airport on September 8, 2020 in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The president also made a campaign stop in South Florida on Tuesday. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Where Things Stand: Both Barr And Caputo Hype Sedition, But Only One Is Leaving Prime Badge
This is your TPM afternoon briefing.
Former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo arrives to testify before the House Intelligence Committee during a closed-door session at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center July 14, 2017 in Washington, DC. Caputo resigned from being a Trump campaign communications advisor after appearing to celebrate the firing of former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Denying any contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign, Caputo did live in Moscow during the 1990s, served as an adviser to former Russian President Boris Yeltsin and did pro-Putin public relations work for the Russian conglomerate Gazprom Media.

Michael Caputo, the longtime Trump hype man and HHS official, is taking a leave of absence from the Department of Health and Human Services.

This follows a tumultuous few days in which reports surfaced showing Caputo and one of his close aides at HHS were involved in a scheme to pressure the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention into cooking the books on COVID-19 reporting data to more closely adhere to President Trump’s rosy rhetoric on the pandemic.

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