February 27

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Keeping An Eye On The Coronavirus Head count for you. Today

Official (rigged) Coronavirus Count: 82,584 infected, 2,801 dead
Realistic estimates: 300,000+ infected, 30,000+ dead
3,958 infections outside of China: South Korea: 1,766, Italy: 530, Japan: 213, Iran: 245
CDC total # of Americans TESTED from day one: Just 445 (CDC.gov)
Coming soon: # people tested / quarantined / confirmed in each U.S. state: Pandemic.news

 

BREAKING NEWS

22 Turkish soldiers confirmed killed in Idlib airstrike as Erdogan
chairs emergency meeting on Syria — RT World News
 
At least 22 Turkish servicemen have been killed in an airstrike in Syria’s Idlib province, while an unspecified number of soldiers were injured. Turkish officials attributed the strike to the Syrian military.

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A Judge Issued This Threat to Fox News That Could Shut Down Tucker Carlson

 

 

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Liberal “judges” are running amok across America.

Democrat Party activists masquerading as Judges are rigging the judicial system against President Trump and his supporters.

And a Judge issued this threat to Fox News that could shut down Tucker Carlson.

President Trump and his supporters were outraged at the rigged trial that saw a jury led by a forewoman that exhibited anti-Trump bias convict Trump associate Roger Stone on charges of lying to Congress and obstructing justice.

The uproar only grew louder when Obama activist Amy Berman Jackson sentenced Stone to 40 months in prison after delivering an hour-long rant where Berman Jackson lied about Stone covering up Trump-Russia collusion.

Before Stone’s sentencing, Fox News host Tucker Carlson blasted the biased juror during a broadcast of his Fox News show.

“This is not a neutral person. This is not someone capable of judging this trial fairly. This is a partisan who lied about who she was. Roger Stone is facing life in prison because an Obama-appointed judge, Amy Berman Jackson, allowed this woman to run the jury,” Carlson stated.

During Carlson’s monologue, Carlson put anti-Trump tweets from the juror up on the screen.

During a hearing over Stone’s motion for a new trial, Berman Jackson issued an ultimatum to Tucker Carlson.

“Tucker Carlson accused the foreperson of the jury of being an anti-Trump zealot…Any attempts to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice,” Berman Jackson ranted.

Berman Jackson also went after President Trump.

“The president of the United States used his Twitter platform to disseminate a particular point of view about a juror,” Jackson said. “Any attempt to invade the privacy of the jurors or to harass or intimidate them is completely antithetical to our system of justice. … They deserve to have their privacy protected.”

Earlier in the day during a press conference in India, President Trump once again restated his belief that Stone’s trial was rigged against him.

“It’s my strong opinion that the forewoman of the jury — the woman who was in charge of the jury — is totally tainted,” Trump said. “When you take a look, how can you have a person like this? She was an anti-Trump activist. Can you imagine this?”

Later in the day the President doubled down on social media.

The President tweeted that “There has rarely been a juror so tainted as the forewoman in the Roger Stone case. Look at her background. She never revealed her hatred of ‘Trump’ and Stone. She was totally biased, as is the judge. Roger wasn’t even working on my campaign. Miscarriage of justice. Sad to watch!”

Amy Berman Jackson is no Judge.

 

Berman Jackson is a tyrant that wants to silence citizens’ First Amendment rights.

During Stone’s trial the dictatorial Berman Jackson muzzled Roger Stone through a gag order that denied him his free speech rights to defend himself in public.

Berman Jackson was not satisfied with muzzling Stone, convicting Stone and sentencing Stone to prison.

Now Berman Jackson contends that no American – from the President down to private citizens – should be allowed to criticize her or the rigged system she lords over.

 

Court Delivers Big Win To President Trump On Sanctuary Cities

 

President Trump scored a major win in the battle to enforce the nation's immigration laws after an appeals court ruled in his favor on administration policy toward sanctuary cities. 

With a ruling that will infuriate Democrats, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Trump that grant money could be withheld from states that refuse to cooperate with federal law enforcement authorities. 

 

In the ongoing war against the seditious resistance, it was a landmark moment for the Trump administration as well as for the residents of cities whose leaders put them in danger by protecting criminal illegal immigrants. 

 

While the ultimate decision will likely be made by the Supreme Court, it was a crushing defeat for the anti-democracy, pro-crime, open borders left, mouthy celebs and the socialist Democratic party. 

Via The Associated Press, "Court sides with Trump in ‘sanctuary cities’ grant fight":

The Trump administration can withhold millions of dollars in law enforcement grants to force states to cooperate with U.S. immigration enforcement, a federal appeals court in New York ruled Wednesday in a decision that conflicted with three other federal appeals courts.

The ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturned a lower court’s decision ordering the administration to release funding to New York City and seven states — New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, Massachusetts, Virginia and Rhode Island.

The states and city sued the U.S. government after the Justice Department announced in 2017 that it would withhold grant money from cities and states until they gave federal immigration authorities access to jails and provide advance notice when someone in the country illegally is about to be released.

Before the change, cities and states seeking grant money were required only to show they were not preventing local law enforcement from communicating with federal authorities about the immigration status of people who were detained.

At the time, then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions said: “So-called ‘sanctuary’ policies make all of us less safe because they intentionally undermine our laws and protect illegal aliens who have committed crimes.”

 

US rejected key talks on extending soon-to-expire treaty that limits strategic nuclear arms – Russia

 
27 Feb, 2020 10:07
 
US rejected key talks on extending soon-to-expire treaty that limits strategic nuclear arms – Russia
FILE PHOTO A nuclear-capable B-2 Stealth Bomber at the Palmdale Aircraft Integration Center of Excellence in Palmdale, California. July 2014. © AFP / Frederic J. Brown
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The US has declined an invitation to hold a formal meeting to discuss the legal details of extending the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), which is due to expire in a year, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

Washington has decided to ditch important talks on the bilateral treaty's fate, the Deputy Director of the Foreign Ministry's Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Department, Vladimir Leontyev, told a strategic arms-themed event in the Russian parliament on Thursday.

We offered a meeting between our legal experts to make sure that we're on the same page and to negotiate a common understanding of the technical side of the extension [of the treaty], but a few days ago the Americans officially declined that offer.

The START pact limits the number of nuclear warheads and the means of their delivery. The current iteration of the agreement – called New START – was signed by then-US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev in 2010. It is set to expire in February next year.

Also on rt.com US openly paves way for INF-banned missiles to be placed in Europe & Asia – Lavrov

Moscow has argued that the treaty should be extended without preconditions. The US, meanwhile, hinted that it wants China to join the agreement, an idea Beijing has rejected.

On Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov criticized the US for its reluctance to extend the treaty, saying that "the lack of clarity with regards to the fate of START is concerning."

Last year, the US left the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty) with Russia, after accusing Moscow of having secretly violated it. Russia, which denied these allegations, abandoned the agreement after the US did.

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Communist Cuba Praises Bernie Sanders On Front Page Of State-Run Newspaper

 
DailyWire.com
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 19: Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) waves with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) as she endorses him during his speech at a campaign rally in Queensbridge Park on October 19, 2019 in the Queens borough of New York City. This is Sanders' first rally since he paused his campaign for the nomination due to health problems.
Kena Betancur/Getty Images
 

Communist Cuba praised socialist Bernie Sanders, the front-runner in the race for the Democratic nomination for president, for his recent praise of the communist nation.

 

“Granma, the Communist Party newspaper, prominently displayed a report about Sanders and his praise of ‘some of the social programs implemented by the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution Fidel Castro,'” The Miami Herald reported. “Adding its own analysis of the Democratic race, the newspaper said Sanders seemed ‘unstoppable’ in his move towards the nomination.”

“Granma and several state media outlets reported the comments made by Sanders in an interview with Anderson Cooper for ’60 minutes’ on Sunday, in which the senator said it was ‘unfair’ to say that ‘everything is bad’ in Cuba, and praised the literacy campaign implemented by Fidel Castro shortly after he rose to power in 1959,” the Herald added. “The report also mentions that Sanders had recognized the role of Cuba in sending ‘doctors all over the world,’ another Castro initiative, but incorrectly attributed these comments, made during a debate in the 2016 elections, to the interview with Cooper.”

The newspaper then attacked Cuban Americans who had escaped the communist nation, writing that Sanders’ “comments sparked the anger of the most extremist sector of Cuban-Americans in South Florida, who oppose any rapprochement with the Caribbean island.”

Sanders’ remarks were widely condemned by Cuban Americans, Republicans, and Democrats who found his praise of a brutal, dictatorial regime appalling.

“Fidel Castro left a dark legacy of forced labor camps, religious repression, widespread poverty, firing squads, and the murder of thousands of his own people,” Michael Bloomberg said in a tweet. “But sure, Bernie, let’s talk about his literacy program.”

Pete Buttigieg tweeted a link asking for donations, writing, “Chip in if you don’t want to have to defend Fidel Castro.”

Tom Steyer tore into Sanders during a CNN town hall, saying, “I don’t think it’s appropriate to look at a dictator in Cuba who’s been there for 60 years, who has really done a terrible job for the Cuban people, who’s an autocrat who’s never allowed dissent or elections and who has done exactly — he’s had the government own the economy and people are hungry and he’s been a cruel controller of the country.  don’t think it’s appropriate to be giving him a lot of compliments.”

“If you’re asking me, will I ever compliment a regime that’s unelected, that rules without the rule of law, that is — that dominates its country without the kind of democracy and — that we have?” Steyer later added. “No, I’m never going to compliment that system. I don’t approve of it. I don’t think it works. I think we stand up for who we are around the country because we’re trying to be the best value driven country in the world. That’s who we are. We should be proud of it and we should never give in to somebody else’s view.”

Left-wing CNN commentator Ana Navarro tweeted: “I was born in Nicaragua. My parents live there. My husband was born in Cuba. Castros & Ortega are corrupt, anti-American, murderous thugs. They jail, kill, torture, starve, beat, persecute political dissidents while enriching themselves. There is no f***ing bright side. Period.”

 

Obama Demands South Carolina TV Stations Pull ‘Misleading’ Ad Attacking Biden

 
 by Eric A. Blair February 26, 2020 301 Comments

 

 

Former president Barack Obama may not have endorsed his former running mate, but he’s come out of the woodwork to get Joe Biden’s back.

 

 

Obama is calling on South Carolina television stations “to stop running an ad from a super PAC supporting President Trump that uses Obama’s words out of context in a misleading attack on former vice president Joe Biden,” The Washington Post reports.

“This despicable ad is straight out of the Republican disinformation playbook, and it’s clearly designed to suppress turnout among minority voters in South Carolina by taking President Obama’s voice out of context and twisting his words to mislead viewers,” Katie Hill, Obama’s communications director, said in a statement. “In the interest of truth in advertising, we are calling on TV stations to take this ad down and stop playing into the hands of bad actors who seek to sow division and confusion among the electorate.”

Hill said that Obama has “several friends” in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, “including, of course, his own esteemed Vice President.” But she added that Obama has “no plans to endorse in the primary,” The Post said.

In an attempt to sway black voters in the state, the ad begins with a narrator saying “Joe Biden promised to help our community. It was a lie. Here’s President Obama.”

The ad then runs audio of Obama reading an unrelated passage from his 1995 book, “Dreams from My Father,” about a conversation he had with a barber in Chicago when he was a community organizer.

The Obama passage, which describes the mistreatment of black voters by politicians, refers to complaints about “plantation politics” and the history in Chicago of Democratic politicians expecting black votes despite poor housing, poor job opportunities and police brutality.

Back in April, when Biden announced he would be running for the Democratic presidential nomination, Obama issued a statement through Hill.

“President Obama has long said that selecting Joe Biden as his running mate in 2008 was one of the best decisions he ever made. He relied on the Vice President’s knowledge, insight, and judgment throughout both campaigns and the entire presidency. The two forged a special bond over the last 10 years and remain close today,” the statement said.

But the statement was notably lacking a formal endorsement.

Biden, though, said he had personally asked Obama not to issue an endorsement. “I asked President Obama not to endorse, and he doesn’t want to. Listen, we should — whoever wins this nomination should win it on their own merits,” he said when asked by reporters why Obama had not endorsed him.

 

U.S. markets plunge into correction territory as coronavirus crisis deepens

 

All three of the major averages are down at least 10 percent from their February highs

Trump: Stock market will recover from coronavirus fears

President Trump isn't concerned about the recent dip in the stock market and says the American consumer is very strong.

U.S. equity markets plunged into correction territory Thursday as President Trump’s announcement of a coronavirus task force did little to assuage investors’ fears of a deepening crisis.

The early selling had all three major averages down at least 10 percent from their February peaks. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were on track for their sixth straight day of losses.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
SP500S&P 5003058.72-57.67-1.85%
I:DJIDOW JONES AVERAGES26476.75-480.84-1.78%
I:COMPNASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX8783.892328-196.88-2.19%

The indexes must close above the following levels to avoid entering a technical correction, according to Dow Jones Market Data group:

  • S&P 500: 3,047.54
  • Dow Jones Industrial Average: 26,596.28 
  • Nasdaq Composite: 8,835.46 

On Wednesday evening, Trump said Vice President Mike Pence would head a task force to combat the outbreak and that his administration was “ready to do whatever we have to” if the virus threat grows. Hours after Trump’s press briefing, U.S. health officials announced the first case in which they were unable to determine the source of infection.

Overnight, South Korea reported 505 new cases and Japan announced the closure of all schools in the country starting March 2. Elsewhere, Saudi Arabia suspended religious pilgrimages to Mecca and elsewhere.

The coronavirus has infected at least 81,109 people globally and killed 2,762, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.

Looking at U.S. stocks, Microsoft warned the coronavirus outbreak would impact the supply chain for its “Personal Computing” unit, which accounts for about one-third of its revenue. Other tech giants, including Apple and HP, have already warned about supply-chain disruptions.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
MSFTMICROSOFT CORP.166.09-4.08-2.40%
AAPLAPPLE INC.285.31-7.34-2.51%
HPHELMERICH & PAYNE INC37.20-1.69-4.35%

Chipmakers remained under pressure with AMD, Intel and Nvidia all adding to recent losses.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
AMDADVANCED MICRO DEVICES INC.45.92-1.57-3.31%
INTCINTEL CORPORATION58.23-1.42-2.38%
NVDANVIDIA CORPORATION260.57-6.92-2.59%

Airlines, online travel agencies and casino operators were also lower.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
AALAMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.20.26-2.05-9.19%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.46.15-3.44-6.95%
BKNGBOOKING HOLDINGS INC.1,681.19+2.99+0.18%
WYNNWYNN RESORTS LIMITED106.10-4.65-4.20%
MGMMGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL25.65-1.06-3.97%

Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron were weaker as West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures for April delivery were down 3.1 percent at $47.20 a barrel.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
XOMEXXON MOBIL CORPORATION51.42-1.59-3.00%
CVXCHEVRON CORP.95.16-2.88-2.94%

Elsewhere, drugmakers searching for a coronavirus vaccine continued to outperform, with Gilead Sciences, Moderna, Novavax and Nanoviricides all higher.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
GILDGILEAD SCIENCES INC.77.82+3.12+4.18%
NVAXNOVAVAX INC.11.50+2.28+24.73%
NNVCNANOVIRICIDES INC12.73+3.56+38.82%
MRNAMODERNA INC.34.98+5.82+19.96%

Barrick Gold and Newmont mining gained as gold futures for April delivery jumped 0.7 percent to above $1,654 an ounce.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
GOLDBARRICK GOLD CORP.21.215+0.19+0.93%
NEMNEWMONT GOLDCORP CORPORATION49.97+0.57+1.15%

On the earnings front, Best Buy reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, which were boosted by strong sales of headphones, smartphones and tablets.

J.C. Penney reported a surprise profit and same-store sales that fell less than Wall Street was anticipating.

TICKER SECURITY LAST CHANGE CHANGE %
BBYBEST BUY78.94-3.23-3.94%
JCPJ.C. PENNEY0.69-0.04-4.94%

U.S. Treasurys continued their ascent, pushing the yield on the 10-year note to a low of 1.24 percent. The benchmark yield rallied, however, after the government confirmed an earlier estimate of 2.1 percent GDP growth in the fourth quarter.

In Europe, France’s CAC was down 3.2 percent while Germany’s DAX and Britain’s FTSE were lower by 3.6 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively.

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Asian markets finished mixed with Japan’s Nikkei tumbling 2.1 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.1 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

 

Potential First US 'Community Spread' Coronavirus Reported

 
2019 covid coronavirus graphic with virus icons
(Dreamstime)

By Eric Mack    |   Wednesday, 26 February 2020 08:48 PM

The United States' first "community spread" of the coronavirus has been discovered in a patient in California, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed.

"At this time, the patient's exposure is unknown," the CDC said in a statement. "It's possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States."

The resident of Solano County is receiving medical care in Sacramento County, according to CNBC. There was no relevant travel history or known exposure to another patient with the virus.

"Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown," according to the CDC.

All of the 60 other cases in the U.S. had traveled from abroad or had been in close contact with those who traveled. Health officials have been on high alert for what they call community spread.

Earlier U.S. cases included 14 in people who traveled back from outbreak areas in China, or their spouses; three people who were evacuated from the central China city of Wuhan; and 42 American passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship who were evacuated by the federal government to the U.S. from where the ship was docked in Japan.

The outbreak, which began in China, has infected tens of thousands of people in more than three dozen countries, with the vast majority in mainland China.

The new virus is a member of the coronavirus family that is a close cousin to the SARS and MERS viruses that have caused outbreaks in the past.

The virus can cause fever, coughing, wheezing, and pneumonia. Health officials think it spreads mainly from droplets dispersed when an infected person coughs or sneezes, much like the flu.

 

 

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EXCLUSIVE: British University Deserves More Scrutiny Over Stefan Halper Ties, Says Researcher Who Knows FBI Informant

 
Stefan Halper on Bill Walton Show, May 8, 2018. (YouTube screen grab)

Youtube

Chuck Ross Investigative Reporter
February 26, 2020 9:16 PM ET
 
  • A Russian-British historian who crossed paths with Stefan Halper at the University of Cambridge said the prestigious British college deserves more scrutiny over what it knew about Halper’s relationship with the FBI. 
  • “Cambridge University was either negligent or complicit with regards to Halper,” said Svetlana Lokhova. 
  • Halper’s FBI handler, Stephen Somma, visited Cambridge in November 2011. 
  • Halper met Page at a Cambridge event July 10, 2016, several weeks before the FBI officially began investigating the Trump campaign. 

A Russian-British historian who studied at the University of Cambridge said the college deserves more scrutiny over what it knew about the FBI’s relationship with Stefan Halper, a former Cambridge professor who was a confidential human source for the bureau during its investigation of Trump campaign associates, in an exclusive interview with the Daily Caller News Foundation.

“The University of Cambridge was a pivotal place for Spygate,” said Svetlana Lokhova, an academic who studied Soviet-era espionage under one of Halper’s closest associates, Christopher Andrew.

Cambridge has been unwilling to talk about Halper ever since the Daily Caller News Foundation reported in March 2018 that he had a series of contacts during the 2016 presidential campaign with three Trump campaign aides, Carter Page, Sam Clovis and George Papadopoulos.

After confirming that Halper was an FBI informant, that Cambridge staff had been instructed not to discuss Halper, The Washington Post reported in June 2018. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: A London Meeting Before The Election Aroused George Papadopoulos’s Suspicions)

Lokhova, who is writing a forthcoming book about Halper, said she filed several unanswered complaints with her former school seeking an investigation of Halper.

She said she believes Halper to be behind rumors that ended up in the press in 2017 that she had improper contacts with Michael Flynn in February 2014, at an event hosted by the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, which Halper co-convenes with Christopher Andrew and Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of MI6.

Halper hosted or met with several key figures at Cambridge or in the U.K. who would become involved in some way in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

He met Trump campaign adviser Carter Page at a Cambridge event July 10, 2016. He used his ties to Cambridge to establish contact with George Papadopoulos in September 2016.

Through the Cambridge Intelligence Seminar, Halper hosted Vyacheslav Trubnikov, the former chief of Russia’s SVR intelligence service, and his own FBI handler, Stephen Somma.

Somma’s ties to Halper were confirmed in a New York Times report Sunday.

According to the newspaper, Somma is the FBI counterintelligence investigator referred to as “Case Agent 1” in the Justice Department inspector general’s report of FBI surveillance during Crossfire Hurricane, the investigation of the Trump campaign.

Sir Richard Dearlove (L), Christopher Andrew (center), then-DIA Director Michael Flynn (R), at Cambridge University, Feb. 28, 2014. (Photo courtesy Svetlana Lokhova)

The inspector general’s report said “Case Agent 1” — now known to be Somma — was Halper’s handler at the FBI since 2011. Somma, who works out of the FBI’s New York field office, spoke at a seminar in November 2011 on the topic of “The Illegals,” a Russian spy ring uncovered in the U.S. in 2010.

The Cambridge Intelligence Seminar in February 2014 hosted Flynn, who then served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. That visit would later become the source of discredited news stories alleging some sort of improper contact between Flynn and Lokhova, who attended a dinner for Flynn during his Cambridge visit.

Trubnikov also visited Cambridge in 2012 and 2015. Halper used Trubnikov as a contributor to a study that he conducted in 2015 on behalf of the Office of Net Assessment, the Pentagon’s internal geostrategic think tank.

Christopher Steele, the former spy whose dossier the FBI used to investigate the Trump campaign, told a State Department official that Trubnikov was a source of some kind for his dossier.

Lokhova said she is convinced Halper used Cambridge as a cover to carry out intelligence-gathering activities against targets of American and British intelligence services. The only question in her mind is whether Cambridge knew what Halper was up to.

“Cambridge University was either negligent or complicit with regards to Halper,” she told the DCNF.

She added: “They should have never appointed someone with his background to teach students. They either failed basic background check, or they knew and therefore are complicit.”

Lokhova has long had suspicions about Halper, though she did not learn that he was an FBI informant until it was widely reported in May 2018. (RELATED: FBI Agent Faulted In FISA Report Has Finally Been Identified)

She accused Halper in a lawsuit of spreading false stories suggesting that she had Flynn had improper contact during his Cambridge visit in 2014.

Three years after the event, after Flynn was fired as national security adviser, news stories surfaced suggesting Lokhova had suspicious encounters with Flynn. Lokhova and Flynn have vehemently denied the innuendo, and other attendees at the event have corroborated their stories.

Halper has responded to Lokhova’s lawsuit in court filings, saying that she has not provided proof that he was a source for news stories about Flynn.

Lokhova has also expressed suspicion at an invitation she received to a dinner at Halper’s home in February 2016, while she was still conducting research at Cambridge.

Christopher Andrew, the Halper colleague who mentored Lokhova, invited her through email to the dinner in January 2016.

Lokhova was skeptical of the invitation at the time because she and Halper hardly knew each other at Cambridge. The few times they did interact, Lokhova says that Halper was dismissive and rude toward her. She has also said some of her colleagues at Cambridge told her Halper was spreading rumors that she was a Russian asset.

While Halper’s links to Page, Flynn, Trubnikov and Lokhova have been detailed in various media reports, his contacts with Somma, the FBI investigator, remain largely unexplored.

Somma is singled out as one of the main villains of the Justice Department inspector general’s report.

The inspector general’s report criticized the FBI for 17 “significant” errors and omissions in its applications for surveillance warrants on Carter Page.

The report said Somma was “primarily responsible” for errors in six different areas of Crossfire Hurricane.

The breadth of Somma’s errors appears to be due in large part to his involvement in several key areas of Crossfire Hurricane.

Not only was Somma Halper’s handler, but he was also who opened the case file on Page, a former Naval officer who worked for Merrill Lynch in Moscow in the early 2000s. The inspector general’s report stated that Somma began pushing for a FISA order on Page “almost immediately” after the investigation was opened July 31, 2016.

On Aug. 11, 2016, Somma and other FBI investigators met with Halper, who is called “Source 2” in the IG report. They met again the following day to develop a plan to covertly monitor Page and Papadopoulos.

Somma told the inspector general he was unaware of Halper’s interaction with Page at Cambridge in July 2016. He said he sought out Halper because the former GOP operative had worked on the George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan presidential campaigns.

On Sept. 2, 2016, Halper reached out to Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos. Halper invited Papadopoulos to London later that month, under the guise of discussing an academic paper on energy issues in the Middle East.

According to the inspector general’s report, Somma failed to disclose exculpatory information that Page and Papadopoulos told Halper during conversations that the FBI informant secretly recorded with them.

Page told Halper in an Aug. 20, 2016, conversation that he had never met or communicated with Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman. That contradicted the Steele dossier, which stated that Page was working with Manafort as part of a “well-developed conspiracy of cooperation” with the Russian government.

Papadopoulos told Halper in a conversation Sept. 15, 2016, that he had no knowledge of the Trump campaign working with the Kremlin to influence the 2016 election.

The inspector general’s report also stated that Somma mishandled information related to the Steele dossier, which the FBI cited extensively in its court filings to spy on Page.

Somma was aware that substantial portions of the dossier were either inaccurate, or contradicted by Steele’s main source, according to the inspector general. He took part in a January 17, 2017, interview with the source, who has yet to be identified. The inspector general’s report stated that the Steele source said Steele embellished or misrepresented key parts of the dossier.

Somma failed to disclose that derogatory information in the last two surveillance applications on Page.

The FBI declined comment on Somma.

 

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CDC Announces First US Case of Coronavirus With Unknown Origin

 
February 27, 2020 Updated: February 27, 2020

Health officials announced on Feb. 26 that the latest confirmed case of COVID-19 in an individual in Northern California may be the country’s first case of human-to-human transmission from an unknown source.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement on Wednesday night that the patient has no known sources of exposure, like close contact with confirmed carriers of the virus.

It added that the individual had “no relevant travel history” before the case was detected through the U.S. public health system.

“At this time, the patient’s exposure is unknown,” the agency said. “It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States. Community spread means spread of an illness for which the source of infection is unknown.”

The agency added there is a possibility that the individual may have been “exposed to a returned traveler who was infected,” and will update the public as they get more information.

The California Department Of Public Health said that the unnamed individual is a resident of Solano County and is receiving medical care at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento County.

An email from the hospital revealed that the patient had been transferred to UC Davis Medical Center as a suspected virus patient on Feb. 19. However, the CDC did not immediately test the patient as they did not fit the “existing CDC criteria for COVID-19.” The CDC began testing four days later.

Due to precautions put in place for the patient, there is minimal risk to patients and staff at the facility, according to the hospital.

If confirmed, the new case would mark the first known instance of human-to-human transmission of the virus among the general public in the United States—something health officials warned may happen.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said earlier this week that it was “not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness.”

The authorities in California said that despite the announcement, “the health risk from novel coronavirus to the general public remains low at this time.”

“While COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate,” the department said in the statement. “From the international data we have, of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization.

“California is carefully assessing the situation as it evolves,” it added.

The case marks the 60th in the United States, including 42 who returned from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that remains held off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, and three who were evacuated from Wuhan—the epicenter of the virus in China.

The CDC’s statement comes after President Donald Trump named Vice President Mike Pence as the leader of the coronavirus task force. He said: “Whatever happens. we’re totally prepared. We are ready, willing, and able.”

Pence will now be working with Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar in an “all-of-government” effort to coordinate the administration’s coronavirus response.

When asked about updates on a possible vaccine, Trump responded, “The vaccine is coming along well, and we think this is something that we can do fairly quickly.

“Of the 15 people [to have contracted the virus] … eight of them have returned to their homes, to stay at their homes until they’re fully recovered. One is in the hospital. And five have fully recovered. And one we think is in pretty good shape,” he added.

 

Here’s What You Missed From Trump’s Coronavirus Press Conference …

 
 

Subscribe to our channel! https://goo.gl/pyGqbu, Trump held a press conference to address the nation on the measures his administration has been taking and will take to combat the coronavirus.

See the full presser – CLICK HERE

 

 

Australia Ready for Global Coronavirus Pandemic: Extends China Travel Ban

 
Australia warns virus pandemic now 'upon us'
AFP
Simon Kent
27 Feb 20201,401
2:16

Australia declared Thursday it is ready for any coronavirus global pandemic as it extended a travel ban on visitors from China.

As a surge of new cases of Covid-19 around the world fuel fears containment measures have failed,  Canberra announced Australia is activating an emergency plan to deal with the viral outbreak.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the virus had spread rapidly outside of China, which had prompted his government to elevate Australia’s response, ABC News reports.

“We believe the risk of global pandemic is very much upon us and as a result, as a government, we need to take the steps necessary to prepare for such a pandemic,” he said.

The ban means foreign nationals who have been in mainland China are not allowed into Australia for 14 days from the time they left China.

The new travel ban will end on Saturday, March 7. The Government will review the ban again within a week.

The government at the weekend announced it would allow senior high school students from China to travel to Australia under strict protocols.

Morrison told reporters there were “no carve-outs” as part of the extended travel ban and the extension was based on the advice of the chief medical officer and his state counterparts.

Health Minister Greg Hunt said the plan builds on what was implemented for similar events relating to pandemic influenza.

“We are prepared… all of the elements that are in that plan are very similar to our pandemic influenza plan. We learned from the pandemic 10 years ago when we had the swine flu epidemic,”Hunt said.

“We looked at that plan and modified it on the basis of what we learnt.”

He said medical authorities know more about the coronavirus, how it spreads, how infectious it is, and how likely it is to cause severe illness.

“I would stress that for 80 per cent of people it’s a mild illness.”

Australia is reviewing its travel advice as virus situations evolve in various countries. Advice levels for northern Italy, Iran, Japan and Korea have been increased.

 

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