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DOJ Decides Leaked, Inaccurate DOJ IG Materials Are Awful

The NYT has a story–on which Michael Shear, who is home in quarantine with his spouse after catching COVID in the White House’s superspreader cluster, has the lead byline–on DOJ’s complicit role in separating children from their parents.

It describes how five border-state US Attorneys tried to avoid imposing the draconian policies masterminded by Stephen Miller (who, like Shear, got infected in Trump’s super-spreader event). But those US Attorneys were overruled by Jeff Sessions and Rod Rosenstein. Those findings appear in a draft DOJ IG Report, which has been sent to DOJ for comment, but not yet published.

The five U.S. attorneys along the border with Mexico, including three appointed by President Trump, recoiled in May 2018 against an order to prosecute all undocumented immigrants even if it meant separating children from their parents. They told top Justice Department officials they were “deeply concerned” about the children’s welfare.

But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s “zero tolerance” family separation policy.

“We need to take away children,” Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: “If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.”

Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.

Passages of the report citing John Bash, who recently resigned his position as US Attorney for WD TX only to be replaced by a Billy Barr flunky, are quoted twice.

“Those two cases should not have been declined,” John Bash, the departing U.S. attorney in western Texas, wrote to his staff immediately after the call. Mr. Bash had declined the cases, but Mr. Rosenstein “instructed that, per the A.G.’s policy, we should NOT be categorically declining immigration prosecutions of adults in family units because of the age of a child.”

[snip]

In a briefing two days after Christmas in 2017, top Justice Department officials asked Mr. Bash for statistics from the pilot program, conducted by his predecessor, that could be used to develop “nationwide prosecution guidelines.” Mr. Bash, a former White House adviser, did not receive a follow-up request for the information. Thinking that the idea had been abandoned, he did not provide it.

And there’s at least one other prosecutor quoted — revealing that the no-tolerance policy targeting children let some far more serious criminals go free — who could be him.

Border Patrol officers missed serious felony cases because they were stretched too thin by the zero-tolerance policy requiring them to detain and prosecute all of the misdemeanor illegal entry cases. One Texas prosecutor warned top Justice Department officials in 2018 that “sex offenders were released” as a result.

The article itself is based off a draft copy of the report and interviews with three anonymous officials.

This article is based on a review of the 86-page draft report and interviews with three government officials who read it in recent months and described its conclusions and many of the details in it.

Bash should not have had access to this entire report to review his own role in it. Past practice would have suggested he get just those passages that pertain to him directly (though this report appears to cover his time both at Main DOJ and as a US Attorney). But he would have access to the passages that quote him directly.

The article is most amusing, however, for the response from DOJ, which complains about an inaccurate DOJ IG Report and improper leaks.

Alexa Vance, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, disputed the draft report and said the Homeland Security Department referred cases for prosecution.

“The draft report relied on for this article contains numerous factual errors and inaccuracies,” she said. “While D.O.J. is responsible for the prosecutions of defendants, it had no role in tracking or providing custodial care to the children of defendants. Finally, both the timing and misleading content of this leak raise troubling questions about the motivations of those responsible for it.”

As I have laid out, the DOJ IG Report on Carter Page has numerous factual errors, just some of which they’ve corrected. The central complaint in the parallel Lisa Page and Peter Strzok Privacy Act lawsuits about the release of their texts is that those were released improperly, both as to timing and legality, and led to misleading interpretations of what the texts mean. Both of those lawsuits implicate a sworn declaration made by Rod Rosenstein (who is badly implicated by this report and who issued a statement to the NYT, suggesting he could be one of the anonymous sources as well). The Rosenstein statement in the Page and Strzok lawsuits will test how credible his claims are about his own actions in response to illegal requests from the President.

In other words, the entire article is thick with irony and revenge. And it will surely focus more scrutiny on the denials that DOJ issues once it is released after the election.

But none of that helps the infants who got separated from their parents.

October COVID Surprise: So Much Bullshit, So Little Time [UPDATE-4]

Here’s a new post because the last post’s comment thread is now unwieldy, and there’s more fresh bullshit to wade through.

I have been wading through a bunch of material but don’t have anything ready for publication. Community members still need some white space in which to discuss the latest Trump bullshit.

Have at it — I’ll add content here shortly with any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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Trump’s little joy ride this evening did himself no favors. His body’s under huge stress and he doesn’t appear to recognize this, even if the Regeneron multi-antibody therapy is working.

There’s a dearth of news about that antibody cocktail’s success under compassionate use with other COVID patients. Regeneron released information about a study in which 275 out of a total 1100 participants received this therapy.

What’s weird about the antibody cocktail is that they didn’t release a study with data but a goddamned press release on Tuesday September 29, at 4:01 p.m.

Conveniently one minute after market close but before the debate, and potentially after some persons in the White House knew they were COVID-positive.

The steroid Trump received — dexamethasone — was the next appropriate step in the protocol for COVID based on Trump’s depleted oxygen levels, which means the antibody cocktail wasn’t working as quickly or as well as needed.

Dexamethasone would have been dispensed because Trump’s oxygen level fell substantially; when asked, Conley said his level had not fallen into the low 80s — a level which would be cyanotic. This means Trump’s O2 probably did fall to 85% and likely needed oxygen and the steroid to prevent cyanosis.

A study this summer showed this steroid helps some patients:

RESULTS
A total of 2104 patients were assigned to receive dexamethasone and 4321 to receive usual care. Overall, 482 patients (22.9%) in the dexamethasone group and 1110 patients (25.7%) in the usual care group died within 28 days after randomization (age-adjusted rate ratio, 0.83; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.75 to 0.93; P<0.001). The proportional and absolute between-group differences in mortality varied considerably according to the level of respiratory support that the patients were receiving at the time of randomization. In the dexamethasone group, the incidence of death was lower than that in the usual care group among patients receiving invasive mechanical ventilation (29.3% vs. 41.4%; rate ratio, 0.64; 95% CI, 0.51 to 0.81) and among those receiving oxygen without invasive mechanical ventilation (23.3% vs. 26.2%; rate ratio, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.72 to 0.94) but not among those who were receiving no respiratory support at randomization (17.8% vs. 14.0%; rate ratio, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.91 to 1.55).

CONCLUSIONS
In patients hospitalized with Covid-19, the use of dexamethasone resulted in lower 28-day mortality among those who were receiving either invasive mechanical ventilation or oxygen alone at randomization but not among those receiving no respiratory support.

Source: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2021436

But Trump is NOT receiving respiratory support consistently based on yesterday’s photos and proof-of-life video, this evening’s his stunt ride as well as the sketchy information his physicians have given. The steroid would not be as beneficial to him as it would be to patients on ventilators.

To my knowledge Trump’s physicians have already shot their COVID arsenal. If Trump has additional difficulty breathing he’ll likely be put under anesthesia into an induced coma and intubated. If he gets to that point he won’t have a choice about it because his low oxygen level could cause a cascade of organ failures — a crash.

We can deduce his lungs are compromised because of Dr. Conley’s hedging about their appearance (“There’s some expected findings, but nothing of any major clinical concern,” he said).

It’s likely Trump’s being monitored for cardiac symptoms given the use of ultrasound and the frequency with which COVID causes myocarditis. We can’t rule out the possibility Trump had cardiac symptoms when he went on an unscheduled visit to Walter Reed last November which may mean he’s at greater risk of myocarditis.

And it’s likely Trump’s got some degree of COVID brain as well, which the steroid will make worse — he’ll have cloudy thinking but with mania. A number of doctors from different fields have expressed concerns about dexamethasone’s affect on Trump’s capacity given the possibility of mania, delirium/confusion while under its influence.

We don’t even know yet if Trump has been free of fever without antipyretic medication.

I’m not a doctor, but none of this suggests to me that Trump will be ready to be released from Walter Reed tomorrow, joy ride or not.

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-1 — 10:00 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

The cover-up continues. One of the White House correspondents, Michael D. Shear, has tested positive for COVID-19 and is now disclosing the White House has not made any effort to reach out to him as part of contact tracing. (Open pic link below to launch tweeted video clip of interview with Shear.)

There has been no mention of the White House or members of the Centers for Disease Control reaching out to anyone else who was in attendance at the Barrett ‘Rose Garden Massacre’ where it’s believed more than a couple people were infected.

As Marcy noted in Twitter, it looks increasingly like Trump was infected on Thursday or Friday, 24-25 September, and that he may be responsible for a number of the cases associated with the Barrett ‘Rose Garden Massacre’.

But this also means Trump was infectious at the debate and may have knowingly attempted to infect his opponent, Joe Biden.

Melania also tested positive and was the only family Trump family member to wear a mask, though she did so while seated in the audience and not while on the debate stage upon Trump’s entrance. Was she told not to wear a mask on stage not only because Trump is anti-mask but because Trump wanted to increase the viral load on the stage?

This isn’t just a case of indifference like that Trump showed yesterday by taking a joy ride in the presidential limousine, forcing Secret Service personnel into a hermetically-sealed vessel in which they could not escape any of his aerosolized exhalation which may have escaped his mask.

It’s a deliberate effort to avoid handling the COVID-19 outbreak surrounding Trump, and a deliberate effort to hurt the election process by biological assault against an opposing candidate.

Back in April when the White House COVID-19 Task Force was working on a national plan to respond to the pandemic, there was a pointed effort not to roll out a national plan:

… Against that background, the prospect of launching a large-scale national plan was losing favor, said one public health expert in frequent contact with the White House’s official coronavirus task force.

Most troubling of all, perhaps, was a sentiment the expert said a member of Kushner’s team expressed: that because the virus had hit blue states hardest, a national plan was unnecessary and would not make sense politically. “The political folks believed that because it was going to be relegated to Democratic states, that they could blame those governors, and that would be an effective political strategy,” said the expert.

That logic may have swayed Kushner. “It was very clear that Jared was ultimately the decision maker as to what [plan] was going to come out,” the expert said….

It was Kushner’s political calculus, with Trump’s implicit imprimatur, to allow Americans in blue states to sicken and to die without testing or other federal public health assistance because their states didn’t support Trump.

Who is responsible for the political calculus to allow members of Congress, White House staff and correspondents, Trump campaign team members, spouses and children, to be exposed to COVID-19 without any attempt to trace the source of the infection, to avoid making Trump look bad?

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-2 — 11:00 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

Uh-huh.

Reported through a Murdoch-owned outlet:

WASHINGTON—President Trump didn’t disclose a positive result from a rapid test for Covid-19 on Thursday while awaiting the findings from a more thorough coronavirus screening, according to people familiar with the matter.

Mr. Trump received a positive result on Thursday evening before making an appearance on Fox News in which he didn’t reveal those results. Instead, he confirmed earlier reports that one of his top aides had tested positive for coronavirus and mentioned the second test he had taken that night for which he was awaiting results.

“I’ll get my test back either tonight or tomorrow morning,” Mr. Trump said during the interview. At 1 a.m. on Friday, the president tweeted that he indeed had tested positive.

Who are those “persons familiar with the matter” — Kushner? Others who’ve been covering Trump’s ass as well as their own because they have a vested interest in not getting embroiled in lawsuits or investigations?

Meanwhile,

We’ve seen feedback leaking out across Twitter indicating staff and their network are very unhappy with how the White House has handled this outbreak and Trump’s joy ride which risked the health of Secret Service agents for a campaign stunt.

How do we reconcile what WSJ reported when other details don’t stack up and staffers are fearful and unhappy?

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-3 — 11:30 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

By the way, lest we forget: as of this update there have been 209,603 COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.

The country is on track to exceed 210,000 deaths from COVID-19 within the next 24-48 hours.

There were an estimated +618,756 new cases this past week, compared to less than 1,000 around the Pacific Rim countries.

I think I predicted 200,000 deaths by Election Day. I guess I was wrong, putting too much faith in state governments and in Americans to take the right measures to protect themselves since the Trump administration is intent on failing them.

The cherry on top of this disaster: Team Trump is now attacking Joe Biden for not having COVID-19 — utter insanity.

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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UPDATE-4 — 11:40 A.M. 05-OCT-2020 —

I wish somebody could shut down this firehose.

Press Secretary McEnany attacked the media yesterday.

She should have self-isolated after being in contact with multiple infected persons but no. She deliberately attacked the press by exposing them to a biological agent during her maskless briefing.

I mean we’ve seen some hacks come and go as press secretary but I don’t recall any of them being this malicious with the people who are the reason they have a job at all.

Any future updates to follow at the bottom of this post.

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