DOJ Inspector General finds more problems with FBI FISA applications

File – Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz tells a Senate committee about his concerns over the FBI’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 9:36 AM PT — Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is under fire, once again, after the Office of the Inspector General found more problems in the bureau’s surveillance warrant applications.

On Monday, Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote to FBI Director Christopher Wray to inform him the applications lack supporting documentation backing-up the claims made within them.

These findings added to the Horowitz report, released late last year, which condemned the FBI for errors and omissions found in FISA applications looking into President Trump’s campaign staff. This occurred during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

“And subsequent to that report, and this continues to this day, we are investigating those contacts,” said Horowitz. “We’ve issued a couple of public summaries, so far, about people we’ve found violated FBI policy.”

The Inspector General’s Office found the additional errors when going through eight different FBI field offices, all of different sizes. They examined 29 FISA applications between October 2014 and September 2019 that related to counterintelligence and counter surveillance.

Horowitz and his staff found inconsistencies with the FBI’s Woods Procedures, which requires applications have additional documentation supporting their claims.

“On the FISA side we found, as you noted, a lack of documented testimony evidence about intentionality, but we also noted the lack of satisfactory explanations,” he stated. “And, in fact, leave open the fact that for the reasons you indicated, it’s unclear what the motivations were.”

Horowitz has recommended the FBI and oversight agencies review past and future accuracy reviews to identify patterns as well as trends to improve their policies and train agents against the errors. He also recommended the bureau take inventory of all pending FISA applications and make sure they are following the Woods Procedures.

The Inspector General’s Office has continued investigations expanding to oversight agencies, like the National Security Department, to see if the FBI is taking sufficient steps to address the issue.

RELATED: Rep. Jordan points to major changes in supporting reformed FISA law

Original Article

Polls find rising support for President Trump, British Prime Minster Johnson amid rife economic, social uncertainty

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:38 AM PT — Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The latest coronavirus crisis has provided an unexpected boost in popularity to both President Trump and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

A recent report by British newspaper “Financial Times” found the president’s approval rating has risen by 5 percent since January as many Americans have praised his response to the virus. This includes daily White House briefings on the pandemic, decisions to shutdown travel from China and deploying the U.S. military to fight the illness.

“I think what’s really key is how the president will handle the coming back to work for most Americans, we do see a partisan divide,” said Mohamed Younis, editor-in-chief for Gallup.

For his part, Johnson had a 25 percent jump in ratings this year, which has made him the most popular elected official in the world. The prime minister has continued to work from his office at 10 Downing Street by holding daily cabinet meetings and addressing the nation via video conference after contracting COVID-19 earlier in March.

In this handout photo provided by Number 10 Downing Street, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson chairs the morning Covid-19 Meeting remotely after self isolating after testing positive for the coronavirus, at 10 Downing Street, London, Saturday, March 28, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (Andrew Parsons/10 Downing Street via AP)

“That is to say you’ve got operations – the bronze level. You’ve got tactics – the silver level. You’ve got strategy – the gold level. And you’ve got the cabinet office briefing level, sometimes called platinum.”

— Prof. David Alexander, Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction – University College London

Experts have said both leaders are winning popular support despite the American and British economies facing risks of recession due to coronavirus-related shutdowns. This comes to a great dismay of the Democrat and Labour opposition parties in both countries.

RELATED: President Trump approves disaster declarations for Pa., R.I. as states struggle to stop spread of COVID-19

Original Article

Joe Biden: It’s hard to envision DNC taking place in July

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks in Omaha. (Photo: AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:51 AM PT — Wednesday, April 1, 2020

2020 White House hopeful Joe Biden suggested this year’s Democrat National Convention could be held virtually amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview Tuesday, he was asked whether he thinks Democrats can continue with the convention, which is currently slated to take place in mid July in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Biden said he believes it’s hard to envision it taking place in physical form, but urged everyone to continue to heed health warnings from scientists.

The former vice president went on to say this year’s elections will be different as he thinks they will mostly be held via mail-in voting.

“But the fact is, it may have to be different…my guess is there’s gonna be a great deal more absentee ‘ballony’ we used to call it, but paper ballots that have to be that people chose to use rather than show up and have social distancing, but who knows,” he stated.

The comments came after President Trump confirmed he would not cancel the Republican National Convention, which is scheduled for late August in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Biden also provided an update on his search for a female running mate. While speaking Tuesday, he announced he’s currently looking at a list of between six to 10 potential candidates.

In a pool photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer tells Michigan residents to stay at home, in her most sweeping order of the coronavirus crisis, Monday, March 23, 2020 in Lansing, Mich. (Julia Pickett/Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, Pool)

The 2020 presidential hopeful confirmed he’s considering Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) among others. Whitmer has recently made headlines for her criticisms of the federal government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden went on to say the vetting process for his pick for vice president will begin later this month

RELATED: Biden launches podcast, slams Trump admin.’s coronavirus response

Original Article

Defense Secretary Esper: States can use National Guard to enforce stay-at-home orders

Volunteer Amy Yates, with the Monroe County Coalition for Children and Families, along with members of the West Virginia National Guard distribute meals for students, Monday, March 30, 2020, at Mountain View Elementary School in Union, W.Va. (Jenny Harnish/The Register-Herald via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:22 AM PT — Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said states can use the National Guard to impose strict measures to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

In an interview Tuesday, he confirmed state governors have the option to call in the National Guard to enforce stay-at-home orders if needed.

“That would be an option for the governors, again, the guard is active in all 50 states and territories,” he explained.

Secretary Esper went on to praise the National Guard for all it’s doing to help deter the global health emergency.

“”I’m very proud of what our guardsman are doing, but we have a whole lot more capacity out there in the guard right now to do more,” he continued. “Right now, they’re doing everything from setting up testing sites, enabling testing to setting up hospitals, supporting logistics, delivering food…so the national guard is really on the front-lines right now and doing a great job.”

Esper also reassured just because the U.S. is focused on the battle against the coronavirus, that doesn’t mean the defense department isn’t fully prepared to deter a global conflict should one arise.

RELATED: President Trump thanks N.Y. Gov. Cuomo for praising his efforts to combat COVID-19

Original Article

President Trump urges every effort to battle COVID-19 as White House expects 100K-200K virus deaths

President Donald Trump listens during a briefing about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:53 AM PT — Wednesday, April 1, 2020

President Trump recently assured that there’s light at the end of the tunnel in America’s ongoing fight with the coronavirus. During a White House press briefing Tuesday, he said the outbreak is expected to peak in two-weeks. During that time, the number of virus victims may increase.

“I want every American to be prepared for the hard days that lie ahead,” said President Trump. “We’re gonna go through a very tough two-weeks.”

The FDA recently approved two experimental ways of battling the virus, including using chloroquine and bone marrow from recovered patients.

“You’ll have an upslope, so as mortality the fatalities to this disease will increase and then it will come back down, and it will come back down slower than the rate at which it went up,” explained Dr. Deborah Birx, response coordinator for the White House coronavirus task force. “And so, that’s really the issue — how much we can push the mortality down?”

President Trump has compared the coronavirus to a plague and noted that it has negative economic as well as social effects across the U.S.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said the White House’s coronavirus task force has been discussing whether to start recommending that all Americans wear face masks. He suggested they will make that recommendation when the country has enough masks to go around and when they can ensure masks won’t be taken away from medical professionals who desperately need them.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Tuesday, March 31, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

“The thing that has inhibited that a bit is to make sure that we don’t take away the supply of masks from the health care workers who need them, but when we get in a situation where we have enough masks I believe there will be some very serious consideration about more broadening this reccomendation of using masks,” he stated.

The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases went on to say wearing a mask is one of the best ways for a person to prevent spreading the illness, but medical professionals are in a “real and present danger” of getting infected.

RELATED: Report: CDC considering recommending Americans cover their faces in public amid COVID-19 pandemic

Original Article

Congress urges Americans to stand against anti-Asian attacks

Jessica Wong, of Fall River, Mass., front left, Jenny Chiang, of Medford, Mass., center, and Sheila Vo, of Boston, from the state’s Asian American Commission, stand together during a protest, Thursday, March 12, 2020, on the steps of the Statehouse in Boston. Asian American leaders in Massachusetts condemned what they say is racism, fear-mongering and misinformation aimed at Asian communities amid the widening coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:09 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

House Democrats have joined President Trump in condemning attacks against Asian-Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the chairs of the Asian-Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus all backed a resolution that calls on “all public officials to condemn and denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment.” It also proposes the government document hate crime incidents connected with COVID-19.

“We’re asking all fair minded Americans to educate others to learn about this and share facts, and speak about the fact that this is a global pandemic that’s not related to ethnicity,” stated Rep. Judy chu, (D-Calif.), chairwoman for the Asian-Pacific American Caucus. “And also, if people see something then say something, say something to make sure that people stop it, that they stopped this kind of verbal harassment and in some cases physical harassment.”

A report from the Asian-Pacific Planning and Policy Council documented more than 650 direct reports of Asian discrimination since March 18, 2020.

RELATED: White House economic adviser weighs in on impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Original Article

Congress urges Americans to stand against anti-Asian attacks

Jessica Wong, of Fall River, Mass., front left, Jenny Chiang, of Medford, Mass., center, and Sheila Vo, of Boston, from the state’s Asian American Commission, stand together during a protest, Thursday, March 12, 2020, on the steps of the Statehouse in Boston. Asian American leaders in Massachusetts condemned what they say is racism, fear-mongering and misinformation aimed at Asian communities amid the widening coronavirus pandemic that originated in China. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:09 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

House Democrats have joined President Trump in condemning attacks against Asian-Americans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

On Monday, the chairs of the Asian-Pacific American Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and the Hispanic Caucus all backed a resolution that calls on “all public officials to condemn and denounce any and all anti-Asian sentiment.” It also proposes the government document hate crime incidents connected with COVID-19.

“We’re asking all fair minded Americans to educate others to learn about this and share facts, and speak about the fact that this is a global pandemic that’s not related to ethnicity,” stated Rep. Judy chu, (D-Calif.), chairwoman for the Asian-Pacific American Caucus. “And also, if people see something then say something, say something to make sure that people stop it, that they stopped this kind of verbal harassment and in some cases physical harassment.”

A report from the Asian-Pacific Planning and Policy Council documented more than 650 direct reports of Asian discrimination since March 18, 2020.

RELATED: White House economic adviser weighs in on impact of COVID-19 pandemic

Original Article

Former Fed chairwoman warns of possible ‘prolonged recession’

File – Former Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen is pictured. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:26 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A former Federal Reserve chairwoman has warned of a prolonged economic recession by claiming the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic may be something the U.S. has never seen before.

On Monday, Janet Yellen said non-financial companies are being affected by the market downturn and are taking on massive amounts of debt. She also expressed concern over the rising number of workers filing for unemployment.

“Firms will end up severing their relations with their workers,” she stated. “The fiscal package is designed to prevent that, but it is already happening to a significant extent…that will make it harder for workers to get new jobs and for businesses to start up again smoothly.”

Yellen advised slowing corporate borrowing and said too much will make it harder for the country to recover. She predicted the best case scenario would be rapid growth coming into this fiscal year’s fourth quarter.

RELATED: Dallas Fed president says U.S. economy will recover from impact of coronavirus

Original Article

Biden launches podcast, slams Trump admin.’s coronavirus response

FILE – Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a rally in Bridgeton, Mo. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:24 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Democrat presidential front-runner Joe Biden is working to stay connected to voters through a new podcast. He launched the project Monday from his home in Delaware, where he’s been working since federal social distancing guidelines were introduced.

In the podcast, which is called “Here’s the Deal,” Biden explained that he intends to stay connected with supporters as the pandemic has put an end to rallies. He also said the podcast could offer helpful information.

In his first episode, however, Biden and his former Chief of Staff Ron Klain took aim at President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Donald Trump didn’t take the steps needed to get the testing in place,” Klain claimed. “As a result, compared to almost every other developed nation, we’re behind on getting people tested…there’s no reason this nation should be so far behind.”

Biden went on to stress the importance of putting partisan politics aside during this crisis and called for urgency in addressing Americans’ needs.

RELATED: Biden campaign struggles to gain relevancy amid COVID-19

Original Article

President Trump approves disaster declarations for Pa., R.I. as states struggle to stop spread of COVID-19

A federal medical station is set up at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Monday, March 30, 2020, to accommodate an influx in hospital patients due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:46 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

President Trump has approved major disaster declarations for Pennsylvania and Rhode Island as the states struggle to stop the spread of coronavirus. He approved the declarations Monday, which makes federal funding available at the state, county and local levels to help residents during the outbreak.

Officials have said the funding will go to local governments and non-profit organizations for emergency protective measures. This includes disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, community disaster loans and much more.

Members of the Rhode Island National Guard look for passengers getting off a train from New York as it arrives Saturday, March 28, 2020, in Westerly, R.I. States are pulling back the welcome mat for travelers from the New York area, which is the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, and some say at least one state’s measures are unconstitutional. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Meanwhile, New Jersey is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases as the White House works to boost testing nationwide.

During a recent press conference, state Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said more than 3,300 infections were reported Monday. The new data brought the total number to 16,000. More than three dozen new deaths were also confirmed, which brought that total to nearly 200.

Gov. Murphy urged people to obey social distancing guideline to prevent the virus from spreading. A model constructed by state health officials has predicted the number of COVID-19 cases will double in the next week if people ignore warnings from experts.

RELATED: Seattle, Wash. sees slowdown in COVID-19 cases

Original Article

President Trump approves disaster declarations for Pa., R.I. as states struggle to stop spread of COVID-19

A federal medical station is set up at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Monday, March 30, 2020, to accommodate an influx in hospital patients due to the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 6:46 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

President Trump has approved major disaster declarations for Pennsylvania and Rhode Island as the states struggle to stop the spread of coronavirus. He approved the declarations Monday, which makes federal funding available at the state, county and local levels to help residents during the outbreak.

Officials have said the funding will go to local governments and non-profit organizations for emergency protective measures. This includes disaster unemployment assistance, crisis counseling, community disaster loans and much more.

Members of the Rhode Island National Guard look for passengers getting off a train from New York as it arrives Saturday, March 28, 2020, in Westerly, R.I. States are pulling back the welcome mat for travelers from the New York area, which is the epicenter of the country’s coronavirus outbreak, and some say at least one state’s measures are unconstitutional. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Meanwhile, New Jersey is experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases as the White House works to boost testing nationwide.

During a recent press conference, state Gov. Phil Murphy (D) said more than 3,300 infections were reported Monday. The new data brought the total number to 16,000. More than three dozen new deaths were also confirmed, which brought that total to nearly 200.

Gov. Murphy urged people to obey social distancing guideline to prevent the virus from spreading. A model constructed by state health officials has predicted the number of COVID-19 cases will double in the next week if people ignore warnings from experts.

RELATED: Seattle, Wash. sees slowdown in COVID-19 cases

Original Article

President Trump thanks N.Y. Gov. Cuomo for praising his efforts to combat COVID-19

In this Friday, March 27, 2020 photo provided by Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo Gov. Andrew Cuomo, briefs the media inside a nearly completed makeshift hospital at the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. (Darren McGee/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 7:57 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

President Trump is standing united with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) as the Empire State becomes the epicenter of the U.S. coronavirus pandemic. The president took to Twitter Tuesday to offer remarks to the New York official.

The governor offered praise for the president’s assistance during an interview with his brother, CNN anchor Chris Cuomo, on Monday night. He said, “the president has been very helpful” and noted that the USNS Comfort Navy hospital ship has also been very helpful as medical facilities continue to fill up in the city.

Cuomo also responded to claims of a potential presidential run by saying he has no plans to ever run for the White House. The New York Democrat said he has not considered it and he will never consider it.

Meanwhile, an emergency tent hospital has been constructed New York City’s Central Park to help assist in treating coronavirus patients. The tents opened up Tuesday in the park’s East Meadow, which has transformed part of the park into a respiratory care unit.

A Samaritan’s Purse crew works on building a 68 bed emergency field hospital specially equipped with a respiratory unit in New York’s Central Park across from The Mount Sinai Hospital, Sunday, March 29, 2020. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The hospital is equipped with nearly 70 regular beds and 10 ICU beds. It was set up with the help of Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse in partnership with Mount Sinai Hospital.

Gov. Cuomo said the rate of hospitalizations in the city is doubling about every six days, which is down from last week when it was doubling every two or three days.

RELATED: U.S. Navy hospital ship arrives in N.Y.

Original Article

Trump admin. rolls back Obama-era emissions standards

FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2020, file photo, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler testifies during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Trump administration is steadily pushing major public health and environmental rollbacks toward enactment, rejecting appeals that it slow its deregulatory drive while Americans grapple with the pandemic. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:19 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Trump administration has eased off of Obama-era vehicle emissions regulations dramatically by cutting standards imposed to fight so-called climate change.

On Tuesday, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao stated, “the safe vehicles rule sets the next generation of fuel economy standards for our nation’s new vehicles.”

It rolls back the 2012 standard of 5 percent annual increase in fuel economy for vehicles to a 1.5 percent annual increase.

“While these are tougher standards than the proposal, they are still more realistic and achievable than the 2012 standards,” said Andrew Wheeler, EPA administrator. “…Which had required an approximate five percent increase in stringency per year and which the majority of car companies were already not meeting.”

The Obama-era rules have divided the auto industry with Ford, BMW, Volkswagen and Honda siding with California’s pledge to follow the green emissions rules. Other auto giants believe the standards proved tough to meet as consumers moved toward buying larger trucks and SUVs.

RELATED: Gov. Newsom spends gas tax funding for fixing Calif. roads on fighting climate change instead

Original Article

U.S. troops leave Iraq military bases after defeat of ISIS, officials say Iranian proxies still a threat

FILE – An Iraqi soldier mans a machine gun onboard an army helicopter that is passing over the border town of al-Qaim during military operations of the Iraqi Army’s Seventh Brigade, code named “Will of Victory,” in Anbar, Iraq. Troops from the U.S.-led coalition pulled out from a base in western Iraq on Thursday, March 19, 2020, as part of a planned drawdown, Iraqi and coalition officials said, while training activities by the coalition were suspended amid concerns about the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:22 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The anti-ISIS coalition in Iraq has continued to gradually withdrawal its troops from the country and hand over military facilities to Iraqi forces. Over the past few days, U.S. troops have left military bases near the cities of Kirkuk and Mosul. They are now on their way home.

However, officials have warned that although the Islamic State has been obliterated on the ground, its terror cells are still very much active.

“Intent of us leaving the base, strictly like I said before, long time coming in coordination with the government of Iraq,” stated Brig. Gen. Vincent Barker, anti-ISIS coalition, Iraq. “We’ve got about 500 soldiers who will be leaving with about a million dollars worth of equipment, but will be staying back.”

The withdrawal of U.S. troops is expected to save billions of taxpayer dollars and thousands of American lives as part of President Trump’s push to end foreign wars.

However, the Pentagon said it will be closely watching Iraq as the threats posed by ISIS remnants and Iranian-backed paramilitaries still remain. For instance, ISIS prisoners recently tried to take advantage of the coronavirus panic and escape from detention in Kurdish-held areas of Iraq.

For their part, the Ayatollah regime recently ramped up threats against U.S. interests after staging two attacks on U.S. troops this year.

“Today our most vicious enemy is the U.S. — we have many foes, but the one who is the most vicious is called the United States,”said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “American authorities are liars, and they are rude and greedy.”

Despite this, Democrat lawmakers and the mainstream media are working to protect Iran by trying to ban President Trump from using military power against the Ayatollahs.

While the U.S. is pulling troops out of Iraq, some experts have warned Iran may boost its own presence there by disguising its emissaries as Iraqi self-defense forces. In this light, intelligence gathering and tight surveillance is crucial to prevent Iraq’s handover from the coalition to the Ayatollahs.

“U.S. Central Command is well postured to defend our forces around the region and to respond to any further aggression against our forces,” stated Gen. Kenneth MckKenzie Jr., commander – U.S. Central Command. “In fact, I have asked and the secretary has granted my request to continue to operate two aircraft carrier strike groups in the region.”

As of now, Pentagon officials are welcoming the cooperation and mutual trust they have established with their Iraqi counterparts. They have said Iraq now has every chance of becoming a stable and prosperous country without America’s direct involvement.

RELATED: U.S. renews sanctions waivers allowing Iran nonproliferation work

Original Article

Report: CDC considering recommending Americans cover their faces in public amid COVID-19 pandemic

FILE – In this March 21, 2020 file photo, a couple wearing face masks take a selfie at the “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign amid a shutdown of casinos along the Las Vegas Strip due to coronavirus in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:39 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The CDC is reportedly considering recommending Americans cover their faces in public amid the nation’s fight against the coronavirus.

According to recent reports, the agency is weighing recommendations to advise people to shield their faces with cloth coverings rather than surgical or N95 masks.

No final decision has been made on the potential recommendation, however, an official said it could help “flatten the curve” of the outbreak if enacted.

On Monday, President Trump appeared to be open to the possibility of all Americans wearing face masks for a short period of time. He made the following comments on the matter:

“So we’ll take a look at it for a period of time, not forever. I mean, you know, we want our country back. We’re not gonna be wearing masks forever, but it could be a for a very short period of time after we get back into gear.”

Medical masks are urgently needed by professionals fighting the virus, but facial cloth coverings could potentially reduce the chances a person spreads the illness to others.

RELATED: German city introduces face masks for shoppers as coronavirus spreads

Original Article

U.S. gas prices decline amid Russian-Saudi oil war

Gas prices are listed as 1.499 for unleaded at a 7-11 gas station in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Rising stockpiles and lowered demand are contributing to the low prices. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 10:57 AM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The risk of a new global recession and the ongoing oil war between Saudi Arabia and Russia has produced an unexpected boost for the U.S. economy. Gas prices have plunged across the nation in recent weeks, following a 30 percent drop in international oil prices earlier this month.

Additionally, coronavirus-related shutdowns have dramatically reduced the demand for fuel, which has created an oversupply of oil and petroleum products worldwide.

“We are seeing the cheapest gas prices in the South and Southeast and the Midwest; those prices are as cheap as a $1.60 for some states and those are going to continue to drop,” said Jeanette Casselano, spokesperson for the American Automobile Association (AAA). “We usually see cheaper prices in the South and Southeast due to transportation costs and cheaper gas taxes.”

According to the Energy Information Administration, U.S. oil drillers produced 13 million barrels per day in the week ending on March-20. This allowed America to boost oil exports to more than 3.5 million barrels per day, but the U.S. still imports 9 million barrels each day to satisfy domestic demand.

This is happening not least due to isolation of some U.S. regions from the energy axis, which stretches between Texas and North Dakota.

“California gas prices are more likely to be affected by sort of tensions in the Middle East than maybe prices in Texas or elsewhere, because we are more reliant on that foreign oil,” explained Marie Montgomery, another spokesperson for AAA.

The state of California is still reliant on imported energy and its gas prices stand around $3 per gallon, which is about a dollar above the national average.

Part of the reason for this is the high gas taxes passed on to California drivers, but the main problem is the state’s ruling Democrats believe American-made petroleum is not good enough. As a result, almost 60 percent of California gas supply comes from foreign sources, mostly from Saudi Arabia and Latin America.

Meanwhile, experts have said low prices may hurt the American oil industry and drive many shale producers out of business.

A man fills up a gas tank at a Mobil gas station in Chicago, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Gas prices going down as world makes changes to contain coronavirus. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some it can cause more severe illness. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

The latest Russian-Saudi price war has brought back the memories of the 1987 “oil bust” that wiped out many American drillers back in the day. However, present day U.S. oil producers are more flexible and can stop as well as resume operation more quickly depending on the price.

Despite the risks, low fuel prices are expected to help American households get through coronavirus-related lockdowns that have left millions out of work.

Economists have said global oil prices are unlikely to recover anytime soon, while energy companies have said they have so much oil that they are running out of storage capacity. In this light, U.S. gas prices are now expected to drop another 25 cents a gallon in the coming weeks.

RELATED: Saudi Arabia says no talks on new oil deal, Moscow suggests larger OPEC+

Original Article

Sen. McConnell: Democrat impeachment push diverted attention of government from COVID-19 threat

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., walks out of the Senate chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, as the Senate works to pass a coronavirus relief bill. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:36 PM PT — Tuesday, March 31, 2020

According to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Democrat-led impeachment push “diverted the attention of the government” from the risk of coronavirus.

In an interview Tuesday, the Kentucky lawmaker acknowledged that Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) was “right on the mark” about being concerned about the virus when it started having an impact in China.

However, McConnell noted the outbreak in China came up right as the Senate was tied down on the impeachment trial. The Senate majority leader also called out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for “inserting herself” into negotiations on the recently passed coronavirus stimulus bill.

“The way I thought it would work best would be for those of us in the Senate to try to get started on a bipartisan basis and we were doing really quite well, as you may recall, until the Speaker of the House decided to insert herself into the process,” he explained. “…Which created a couple of days of unnecessary partisan sniping.”

Sen. McConnell also said he’s proud of the way President Trump is handling the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump signs the coronavirus stimulus relief package in the Oval Office at the White House, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington, as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., House Minority Leader Kevin McCarty, R-Calif., and Vice President Mike Pence watch. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

RELATED: President Trump signs historic CARES Act

Original Article

Mainland China lifts restrictions in virus epicenter, says economic activity to fully be restored soon

Recovered patients on a bus going back home after a 14-day quarantine for medical observation at a rehabilitation center, Wuhan, March 10, 2020. (Photo/Xinhua/Cheng Min via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 2:02 PM PT — Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Mainland China is lifting quarantines in the province of Hubei as life gradually returns back to normal. On Tuesday, Chinese officials announced they are lifting the majority of travel and production restrictions in Hubei after a two-month lockdown.

According to Beijing, the number of new coronavirus cases continues to decline and Hubei has had zero new infections in the past week. Hubei and the city of Wuhan were the original epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the optimism, Chinese officials have said some of the risks posed by coronavirus still remain.

“According to the latest report of WHO, the number of confirmed cases worldwide has exceeded 300,000,” stated Mi Feng, spokesman for the Chinese Health Commission. “The risk of transmission from sporadic infections as well as those from overseas still exists; we cannot let our guard down when it comes to combating the coronavirus.”

China also noted that it expects to fully restore economic activity in hard-hit areas over the coming few weeks.

RELATED: How the coronavirus impacts religious minorities encountering human rights abuses in China

Original Article

Kudlow: Good public health also requires a good economy

White House chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow talks with reporters about economic impacts of the coronavirus, at the White House, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:56 PM PT — Tuesday, March 24, 2020

According to White House Economic Adviser Larry Kudlow, “good public health also requires a good economy.” While speaking outside the White House Tuesday, he stated that it’s not a case of having either a good economy or good public health.

The National Council of Economic Advisors director said the stimulus package negotiated in Congress could prime the country for an economic rebound in the second half of the year.

Kudlow also noted the administration will consider advice from health care professionals regarding any potential moves.

“The president has put this out there, talked to a bunch of us…if we can target zones where the virus is less prevalent, things are safe, we’re not abandoning the health professionals advice,” he stated. “But there is a clamor to try to reopen the economy and perhaps I’ll call it less of a shut-in and so, that’s one piece, that’s yet to be determined.”

Kudlow also said the economic stimulus package will provide support for workers, families and small businesses.

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Fla. man claims to have been cured of coronavirus after receiving hydroxychloroquine treatment

Gopesh Patel, RPh, with VLS Pharmacy in Brooklyn, has filled physician prescriptions for more than 70 COVID-19 patients, supplying a compounded formulation with hydroxychloroquine. (Photo/Business Wire via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 11:03 AM PT — Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Florida resident has claimed to have been cured of coronavirus by the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine. 52-year-old Rio Giardinieri reportedly received his first dose Saturday after having been told by his doctors there was nothing more they could do to ease his suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.

Giardinieri said was in agony for nine days from serious coronavirus symptoms and was ready to deliver his final goodbyes to his family when a friend sent him an article recommending the treatment. With nothing left to lose, he convinced his doctor to give him the experimental drug.

The Florida man said he suffered from unknown complications following his initial dosage. However, after receiving benadryl and another form of medication, he fell asleep and woke up four hours later with none of the symptoms which hospitalized him.

Giardinieri has claimed the drug saved his life, although his doctors believe it was his body fighting off the virus and worked it’s way out of his system.

Last week, President Trump said the FDA was making great strides in allowing doctors to prescribe the medication.

“We’re going to be able to make that drug available almost immediately and that’s where the FDA has been so great,” he stated. “They’ve gone through the approval process, it’s been approved….so we’re going to be able to make that drug available by prescription.”

In a tweet Monday, the president touted the reported success of Giardinieri’s recovery.

Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) confirmed Sunday that drug trials for the treatment would begin this week.

“The president ordered the FDA to move and the FDA moved,” he stated. “We’re going to get this supply and the trial will start this Tuesday…the president is optimistic about these drugs and we are all optimistic.”

Although the doctors have said hydroxychloroquine is still in initial trials stages to combat COVID-19 and Giardinieri’s recovery was nothing short of a miracle, they are hopeful it can eventually be used on a wider basis to help others fend off the disease.

Doctors are now waiting to see if COVID-19 has completely run it’s course through Giardinieri’s system, who is hoping to go back home in the coming days.

RELATED: President Trump says fiscal stimulus to prevent economic slump

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