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The Pronk Pops Show 1413, March 13, 2020, Story 1: President Trumps Declares A National Emergency — Unleashes Full Power of United States Government — $50 Billion in New Funding To Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic — Videos- Story 2: House Expected To Pass Family First Coronavirus Response Bill Supported By President Trump — Videos –Story 3: United State Stock Market Rallies — Best Day Since 2008 — Consumer Sentiment Beating Expectations At 95.9 — Videos

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Story 1: President Trumps Declares A National Emergency — Unleashes Full Power of United States Government — $50 Billion in New Funding To Deal With COVID-19 Pandemic — Videos

 

BREAKING: Donald Trump declares a national emergency

Trump declares National Emergency over coronavirus

Trump declares national emergency over coronavirus pandemic

Tucker: Regular life is all but suspended

Hannity: Major businesses working with Trump on coronavirus

 

Trump declares virus emergency; Pelosi announces aid deal

President Donald Trump on Friday declared the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency in order to free up more money and resources. But he denied any responsibility for delays in making testing available for the new virus, whose spread has roiled markets and disrupted the lives of everyday Americans.

Speaking from the Rose Garden, Trump said, “I am officially declaring a national emergency,” unleashing as much as $50 billion for state and local governments to respond to the outbreak.

Trump also announced a range of executive actions, including a new public-private partnership to expand coronavirus testing capabilities with drive-through locations, as his administration has come under fire for being too slow in making the test available.

Trump said, “I don’t take responsibility at all” for the slow rollout of testing.

Late Friday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a deal with the Trump administration for an aid package from Congress that aims at direct relief to Americans — free testing, two weeks of sick pay for workers, enhanced unemployment benefits and bolstered food programs.

“We are proud to have reached an agreement with the Administration to resolve outstanding challenges, and now will soon pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act,” Pelosi announced in a letter to colleagues. The House was poised to vote.

The crush of late-day activity capped a tumultuous week in Washington as the fast-moving virus shuttered the capital’s power centers, roiled financial markets and left ordinary Americans suddenly navigating through self-quarantines, school closures and a changed way of life.

The White House was under enormous pressure, dealing with the crisis on multiple fronts as it encroached ever closer on the president.

Trump has been known to flout public health advice — eagerly shaking hands during the more than hour-long afternoon event — but acknowledged he “most likely” will be tested now after having been in contact with several officials who have tested positive for the virus. “Fairly soon,” he said.

Still, Trump said officials don’t want people taking the test unless they have certain symptoms. “We don’t want people without symptoms to go and do that test,” Trump said, adding, “It’s totally unnecessary.”

Additionally, Trump took a number of other actions to bolster energy markets, ease the financial burden for Americans with student loans and give medical professionals additional “flexibility” in treating patients during the public health crisis.

“Through a very collective action and shared sacrifice, national determination, we will overcome the threat of the virus,” Trump said.

Central to the aid package from Congress, which builds on an emergency $8.3 billion measure approved last week, is the free testing and sick pay provisions.

Providing sick pay for workers is a crucial element of federal efforts to stop the rapid spread of the infection. Officials warn that the nation’s healthcare system could quickly become overwhelmed with gravely sick patients, as suddenly happened in Italy, one of the countries hardest hit by the virus.

The ability to ensure paychecks will keep flowing — for people who stay home as a preventative measure or because they’re feeling ill or caring for others — can help assure Americans they will not fall into financial hardship.

Hopes for swiftly passing the package seemed to be fading throughout the day as talks dragged on and Trump dismissed it during as “not doing enough.”

Ahead of Trump’s new conference, Pelosi delivered a statement from the speaker’s balcony at the Capitol imploring the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to “put families first” by backing the effort to provide Americans with relief.

“Our great nation has faced crisis before,” Pelosi said. “And every time, thanks to the courage and optimism of the American people, we have prevailed. Now, working together, we will once again prevail.”

Pelosi and Mnuchin engaged in days of around-the-clock negotiations with cross-town phone calls that continued even as Trump was speaking, both indicating earlier they were close to a deal.

They both promised a third coronavirus package will follow soon, with more aggressive steps to boost the U.S. economy, which economists fear has already slipped into recession.

The financial markets closed on an upswing after one of the worst nosedives since the 1987 downturn.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the World Health Organization, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to be over it.

Trump said he was gratified that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tested negative for the virus, after the pair sat next to each other for an extended period of time last weekend at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. A senior aide to Bolsonaro tested positive.

Trump’s daugher, Ivanka Trump, worked from home Friday after meeting with Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton, now in isolation at a hospital after testing positive for the coronavirus. White House spokesman Judd Deere said she was evaluated by the White House Medical Unit and it was determined that because she was exhibiting no symptoms she does not need to self-quarantine.

Attorney General William Barr, who also met with the Australian official, was staying home Friday, though he “felt great and wasn’t showing any symptoms,” according to his spokeswoman Kerri Kupec.

Several lawmakers, including some close to Trump, have also been exposed to people who tested positive for the virus, and are self-isolating.

Among them are Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Rick Scott, who were at Trump’s club on the weekend. Graham announced Friday that he also met with the Australian official who has now tested positive. And GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who had previously isolated himself after a potential exposure at a conservative conference in Washington, said Friday he met with a Spanish official and is now self-quarantining.

Hospitals welcomed Trump’s emergency declaration, which they and lawmakers in Congress had been requesting. It allows the Health and Human Services Department to temporarily waive certain federal rules that can make it harder for hospitals and other health care facilities to respond to an emergency.

The American Medical Association said the emergency declaration would help ensure America’s health care system has sufficient resources to properly respond to the ongoing outbreak.

Trump has struggled to show he’s on top of the crisis, after giving conflicting descriptions of what the U.S. is doing to combat the virus. On Wednesday he announced he would ban travel to the U.S. from Europe, and on Friday he suggested extending that to the U.K. because of a recent rise in cases.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease chief at the National Institutes of Health, said more tests would be available over the next week, but warned, “We still have a long way to go.”

Fauci said Friday, “There will be many more cases. But we’ll take care of that, and ultimately, as the president said, this will end.”

___

Associated Press writers Aamer Madhani, Alan Fram, Lauran Neergaard, Martin Crutsinger, Laurie Kellman, Michael Balsamo and Kevin Freking in Washington and Bill Barrow in Atlanta contributed to this report.

https://apnews.com/83b0c8e168548fd453b0c177dd1f203a

 

Story 2: House Expected Passes Family First Coronavirus Response Bill Supported By President Trump — Videos

House Passes Coronavirus Relief Bill

House approves coronavirus response bill supported by Trump

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the House will pass coronavirus legislation

Mnuchin: Trump is very interested in putting money into the economy

PBS NewsHour West live episode, March 13, 2020

Story 3: United State Stock Market Rallies — Best Day Since 2008 — Consumer Sentiment Beating Expectations At 95.9 — Videos

The Dow Is Soaring – Here’s Why the Stock Market Is Cheering Trump

Barry Sternlicht: Stock market will make a comeback from coronavirus

El-Erian on markets: ‘It’s getting less scary than it has been for a while’

Cramer’s game plan for the trading week of March 16

Jim Cramer: Not sure this stock market sell-off can be stopped

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The Pronk Pops Show 1409, March 9, 2020, Pronk Pops Show 1368 December 4, 2019  Story 1: President Trump and Cornavirus Task Force Addresses The American People — Senior Citizens Over Age 60 With Serious Underlining Existing Medical Conditions Including High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes Are At Higher Risk For COVID -19 — Overall Risk Is Still Low For All Others — Videos — Story 2: Progressive Pandemic Propaganda Panic Pushers — High Blood Pressure Is A Risk Factor Along With Heart Disease, Cancer, Diabetes — Videos — Story 3: People of Italy Go Into Quarantine — Videos — Story 4: Stock Market Crashes With Biggest One Day Loss Ever — Nearing 20% Drop Ending Bull Market — Economy Keeps  Growing Despite Progressive Pandemic Propaganda People Panic — Betrayed By Big Government Parties and Big Lie Media Mob — American People Outraged — Videos — Story 5: Hillary Clinton Wants to Be Vice-President To Replace Biden When He Goes Full Dementia — One Problem — President Trump Wins Second Term With Landslide Victory — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 1368 December 4, 2019 

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Story 1: President Trump and Coronavirus Task Force Addresses The American People — Senior Citizens Over Age 60 With Serious Underlining Existing Medical Conditions Including High Blood Pressure, Heart Disease, Cancer, Decreased White Cells, Diabetes Are At Higher Risk For COVID -19– Overall Risk Is Still Low For All Others — Videos

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WATCH LIVE: President Trump and coronavirus task force hold briefing as outbreak widens – 3/9/2020

 

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

People at Risk for Serious Illness from COVID-19

If you are at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19, you should:

  • Stock up on supplies.
  • Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others.
  • When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often.
  • Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel.
  • During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

Early information out of China, where COVID-19 first started, shows that some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness. This includes:

  • Older adults
  • People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
    • Heart disease
    • Diabetes
    • Lung disease

If a COVID-19 outbreak happens in your community, it could last for a long time. (An outbreak is when a large number of people suddenly get sick.) Depending on how severe the outbreak is, public health officials may recommend community actions to reduce people’s risk of being exposed to COVID-19. These actions can slow the spread and reduce the impact of disease.

If you are at higher risk for serious illness from COVID-19 because of your age or because you have a serious long-term health problem, it is extra important for you to take actions to reduce your risk of getting sick with the disease.

Get Ready for COVID-19 Now
  • Have supplies on hand
    • Contact your healthcare provider to ask about obtaining extra necessary medications to have on hand in case there is an outbreak of COVID-19 in your community and you need to stay home for a prolonged period of time.
    • If you cannot get extra medications, consider using mail-order for medications.
    • Be sure you have over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies (tissues, etc.) to treat fever and other symptoms. Most people will be able to recover from COVID-19 at home.
    • Have enough household items and groceries on hand so that you will be prepared to stay at home for a period of time.
  • Take everyday precautions
    • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
    • Take everyday preventive actions
      • Clean your hands often
      • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
      • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
      • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
      • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
      • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
      • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
      • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces. Your risk of exposure to respiratory viruses like COVID-19 may increase in crowded, closed-in settings with little air circulation if there are people in the crowd who are sick.
      • Avoid all non-essential travel including plane trips, and especially avoid embarking on cruise ships.
  • If COVID-19 is spreading in your community, take extra measures to put distance between yourself and other people to further reduce your risk of being exposed to this new virus.
    • Stay home as much as possible.
      • Consider ways of getting food brought to your house through family, social, or commercial networks
  • Have a plan for if you get sick:
    • Consult with your health care provider for more information about monitoring your health for symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.
    • Stay in touch with others by phone or email. You may need to ask for help from friends, family, neighbors, community health workers, etc. if you become sick.
    • Determine who can provide you with care if your caregiver gets sick

Watch for symptoms and emergency warning signs

  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs*:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

*This list is not all inclusive. Please consult your medical provider for any other symptoms that are severe or concerning.

What to Do if You Get Sick
  • Stay home and call your doctor
  • Call your healthcare provider and let them know about your symptoms. Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help them take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
  • If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
  • Know when to get emergency help
  • Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs listed above.

What Others can do to Support Older Adults
Community Support for Older Adults
  • Community preparedness planning for COVID-19 should include older adults and people with disabilities, and the organizations that support them in their communities, to ensure their needs are taken into consideration.
    • Many of these individuals live in the community, and many depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence.
  • Long-term care facilities should be vigilant to prevent the introduction and spread of COVID-19. Information for long-term care facilities can be found here.
Family and Caregiver Support
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
  • Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
  • If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
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Prevention and Treatment
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Get Your Household Ready

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Coronavirus: Doctor says high blood pressure a major death risk

Of a group of 170 patients who died in January in Wuhan about 50% had hypertension

 

blood pressure (BP)


While there’s been no published research yet explaining why, Chinese doctors working in Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged, have noticed that infected patients with that underlying illness are more likely to slip into severe distress and die.

Of a group of 170 patients who died in January in Wuhan – the first wave of casualties caused by a pathogen that’s now raced around the world – nearly half had hypertension.

“That’s a very high ratio,” said Du Bin, director of the intensive care unit at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, in an interview with Bloomberg over the phone from Wuhan. He was among a team of top doctors sent to the devastated city two months ago to help treat patients there.

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“From what I was told by other doctors and the data I can see myself, among all the underlying diseases, hypertension is a key dangerous factor,” said Du, one of the most respected critical care experts in China. “Though there is no research published on that yet, we believe hypertension could be an important factor in causing patients to deteriorate, leading to a bad prognosis.”

As the outbreak picks up speed in Europe and the US, plunging countries like Italy into crisis, doctors are struggling to treat the highly-infectious pathogen that’s infected over 108,000 people globally in just three months.

Understanding the course of the disease and identifying individuals at greatest risk are critical for optimizing care for a global contagion that’s killed more than 3,700 people since emerging in China in December.

ALSO READ

Answers may lie in studying the large pool of patients in China, where more than 15,000 remain hospitalized although new infections have slowed dramatically. The disease turns critical in 6% of patients and deterioration can happen very quickly.

“We’ll keep an eye on old people and those with high blood pressure. They are the key focus,” said Du.

Besides the hypertension factor, Du’s other insights into treating the disease are:

Move aggressively to ventilate

Du said that doctors should not hesitate to escalate measures for patients facing respiratory distress, as organ failure can set in quickly after. That means doctors should intervene aggressively with invasive ventilation measures – inserting a tube into a patient’s throat or cutting the throat open to create an airway – when low blood oxygen levels can’t be improved by less invasive measures.

Almost half of the patients who require invasive mechanical ventilation end up dying, but most of those who recover are those who were put on invasive ventilation early, said Du.

“Patients need to use invasive ventilation as early as possible, there’s no point of doing it late,” he said.

Respiratory therapists – doctors that specialise in ventilation and oxygen treatment – are becoming all the more important in treating patients critically ill with Covid-19 as they are more knowledgeable and can fine-tune ventilators to suit patient conditions.

No ‘Magic Bullets’ in drugs

There is growing anticipation over drugs being developed to treat the virus, with investors adding billions to the market value of pharmaceutical companies testing treatments now. But Du said drugs alone cannot save patients, especially those in severe condition.

The experience of SARS, the epidemic 17 years ago that sickened almost 8,000 people, showed that most patients can be cured without a specific anti-viral drug, said Du. And the abundance of antibiotics has not prevented deaths by bacterial infections, he added.

“When there’s a virus infection, we hope there’s a drug that can kill the virus and change the clinical outcome. But there’s no magic bullet.”

Instead, teamwork among specialists and nurses in intensive care units can be more crucial in keeping patients alive, he said. “An ICU doctor should work like a conductor in an orchestra to provide life-sustaining treatment while taking into consideration different specialist views,” he said.

Threat of re-infection

Reports that people who have recovered and been discharged from hospital later test positive again – and even die from the disease – have ignited fears that the virus can somehow re-emerge.

Du said that patients becoming re-infected again within days of leaving the hospital makes no sense “theoretically” as the anti-bodies in their bloodstream generated from fighting the disease do not disappear so quickly, although they don’t necessarily stay forever.

“What we need to look at in terms of those who tested positive again is concerns over the authenticity of their negative results,” he said. For example, samples taken from different areas of the same patient could test differently depending on where the virus resides.

Test kits made by different manufacturers could also have inconsistencies that impact test results, he said.

https://gulfnews.com/world/asia/coronavirus-doctor-says-high-blood-pressure-a-major-death-risk-1.1583772143148

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Stock market index

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A comparison of three major U.S. stock indices: the NASDAQ CompositeDow Jones Industrial Average, and S&P 500 Index. All three have the same height at March 2000. The NASDAQ spiked during the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s, a result of the large number of technology companies on that index.

stock index or stock market index is an index that measures a stock market, or a subset of the stock market, that helps investors compare current price levels with past prices to calculate market performance.[1] It is computed from the prices of selected stocks (typically a weighted arithmetic mean).

Two of the primary criteria of an index are that it is investable and transparent:[2] The method of its construction are specified. Investors can invest in a stock market index by buying an index fund, which are structured as either a mutual fund or an exchange-traded fund, and “track” an index. The difference between an index fund’s performance and the index, if any, is called tracking error. For a list of major stock market indices, see List of stock market indices.

Types of indices

Stock market indices may be classified in many ways. A ‘world’ or ‘global’ stock market index — such as the MSCI World or the S&P Global 100 — includes stocks from multiple regions. Regions may be defined geographically (e.g., Europe, Asia) or by levels of industrialization or income (e.g., Developed Markets, Frontier Markets).

A ‘national’ index represents the performance of the stock market of a given nation—and by proxy, reflects investor sentiment on the state of its economy. The most regularly quoted market indices are national indices composed of the stocks of large companies listed on a nation’s largest stock exchanges, such as the S&P 500 Index in the United States, the Nikkei 225 in Japan, the NIFTY 50 in India, and the FTSE 100 in the United Kingdom.

Many indices are regional, such as the FTSE Developed Europe Index or the FTSE Developed Asia Pacific Index. Indexes may be based on exchange, such as the NASDAQ-100 or groups of exchanges, such as the Euronext 100 or OMX Nordic 40.

The concept may be extended well beyond an exchange. The Wilshire 5000 Index, the original total market index, includes the stocks of nearly every public company in the United States, including all U.S. stocks traded on the New York Stock Exchange (but not ADRs or limited partnerships), NASDAQ and American Stock Exchange. The FTSE Global Equity Index Series includes over 16,000 companies.[3]

Indices exist that track the performance of specific sectors of the market. Some examples include the Wilshire US REIT Index which tracks more than 80 real estate investment trusts and the NASDAQ Biotechnology Index which consists of approximately 200 firms in the biotechnology industry. Other indices may track companies of a certain size, a certain type of management, or more specialized criteria such as in fundamentally based indexes.

Ethical stock market indices

Several indices are based on ethical investing, and include only companies that meet certain ecological or social criteria, such as the Calvert Social IndexDomini 400 Social IndexFTSE4Good IndexDow Jones Sustainability Index, STOXX Global ESG Leaders Index, several Standard Ethics Aei indices, and the Wilderhill Clean Energy Index.[4]

In 2010, the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation announced the initiation of a stock index that complies with Sharia‘s ban on alcohol, tobacco and gambling.[5]

Strict mechanical criteria for inclusion and exclusion exist to prevent market domination, such as in Canada when Nortel was permitted to rise to over 30% of the TSE 300 index value.

Ethical indices have a particular interest in mechanical criteria, seeking to avoid accusations of ideological bias in selection, and have pioneered techniques for inclusion and exclusion of stocks based on complex criteria.

Another means of mechanical selection is mark-to-future methods that exploit scenarios produced by multiple analysts weighted according to probability, to determine which stocks have become too risky to hold in the index of concern.

Critics of such initiatives argue that many firms satisfy mechanical “ethical criteria”, e.g. regarding board composition or hiring practices, but fail to perform ethically with respect to shareholders, e.g. Enron. Indeed, the seeming “seal of approval” of an ethical index may put investors more at ease, enabling scams. One response to these criticisms is that trust in the corporate management, index criteria, fund or index manager, and securities regulator, can never be replaced by mechanical means, so “market transparency” and “disclosure” are the only long-term-effective paths to fair markets. From a financial perspective, it is not obvious whether ethical indices or ethical funds will out-perform their more conventional counterparts. Theory might suggest that returns would be lower since the investible universe is artificially reduced and with it portfolio efficiency. On the other hand, companies with good social performances might be better run, have more committed workers and customers, and be less likely to suffer reputation damage from incidents (oil spillages, industrial tribunals, etc.) and this might result in lower share price volatility.[6] The empirical evidence on the performance of ethical funds and of ethical firms versus their mainstream comparators is very mixed for both stock[7][8] and debt markets.[9]

Presentation of index returns

Some indices, such as the S&P 500 Index, have returns shown calculated with different methods.[10] These versions can differ based on how the index components are weighted and on how dividends are accounted. For example, there are three versions of the S&P 500 Index: price return, which only considers the price of the components, total return, which accounts for dividend reinvestment, and net total return, which accounts for dividend reinvestment after the deduction of a withholding tax.[11]

The Wilshire 4500 and Wilshire 5000 indices have five versions each: full capitalization total return, full capitalization price, float-adjusted total return, float-adjusted price, and equal weight. The difference between the full capitalization, float-adjusted, and equal weight versions is in how index components are weighted.[12][13]

Weighting of stocks within an index

An index may also be classified according to the method used to determine its price. In a price-weighted index such as the Dow Jones Industrial AverageNYSE Arca Major Market Index, and the NYSE Arca Tech 100 Index, the share price of each component stock is the only consideration when determining the value of the index. Thus, price movement of even a single security will heavily influence the value of the index even though the dollar shift is less significant in a relatively highly valued issue, and moreover ignoring the relative size of the company as a whole. In contrast, a Capitalization-weighted index (also called market-value-weighted) such as the S&P 500 Index or Hang Seng Index factors in the size of the company. Thus, a relatively small shift in the price of a large company will heavily influence the value of the index.

Capitalization- or share-weighted indices have a full weighting, i.e. all outstanding shares were included. Many indices are based on a free float-adjusted weighting.

An equal-weighted index is one in which all components are assigned the same value.[14] For example, the Barron’s 400 Index assigns an equal value of 0.25% to each of the 400 stocks included in the index, which together add up to the 100% whole.[15]

modified capitalization-weighted index is a hybrid between capitalization weighting and equal weighting. It is similar to a capitalization weighting with one main difference: the largest stocks are capped to a percent of the weight of the total stock index and the excess weight will be redistributed equally amongst the stocks under that cap. In 2005, Standard & Poor’s introduced the S&P Pure Growth Style Index and S&P Pure Value Style Index which was attribute-weighted. That is, a stock’s weight in the index is decided by the score it gets relative to the value attributes that define the criteria of a specific index, the same measure used to select the stocks in the first place. For these two indexes, a score is calculated for every stock, be it their growth score or the value score (a stock cannot be both) and accordingly they are weighted for the index.[16]

Criticism of capitalization-weighting

One argument for capitalization weighting is that investors must, in aggregate, hold a capitalization-weighted portfolio anyway. This then gives the average return for all investors; if some investors do worse, other investors must do better (excluding costs).[17]

Investors use theories such as modern portfolio theory to determine allocations. This considers risk and return and does not consider weights relative to the entire market. This may result in overweighting assets such as value or small-cap stocks, if they are believed to have a better return for risk profile. These investors believe that they can get a better result because other investors are not very good. The capital asset pricing model says that all investors are highly intelligent, and it is impossible to do better than the market portfolio, the capitalization-weighted portfolio of all assets. However, empirical tests conclude that market indices are not efficient.[citation needed] This can be explained by the fact that these indices do not include all assets or by the fact that the theory does not hold. The practical conclusion is that using capitalization-weighted portfolios is not necessarily the optimal method.

As a consequence, capitalization-weighting has been subject to severe criticism (see e.g. Haugen and Baker 1991, Amenc, Goltz, and Le Sourd 2006, or Hsu 2006), pointing out that the mechanics of capitalization-weighting lead to trend following strategies that provide an inefficient risk-return trade-off.

Other stock market index weighting schemes

While capitalization-weighting is the standard in equity index construction, different weighting schemes exist. While most indices use capitalization-weighting, additional criteria are often taken into account, such as sales/revenue and net income, as in the Dow Jones Global Titan 50 Index.

As an answer to the critiques of capitalization-weighting, equity indices with different weighting schemes have emerged, such as “wealth”-weighted (Morris, 1996), Fundamentally based indexes (Robert D. Arnott, Hsu and Moore 2005), “diversity”-weighted (Fernholz, Garvy, and Hannon 1998) or equal-weighted indices.[18]

Indices and passive investment management

Passive management is an investing strategy involving investing in index funds, which are structured as mutual funds or exchange-traded funds that track market indices.[19] The SPIVA (S&P Indices vs. Active) annual “U.S. Scorecard”, which measures the performance of indices versus actively managed mutual funds, finds the vast majority of active management mutual funds underperform their benchmarks, such as the S&P 500 Index, after fees.[20][21] Since index funds attempt to replicate the holdings of an index, they eliminate the need for — and thus many costs of — the research entailed in active management, and have a lower churn rate (the turnover of securities, which can result in transaction costs and capital gains taxes).

Unlike a mutual fund, which is priced daily, an exchange-traded fund is priced continuously, is optionable, and can be sold short.[22]

Lists

References

  1. ^ Caplinger, Dan (January 18, 2020). “What Is a Stock Market Index?”The Motley Fool.
  2. ^ Lo, Andrew W. (2016). “What Is an Index?”. Journal of Portfolio Management42 (2): 21–36. doi:10.3905/jpm.2016.42.2.021.
  3. ^ “FTSE Global Equity Index Series (GEIS)”FTSE Russell.
  4. ^ Divine, John (February 15, 2019). “7 of the Best Socially Responsible Funds”U.S. News & World Report.
  5. ^ Haris, Anwar (November 25, 2010). “Muslim-Majority Nations Plan Stock Index to Spur Trade: Islamic Finance”Bloomberg L.P.
  6. ^ Oikonomou, Ioannis; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2012). “The impact of corporate social performance on financial risk and utility: a longitudinal analysis” (PDF)Financial Management41 (2): 483–515. doi:10.1111/j.1755-053X.2012.01190.xISSN 1755-053X.
  7. ^ Brammer, Stephen; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2009). “The stock performance of America’s 100 best corporate citizens” (PDF)The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance49 (3): 1065–1080. doi:10.1016/j.qref.2009.04.001ISSN 1062-9769.
  8. ^ Brammer, Stephen; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2006). “Corporate social performance and stock returns: UK evidence from disaggregate measures” (PDF)Financial Management35 (3): 97–116. doi:10.1111/j.1755-053X.2006.tb00149.xISSN 1755-053X.
  9. ^ Oikonomou, Ioannis; Brooks, Chris; Pavelin, Stephen (2014). “The effects of corporate social performance on the cost of corporate debt and credit ratings” (PDF)Financial Review49 (1): 49–75. doi:10.1111/fire.12025ISSN 1540-6288.
  10. ^ “Index Literacy”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  11. ^ “Methodology Matters”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  12. ^ “Indexes”Wilshire Associates.
  13. ^ “Dow Jones Wilshire > DJ Wilshire 5000/4500 Indexes > Methodology”Wilshire Associates.
  14. ^ Edwards, Tim; Lazzara, Craig J. (May 2014). “Equal-Weight Benchmarking: Raising the Monkey Bars” (PDF)S&P Global.
  15. ^ Fabian, David (November 14, 2014). “Checking In On Equal-Weight ETFs This Year”Benzinga.
  16. ^ S&P methodology via Wikinvest
  17. ^ Sharpe, William F. (May 2010). “Adaptive Asset Allocation Policies”CFA Institute.
  18. ^ “Practice Essentials – Equal Weight Indexing” (PDF)S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  19. ^ Schramm, Michael (September 27, 2019). “What Is Passive Investing?”Morningstar, Inc.
  20. ^ “SPIVA U.S. Score Card”S&P Dow Jones Indices.
  21. ^ THUNE, KENT (July 3, 2019). “Why Index Funds Beat Actively Managed Funds”Dotdash.
  22. ^ Chang, Ellen (May 21, 2019). “How to Choose Between ETFs and Mutual Funds”U.S. News & World Report.

External links

 Media related to Stock market indexes at Wikimedia Commons

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stock_market_index

 

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U.S. Influenza Surveillance System: Purpose and Methods

The Influenza Division at CDC collects, compiles and analyzes information on influenza activity year-round in the United States. FluView, a weekly influenza surveillance report, and FluView Interactive, an online application which allows for more in-depth exploration of influenza surveillance data, are updated each week. The data presented each week are preliminary and may change as more data is received.

The U.S. influenza surveillance system is a collaborative effort between CDC and its many partners in state, local, and territorial health departments, public health and clinical laboratories, vital statistics offices, healthcare providers, clinics, and emergency departments. Information in five categories is collected from eight data sources in order to:

  • Find out when and where influenza activity is occurring;
  • Determine what influenza viruses are circulating;
  • Detect changes in influenza viruses; and
  • Measure the impact influenza is having on outpatient illness, hospitalizations and deaths.

It is important to maintain a comprehensive system for influenza surveillance for the following reasons:

  • Influenza viruses are constantly changing (referred to as antigenic drift), and thus ongoing data collection and characterization of the viruses are required;
  • Influenza viruses can also undergo an abrupt, major change (referred to as antigenic shift) that results in a virus that is different than currently circulating influenza viruses; surveillance of viruses will detect these changes and inform the public health response;
  • Vaccines must be administered annually and are updated regularly based on surveillance findings;
  • Treatment for influenza is guided by laboratory surveillance for antiviral resistance; and
  • Influenza surveillance and targeted research studies are used to monitor the impact of influenza on different segments of the population (e.g. age groups, underlying medical conditions).

Surveillance System Components

1. Virologic Surveillance

U.S. World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Laboratories System and the National Respiratory and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) – Approximately 100 public health and over 300 clinical laboratories located throughout all 50 states, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the District of Columbia participate in virologic surveillance for influenza through either the U.S. WHO Collaborating Laboratories System or NREVSS.  Influenza testing practices differ in public health and clinical laboratories and each source provides valuable information for monitoring influenza activity.  Clinical laboratories primarily test respiratory specimens for diagnostic purposes and data from these laboratories provide useful information on the timing and intensity of influenza activity.  Public health laboratories primarily test specimens for surveillance purposes to understand what influenza virus types, subtypes, and lineages are circulating and the age groups being affected.

All public health and clinical laboratories report each week to CDC the total number of respiratory specimens tested for influenza and the number positive for influenza viruses, along with age or age group of the person, if available.  Data presented from clinical laboratories include the weekly total number of specimens tested, the number of positive influenza tests, and the percent positive by influenza virus type.  Data presented from public health laboratories include the weekly total number of specimens tested and the number positive by influenza virus type and subtype/lineage.  In order to obtain specimens in an efficient manner, public health laboratories often receive samples that have already tested positive for an influenza virus at a clinical laboratory.  As a result, monitoring the percent of specimens testing positive for an influenza virus in a public health laboratory is less useful (i.e., we expect a higher percent positive). In order to use each data source most appropriately and to avoid duplication, reports from public health and clinical laboratories are presented separately in both FluView and FluView Interactive.

The age distribution of influenza positive specimens reported from public health laboratories is visualized in FluView Interactive.  The number and proportion of influenza virus-positive specimens by influenza A subtype and influenza B lineage are presented by age group (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-64 years, and ≥65 years) each week and cumulative totals are provided for the season.

Additional laboratory data for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive.

Virus Characterization – Most U.S. viruses submitted for virus characterization come from state and local public health laboratories. Due to Right Size Roadmapexternal icon considerations, specimen submission guidance to public health laboratories for the 2019-2020 season is that, if available, 2 influenza A(H1N1)pdm09, 3 influenza A(H3N2), and 2 influenza B viruses be submitted every other week. Therefore, the numbers of each virus type/subtype characterized should be more balanced across subtypes/lineages but will not reflect the actual proportion of circulating viruses. The goal of antigenic and genetic characterization is to compare how similar the currently circulating influenza viruses are to the reference viruses representing viruses contained in the current influenza vaccines and to monitor evolutionary changes that continually occur in influenza viruses circulating in humans. For genetic characterization, all influenza-positive surveillance samples received at CDC undergo next-generation sequencing to determine the genetic identity of circulating influenza viruses and to monitor the evolutionary trajectory of viruses circulating in our population. Virus gene segments are classified into genetic clades/subclades based on phylogenetic analysis. However, genetic changes that classify the clades/subclades do not always result in antigenic changes. “Antigenic drift” is a term used to describe gradual antigenic change that occurs as viruses evolve to escape host immune pressure. Antigenic drift is evaluated using hemagglutination inhibition and/or neutralization based focus reduction assays to compare antigenic properties of cell-propagated reference viruses representing currently recommended vaccine components with those of cell-propagated circulating viruses.

CDC also tests a subset of the influenza viruses collected by public health laboratories for susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitor antivirals (oseltamivir, zanamivir, and peramivir) and the PA cap-dependent endonuclease inhibitor (baloxavir). Susceptibility to the neuraminidase inhibitors is assessed using next-generation sequencing analysis and/or a functional assay. Neuraminidase sequences of viruses are inspected to detect the presence of amino acid substitutions, previously associated with reduced or highly reduced inhibition by any of three neuraminidase inhibitorspdf iconexternal icon. In addition, a subset of viruses is tested using the neuraminidase inhibition assay with three neuraminidase inhibitors. The level of neuraminidase activity inhibition is reported using the thresholds recommended by the World Health Organization Expert Working Group of the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS)pdf iconexternal icon. These samples are routinely obtained for surveillance purposes rather than for diagnostic testing of patients suspected to be infected with an antiviral-resistant virus. Susceptibility to baloxavir is assessed using next-generation sequencing analysis to identify PA protein changes previously associated with reduced susceptibility to this medication; a subset of representative viruses is also tested phenotypically using a high-content imaging neutralization test.

Results of the antigenic and genetic characterization and antiviral susceptibility testing are presented in the virus characterization and antiviral resistance sections of the FluView report.

Surveillance for Novel Influenza A Viruses – In 2007, human infection with a novel influenza A virus became a nationally notifiable condition. Novel influenza A virus infections include all human infections with influenza A viruses that are different from currently circulating human seasonal influenza H1 and H3 viruses. These viruses include those that are subtyped as nonhuman in origin and those that cannot be subtyped with standard laboratory methods and reagents.  Rapid detection and reporting of human infections with novel influenza A viruses – viruses against which there is often little to no pre-existing immunity – is important to facilitate prompt awareness and characterization of influenza A viruses with pandemic potential and accelerate the implementation of public health responses to limit the transmission and impact of these viruses.

Newly reported cases of human infections with novel influenza A viruses are reported in FluView and additional information, including case counts by geographic location, virus subtype, and calendar year, are available on FluView Interactive.

2. Outpatient Illness Surveillance

Information on outpatient visits to health care providers for influenza-like illness is collected through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet). ILINet consists of outpatient healthcare providers in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands reporting approximately 60 million patient visits during the 2018-19 season. Each week, approximately 2,600 outpatient healthcare providers around the country report data to CDC on the total number of patients seen for any reason and the number of those patients with influenza-like illness (ILI) by age group (0-4 years, 5-24 years, 25-49 years, 50-64 years, and ≥65 years). For this system, ILI is defined as fever (temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or greater) and a cough and/or a sore throat without a known cause other than influenza. Sites with electronic health records use an equivalent definition as determined by public health authorities.

Additional data on medically attended visits for ILI for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, HHS region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive.

The national percentage of patient visits to healthcare providers for ILI reported each week is calculated by combining state-specific data weighted by state population. This percentage is compared each week with the national baseline of 2.4% for the 2019-2020 influenza season. The baseline is developed by calculating the mean percentage of patient visits for ILI during non-influenza weeks for the previous three seasons and adding two standard deviations. A non-influenza week is defined as periods of two or more consecutive weeks in which each week accounted for less than 2% of the season’s total number of specimens that tested positive for influenza in public health laboratories.  Due to wide variability in regional level data, it is not appropriate to apply the national baseline to regional data; therefore, region-specific baselines are calculated using the same methodology.

Regional baselines for the 2019-2020 influenza season are:

Region 1 — 1.9%
Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont

Region 2 — 3.2%
New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands

Region 3 — 1.9%
Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia

Region 4 — 2.4%
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee

Region 5 — 1.9%
Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin

Region 6 — 3.8%
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas

Region 7 — 1.7%
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska

Region 8 — 2.7%
Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming

Region 9 — 2.4%
Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Nevada

Region 10— 1.5%
Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington

ILI Activity Indicator Map: — Data collected in ILINet are also used to produce a measure of ILI activity for all 50 states, Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and New York City. Activity levels are based on the percent of outpatient visits due to ILI in a jurisdiction compared with the average percent of ILI visits that occur during weeks with little or no influenza virus circulation (i.e., non-influenza weeks) in that jurisdiction.  The number of sites reporting each week is variable, therefore baselines are adjusted each week based on which sites within each jurisdiction provide data. To perform this adjustment, provider level baseline ratios are calculated for those that have a sufficient reporting history.  Providers that do not have the required reporting history are assigned the baseline ratio for their practice type.  The jurisdiction level baseline is then calculated using a weighted sum of the baseline ratios for each contributing provider.

The activity levels compare the mean reported percent of visits due to ILI for the current week to the mean reported percent of visits due to ILI for non-influenza weeks.  The 10 activity levels correspond to the number of standard deviations below, at or above the mean for the current week compared with the mean of the non-influenza weeks.  There are 10 activity levels classified as minimal (levels 1-3), low (levels 4-5), moderate (levels 6-7), and high (levels 8-10).  An activity level of 1 corresponds to values that are below the mean, level 2 corresponds to an ILI percentage less than 1 standard deviation above the mean, level 3 corresponds to ILI more than 1, but less than 2 standard deviations above the mean, and so on, with an activity level of 10 corresponding to ILI 8 or more standard deviations above the mean.

The ILI Activity Indicator map reflects the level of ILI activity, not the extent of geographic spread of flu, within a jurisdiction. Therefore, outbreaks occurring in a single city could cause the state to display high activity levels. In addition, data collected in ILINet may disproportionally represent certain populations within a state, and therefore, may not accurately depict the full picture of influenza activity for the whole state. Differences in the data presented here by CDC and independently by some state health departments likely represent differing levels of data completeness with data presented by the state likely being the more complete.

The ILI Activity Indicator Map displays state-specific activity levels for multiple seasons and allows a visual representation of relative activity from state to state.  More information is available on FluView Interactive.

3. Summary of the Geographic Spread of Influenza

State and territorial health departments report the estimated level of geographic spread of influenza activity in their jurisdictions each week through the State and Territorial Epidemiologists Report. This level does not measure the severity of influenza activity; low levels of influenza activity occurring throughout a jurisdiction would result in a classification of “widespread”.  Jurisdictions classify geographic spread as follows:

  • No Activity: No laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and no reported increase in the number of cases of ILI.
  • Sporadic: Small numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases or a single laboratory-confirmed influenza outbreak has been reported, but there is no increase in cases of ILI.
  • Local: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in a single region of the state.
  • Regional: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI and recent laboratory confirmed influenza in at least two but less than half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in those regions.
  • Widespread: Outbreaks of influenza or increases in ILI cases and recent laboratory-confirmed influenza in at least half the regions of the state with recent laboratory evidence of influenza in the state.

Additional data displaying the influenza activity reported by state and territorial epidemiologists for the current and past seasons are available on FluView Interactive.

4. Hospitalization Surveillance

Laboratory confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations in children and adults are monitored through the Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Network (FluSurv-NET). FluSurv-NET conducts population-based surveillance for laboratory-confirmed influenza-related hospitalizations in children younger than 18 years of age (since the 2003-2004 influenza season) and adults (since the 2005-2006 influenza season). The network includes more than 70 counties in the 10 Emerging Infections Program (EIP) states (CA, CO, CT, GA, MD, MN, NM, NY, OR, and TN) and additional Influenza Hospitalization Surveillance Project (IHSP) states. The IHSP began during the 2009-2010 season to enhance surveillance during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. IHSP sites included IA, ID, MI, OK and SD during the 2009-2010 season; ID, MI, OH, OK, RI, and UT during the 2010-2011 season; MI, OH, RI, and UT during the 2011-2012 season; IA, MI, OH, RI, and UT during the 2012-2013 season; and MI, OH, and UT during the 2013-2014 through 2019-20 seasons.

Cases are identified by reviewing hospital laboratory and admission databases and infection control logs for patients hospitalized during the influenza season with a documented positive influenza test (i.e., viral culture, direct/indirect fluorescent antibody assay (DFA/IFA), rapid influenza diagnostic test (RIDT), or molecular assays including reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)). Data gathered are used to estimate age-specific hospitalization rates on a weekly basis and describe characteristics of persons hospitalized with influenza illness. The rates provided are likely to be an underestimate as influenza-related hospitalizations can be missed if testing is not performed.

Patient charts are reviewed to determine if any of the following categories of high-risk medical conditions are recorded in the chart at the time of hospitalization:

  • Asthma/reactive airway disease;
  • Blood disorder/hemoglobinopathy;
  • Cardiovascular disease;
  • Chronic lung disease;
  • Chronic metabolic disease;
  • Gastrointestinal/liver disease;
  • Immunocompromised condition;
  • Neurologic disorder;
  • Neuromuscular disorder;
  • Obesity;
  • Pregnancy status;
  • Prematurity (pediatric cases only);
  • Renal disease; and
  • Rheumatologic/autoimmune/inflammatory conditions.

During the 2017-18 season, seven FluSurv-NET sites (CA, GA, MN, NM, NYA, OH, OR) conducted random sampling to select cases ≥50 years for medical chart abstraction, while still performing full chart abstractions of all cases <50 years. During the 2018-19 season, six sites (CA, GA, NM, NYA, OH, OR) conducted random sampling of cases ≥65 years for medical chart abstraction. All other sites performed full chart abstractions on all cases. Data on age, sex, admission date, in-hospital death, and influenza test results were collected for all cases. For each season going forward, including 2019-20, sampling for medical chart abstraction may be considered in cases ≥50 years. In early January of each season, observed case counts across all FluSurv-NET sites will be compared against predetermined thresholds to determine whether sampling will be implemented for the season.

Additional FluSurv-NET data including hospitalization rates for multiple seasons and different age groups and data on patient characteristics (such as virus, type, demographic, and clinical information) are available on FluView Interactive.

5. Mortality Surveillance

National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) mortality surveillance data – NCHS collects death certificate data from state vital statistics offices for all deaths occurring in the United States. Pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths are identified based on ICD-10 multiple cause of death codes.  NCHS surveillance data are aggregated by the week of death occurrence.  To allow for collection of enough data to produce a stable P&I percentage, NCHS surveillance data are released one week after the week of death.  The NCHS surveillance data are used to calculate the percent of all deaths occurring in a given week that had pneumonia and/or influenza listed as a cause of death. The P&I percentage for earlier weeks are continually revised and may increase or decrease as new and updated death certificate data are received from the states by NCHS.  The P&I percentage is compared to a seasonal baseline of P&I deaths that is calculated using a periodic regression model incorporating a robust regression procedure applied to data from the previous five years.  An increase of 1.645 standard deviations above the seasonal baseline of P&I deaths is considered the “epidemic threshold,” i.e., the point at which the observed proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia or influenza was significantly higher than would be expected at that time of the year in the absence of substantial influenza-related mortality.

Additional pneumonia and influenza mortality data for current and past seasons and by geographic level (national, HHS region, and state) are available on FluView Interactive. Data displayed on the regional and state-level are aggregated by the state of residence of the decedent.

Influenza-Associated Pediatric Mortality Surveillance System — Influenza-associated deaths in children (persons less than 18 years of age) was added as a nationally notifiable condition in 2004. An influenza-associated pediatric death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from a clinically compatible illness that was confirmed to be influenza by an appropriate laboratory diagnostic test. There should be no period of complete recovery between the illness and death.  Demographic and clinical information are collected on each case and are transmitted to CDC.

Additional information on influenza-associated pediatric deaths including basic demographics, underlying conditions, bacterial co-infections, and place of death for the current and past seasons, is available on FluView Interactive.

Influenza Surveillance Considerations

It is important to remember the following about influenza surveillance in the United States.

  • All influenza activity reporting by public health partners and health-care providers is voluntary.
  • The reported information answers the questions of where, when, and what influenza viruses are circulating.  It can be used to determine if influenza activity is increasing or decreasing but does not directly report the number of influenza illnesses.  For more information regarding how CDC classifies influenza severity and the disease burden of influenza, please see Disease Burden of Influenza.
  • The system consists of eight complementary surveillance components in five categories. These components include reports from more than 350 laboratories, approximately 2,600 outpatient health care providers, the National Center for Health Statistics, research and healthcare personnel at the FluSurv-NET sites, and influenza surveillance coordinators and state epidemiologists from all state, local and territorial health departments.
  • Influenza surveillance data collection is based on a reporting week that starts on Sunday and ends on the following Saturday.  Each surveillance participant is requested to summarize weekly data and submit it to CDC by Tuesday afternoon of the following week. The data are then downloaded, compiled, and analyzed at CDC. FluView and FluView Interactive are updated weekly each Friday.

    For CDC/Influenza Division influenza surveillance purposes, the reporting period for each influenza season begins during Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) week 40 and ends week 39 of the following year. MMWR weeks pdf icon[65 KB, 2 Pages]refer to the sequential numbering of weeks (Sunday through Saturday) during a calendar year. This means that the exact start of the influenza reporting period varies slightly from season to season. The 2019-2020 influenza season began on September 29, 2019 and will end on September 26, 2020.

  • “Flu season” — as determined by elevated flu activity – also varies from season to season. During most seasons, activity begins to increase in October, most often peaks between December and February and can remain elevated into May. The flu season is said to have started after consecutive weeks of elevated flu activity is registered in the various CDC influenza surveillance systems.

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/overview.htm

Story 3: President Trump Answers Press Questions on Way To Helicopter — Order Medical Supplies — Videos

Trump bashes media criticism over his handling of coronavirus pandemic

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1382, January 22, 2020, Story 1: The American People and Electoral College Not Congress Will Decide The Winner of The 2020 Presidential Election — Trump Should Win In A Landslide Victory — Do Not Be Surprised When Trump Wins A Majority of The Votes With 70 Million Plus Popular Votes and 330 Plus Electoral College Votes —  Elections and Impeachments Have Consequences — Over And Over — Long and Winding Road — All By Myself –My Way — Videos — Story 2: Chinese Communist Coronavirus Coming To A City Near You — Arrives in United States — Are You Scared Yet? — Videos —

Posted on January 24, 2020. Filed under: 2020 Democrat Candidates, 2020 President Candidates, 2020 Republican Candidates, Addiction, Addiction, American History, Bernie Sanders, Blogroll, Breaking News, Bribery, Budgetary Policy, Cartoons, Congress, Constitutional Law, Corruption, Countries, Crime, Culture, Defense Spending, Diet, Disasters, Diseases, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Eating, Economics, Education, Elections, Elizabeth Warren, Employment, Environment, Exercise, Fiscal Policy, Flu, Foreign Policy, Freedom of Religion, Freedom of Speech, Government, Government Dependency, Government Spending, Health, Health Care, Health Care Insurance, High Crimes, History, House of Representatives, Housing, Human, Human Behavior, Impeachment, Independence, Labor Economics, Language, Law, Life, Media, Medicare, Mike Pompeo, Monetary Policy, Music, National Interest, News, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Polls, Progressives, Public Corruption, Public Relations, Radio, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Subversion, Tax Policy, Trade Policy, Treason, Ukraine, United States of America, Welfare Spending | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

 

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Story 1: The American People and Electoral College Not Congress Will Decide The Winner of The 2020 Presidential Election — Trump Should Win In A Landslide Victory — Do Not Be Surprised WhenTrump Wins A Majority of The Votes With 70 Million Plus Popular Votes and 330 Plus Electoral College Votes —  Elections and Impeachments Have Consequences — Over And Over — Long and Winding Road — All By Myself — I DID IT MY WAY — Videos —

U.S. Senate: Impeachment Trial (Day 3)

Impeachment Trial: Watch LIVE Senate Impeachment trial of President Donald Trump day two

Impeachment Trial: Watch LIVE Senate Impeachment trial of President Donald Trump day two

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Over And Over Dave Clark Five HQ {Stereo}

The Beatles-The Long And Winding Road -Rare

Eric Carmen – All By Myself (1976)

FRANK SINATRA I DID IT MY WAY

My Way

And now, the end is near
And so I face the final curtain
My friend, I’ll say it clear
I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain

I’ve lived a life that’s full
I’ve traveled each and every highway
But more, much more than this
I did it my way

Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I did what I had to do
And saw it through without exemption

I planned each charted course
Each careful step along the byway
And more, much more than this
I did it my way

Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
I ate it up and spit it out
I faced it all and I stood tall
And did it my way

I’ve loved, I’ve laughed and cried
I’ve had my fill my share of losing
And now, as tears subside
I find it all so amusing

To think I did all that
And may I say – not in a shy way
Oh no, oh no, not me
I did it my way

For what is a man, what has he got
If not himself, then he has naught
To say the things he truly feels
And not the words of one who kneels
The record shows I took the blows
And did it my way

Yes, it was my way

Writer/s: Claude Francois, Gilles Thibaut, Jacques Revaux, Paul Anka
Publisher: JEUNE MUSIQUE EDITIONS, BMG Rights Management, CONCORD MUSIC PUBLISHING LLC
Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Frank Sinatra, My Way, With Lyrics

Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime

President Donald Trump talks with reporters next to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Roy Blunt as he arrives for a closed Senate Republican policy lunch on Capitol Hill, March 26, 2019. (Brendan McDermid/Reuters)

Senate Republicans, by and large, have reached an unspoken consensus about President Trump and Ukraine. He should not have put a temporary freeze on congressionally authorized aid to Ukraine, should not have dabbled with using the aid to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden or a nutty theory about Ukrainian hacking during the 2016 election, and should not have kept defending his “perfect call” as such. At the same time, his conduct does not merit his removal from office — especially since voters will get to pass judgment on that conduct in a few months.

Hence the claim now being advanced half-heartedly by Republicans that presidents cannot be impeached for any abuse of power unless that abuse took the form of a criminal violation of a statute. The consensus of those who have studied this question is to the contrary. Jonathan Turley, the Republicans’ star witness in the House hearings about the constitutional issues raised by impeachment, has repudiated this view. Attorney General William Barr has in the past denied it. The Founding-era debates about impeachment are clear that Congress was to be able to remove a president from office if he had exercised his legal powers in an abusive way. One example that came up during those debates: What if the president tacitly encouraged a crime and then pardoned the perpetrator? The pardon power is arguably unreviewable, and certainly very nearly so. It was left to the judgment of a majority of the House and a supermajority of the Senate, as always under the supervision of the voters, whether a president’s conduct had rendered his continuation in office intolerable.

Attempts to impeach presidents have thus frequently combined charges of crimes with charges of non-criminal abuses. A categorical denial of the latter class of charge would do violence to the Constitution and one of its checks on presidential misconduct. Republicans would be better off arguing that in this case the president’s behavior, while objectionable, should be left, as scheduled, to the judgment of the voters directly — an argument that already has the support of most voters in polls and accords with Senate Republicans’ actual beliefs. There is no need for constitutional contortions.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/impeachment-doesnt-require-a-crime/

National Review Calls Out ‘Embarrassing’ Pro-Trump Arguments in Scathing Op-Ed: ‘Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime

A very common refrain among loyal defenders of President Donald Trump amid the current impeachment proceedings is that, because there was no crime committed, he cannot be removed from office. It is a rather shockingly simple defense that parades one’s middle school level of understanding of the Consitution or is a willfully misleading take designed to misinform the misinformable.

Enter conservative thought leader National Review into this strange legal defense phenomenon, to publish a remarkably banal take in the form of a scathing Op-Ed that rather embarrasses Trump’s loyal defenders. It’s banal not because of National Review’s editorial wisdom, but because we sadly find ourselves in a political moment when even the banalest takes need to be said.

Editors behind the column say of this “no-crime” defense: “Instead of sticking to the most defensible case for a Senate acquittal of Trump, Republicans from the president on down are making arguments that range from the implausible to the embarrassing.”

The op-ed features a remarkably effective, if not on-the-nose, headline “Impeachment Doesn’t Require a Crime” which features the following nut graf:

Hence the claim now being advanced half-heartedly by Republicans that presidents cannot be impeached for any abuse of power unless that abuse took the form of a criminal violation of a statute. The consensus of those who have studied this question is to the contrary. Jonathan Turley, the Republicans’ star witness in the House hearings about the constitutional issues raised by impeachment, has repudiated this view. Attorney General William Barr has in the past denied it. The Founding-era debates about impeachment are clear that Congress was to be able to remove a president from office if he had exercised his legal powers in an abusive way. One example that came up during those debates: What if the president tacitly encouraged a crime and then pardoned the perpetrator? The pardon power is arguably unreviewable, and certainly very nearly so. It was left to the judgment of a majority of the House and a supermajority of the Senate, as always under the supervision of the voters, whether a president’s conduct had rendered his continuation in office intolerable.

The National Review editors don’t so much chide Republicans for what seems a foolhardy errand of alleging the “no-crime” defense, but rather it arrives at a rather thoughtful suggestion that Republicans would be better served by arguing that President Trump’s behavior, while objectionable, should be left to voters.

Attempts to impeach presidents have thus frequently combined charges of crimes with charges of non-criminal abuses. A categorical denial of the latter class of charge would do violence to the Constitution and one of its checks on presidential misconduct. Republicans would be better off arguing that in this case the president’s behavior, while objectionable, should be left, as scheduled, to the judgment of the voters directly — an argument that already has the support of most voters in polls and accords with Senate Republicans’ actual beliefs. There is no need for constitutional contortions.

https://www.nationalreview.com/2020/01/impeachment-doesnt-require-a-crime/?utm_source=CNN+Media%3A+Reliable+Sources&utm_campaign=758cde2d36-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2018_09_11_04_47_COPY_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_e95cdc16a9-758cde2d36-83150969

Trump accuses Adam Schiff of ‘making up’ conversation with Ukraine

Schiff slammed for ‘parody’ of Trump call transcript

WATCH: Rep. Adam Schiff’s full opening statement on whistleblower complaint | DNI hearing

Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, questioned Director of National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire’s handling of a whistleblower complaint involving a phone call between Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president. In his opening statement during a hearing featuring Maguire, Schiff emphasized the need for whistleblower complaints to be presented to Congress to prevent leaking, which Schiff said would threaten U.S. national security. Schiff later admitted that he included words in his opening statement that the president did not say, noting that his characterization was meant to be taken “at least, in part, in parody.”

Trump claims Schiff ‘helped write’ whistleblower complaint

What is CrowdStrike, the Cybersecurity Firm Mentioned in Trump’s Ukraine Call?

CSS2016 SEP – How the DNC was Hacked! – Crowdstrike

White House releases transcript of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s president

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

Glenn Beck Reveals Bombshell Audio from Ukraine that Repudiates Impeachment Narrative

Conspiracy Theory At The Heart Of The Impeachment Inquiry | On Assignment with Richard Engel | MSNBC

JOE BIDEN CAMPAIGN: Threatens Journalists to Deny Corruption in Ukraine, Argues Malpractice

Glenn Beck Lays Out the Case Against The Media

Glenn Beck Presents: Ukraine, The Democrats’ Russia

MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION

�f;Ctffi’fHOftC01 q,J cfOfi oru..-
·UNCLASSIFIED
[ PkgNumberShort]
EYES OH:l:ii”
DO NOi COP!
Declassified by order of the President’
September 24, 2019
MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
SUBJECT:
PARTICIPANTS:
DATE, TIME
AND PLACE:
(C) Telephone Conversation with President
Zelenskyy of Ukraine
Pre·sident Zelenskyy of . Ukraine
Notetakers: The White House Situation·Room
July 25, 2019, 9:03 – 9:33 a.m. EDT
Residence
(S/NF) The President: Congratulations on a great victory. We all
watched from the United States and you did a terrific.job. The
way.you came from behind, -somebody who wasn’t given much of a
chan�e, and you ended up winning ea�ily. It’� a fantastic
achievement. Congratulations.
(:J;’UP’ President Zelenskyy: You· are absolutely right Mr.
Presideht.• We did win big and we worked hard for _this. We worked
a lot but I would like to confe$s to you that I had �n
opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your
skills· and knowledge and were able to use .it as an example to·r
our ele.ctions -and.yes it is-true that these were unique
elections. We were in a·unique situation· that we· were able to
CAUTION: A Memorandum of a Telephone Conversation.· (TELCON) is not a verbatim transcript of a
discussion. The text in this document records the notes and recollections of Situation Room Duty
“Officers and-NSC policy staff assigned t_o listen.and memorialize the conversation in written form
as the conversation takes place. A numper of factors can affect ‘the accuracy of the reco�d,
including poor telecommunications connections and variations in accent and/or interpretation.
The word “inaudible” is used to indifate portions of a conversation that the notetaker was unable
to hear.
Classified By: 2354726
Derived.From: NSC SCG
Declassify On: 20441231
– lJNCLASSIFIED
SECRf3Cf’;’,’ORCOt VJ ,Of ORi,
2 UNC AS IFIED
achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following;
the first time,\ you· called me to · congratulate .
me .when I won my
presid�ntial election, and the second time you are now calling
me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I
should run more often so you can call me more often and we can
talk over the phone more often.
(�;’!��) The Pre�:ddent: [laughter] That’s a very good idea. T ·
think your c·ount,ry is very happy about that.
(S/iQl’,. President Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we
are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp
here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the
old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to
have a new format and a new type of government .. You are a great
teacher for us and in that.
(3/H!i, The President: Well it 1 s·very nice of you .to say that. I
will say that we do ·a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot . of effort
and a lot.of time. Much more than the European countries are
·’doing and they should be helping.you more than.they are. Germany
does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think
it’s something that you should ·really ask them about. When I.was·
·speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she ·doesn’t do·
anything. A lot of the European countries are the. same way· so I
think it’s.something you want to look at but the United States
has been very ·very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s
reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not
good but the United States has been very very
.
good to Ukraine.
(3/MF) President Zelenskyy: Yes you are·absolutely right. �ot
.only 100%, but actually 1000% arid I can tell you the following;
I did talk to Angela �erkel and I did meet.with her. I also met
and talked withMacron . and I told them that they are not doing
quite as much as they need to be doing·on the issues with the
sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not
working as much as
.
they should work for Ukraine� It turns out
that even though logically, the European Union should be our
biggest· partner but technically the United States is a much
bigger partner than.the European Union and- I’m very grateful to
you for that because the United States is doing quite a· lot for
Ukraine. Much more than the E”�ropean Union especially when we
are talking about sanctions against the Russia,n Federation. r·
· would also·li�e to thank you·for.your great support iri the area
of defense. . We. are ready to continue to cooperate for the next
steps. specifically we a·re almost. ready to buy more Javelins from
·_ the United· States for defense purposes ..
.__
BEORET//OftOO�UtOf©fi!tf
3 .
•t:�;’HP) The· President: I would like you to do us a favor though
because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a
lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with
this whole si�uation with Ukraine, they s_ay Crowdstrike … I guess
you have one of your weal thy people… The server, they say
Ukraine has.it� There- are a lot. of things that went on, the·
:whole situation .. I think you 1 re _surrounding yourse·lf with some
of the same people. I .
would like to have the Attorney General
call you or your people and I would like you t� ·get to the
bottom of it�. As you sa� yest�rday, that whole nonsetise ended
with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mue�le_r, an
incompetent performance-, _but they. say a lot of it started with
Ukraine. Whatever you can do, ·it’s very important that· you. do it
if that’s possible.
(l!l-,’HP) President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and
everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a
President,-· it is very important and we are open for any future
cooperation. We are ready to· open a new page on �ooperation in
. relations between the United· States and Ukraine.· For that·
purpose, I just recalled our.ambassador from United States and
he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced
ambassador who wtll work hard on making sure that our two
nations are getting clciser. I would also like and hope to see
him having your trust and y9ur .confidence and _ have persona·1
relations·with you so we c�n cooperate even �ore so. I·
wili.
personally tell you that one· of my assistants· spoke with Mr.
Giuliani just.recently and we are hoping very much that Mr.
G1uliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and. we will meet once
· he co�es to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again_that
you _have nobody but friends around-us. I w.ill make sure -that-I
surro�nd myself with the best and most experienced people._ I
also· wanted to ·tell you that we are friends. We are great·
friends and you Mr. President have. friends -in our country so we
can continue our strategic·�artn�rship. I also plan to surround
· myself with great people ·and in addition to that investigation,
I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the
investigations.will be done_openly and candidly .. That I can
assure you ..
(:9/MF� The Pre·sident: Good because I· heard you had a prosecutor
who· was very·good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.
_·A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your
�ery good prosecutor down and you had some �ery bad people
involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the_
mayor bf New York Ci:ty, a great mayor, and I would like him to
UN CLJ�s�]]F1fIE:1U>
�l!Ctffl’fHO!tCOM;’HOPO!ttf
�ECKiS1’//0RCO�cJR,Of O:EMt
4
call you. I will ask him to call yoti along with the Attorney·_
·· General.· :Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very
capable guy. If you could _speak to him that would be great. The
former ambassador from the United $tates,· the woman., was bad
news �nd th� people she was dealing with in .the Ukraine .were bad
news so I jtist wan� to_let you know that� The ot�er thing,
There’s a lot 6f. talk about Biden’s son,. that Eiden stopped the
prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so
whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.
Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if
you ·can look into it … It sounds horrible to me.
(S;’ti!F) President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell ·you about the
prosecutor� First df �11 I understand arid I’m kn6wledgeable
.abotit the situation. Sine� we ha�e �on· the ab�olute majority in
our Parliament; the next prosecutor .general will be 100%_ my
person, my c’andidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and
will start. a_s a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look.
into the situation, specifically to the company that you
-mentioned in :this issue. The issue of the investigation of the
case is �ctually the issui of �aking sure to res�o�e the honesty
so we will take care of.that and wi11·wo:tk on the investigation
of the case. On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have
any additional information that you can provide ·to µs, it would_
be very helpful · for the investigation t·o make· su.re that we
administer justice i’:r1 our country with regc:ird: to the Ambassador
to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name
was Ivanovicli. It was great that you were the first one. who told
me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree·with you 100%.
Her attitude to.wards me was far from the best as she admired the
previous President and she was on his· side. She would not accept
�e as a new President· well enough.
. . . .
(3/MF) The President: Well,
·she’ s going tO go through some
things. I will. have Mr. Giuliani.give you a call and I _ am. also
going to have.Attorney General Barr call and we will get to· the
bottom of it. I’m sure you will figure it o�t. I heard the
prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fa�r
prosecuto_r so good luck with everything. Your. economy is going-·
to get better and bett.er I pre.diet. You have a lot· of a,ssets.
It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their
incredible ·people.
(B/MF�- President Z�lenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also
have.quite a few·Ukrain1an friends that live iri the United·
States. ·Actually last time I traveled to the Unit’ed States, I
stayed in New York n�ar Central Park and I stayed at the Trump_ UN�� �—–,… –..J ��µ._;,�…..;._�.!…,_..:_ ��–��/ .m,
51:!C:Rt! I II ORCON/MOPOlffl
···’;,
s UNCLASSIFIED
Tower. I will t
·alk to thetn and I hope to see t_hem· again in the
future. I also w·anted to _
.thank you .for your invitation to visit
the United States, specifically Washington DC. On ,the other
hand, I also wartt td ensur� ·you that we will. be ��ry serious
about.the case and will work on the investigation. As to.the
economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one _
of· the ·issues. that is ve:;ry important for Ukraine is· energy
independence. I believe we can b� very succ�ssful. and
cooperating on energy independence witp United States. We -are
already working on cooperation. We are buying Americ�n oil but I
am very hopeful for- ·a future meeting. We will have more time and
more opportunitie� to discuss these opportunities· and get to
know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for
your sv.pport –
(8/Ui?� · The President: Good. Well., thank you very much and I
appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to.·
call. Thank you. Whenever you would like -to come to the White
House,. feel ·fr�e to call. ·Give us a date and we’ll work that.
out. I ·1ook forward to seeing you.
(:9/Nil?) · President ·zelens�yy: Thank ·you very much. I would be very
happy to come and would be happy to meet with you per�onally and
I . .
. get to know. you better. ::r: am l.ooking forward to our meeting arid
I .also would like
·
-to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the
city bf Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful
country Which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe
that on Septernber_l we will be in Poland and we can meet in
Poland hopefully. After that,· it might be a very good idea for
you to.travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to
Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably mucl� better
than mine.
(�/MF) ‘The President: Okay,. ·we can work that ·out. I look forwar·a
to seeing you in Washington and maybe in· Poland bec·ause I think
we are going to be there at that tlme .
. {�/MF) · President · Zelenskyy: Thank you very much Mr. President.
(El/HF� The President:· Congratulations on· a fantastic job you’ve
done-. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much
of an upset but congratulations.
(B/HF’ President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye ..
End of Conversation

Story 2: Chinese Communist Coronavirus Coming To A City Near You — Arrives in United States — Are You Scared Yet? — Fever — Videos

See the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source imageSee the source image

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Fever – Peggy Lee

Peggy Lee: Fever!

Fever

Never know how much I love you
Never know how much I care
When you put your arms around me
I get a fever that’s so hard to bear
You give me fever (you give me fever) when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight (you give me fever)
Fever in the mornin’
Fever all through the night
Sun lights up the day time
Moon lights up the night
I light up when you call my name
‘Cause I know you’re gonna treat me right
You give me fever (You give me fever) when you kiss me
Fever when you hold me tight (You give me fever)
Fever in the mornin’
Fever all through the night (Wow!)
Everybody’s got the fever
That is somethin’ you all know
Fever isn’t such a new thing
Fever started long time ago
Baby, turn on your love light (Yeah, yeah)
Let it shine on me (Yeah, yeah)
Well, baby, turn on your love light (Yeah, yeah)
And let it shine on me (Yeah, yeah)
Well, just a little bit higher (Yeah, yeah)
And just a little bit brighter, baby (Yeah, yeah)
Ow!
You give me fever (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
You give me fever (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
You give me fever (Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah)
You give me fever
Romeo loved Juliet
Juliet she felt the same
When he put his arms around her
He said, “Julie baby you’re my flame”
Thou givest fever when we kisseth
Fever with thy flaming youth
Fever I’m on fire
Fever yea I burn forsooth
Captain Smith and Pocahontas
Had a very mad affair
When her daddy tried to kill him
She said “Daddy oh don’t you dare”
“He gives me fever with his kisses”
“Fever when he holds me tight”
“Fever, I’m his missus”
“Daddy won’t you treat him right?”
Now you’ve listened to my story
Here’s the point that I have made
Chicks were born to give you fever
Be it Fahrenheit or centigrade
We give you fever when we kiss you
Fever if you live and learn
Fever till you sizzle
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
What a lovely way to burn
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Eddie Cooley / Otis Blackwell
Fever lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Round Hill Music Big Loud Songs, BMG Rights Management, Carlin America Inc

Humans likely got the deadly Chinese coronavirus from SNAKES sold at the Wuhan market, study suggests

  • Huanan Seafood Market in China is in the middle of the coronavirus outbreak
  • Chinese officials said the virus may have originated in an animal at the market
  • Different strains of viruses carry proteins that let them effect certain species 
  • When viral genes combine and mutate, new strains can gain access to previously unaffected species
  • Peking University researchers analyzed RNA from hundreds of coronavirus strains and compared them to the new one 
  • It appears to be a combination of a virus that infects bats and a mystery strain
  • A version that infects snakes was a close match, suggesting that serpents sold at the market acted as a ‘reservoir’ and passed the virus to humans  

 

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The Pronk Pops Show 1379, January 16, 2020, Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: President Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement With Communist China — Will It Be Fully Enforceable? — Time Will Tell — Videos — Story 2: President Trump’s  United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Bill Passes Senate — On It Way For President Trump’s Signature  — Big Win For Trump and American People — Videos — Story 3: REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist) Show Trial In House is Over — An American Fair Trial Begins Next Tuesday in Senate — Acquittal of President Trump Expected In 30 Days or Less —  Videos — Story 4: Capitalism vs. Socialism or Trump vs. Sanders Not Lying Loser Warren — Capitalism and Trump Winners — Videos

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Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to ChinaSee the source image

See the source imageSee the source image

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Part 2 of 2 — Story 1: President Trump Signs Phase One Trade Agreement With Communist China — Will It Be Fully Enforceable? — Time Will Tell — Videos

Trump speaks before signing “Phase One” of China trade deal

Larry Kudlow breaks down the implications of the US-China trade deal

Trump signs phase one of US-China trade deal

Trump signs partial trade deal with China l ABC News

Mnuchin: US won’t lift China tariffs until phase two of trade deal

Jamie Dimon praises Trump economy, China trade deal in exclusive interview

US Trade Rep. Lighthizer on historic ‘phase-one’ China trade deal

Wilbur Ross: China trade deal, USMCA total $2 trillion in trade

 

Donald Trump signs ‘phase one’ of trade deal with China which ends escalation of his trade war—and complains about the ‘impeachment hoax’ at White House ceremony with Xi Jinping’s deputy looking on

  • Donald Trump took a victory lap as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House – as his impeachment sped ahead at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue
  • He touted his economy and launched attack after attack on his enemies at packed East Room ceremony, railing against the ‘impeachment hoax’
  • Trump has vowed that he would ink a trade deal with China for more than two years and imposed steep tariffs to bring Beijing to the table
  • Signing is for ‘phase one’ and the White House promises more segments in the future
  • Xi Jinping didn’t come for the signing but sent a lower-level official, vice-premier Liu He and Trump said he will go back to China soon to ‘reciprocate’
  • It’s unclear what he’s reciprocating for, since Xi didn’t come 
  • East Room press credentials didn’t have a date printed on them, suggesting the White House wasn’t confident the event would happen on schedule
  • President urged House members in the audience to leave early if they needed to cast a vote on sending impeachment articles to the Senate 

Donald Trump took a victory lap on Wednesday as he signed a trade deal with China at the White House as his impeachment sped towards the Senate on Capitol Hill.

He boasted to an audience of dignitaries that a new trade deal with China will bring ‘a future of fair and reciprocal trade,’ then complained about the ‘impeachment hoax,’ and praised a string of Republican senators who he needs to vote for his acquittal.

The president has long complained about a massive trade deficit between Washington and Beijing. He pledged during the 2016 campaign to come down hard on China.

‘We are righting the wrongs of the past,’ he said Wednesday, observing that ‘our negotiations were tough, honest, open and respectful.’

‘This is the biggest deal anyone’s ever seen,’ he said, because ‘China has 1.5 billion people.’

The president spent nearly a half-hour acknowledging business leaders and lawmakers who crowded into the East Room to watch. And he noted that some House members might have to leave early in order to vote on a motion to send articles of impeachment to the U.S. Senate.

Some of the congressmen may have a vote—it’s on the impeachment hoax—so if you want, you go out and vote. … It’s not going to matter becausae it’s gone very well. But I’d rather have you voting than sitting here listening to me introduce you, okay?’ he said with a grin.

‘They have a hoax going on over there. Let’s take care of it.’

Trump was not accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who sent Vice Premier Liu He in his place. Xi’s absence left some with the impression that Washington wants the deal more than Beijing does.

Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to China

Done deal: Donald Trump and Liu He sign the phase one trade deal which calls a halt to escalations in the U.S.-China trade deal and is claimed to mean up to $50 billion in agricultural sales to China

Signed, sealed, delivered: China's vice-premier Liu He and Donald Trump show their signatures in the completed phase one trade deal

Signed, sealed, delivered: China’s vice-premier Liu He and Donald Trump show their signatures in the completed phase one trade deal

East room ceremony: Donald Trump hosted the Chinese vice-premier Liu He in the East Wing in front of an audience of Republican senators and Congressmen and figures from the American business world - almost all of whom he named

East room ceremony: Donald Trump hosted the Chinese vice-premier Liu He in the East Wing in front of an audience of Republican senators and Congressmen and figures from the American business world – almost all of whom he named

President Donald Trump stood alongside China's vice premier Liu He, not its president Xi Jinping, when he signed a landmark trade deal on Wednesday

President Donald Trump stood alongside China’s vice premier Liu He, not its president Xi Jinping, when he signed a landmark trade deal on Wednesday

Awkward exchange: Donald Trump moved to shake hands with China's vice-premier Liu He, who extended his left hand instead

Awkward exchange: Donald Trump moved to shake hands with China’s vice-premier Liu He, who extended his left hand instead

Unusual handshake: After Liu He extended his left hand, Donald Trump grasped two of his fingers in an attempt to shake his hand

The president announced that he will ‘be going back to China in the not-too-distant future to reciprocate,’ but it’s unclear what he would be reciprocating for.

Vice President Mike Pence said the deal would guarantee $40-50 billion in Chinese purchases of American agriculture products.

And Trump said China will stop forcing American companies to share proprietary technologies with Chinese partners. ‘You don’t have to give up anything anymore. Just be strong,’ he said to business leaders in the room.

The White House’s guests included top executives from UPS, Boeing, AIG, JP Morgan Chase, Mastercard, VISA, Citibank, Honeywell, Dow Chemical, eBay and Ford Motor Company; casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who aims to see markets opened to him in China; television commentator Lou Dobbs; and Trump’s ambassador in Beijing, Terry Branstad.

Second time lucky: After Liu He spoke through a translator, the two succeeded in shaking hands

Second time lucky: After Liu He spoke through a translator, the two succeeded in shaking hands

Trump acknowledged lawmakers and businessmen in the East Room including casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson

Trump acknowledged lawmakers and businessmen in the East Room including casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson

Chinese representative: President Xi Jinping sent vice-premier Liu He, who spoke through a translator (left)

Chinese representative: President Xi Jinping sent vice-premier Liu He, who spoke through a translator (left)

Packed: The East Room was fool for the invited audience of business leaders, White House aides and congressional Republicans

Packed: The East Room was fool for the invited audience of business leaders, White House aides and congressional Republicans

Everyone gets a mention: Chuck Grassley, the Iowa senator was asked to stand, while Trump claimed that Grassley had 'made [James] Comey choke like a dog'

Official delegation:Donald Trump is flanked by as Vice President Mike Pence and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer

First daughter: Ivanka Trump was followed into the East Room by Robert O'Brien, the National Security Advisor

Branstad, a longtime Iowa governor before coming to Washington, got the job because of his deep ties to global agriculture.

While Wall Street will carefully examine the fine print, the trade deal will allow businesses around the globe to breathe a sigh of relief.

After a nearly two-year battle, the signing could give Trump an election-year boost as well. Still, tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars in imports remain in place, leaving many Americans to foot the bill.

Reporters covering the East Room event on Wednesday wore White House credentials with no date printed on them. That unusual feature suggests Trump’s trade negotiators weren’t certain whether the event would happen as scheduled.

Journalists shoot shoulder-to-shoulder, including a contingent of dozens from Chinese media outlets.

The ‘phase one’ agreement—which includes pledges from China to beef up purchases of American crops and other exports—also comes just as Trump faces an impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate, giving him a victory to trumpet at least in the short term.

As he is about the face an impeachment trial, President Donald Trump will be able to tout a trade deal with China

It's unclear which country will get the better end of the deal, but Trump has trumpeted every development that is favorable to the United States

It’s unclear which country will get the better end of the deal, but Trump has trumpeted every development that is favorable to the United States

China-US trade has diminished in both directions since Trump began venting about an imbalance of hundreds of billions of dollars wach year

The easing of US-China trade frictions has boosted stock markets worldwide in recent weeks, as it takes the threat of new tariffs off the table for now.

And Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Trump’s negotiating stance led to a ‘fully enforceable deal’ which could bring additional tariffs.

If China fails to abide by the agreement, ‘the president has the ability to put on additional tariffs,’ Mnuchin said on CNBC Wednesday as part of a media blitz promoting the new pact.

However, the most difficult issues remain to be dealt with in ‘phase two’ negotiations, including massive subsidies for state industry and forced technology transfer.

But Mnuchin said the deal puts pressure on Beijing to stay at the negotiating table and make further commitments, including on cyber-security and other services to win relief from the tariffs that remain in place.

‘In phase two there will be additional roll backs,’ Mnuchin said. ‘This gives China a big incentive to get back to the table and agree to the additional issues that are still unresolved.’

Still, elements of the deal the administration has touted as achievements effectively take the relationship between the two powers back to where it was before Trump took office.

The US-China phase-one deal is essentially a trade truce, with large state-directed purchases attached,’ economist Mary Lovely said in an analysis.

Even so, ‘The truce is good news for the U.S. and the world economy.’

Still, the trade expert with the Peterson Institute for International Economics, cautioned that ‘we will continue to see the impact of this in slower investment and higher business costs.’

U.S. officials have said they will release details of the agreement set to be signed at a White House ceremony at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday.

After announcing the deal December 13, the U.S. canceled a damaging round of new tariffs that were due to kick in two days later and promised to slash in half the 15 percent tariffs on $120 billion imposed September 1 on consumer goods like clothing.

Mnuchin dismissed a Bloomberg report that the initial agreement could include provisions to roll back more tariffs on China after the election.

‘The tariffs will stay in place until there is a phase two. If the president gets phase two quickly, he will consider releasing tariffs. If not, there won’t be any tariff relief,’ Mnuchin said Tuesday on Bloomberg TV.

‘It has nothing to do with the election or anything else.’

Washington said Beijing agreed to import, over two years, $200 billion of U.S. products above the levels in 2017, before Trump launched his offensive.

Trump has repeatedly touted the trade pact as a boon for American farmers, saying China will buy $40 to $50 billion in agricultural goods.

U.S. farmers were hit hard by the tariff war—notably on soybeans which saw exports to China plunge to just $3 billion from more than $12 billion in 2017. The Trump administration paid out $28 billion in aid to farmers in the last two years.

But many economists question whether they have the capacity to meet that demand.

And Lovely raised a question about the wisdom on relying so heavily on the Chinese market.

‘It also means Chinese retaliation could be reinstated, dampening farmers’ willingness to invest to meet the very hard export targets in the deal.’

U.S. and Chinese officials say the agreement includes protections for intellectual property and addresses financial services and foreign exchange while including a pr.ovision for dispute resolution, which Mnuchin said will be binding for the first time.

Trump in August formally accused China of manipulating its currency to gain an advantage in trade and offset the impact of the tariffs.

The label, which had no real practical impact, was removed earlier this week.

The deal also restores a twice-yearly dialogue process that previous administrations conducted regularly but that Trump scrapped.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7889301/US-China-set-sign-vital-trade-truce.html

 

U.S. and China tiptoe around holes in new trade agreement

by Reuters
Thursday, 16 January 2020 00:46 GMT

By Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal and David Lawder

WASHINGTON, Jan 15 (Reuters) – The United States and China signed an initial trade deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of U.S. products, defusing an 18-month row between the world’s two largest economies but leaving a number of sore spots unresolved.

Beijing and Washington touted the “Phase 1” agreement as a step forward after months of start-and-stop talks, and investors greeted the news with relief. Even so, there was skepticism the U.S.-China trade relationship was now firmly on the mend.

The deal fails to address structural economic issues that led to the trade conflict, does not fully eliminate the tariffs that have slowed the global economy, and sets hard-to-achieve purchase targets, analysts and industry leaders said.

While acknowledging the need for further negotiations with China to solve a host of other problems, President Donald Trump hailed the agreement as a win for the U.S. economy and his administration’s trade policies.

“Together, we are righting the wrongs of the past and delivering a future of economic justice and security for American workers, farmers and families,” Trump said in rambling remarks at the White House alongside U.S. and Chinese officials.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He read a letter from President Xi Jinping in which the Chinese leader praised the deal as a sign the two countries could resolve their differences with dialogue.

The centerpiece of the deal is a pledge by China to purchase at least an additional $200 billion worth of U.S. farm products and other goods and services over two years, above a baseline of $186 billion in purchases in 2017, the White House said.

Commitments include $54 billion in additional energy purchases, $78 billion in additional manufacturing purchases, $32 billion more in farm products, and $38 billion in services, according to a deal document released by the White House.

Liu said Chinese companies would buy $40 billion in U.S. agricultural products annually over the next two years “based on market conditions.” Beijing had balked at committing to buy set amounts of U.S. farm goods earlier, and has inked new soybean contracts with Brazil since the trade war started.

Key world stock market indexes climbed to record highs on hopes the deal would reduce tensions, before closing below those highs, while oil prices slid on doubts the pact will spur world economic growth and boost crude demand.

Soybean futures, which traded 0.4% lower throughout much of the deal signing ceremony, sank even further after Liu’s remarks, a sign that farmers and traders were dubious about the purchase goals.

The deal does not end retaliatory tariffs on American farm exports, makes farmers “increasingly reliant” on Chinese state-controlled purchases, and does not address “big structural changes,” Michelle Erickson-Jones, a wheat farmer and spokeswoman for Farmers for Free Trade, said in a statement.

Trump and his economic advisers had pledged to attack Beijing’s long-standing practice of propping up state-owned companies and flooding international markets with low-priced goods as the trade war heated up.

Although the deal could be a boost to U.S. farmers, automakers and heavy equipment manufacturers, some analysts question https://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAFL4N29J26S China’s ability to divert imports from other trading partners to the United States.

“I find a radical shift in Chinese spending unlikely. I have low expectations for meeting stated goals,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at Leuthold Group in Minneapolis. “But I do think the whole negotiation has moved the football forward for both the U.S. and China.”

Trump, who has embraced an “America First” policy aimed at rebalancing global trade in favor of U.S. companies and workers, said China had pledged action to confront the problem of pirated or counterfeited goods and said the deal included strong protection of intellectual property rights.

U.S. Speaker of the House of Representative Nancy Pelosi said Trump’s China strategy had “inflicted deep, long-term damage to American agriculture and rattled our economy in exchange for more of the promises that Beijing has been breaking for years,” in a statement.

Earlier, top White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News the agreement would add 0.5 percentage point to U.S. gross domestic product growth in both 2020 and 2021.

Aviation industry sources said Boeing Co was expected to win a major order for wide-body jets from China, including its 787 or 777-9 models, or a mixture of both. Such a deal could ease pressure on the 787 Dreamliner, which has suffered from a broad downturn in demand for large jets, forcing the planemaker to trim production late last year.

CCTV, China’s state-run television outlet, said the deal would satisfy China’s increasingly demanding consumers by supplying products like dairy, poultry, beef, pork, and processed meat from the United States.

TARIFFS TO STAY

The Phase 1 deal, reached in December, canceled planned U.S. tariffs on Chinese-made cellphones, toys and laptop computers and halved the tariff rate to 7.5% on about $120 billion worth of other Chinese goods, including flat-panel televisions, Bluetooth headphones and footwear.

But it will leave in place 25% tariffs on a $250-billion array of Chinese industrial goods and components used by U.S. manufacturers, and China’s retaliatory tariffs on over $100 billion in U.S. goods.

Market turmoil and reduced investment tied to the trade war cut global growth in 2019 to its lowest rate since the 2008-2009 financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund said in October.

Tariffs on Chinese imports have cost U.S. companies $46 billion. Evidence is mounting that tariffs have raised input costs for U.S. manufacturers, eroding their competitiveness.

Diesel engine maker Cummins Inc said on Tuesday the deal will leave it paying $150 million in tariffs for engines and castings that it produces in China. It urged the parties to take steps to eliminate all the tariffs.

Trump, who has been touting the Phase 1 deal as a pillar of his 2020 re-election campaign, said he would agree to remove the remaining tariffs once the two sides had negotiated a “Phase 2” agreement.

“They will all come off as soon as we finish Phase 2,” said Trump, who added that he would visit China in the not-too-distant future.

Trump added that those negotiations would start soon, though in a Fox Business Network interview that aired on Wednesday evening, Vice President Mike Pence said: “We’ve already begun discussions on a Phase 2 deal.”

(Reporting by Jeff Mason, Andrea Shalal and Dave Lawder Additional reporting by Echo Wang, Lisa Lambert, Susan Heavey Lisa Lambert and Doina Chiacu in Washington, Tim Aeppel in New York, Mark Weinraub in Chicago, Se Young Lee and Stella Qui in Beijing and Tim Hepher in Paris; Writing by Heather Timmons; Editing by Paul Simao, Leslie Adler and Richard Chang)

http://news.trust.org/item/20200115222233-ea7xk

Story 2: President Trump’s  United States Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) Bill Passes Senate  89 to 10 Vote– On It Way For President Trump’s Signature  — Big Win For Trump and American People — Videos —

Senate passes USMCA trade deal

U.S. Senate passes USMCA trade agreement

Donald Trump’s USMCA trade pact finally passes through both houses of Congress as he touts China truce as ‘one of the greatest trade deals ever made’ but Democrats’ impeachment overshadows everything

  • NAFTA replacement will go to Trump’s Oval Office desk for his signature
  • President has pushed the plan for months but it languished in Democrat-run House of Representatives
  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi put it on the agenda a day after her caucus impeached the president
  • That sent it to the Senate, which will try the impeachment cases beginning next week
  • Trump inked a major trade deal with China on Wednesday but even that has been overshadowed by impeachment 

Donald Trump tried to nudge the news cycle away from impeachment on Thursday as his long-languishing U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement finally passed in the Senate.

The final tally was 89-10. Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, two of the presidential primary front-runners, took different approaches. Warren voted yes, Sanders no.

The vote was a rare moment of bipartisanship, a blipp on senators’ radar as they prepared for weeks of wrangling during Trump’s impeachment trial.

The president said farmers in America are ‘really happy’ with both the USMCA and a broad trade truce he signed Wednesday with China. 

Impeachment politics also overshadowed the House’s vote to green-light the USMCA, which came just one day after Democrats led a vote to charge Trump with two constitutional crimes.

The U.S. Senate passed the U.S> Mexico Canada Agreement on Thursday just before launching full bore into impeachment procedures

President Donald Trump got a double trade victory after his deal with China on Wednesday but all eyes were on the impeachment ceremonies

President Donald Trump got a double trade victory after his deal with China on Wednesday but all eyes were on the impeachment ceremonies

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) had to wait to put the USMCA on the Senate floor for a vote until the House passed it; Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the trade treaty for months

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (center) had to wait to put the USMCA on the Senate floor for a vote until the House passed it; Democratic Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat on the trade treaty for months

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell described the pact as a ‘major win for the Trump administration, a major win for those of us who are already ready to move past this season of toxic political noise.’ 

Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa called the USMCA ‘a major achievement for President Trump and a bipartisan deal for the American people.’

Democrats scrambled to take credit for upgrading the USMCA’s environmental and worker-protection clauses. Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden claimed he and his colleagues gave the plan ‘a trade enforcement regime with real teeth.’

He also praised Trump’s chief negotiator Robert Lighthizer as ‘the hardest working man in the trade business.

Trump blamed the current trade pact with Canada and Mexico, the Bill Clinton-era North American Free Trade Agreement, for sending millions of manufacturing jobs to low-wage plants south of the U.S. border. His administration secured changes that aim to have more cars produced where workers earn an average of at least $16 an hour. 

Pelosi held onto the USMCA until she could deny Trump a positivev news cycle, letting impeachment overshadow it completely

It also secured changes that require Mexico to change its laws to make it easier for workers to form independent unions, which should improve worker conditions and wages and reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate their plants.

While the administration completed its negotiations with Canada and Mexico more than a year ago, Democrats in the House insisted on changes to the pact that they say make it more likely Mexico will follow through on its commitments.

As part of those negotiations, the administration agreed to drop a provision that offered expensive biologic drugs—made from living cells—10 years of protection from cheaper knockoff competition.

The biggest holdouts are environmental groups, which continue to oppose the measure because it doesn´t address climate change. Indeed, they contend the agreement would contribute to rising temperatures.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., marveled Wednesday at how leaders of organized labor and farm groups in his state appeared together to support the pact.

‘They both agree that this USMCA trade agreement is a step forward, an improvement over the original NAFTA,’ Durbin said. ‘I think we´ve added to this process by making it truly bipartisan.’

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7895471/Trumps-USMCA-trade-pact-finally-passes-China-deal-signing-impeachment-overshadows-all.html

 

Congress

Senate passes USMCA bill, giving Trump a win on trade

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, checks his watch while waiting for Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to wrap up a press conference in the Senate Radio/TV studio on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. Sen. Risch along with Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, were waiting to hold a press conference on USMCA, which passed the Senate Thursday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The Senate approved implementing legislation Thursday for a renegotiated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement, giving President Donald Trump a victory as the Senate moved to swearing in its members as jurors in Trump’s impeachment trial.

The Senate voted 89-10 to clear the bill for Trump’s signature, with several dissenting Democrats citing the absence of climate change provisions as a lost opportunity to address the issue on an international scale since Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, who negotiated the deal, watched the vote from the public gallery.

The vote on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement occurred after the Senate voted to waive budget restrictions. Sen. Patrick J. Toomey, R-Pa., argued on the floor, as he did in the Budget Committee, that the bill included appropriations that violate budget rules.

The Democrat-controlled House approved the bill on Dec. 19 with a bipartisan vote of 385-41. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said House Democrats had negotiated several changes to the USMCA to make it acceptable.

Key changes for Democrats included enforcement of labor provisions they believe will make it more difficult and expensive for U.S. manufacturers, particularly auto makers, to shift production to Mexico. The changes won the endorsement of the AFL-CIO, but other unions such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers oppose it.

The pact also would give technology companies provisions to address e-commerce, which did not exist when NAFTA was negotiated. A chapter based on Section 230 of a 1996 telecommunications law (PL 104-104) gives companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter immunity from liability for user content posted on their platforms.

Trump is expected to tout the vote in his reelection campaign as a promise kept. In 2016, he vowed either to revamp the 1994 trade agreement or to withdraw the U.S. from the pact. As president, Trump caused anxiety among businesses large and small and his base of farm support with threats to pull out of NAFTA if Canada and Mexico did not make concessions.

Business groups say congressional approval of the USMCA implementing bill makes it less likely Trump will try to upend a trade agreement negotiated and renamed by his administration.

The bill now goes to Trump for signing, but the Canadian Parliament still must ratify the USMCA before the agreement can take effect. Mexico has already approved the new pact.

The implementing legislation provides the framework and mechanisms the Trump administration will use to enforce labor rights and environmental standards with a focus on Mexico. For example, an interagency task force on labor will be established 90 days after the bill takes effect.

The USMCA will replace NAFTA, an agreement credited with building the three nations into a $1.2 trillion-a-year trading bloc and blamed for contributing to the loss of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs to low-wage Mexico.

Trump campaigned against NAFTA as the “worst trade deal ever made.”

In committee reviews, floor comments and statements, several senators cited the absence of environmental provisions addressing climate change as one reason for voting against the implementing bill.

Environmental concern

It seemed unlikely the administration would have pursued climate change, not only because of Trump’s skepticism of the science behind it, but also because a trade-negotiating objective Congress approved in 2015 says trade agreements are not to establish obligations for the U.S. regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The language is part of a customs enforcement law that added several negotiating guidelines to the Trade Promotion Authority statute, which sets the ground rules for trade deals sent to Congress for approval.

Democratic presidential candidates Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Michael Bennet of Colorado voted for the pact. Sanders, another candidate, said in a written statement that it should be rewritten because it does not guarantee that companies will stop shifting jobs to Mexico.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the USMCA will increase U.S. government revenue by $2.97 billion from fiscal 2020 to 2029 due to higher expected duty revenue on car and truck parts that do not meet stricter rules.

Some vehicles and parts would no longer qualify for duty-free treatment because they don’t meet new requirements that 75 percent of content in cars and auto parts come from North America and that 40 percent of car content and 45 percent of truck content be made by workers earning $16 an hour.

The CBO also estimates that the agreement would reduce the federal deficit by $3 billion over a 10-year period. The agency estimates that appropriations not subject to emergency status would total $833 million in outlays from fiscal 2020 to 2029.

Under the USMCA, U.S. dairy, poultry and egg products would gain greater access to Canadian markets, and Canada will adopt a new quality-grading system for U.S. wheat.

Canada also will end pricing schemes the U.S. dairy industry says keep Canadian skim milk powder prices at artificially lower levels, giving domestic producers an edge in sales to Canadian cheese-makers over U.S. high-protein ultrafiltered milk.

The International Trade Commission, an independent agency, said the trade agreement, “if fully implemented and enforced,” over several years would increase real GDP by $68.2 billion, or 0.35 percent, and would add 176,000 jobs to the U.S. economy.

House Democrats’ negotiations with the Trump administration in 2019 resulted in the removal of provisions that would have given pharmaceutical companies a 10-year pricing monopoly on biologic drugs in Mexico and Canada. The U.S. has 12-year pricing exclusivity for biologics, and Democrats worried that keeping the provisions in the USMCA would prevent future Congresses from reducing the U.S. timeframe to less than 10 years.

https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/senate-passes-usmca-trump-win-trade-ahead-impeachment-trial

Story 3: REDS (Radical Extremist Democrat Socialist) Show Trial In House is Over — An American Fair Trial Begins Next Tuesday in Senate — Acquittal of President Trump Expected In 30 Days or Less As Hoax Exposed — Trump Goes On Offense — Videos

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Trump Impeachment Trial Begins as Senators Are Sworn In

House managers read charges as watchdog faults president’s hold on Ukraine aid and Kyiv probes whether U.S. envoy was tailed

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts swears in members of the Senate for the impeachment trial against President Trump. PHOTO: SENATE TELEVISION/ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON—The Senate opened the impeachment trial of President Trump on Thursday with Chief Justice John Roberts swearing in the senators, who pledged to deliver impartial justice, and the formal reading of the two charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Hours before the senators took their oath, the Government Accountability Office, a watchdog agency, determined that Mr. Trump’s administration violated the law when it withheld aid to Ukraine, an issue at the heart of the impeachment case against the president.

Democrats allege that Mr. Trump, a Republican, improperly withheld the aid to pressure Kyiv to launch investigations that would help him politically in the 2020 election.

Mr. Trump has denied wrongdoing, calling the case against him a “big hoax” on Thursday. He is the third president in U.S. history to be impeached.

The GAO wrote that the White House Office of Management and Budget improperly froze Ukraine funding over the summer for policy reasons. It was later released after pressure from Congress. A spokeswoman for OMB said it disagreed with the GAO finding.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian authorities opened a criminal probe into whether U.S. citizens placed the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine under surveillance, as text messages suggest, before she was removed from her post last year by Mr. Trump. The information came to light after House Democrats released documents Tuesday showing that an associate of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was sent text messages about tracking Marie Yovanovitch in Ukraine.

Democratic and GOP lawmakers continued to wrangle on Thursday over whether new witnesses and evidence will be allowed in the trial. Those issues aren’t expected to be decided until well after the trial begins in earnest on Tuesday.

“If any of my colleagues had doubts about the case for witnesses and documents in a Senate trial, the stunning revelations this week should put those to rest,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the chamber’s Democratic leader.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) said it wasn’t the Senate’s job to shore up the case the House built in what he called a “slapdash inquiry.” The Senate won’t “redo their homework and rerun the investigation,” he said

Chief Justice Roberts and Senators Sworn In for Impeachment Trial

Chief Justice Roberts and Senators Sworn In for Impeachment Trial
The impeachment trial of President Trump opened in the U.S. Senate as Chief Justice John Roberts and senators were sworn in. Photo: Associated Press

Mr. McConnell is set to release his plans for a trial framework on Tuesday, but Senate Republicans and White House officials said the contents of the resolution have largely been settled. Republicans briefed on the resolution have said they expect it to include a guaranteed vote on whether to subpoena witnesses and documents, as requested by some moderate Republicans.

GOP leaders believe they can keep Republicans united to block any efforts by Democrats to subpoena witnesses at the outset of the trial, according to people familiar with their plans. A vote on witnesses would be held later, after the House managers and Mr. Trump’s legal team present their cases, a process expected to stretch over two weeks.

A guaranteed vote to dismiss the charges won’t be built into the trial rules, according to these people. The White House and Senate Republicans are discussing holding a vote on a motion to dismiss after Democrats present their case but before Mr. Trump’s team addresses the Senate, according to an administration official.

At least two-thirds of the senators would have to vote to convict Mr. Trump to remove him from office.

By noon on Thursday, the fighting over the scope of the Senate trial took a pause. Every senator was seated at his or her desk, a rare sight during the ordinary legislative business, when it is common to see senators delivering speeches to an empty chamber. Senators typically don’t sit in their assigned seats even during roll call votes, preferring to stroll around and chitchat.

As they waited for the formal “exhibition” of articles, some senators scrolled on their cellphones or talked quietly to each other.

At 12:05 p.m., House managers, who will act as prosecutors during the trial, arrived at the ornate doors of the Senate. They walked in two-by-two, led by Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D., N.Y.). Freshman Rep. Sylvia Garcia (D., Texas) trailed as the seventh. A Democratic aide said the order was chosen according to seniority.

All managers carried large blue folders containing their own copy of the articles of impeachment passed by the House last month and the resolution passed on Wednesday authorizing them as managers.

Silence fell and phones disappeared as the sergeant at arms warned senators to keep quiet “on pain of imprisonment.” Then Mr. Schiff, the lead manager, began reading the articles aloud from the well of the Senate.

“Resolved, that Donald John Trump, president of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors,” he said.

The House managers make their way to the Senate before the reading of the two articles of impeachment, for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.. PHOTO: ALYSSA SCHUKAR FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

The senators watched, with stony faces, as Mr. Schiff spoke. Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) stifled a cough. Next to her, Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) sat motionless with her hands folded in her lap. Sens. Rob Portman (R., Ohio), Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.), Tammy Baldwin (D., Wis.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.) scribbled notes.

At 12:22, when Mr. Schiff had finished, the managers departed. They briefly huddled outside the chamber, once again got in order, and marched back toward the House side of the Capitol.

Shortly after 2 p.m., Chief Justice Roberts was escorted into the Senate by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), Roy Blunt (R., Mo.), Dianne Feinstein (D., Calif.) and Patrick Leahy (D., Vt.).

Everyone in the chamber rose. The only sound was the scratching of reporters’ pens.Then Chief Justice Roberts spoke: “Senators, I attend the Senate in conformity with your notice for the purpose of joining with you for the trial of the President of the United States. I am now prepared to take the oath.”

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the Senate’s president pro tempore, asked him to raise his right hand, place his left hand on the Bible, and swore him in.

Chief Justice Roberts then administered an oath to senators, who will act as the jury. “Do you solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of Donald John Trump, president of United States, now pending, you will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws, so help you God?”

“I do,” the senators said.

Senators were then called in alphabetical order to the Senate clerk’s desk to sign their names in an oath book. As the lawmakers waited to sign, there were flashes of bipartisan bonhomie. Sen. Cory Booker (D., N.J.) warmly shook Mr. Grassley’s hand. Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) patted the shoulder of Sen. Ben Sasse (R., Neb.), and the two shared a laugh with Sen. Tim Scott (R., S.C.). Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D., Md.) gave Mr. Portman’s arm a squeeze.

All of the senators were present for the swearing-in except for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.), who is at home with a family member facing a medical issue, according to his office. He plans to be sworn in next week, before the trial begins in earnest.

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment

Senate Officially Accepts Articles of Impeachment
The Senate accepted the articles of impeachment against President Trump, marking the official start of the trial. Photo: Associated Press

After the swearing-in, the Senate formally notified the White House of the pending trial and summoned Mr. Trump, who will be given until Saturday evening to reply.

Mr. McConnell also said the House has until Saturday at 5 p.m. to file a trial brief with the secretary of the Senate, and Mr. Trump has until noon on Monday to do so. The deadline for the House’s rebuttal is noon on Tuesday. The Senate trial was then adjourned until Tuesday at 1 p.m.

Although historic, Thursday entailed mostly pomp and circumstance. The trial won’t get under way substantively until the Senate reconvenes after the holiday weekend.

All 100 senators agreed on rules for the 1999 Clinton impeachment trial’s initial phase. There is no such bipartisan agreement now, and while Mr. McConnell says all 53 Republicans in his caucus are united on the path forward, he hasn’t released the text of his resolution laying out the procedures agreed upon by GOP senators.

In 1999, a resolution dealing with witnesses passed a few weeks into the trial, along party lines. Three witnesses, including Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern with whom Mr. Clinton admitted an inappropriate relationship, were deposed privately in the presence of a senator from each party. Excerpts were shown by video during the trial.

There are 15 senators now serving who also voted in the Clinton impeachment trial, including Messrs. McConnell and Schumer.

“I remember the solemnity of this, when you see the chief justice sitting in the chair with his august robes, when you hear your name called and you hear the charges, your hair sort of stands on end,” Mr. Schumer said in a recent interview.

Throughout the trial, all senators will be expected to be present and seated at their assigned desks. They won’t be allowed to talk.

Any deliberations among senators likely will be held in closed session, meaning that no press or cameras will be allowed. The rest of the trial will be open.

“It is a solemn feeling when you’re sitting in the seat, and you’re listening closely to what’s going on,” said Sen. Mike Braun (R., Ind.).

Mr. Braun said he and other senators are worried about the precedent being set. “Many senators have on their minds: Is this the new dynamic? Having two impeachments within 20 years of one another?” he said. “I don’t think anybody likes that feeling.”

https://www.wsj.com/articles/senators-to-be-sworn-in-as-trump-impeachment-trial-begins-11579177831

 

Constitutional Law Prof. Stuns Dems on Impeachment: ‘It’s YOUR Abuse of Power’

WATCH: Jonathan Turley’s full opening statement | Trump impeachment hearings

Republican Witness Jonathan Turley: ‘This Is Not How You Impeach An American President’ | NBC News

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Jonathan Turley On His Impeachment Testimony

NPR’s Rachel Martin speaks with constitutional law scholar Jonathan Turley about his testimony on Wednesday

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi says she is instructing her committee chairs to draft articles of impeachment to remove President Trump from office. She framed her decision as a historic moment.

(SOUNDBITE OF PRESS CONFERENCE)

NANCY PELOSI: The president’s actions have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when he says and acts upon the belief, Article II says I can do whatever I want. No. His wrongdoing strikes at the very heart of our Constitution.

MARTIN: Pelosi says the impeachment process has shown the public how the president has abused his power. Yesterday, four constitutional experts laid out the standards for and against impeachment in front of the House Judiciary Committee. One of them was Jonathan Turley. He’s a law professor at George Washington University. We spoke with him earlier today.

JONATHAN TURLEY: Well, first of all, my testimony, I said, as I did in the Clinton impeachment, that a president could be impeached for a noncriminal act and that President Trump could be impeached for abuse of power. You just have to prove it. He can also be impeached for obstruction of Congress.

The problem with the obstruction of Congress claim, in my view, is that it’s based on a very short period of investigation. This is one of the shortest we’ve had. It depends how you count the days between this and the Johnson impeachment, but it’s a very short period of investigation.

And what Congress is saying is that if the president invokes executive privilege or immunities and goes to court, he can be impeached for that – that he has to just turn over the information to Congress. Now, that’s a position that was maintained during the Nixon impeachment. In fact, it was the basis of the third article of impeachment. I’ve always disagreed with it. It’s not that you can’t impeach a president for withholding documents and witnesses. You can, and President Trump could well be the next one to be impeached on those grounds.

MARTIN: Mmm hmm.

TURLEY: What I was telling Congress is that they’ve burned two months. They should have gone to court over people like John – I’m sorry, subpoenaed and gone to court over people like John Bolton and gotten a court order. That would make it a stronger case.

MARTIN: So let’s talk about what you just laid out here. I mean, you are saying that because the White House has refused to allow certain people to come and testify, refused to hand over certain documents that the committees have requested and is fighting this in court, you’re saying that that process should be allowed to play out, that Congress is making an impeachment argument that is weak because they’re not waiting for the courts to weigh in?

TURLEY: I’m saying that this case could be much stronger. No one has really explained why they have to have a vote by the end of December rather than…

MARTIN: Well, isn’t the case about election interference? I mean, isn’t that the answer, that the central query here is about the interference of U.S. elections and 2020’s coming right up?

TURLEY: Well, 2020 is coming right up. But the problem is that when you look at how fast this has unfolded, the record remains thin. It remains conflicted. You have about 12 witnesses. You have other witnesses with direct evidence. And more importantly, you have a lot of defenses that have not been fully addressed. It’s not a fully developed record.

And all I’m saying is that before you give that record to the Senate, you should deal with some of those conflicts and some of those gaps. And this is an example of one of those, that I think the president could very well be impeached and removed for obstruction based on these acts. But by the way, that record is – conflicts in other respects. We had 12 witnesses. Many of those witnesses correctly appeared before Congress. They did so against the wishes of the president, but they remain in federal employment. They have not been disciplined. And does that…

MARTIN: But you’re saying their testimony is insufficient to prove obstruction or abuse of power.

TURLEY: Well, it’s insufficient because there remain conflicts. You know, part of the problems I have with the arguments made by my esteemed colleagues on the panel is that they kept on using the terms inference and circumstantial evidence. Those actually can be used in an impeachment, but it’s problematic if there’s information out there you can still get. This is not a question of the unknowable. This is using the peripheral. This is using information that could be strengthened. That’s what I’m arguing.

MARTIN: Although they pointed to the Mueller report as evidence of obstruction. Presumably, you don’t believe that the Mueller report conclusions are true then.

TURLEY: Well, I never said I didn’t think they were true, but the obstruction claim was rejected by the Department of Justice – not just Attorney General Bill Barr, but by Rod Rosenstein, who is a respected deputy attorney general. And I agree with their decision on that.

MARTIN: All right. Jonathan Turley, one of the constitutional scholars testifying before the House Judiciary Committee yesterday. Thank you.

TURLEY: Thank you.

https://www.npr.org/2019/12/05/784994918/jonathan-turley-on-his-impeachment-testimony

Joe Biden’s 2020 Ukrainian nightmare: A closed probe is revived

Two years after leaving office, Joe Biden couldn’t resist the temptation last year to brag to an audience of foreign policy specialists about the time as vice president that he strong-armed Ukraine into firing its top prosecutor.

In his own words, with video cameras rolling, Biden described how he threatened Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in March 2016 that the Obama administration would pull $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, sending the former Soviet republic toward insolvency, if it didn’t immediately fire Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin.

Joe Biden Brags about getting Ukranian Prosecutor Fired

“I said, ‘You’re not getting the billion.’ I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’” Biden recalled telling Poroshenko.

“Well, son of a bitch, he got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time,” Biden told the Council on Foreign Relations event, insisting that President Obama was in on the threat.

Interviews with a half-dozen senior Ukrainian officials confirm Biden’s account, though they claim the pressure was applied over several months in late 2015 and early 2016, not just six hours of one dramatic day. Whatever the case, Poroshenko and Ukraine’s parliament obliged by ending Shokin’s tenure as prosecutor. Shokin was facing steep criticism in Ukraine, and among some U.S. officials, for not bringing enough corruption prosecutions when he was fired.

But Ukrainian officials tell me there was one crucial piece of information that Biden must have known but didn’t mention to his audience: The prosecutor he got fired was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into the natural gas firm Burisma Holdings that employed Biden’s younger son, Hunter, as a board member.

U.S. banking records show Hunter Biden’s American-based firm, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, received regular transfers into one of its accounts — usually more than $166,000 a month — from Burisma from spring 2014 through fall 2015, during a period when Vice President Biden was the main U.S. official dealing with Ukraine and its tense relations with Russia.

The general prosecutor’s official file for the Burisma probe — shared with me by senior Ukrainian officials — shows prosecutors identified Hunter Biden, business partner Devon Archer and their firm, Rosemont Seneca, as potential recipients of money.

Shokin told me in written answers to questions that, before he was fired as general prosecutor, he had made “specific plans” for the investigation that “included interrogations and other crime-investigation procedures into all members of the executive board, including Hunter Biden.”

He added: “I would like to emphasize the fact that presumption of innocence is a principle in Ukraine” and that he couldn’t describe the evidence further.

William Russo, a spokesman for Joe Biden, and Hunter Biden did not respond to email messages Monday seeking comment. The phone number at Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC in Washington was no longer in service on Monday.

The timing of Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s appointment to Burisma’s board has been highlighted in the past, by The New York Times in December 2015 and in a 2016 book by conservative author Peter Schweizer.

Although Biden made no mention of his son in his 2018 speech, U.S. and Ukrainian authorities both told me Biden and his office clearly had to know about the general prosecutor’s probe of Burisma and his son’s role. They noted that:

  • Hunter Biden’s appointment to the board was widely reported in American media;
  • The U.S. Embassy in Kiev that coordinated Biden’s work in the country repeatedly and publicly discussed the general prosecutor’s case against Burisma;
  • Great Britain took very public action against Burisma while Joe Biden was working with that government on Ukraine issues;
  • Biden’s office was quoted, on the record, acknowledging Hunter Biden’s role in Burisma in a New York Times article about the general prosecutor’s Burisma case that appeared four months before Biden forced the firing of Shokin. The vice president’s office suggested in that article that Hunter Biden was a lawyer free to pursue his own private business deals.

President Obama named Biden the administration’s point man on Ukraine in February 2014, after a popular revolution ousted Russia-friendly President Viktor Yanukovych and as Moscow sent military forces into Ukraine’s Crimea territory.

According to Schweizer’s book, Vice President Biden met with Archer in April 2014 right as Archer was named to the board at Burisma. A month later, Hunter Biden was named to the board, to oversee Burisma’s legal team.

But the Ukrainian investigation and Joe Biden’s effort to fire the prosecutor overseeing it has escaped without much public debate.

Most of the general prosecutor’s investigative work on Burisma focused on three separate cases, and most stopped abruptly once Shokin was fired. The most prominent of the Burisma cases was transferred to a different Ukrainian agency, closely aligned with the U.S. Embassy in Kiev, known as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), according to the case file and current General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko.

NABU closed that case, and a second case involving alleged improper money transfers in London was dropped when Ukrainian officials failed to file the necessary documents by the required deadline. The general prosecutor’s office successfully secured a multimillion-dollar judgment in a tax evasion case, Lutsenko said. He did not say who was the actual defendant in that case.

As a result, the Biden family appeared to have escaped the potential for an embarrassing inquiry overseas in the final days of the Obama administration and during an election in which Democrat Hillary Clintonwas running for president in 2016.

But then, as Biden’s 2020 campaign ramped up over the past year, Lutsenko — the Ukrainian prosecutor that Biden once hailed as a “solid” replacement for Shokin — began looking into what happened with the Burisma case that had been shut down.

Lutsenko told me that, while reviewing the Burisma investigative files, he discovered “members of the Board obtained funds as well as another U.S.-based legal entity, Rosemont Seneca Partners LLC, for consulting services.”

Lutsenko said some of the evidence he knows about in the Burisma case may interest U.S. authorities and he’d like to present that information to new U.S. Attorney General William Barr, particularly the vice president’s intervention.

“Unfortunately, Mr. Biden had correlated and connected this aid with some of the HR (personnel) issues and changes in the prosecutor’s office,” Lutsenko said.

Nazar Kholodnytskyi, the lead anti-corruption prosecutor in Lutsenko’s office, confirmed to me in an interview that part of the Burisma investigation was reopened in 2018, after Joe Biden made his remarks. “We were able to start this case again,” Kholodnytskyi said.

But he said the separate Ukrainian police agency that investigates corruption has dragged its feet in gathering evidence. “We don’t see any result from this case one year after the reopening because of some external influence,” he said, declining to be more specific.

Ukraine is in the middle of a hard-fought presidential election, is a frequent target of intelligence operations by neighboring Russia and suffers from rampant political corruption nationwide. Thus, many Americans might take the restart of the Burisma case with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

But what makes Lutsenko’s account compelling is that federal authorities in America, in an entirely different case, uncovered financial records showing just how much Hunter Biden’s and Archer’s company received from Burisma while Joe Biden acted as Obama’s point man on Ukraine.

Between April 2014 and October 2015, more than $3 million was paid out of Burisma accounts to an account linked to Biden’s and Archer’s Rosemont Seneca firm, according to the financial records placed in a federal court file in Manhattan in an unrelated case against Archer.

The bank records show that, on most months when Burisma money flowed, two wire transfers of $83,333.33 each were sent to the Rosemont Seneca–connected account on the same day. The same Rosemont Seneca–linked account typically then would pay Hunter Biden one or more payments ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 each. Prosecutors reviewed internal company documents and wanted to interview Hunter Biden and Archer about why they had received such payments, according to interviews.

Lutsenko said Ukrainian company board members legally can pay themselves for work they do if it benefits the company’s bottom line, but prosecutors never got to determine the merits of the payments to Rosemont because of the way the investigation was shut down.

As for Joe Biden’s intervention in getting Lutsenko’s predecessor fired in the midst of the Burisma investigation, Lutsenko suggested that was a matter to discuss with Attorney General Barr: “Of course, I would be happy to have a conversation with him about this issue.”

As the now-completed Russia collusion investigation showed us, every American deserves the right to be presumed innocent until evidence is made public or a conviction is secured, especially when some matters of a case involve foreigners. The same presumption should be afforded to Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Devon Archer and Burisma in the Ukraine case.

Nonetheless, some hard questions should be answered by Biden as he prepares, potentially, to run for president in 2020: Was it appropriate for your son and his firm to cash in on Ukraine while you served as point man for Ukraine policy? What work was performed for the money Hunter Biden’s firm received? Did you know about the Burisma probe? And when it was publicly announced that your son worked for Burisma, should you have recused yourself from leveraging a U.S. policy to pressure the prosecutor who very publicly pursued Burisma?

https://thehill.com/opinion/white-house/436816-joe-bidens-2020-ukrainian-nightmare-a-closed-probe-is-revived

 

 

Solomon: These once-secret memos cast doubt on Joe Biden’s Ukraine story

Former Vice President Joe Biden, now a 2020 Democratic presidential contender, has locked into a specific story about the controversy in Ukraine.

He insists that, in spring 2016, he strong-armed Ukraine to fire its chief prosecutor solely because Biden believed that official was corrupt and inept, not because the Ukrainian was investigating a natural gas company, Burisma Holdings, that hired Biden’s son, Hunter, into a lucrative job.

There’s just one problem.

Hundreds of pages of never-released memos and documents — many from inside the American team helping Burisma to stave off its legal troubles — conflict with Biden’s narrative.

And they raise the troubling prospect that U.S. officials may have painted a false picture in Ukraine that helped ease Burisma’s legal troubles and stop prosecutors’ plans to interview Hunter Biden during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

For instance, Burisma’s American legal representatives met with Ukrainian officials just days after Biden forced the firing of the country’s chief prosecutor and offered “an apology for dissemination of false information by U.S. representatives and public figures” about the Ukrainian prosecutors, according to the Ukrainian government’s official memo of the meeting. The effort to secure that meeting began the same day the prosecutor’s firing was announced.

In addition, Burisma’s American team offered to introduce Ukrainian prosecutors to Obama administration officials to make amends, according to that memo and the American legal team’s internal emails.

The memos raise troubling questions:

1.)   If the Ukraine prosecutor’s firing involved only his alleged corruption and ineptitude, why did Burisma’s American legal team refer to those allegations as “false information?”

Ukrainian prosecutors say they have tried to get this information to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) since the summer of 2018, fearing it might be evidence of possible violations of U.S. ethics laws. First, they hired a former federal prosecutor to bring the information to the U.S. attorney in New York, who, they say, showed no interest. Then, the Ukrainians reached out to President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, told Trump in July that he plans to launch his own wide-ranging investigation into what happened with the Bidens and Burisma.

“I’m knowledgeable about the situation,” Zelensky told Trump, asking the American president to forward any evidence he might know about. “The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore the honesty so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.”

Biden has faced scrutiny since December 2015, when the New York Times published a story noting that Burisma hired Hunter Biden just weeks after the vice president was asked by President Obama to oversee U.S.-Ukraine relations. That story also alerted Biden’s office that Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin had an active investigation of Burisma and its founder.

Documents I obtained this year detail an effort to change the narrative after the Times story about Hunter Biden, with the help of the Obama State Department.

Hunter Biden’s American business partner in Burisma, Devon Archer, texted a colleague two days after the Times story about a strategy to counter the “new wave of scrutiny” and stated that he and Hunter Biden had just met at the State Department. The text suggested there was about to be a new “USAID project the embassy is announcing with us” and that it was “perfect for us to move forward now with momentum.”

I have sued the State Department for any records related to that meeting. The reason is simple: There is both a public interest and an ethics question to knowing if Hunter Biden and his team sought State’s assistance while his father was vice president.

The controversy ignited anew earlier this year when I disclosed that Joe Biden admitted during a 2018 videotaped speech that, as vice president in March 2016, he threatened to cancel $1 billion in U.S. loan guarantees, to pressure Ukraine’s then-President Petro Poroshenko to fire Shokin.

At the time, Shokin’s office was investigating Burisma. Shokin told me he was making plans to question Hunter Biden about $3 million in fees that Biden and his partner, Archer, collected from Burisma through their American firm. Documents seized by the FBI in an unrelated case confirm the payments, which in many months totaled more than $166,000.  

Some media outlets have reported that, at the time Joe Biden forced the firing in March 2016, there were no open investigations. Those reports are wrong. A British-based investigation of Burisma’s owner was closed down in early 2015 on a technicality when a deadline for documents was not met. But the Ukraine Prosecutor General’s office still had two open inquiries in March 2016, according to the official case file provided me. One of those cases involved taxes; the other, allegations of corruption. Burisma announced the cases against it were not closed and settled until January 2017.

After I first reported it in a column, the New York Times and ABC News published similar stories confirming my reporting.

Joe Biden has since responded that he forced Shokin’s firing over concerns about corruption and ineptitude, which he claims were widely shared by Western allies, and that it had nothing to do with the Burisma investigation.

Some of the new documents I obtained call that claim into question.

In a newly sworn affidavit prepared for a European court, Shokin testified that when he was fired in March 2016, he was told the reason was that Biden was unhappy about the Burisma investigation. “The truth is that I was forced out because I was leading a wide-ranging corruption probe into Burisma Holdings, a natural gas firm active in Ukraine and Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, was a member of the Board of Directors,” Shokin testified.

“On several occasions President Poroshenko asked me to have a look at the case against Burisma and consider the possibility of winding down the investigative actions in respect of this company but I refused to close this investigation,” Shokin added.

Shokin certainly would have reason to hold a grudge over his firing. But his account is supported by documents from Burisma’s legal team in America, which appeared to be moving into Ukraine with intensity as Biden’s effort to fire Shokin picked up steam.

Burisma’s own accounting records show that it paid tens of thousands of dollars while Hunter Biden served on the board of an American lobbying and public relations firm, Blue Star Strategies, run by Sally Painter and Karen Tramontano, who both served in President Bill Clinton’s administration.

Just days before Biden forced Shokin’s firing, Painter met with the No. 2 official at the Ukrainian embassy in Washington and asked to meet officials in Kiev around the same time that Joe Biden visited there. Ukrainian embassy employee Oksana Shulyar emailed Painter afterward: “With regards to the meetings in Kiev, I suggest that you wait until the next week when there is an expected vote of the government’s reshuffle.”

Ukraine’s Washington embassy confirmed the conversations between Shulyar and Painter but said the reference to a shakeup in Ukrainian government was not specifically referring to Shokin’s firing or anything to do with Burisma.

Painter then asked one of the Ukraine embassy’s workers to open the door for meetings with Ukraine’s prosecutors about the Burisma investigation, the memos show. Eventually, Blue Star would pay that Ukrainian official money for his help with the prosecutor’s office.

At the time, Blue Star worked in concert with an American criminal defense lawyer, John Buretta, who was hired by Burisma to help address the case in Ukraine. The case was settled in January 2017 for a few million dollars in fines for alleged tax issues.

Buretta, Painter, Tramontano, Hunter Biden and Joe Biden’s campaign have not responded to numerous calls and emails seeking comment.

On March 29, 2016, the day Shokin’s firing was announced, Buretta asked to speak with Yuriy Sevruk, the prosecutor named to temporarily replace Shokin, but was turned down, the memos show.

Blue Star, using the Ukrainian embassy worker it had hired, eventually scored a meeting with Sevruk on April 6, 2016, a week after Shokin’s firing. Buretta, Tramontano and Painter attended that meeting in Kiev, according to Blue Star’s memos.

Sevruk memorialized the meeting in a government memo that the general prosecutor’s office provided to me, stating that the three Americans offered an apology for the “false” narrative that had been provided by U.S. officials about Shokin being corrupt and inept.

“They realized that the information disseminated in the U.S. was incorrect and that they would facilitate my visit to the U.S. for the purpose of delivering the true information to the State Department management,” the memo stated.

The memo also quoted the Americans as saying they knew Shokin pursued an aggressive corruption investigation against Burisma’s owner, only to be thwarted by British allies: “These individuals noted that they had been aware that the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine had implemented all required steps for prosecution … and that he was released by the British court due to the underperformance of the British law enforcement agencies.”

The memo provides a vastly different portrayal of Shokin than Biden’s. And its contents are partially backed by subsequent emails from Blue Star and Buretta that confirm the offer to bring Ukrainian authorities to meet the Obama administration in Washington.

For instance, Tramontano wrote the Ukrainian prosecution team on April 16, 2016, saying U.S. Justice Department officials, including top international prosecutor Bruce Swartz, might be willing to meet. “The reforms are not known to the US Justice Department and it would be useful for the Prosecutor General to meet officials in the US and share this information directly,” she wrote.

Buretta sent a similar email to the Ukrainians, writing that “I think you would find it productive to meet with DOJ officials in Washington” and providing contact information for Swartz. “I would be happy to help,” added Buretta, a former senior DOJ official.

Burisma, Buretta and Blue Star continued throughout 2016 to try to resolve the open issues in Ukraine, and memos recount various contacts with the State Department and the U.S. embassy in Kiev seeking help in getting the Burisma case resolved.

Just days before Trump took office, Burisma announced it had resolved all of its legal issues. And Buretta gave an interview in Ukraine about how he helped navigate the issues.

 Today, two questions remain.

One is whether it was ethically improper or even illegal for Biden to intervene to fire the prosecutor handling Burisma’s case, given his son’s interests. That is one that requires more investigation and the expertise of lawyers.

The second is whether Biden has given the American people an honest accounting of what happened. The new documents I obtained raise serious doubts about his story’s credibility. And that’s an issue that needs to be resolved by voters.

https://thehill.com/opinion/campaign/463307-solomon-these-once-secret-memos-cast-doubt-on-joe-bidens-ukraine-story

The full Trump-Ukraine
impeachment timeline

The House of Representatives is engaged in a formal impeachment inquiry of President Trump. It is focused on his efforts to secure specific investigations in Ukraine that carried political benefits for him — including aides allegedly tying those investigations to official U.S. government concessions.

Below is a timeline of relevant events.

The timeline is sortable. “Trump” refers to events in which Trump himself was involved. “Quid pro quo” is events that involve government concessions being tied to investigations. “Ukraine” tracks what Ukrainian officials were doing, while “Giuliani” does the same for Trump’s personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and “Biden” tracks every event in which Joe or Hunter Biden were invoked.

How much detail would you like?

Key events An in-depth look Everything

Which topics are you interested in?

All topics Trump Ukraine Quid pro quo Biden Giuliani

Unrest in Ukraine

2014-2016

February 22, 2014

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is ousted from power during a popular uprising in the country. He flees to Russia. After his ouster, Ukrainian officials begin a wide-ranging investigation into corruption in the country.

March 7, 2014

Lev Parnas, eventually an associate of former New York City mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, has his first known interaction with Donald Trump at a golf tournament in Florida.

March 1, 2014

Russia invades the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, annexing it.

May 13, 2014

KEY EVENT Hunter Biden, a son of then-U.S. Vice President Joe Bidenjoins the board of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma Holdings. It is owned by oligarch Mykola Zlochevsky, one of several subjects of the Ukrainian corruption probe.

May 25, 2014

Petro Poroshenko is elected president of Ukraine.

February 10, 2015

Viktor Shokin becomes Ukraine’s prosecutor general.

Early 2015

Top State Department aide George Kent raises concerns about Hunter Biden’s work for Burisma, as he later testifies. Biden’s office turns him away and explains that the vice president does not have the “bandwidth” to deal with the issue at a time when his other son, Beau Biden, is dealing with cancer, according to Kent’s testimony.

September 24, 2015

Then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt blasts Shokin in a speech in Odessa, Ukraine. He points to a “glaring problem” that threatens the good work regional leaders are doing: “the failure of the institution of the prosecutor general of Ukraine to successfully fight internal corruption.” He adds: “The United States stands behind those who challenge these bad actors.”

October 8, 2015

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Victoria Nuland testifies to the Senate that Shokin’s “office has to be reinvented as an institution that serves the citizens of Ukraine, rather than ripping them off.”

December 8, 2015

KEY EVENT In Kyiv, Biden tells Ukrainian leaders to fire Shokin or lose more than $1 billion in loan guarantees. Biden joins many Western leaders in urging Shokin’s ouster.

February 10, 2016

The International Monetary Fund threatens to halt a bailout program for Ukraine unless the country addresses its corruption issues.

February 11, 2016

Biden speaks with Poroshenko by phone and emphasizes the urgency of rooting out corruption.

February 18, 2016

Biden speaks with Poroshenko again.

March 28, 2016

Paul Manafort is hired as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman, where he is chiefly in charge of securing delegates at the Republican National Convention. Manafort formerly worked for Yanukovych‘s Party of Regions in Ukraine.

March 29, 2016

Shokin is ousted from his position by Ukraine’s parliament.

April 14, 2016

Biden and Poroshenko speak again.

May 12, 2016

Yuri Lutsenko becomes Ukraine’s new prosecutor general, replacing Shokin.

May 13, 2016

The White House says it “welcomes” Lutsenko‘s appointment and the addition of an independent counsel in Lutsenko’s office, and declares it will guarantee the $1 billion in loans.

June 3, 2016

The U.S. government guarantees the loan.

June 20, 2016

Manafort becomes the head of Trump’s campaign after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski is fired.

August 14, 2016

Ukrainian officials reveal the existence of a handwritten “black ledger” suggesting Manafort had received millions in off-the-books payments from Yanukovych‘s party. These payments will ultimately be part of criminal charges filed against Manafort in the United States.

August 19, 2016

Manafort is forced out of Trump’s campaign.

November 8, 2016

KEY EVENT Trump is elected president, defeating Hillary Clinton.

Seeds of a conspiracy theory

2017-April 2019

January 11, 2017

KEY EVENT Politico reports Ukrainian officials “helped Clinton‘s allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers” during the campaign. It said they were also trying to make amends after questioning Trump’s fitness for office and disseminating the Manafort documents. The article notes, however, that there is no indication of an effort originating within the leadership of the Ukrainian government itself.

January 12, 2017

Ukraine’s probes of Burisma are finalized and closed, according to the company, though Lutsenko later tells Bloomberg that one sale of an oil storage terminal will still be investigated.

February 6, 2017

Trump and Poroshenko speak by phone, during which time they “discussedplans for an in-person meeting in the future,” according to the White House.

April 21, 2017

Trump for the first time floats a conspiracy theory that Ukraine might have played a role in falsely fingering Russia for its 2016 election interference. “[The Democrats] get hacked, and the FBI goes to see them, and they won’t let the FBI see their server,” Trump tells AP, adding, “They brought in another company that I hear is Ukrainian-based. That’s what I heard. I heard it’s owned by a very rich Ukrainian.”

April 28, 2017

Trump again brings up the conspiracy theory in an interview with the Washington Examiner.

June 8, 2017

Giuliani, who would later become Trump’s personal lawyer, meets with Poroshenko and Lutsenko, according to a later-released House investigation.

June 9, 2017

Lutsenko’s office joins in an existing investigation into the black ledger, which had been under the control of an independent anti-corruption bureau. Critics allege the effort is intended to stifle the investigation.

June 14, 2017

European reports indicate Poroshenko will meet with Trump in the White House.

June 20, 2017

Poroshenko visits the White House to meet with Vice President Pence, but receives only a brief audience with Trump.

July 25, 2017

Trump tweets about “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign” and asks: “So where is the investigation A.G.” — referring to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

December 20, 2017

The Trump administration approves the sale of lethal arms to Ukraine for the first time.

January 23, 2018

KEY EVENT At an event hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations, Biden describes his pressure campaign in Ukraine. “I said, you’re not getting the billion. I’m going to be leaving here in, I think it was about six hours. I looked at them and said: ‘I’m leaving in six hours. If the prosecutor is not fired, you’re not getting the money,’ ” Biden says. “Well, son of a b—-. He got fired. And they put in place someone who was solid at the time.”

Early April

Ukrainian officials close their Manafort probes and have also decide to stop assisting special counsel Robert S. Mueller III‘s Russia investigation out of concern that doing so would harm their relationship with Trump’s administration and jeopardize military assistance, according to the New York Times.

April 19, 2018

KEY EVENT The Washington Post reports Trump has hired Giuliani as his personal lawyer, initially focused on seeing out the Russia investigation.

April 2018

Two Soviet-born business associates of GiulianiParnas and Igor Fruman, attend an event for a pro-Trump super PAC at Trump’s Washington hotel. While speaking with Trump, they badmouth U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, and Trump immediately suggests she be fired, according to Parnas.

April 30, 2018

Poroshenko announces the first shipment of Javelins from the United States have arrived.

May 1, 2018

Parnas and Fruman meet Trump at the White House, according to later-deleted Facebook photos.

May 4, 2018

Three Democratic senators — Robert Menendez (N.J.), Richard J. Durbin(Ill.) and Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.) — write to Lutsenko, urging him to continue working with Mueller.

May 9, 2018

Parnas posts a photo of him and his business partner David Correia meetingwith Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Tex.) in Sessions’s Capitol Hill office. The two men commit to raise $20,000 for Sessions, according to their later indictments.

May 9, 2018

That same day, Pete Sessions writes to the State Department seeking the dismissal of Yovanovitch. Sessions says he has “received notice of concrete evidence” that she had “spoken privately and repeatedly about her disdain for the current Administration.”

May 17, 2018

Parnas and Fruman contribute $325,000 to the pro-Trump super PAC America First Action through a newly formed business named Global Energy Producers, which is supposedly a liquefied natural gas company. In their later indictments, prosecutors will say the funds actually came from a $1.26 million private lending transaction that occurred two days earlier.

May 21, 2018

Parnas posts a picture on Facebook showing him and Fruman at breakfast with Donald Trump Jr. in Beverly Hills, Calif.

December 5, 2018

Giuliani meets with former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, according to a lobbying database. They talk about “security issues, including the escalation of Russia’s war against Ukraine and the US assistance to our country,” according to a Ukrainian report.

Late 2018

Giuliani speaks with Shokin, according to a later-revealed complaint from an anonymous whistleblower.

January

Giuliani and Lutsenko meet in New York, as Bloomberg News later reports.

Mid-February

Giuliani again meets with Lutsenko, this time in Warsaw, according to the whistleblower.

February 1, 2019

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov tells Yovanovitch that the country is worried about being wrapped up in U.S. political campaigns, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony. He cites the Manafort situation and both the Bidens and Trump’s conspiracy theory involving Ukraine’s role in 2016 election interference.

March 6, 2019

Yovanovitch gives a speech in Ukraine in which she targets Lutsenko. “To ensure the integrity of anticorruption institutions, the Special Anticorruption Prosecutor must be replaced,” she says. “Nobody who has been recorded coaching suspects on how to avoid corruption charges can be trusted to prosecute those very same cases.”

March 20, 2019

In an interview with pro-Trump journalist John SolomonLutsenko alleges that Yovanovitch gave him “a list of people whom we should not prosecute.” The State Department calls the claim an “outright fabrication,” but Trump promotes the story in a tweet. It is later revealed that Parnas facilitated the interview.The whistleblower later notes that Lutsenko was working for the incumbent, Poroshenko, who had been trailing challenger Volodymyr Zelensky in the upcoming March 31 election. Zelensky had pledged to replace Lutsenko. Yovanovitch later speculates, in congressional testimony, that Lutsenko was hoping Trump would endorse Poroshenko.

March 24, 2019

Trump Jr. attacks Yovanovitch on Twitter, saying: “We need more ⁦[Germany Ambassador] @RichardGrenell‘s and less of these jokers as ambassadors.”

March 26, 2019

Giuliani speaks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to State Department emails.

March 29, 2019

Giuliani speaks with Pompeo again, according to the State Department emails. The call lasts about four minutes.

March 31, 2019

The first round of Ukraine’s presidential election is held. Poroshenko and Zelensky head to a runoff.

April 1, 2019

After speaking with Lutsenko, Solomon reports that a probe into Joe Biden’s push to fire Lutsenko’s predecessor is underway. Lutsenko tells Solomon that he wants to present his evidence to Attorney General William P. Barr.

Mid-April

Hunter Biden‘s term as a Burisma board member ends.

April 18, 2019

Lutsenko retracts his claim that Yovanovitch gave him a list of people not to prosecute.

April 18, 2019

Separately, Mueller releases his report on the Russia investigation. Mueller finds no illegal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia but says he decided not to reach a firm conclusion on potential obstruction of justice by Trump. William Barr later opts not to accuse Trump of obstruction, despite extensive evidence laid out in the Mueller report.

April 21, 2019

KEY EVENT Zelensky, a former TV comedian, is elected president of Ukraine with 73 percent of the vote.

Ahead of a Trump phone call with Zelensky, Vindman writes talking points that indicate Trump should bring up “corruption” with the president-elect, according to Vindman’s later testimony, and a White House readout is drafted declaring Trump did so, according to Washington Post reporting. But Trump does not mention corruption on the call, according to a transcript released later by the White House.

April 23, 2019

Giuliani tweets about a Ukrainian investigation into alleged foreign collusion by the Democrats. “Now Ukraine is investigating Hillary campaign and DNC conspiracy with foreign operatives including Ukrainian and others to affect 2016 election,” he says. “And there’s no [former FBI director James B.]Comey to fix the result.”

April 24, 2019

Foreign Service Director General Carol Perez speaks with Yovanovitch at 1 a.m. and urges her to come back to Washington immediately, according to Yovanovitch’s testimony. “I was like, what? What happened?” Yovanovitch would later testify. “And she said, ‘I don’t know, but this is about your security. You need to come home immediately. You need to come home on the next plane.’ ” Once home, she says she meets with Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan, who informs her that her time as ambassador is being curtailed. “He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the Summer of 2018,″ Yovanovitch says in her testimony. “He also said that I had done nothing wrong and that this was not like other situations where he had recalled ambassadors for cause.”

April 25, 2019

In an interview with Fox News, Trump addresses the suggestion that Ukraine interfered in 2016. “I would imagine [William Barr] would want to see this,” he says. “People have been saying this whole — the concept of Ukraine, they have been talking about it actually for a long time.”

April 25, 2019

Joe Biden announces his presidential campaign.

The anti-Biden effort becomes public

May-June 2019

May 1, 2019

KEY EVENT The New York Times publishes a story tying Joe Biden’s pressure campaign in Ukraine to Shokin having investigated Burisma, portraying it as a potential liability in his 2020 campaign.

May 7, 2019

Bloomberg News casts doubt on the Times report, citing Ukrainian officials who say the Burisma investigation had long been dormant when Joe Biden applied pressure on Ukraine