Trump claimed, without justification, that new tighter FDA vaccine guidelines were a ‘political hit job,’ hours after the White House approved them



a man wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images


© Win McNamee/Getty Images
President Donald Trump removes his mask upon return to the White House from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on October 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Win McNamee/Getty Images

  • Trump claimed the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) tougher guidelines for COVID-19 vaccine developers are a “political hit job” on him.
  • The White House approved the new regulations on Tuesday.
  • The FDA says that before vaccine makers submit an emergency-approval application they should follow trial participants for at least two months after a final dose.
  • These stricter guidelines will most likely prevent any vaccine being approved before the presidential election on November 3 — a deadline Trump had hoped vaccine makers could hit.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

President Donald Trump has accused the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of launching a “political hit job” on him, hours after the White House accepted the regulator’s stricter guidelines for coronavirus vaccine developers.

Trump has consistently said he hopes to have a vaccine ready before election day, but the new FDA guidelines will make it difficult for any COVID-19 vaccine to be approved before the November 3 vote. 

He lashed out at the FDA in a tweet on Tuesday evening, tagging commissioner Stephen Hahn.

He did not offer any evidence for his claim the new guidelines were motivated by politics.

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The tougher guidelines were cleared by the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday after a two-week hold-up, during which they were reportedly blocked by senior White House officials, including Mark Meadows, chief of staff.

In the guidelines, the FDA said that before vaccine makers submit an emergency-approval application they should monitor trial participants for a minimum of two months after their final dose in phase-three clinical trials. The agency also expects vaccine developers to document five cases of severe infection in volunteers who took the placebo instead of the vaccine.

Four vaccines have entered the final stage of testing in the US, including one from Pfizer and one from Moderna. The two companies kicked off their trials in July.

Volunteers usually receive their second dose less than a month after their first, but two months of monitoring make it unlikely that either company will have have enough data before November.

Moderna’s CEO said on September 30 that the firm wouldn’t be able to submit an application for emergency approval until late November at the earliest, as it wouldn’t have enough safety data, per the Financial Times.

Coronavirus has claimed more than 210,000 lives in the US so far, and infected more than 7.5 million people.

Among those that have been infected is Trump himself: He tweeted on October 2 that he and Melania Trump had tested positive for the virus. After being flown to Walter Reed Medical Center, he received two experimental treatments to fight the infection. He has since returned to the White House, where staff are reportedly anxious about catching COVID-19 from him, per multiple

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UK’s Brexit Treaty Override Powers Approved by Parliament’s Lower House | World News

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s House of Commons approved legislation on Tuesday that gives ministers the power to break its divorce deal with the European Union, despite the threat of legal action from Brussels and unrest within the governing Conservative Party.

The UK Internal Market Bill, which ministers acknowledge breaks international law, was approved by 340 votes to 256 and now passes to the House of Lords for debate.

The bill seeks to protect free trade between Britain’s four nations once a Brexit transition period ends, but has soured relations with Brussels just as time is running out to reach a deal on their long-term relationship.

After an initial uproar within Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s party, including criticism from three former Conservative prime ministers, a rebellion was snuffed out by a concession to give parliament a say over using the powers.

The government says clauses in the bill which override the Withdrawal Agreement, signed by Johnson in January, are necessary to protect free trade with Northern Ireland, and will only be used if talks on a border solution with the EU fail.

The EU, which wants to make sure Northern Ireland’s open border with member state Ireland does not act as a back door for goods to come into the bloc, says it is an extremely serious violation of the exit treaty and has threatened to sue.

Scrutiny in the House of Lords, parliament’s upper chamber, is expected to take until early December. Johnson does not have a majority there and revisions to the most contentious clauses are likely to have strong support.

But talks with the EU are expected to move more quickly, and if a deal can be reached on an Irish border solution the powers may not be needed.

If there is no deal, any changes made by the Lords would need approval from the Commons, creating potential for a political standoff.

(Reporting by William James; editing by Stephen Addison)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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DeJoy Never Should Have Been Approved as Postmaster General, Expert Witnesses Tell House Oversight Committee

United States Postmaster General Louis DeJoy should not have been chosen for his post due to apparent conflicts of interest that made him ineligible, expert witnesses told Congress on Monday.



a man looking at the camera: Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on slowdowns at the Postal Service ahead of the November elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on August 24.


© Photo by TOM WILLIAMS/POOL/AFP/Getty
Postmaster General Louis DeJoy testifies during a House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing on slowdowns at the Postal Service ahead of the November elections on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on August 24.

That is what Richard Painter, a former top ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, and David Fineman, former chairman of the U.S.P.S. Board of Governors under the Bill Clinton and Bush administrations, said before the House Overisight Committee.

DeJoy’s $30 million stake in his former logistics company, XPO Logistics, which is a major contractor for the Postal Service and has received $14 million from the agency since DeJoy was appointed in June, should have posed far too great a risk for a criminal financial conflict of interest, the men testified to the House Oversight Committee.

In addition, the witnesses said that if DeJoy had been properly vetted before being appointed by the board of governors, they could have uncovered allegations of potential campaign violations reported by The Washington Post earlier this month.

“You do not get that job if you keep stock in a contractor with your agency,” Painter said. “That is a deal breaker because you could go into public office and commit a felony. It would have been a deal breaker in the Bush administration. We would not have nominated, appointed or approved—in any way—a senior Executive Branch official having that conflict of interest.”

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Painter said the same rule holds true with government agencies.

“You don’t go to the Department of Defense and own stock with defense contractors,” he told the congressional panel.

DeJoy was chosen by the board of governors only after an outside executive search firm vetted and helped narrow down hundreds of potential candidates to just a dozen. But DeJoy was not one of those candidates. Instead, he was approved by the board after he was recommended by Board of Governors Chairman Robert Duncan, a President Donald Trump appointee, and was not vetted by the outside firm.

“If you’re asking me whether I would have chosen [DeJoy], the answer would be no,” Fineman said, responding to a question from Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.). “It’s apparent that there was a conflict of interest to begin with, that he still had an interest in one of the largest contractors with the United States Postal Service.”

The hearing was meant to examine DeJoy’s conflicts of interest as Democrats investigate problems at the Postal Service that arose after DeJoy assumed his role this summer. In recent months under his leadership, the agency has been inundated with mail delivery delays.

Democrats allege that DeJoy has purposely made changes that hinder its operations ahead of an election that will feature a record influx of

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