Bill Barr Faces Criticism Over Refusal to Quarantine After Rose Garden Event

Attorney General William Barr is facing mounting criticism over his refusal to quarantine after being exposed to COVID-19 at the Supreme Court nomination ceremony for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Saturday.



Chris Christie, Lavinia Wilson, C. Boyden Gray standing in front of a crowd posing for the camera: Attorney General William Barr greets former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.


© Chip Somodevilla/Getty
Attorney General William Barr greets former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie in the Rose Garden at the White House on September 26, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Some fear the September 26 event was a possible catalyst of the White House coronavirus outbreak. At least eight attendees have tested positive since the ceremony. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were diagnosed with the virus one day after Hope Hicks, one of the president’s closest aides, became infected.

World Reacts To Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Testing Positive For Coronavirus

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GOP Senators Mike Lee and Thom Tillis also tested positive, as well as former White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway—whom Barr was seen in close contact with during the event.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 14 days of quarantine for anyone who has been exposed to the virus, a rule Barr has apparently chosen not to follow.

“Barr’s refusal to quarantine after exposure is not ‘toughness,'” tweeted University of Michigan Law Professor Barbara McQuade, who’s also a former U.S. attorney. “It is arrogant, irresponsible, and reckless behavior from our nation’s attorney general.”

Andrew Weissmann, a longtime Department of Justice (DOJ) lawyer turned legal analyst, said Barr’s decision was “fitting” for an “enabler of presidential fictions and denier of facts.”

Video: Trump downplayed the coronavirus the same week he tested positive (The Washington Post)

Trump downplayed the coronavirus the same week he tested positive

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“This is reckless and dangerous for any person—especially a person who wields power to summon others,” tweeted former federal prosecutor Elie Honig. “He’s putting DOJ staffers, and everyone else around him, at risk.”

Some attendees of the White House event last Saturday moved indoors following the official nomination of Barrett at the Rose Garden. While all guests tested negative for COVID before the event, face masks were not required at the reception and many guests were pictured mingling in close proximity without one. CNN political reporter Rebecca Buck shared an image of Barr standing close to Trump and the first lady at the reception.

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House energy package sparks criticism from left and right

Both Republicans and left-wing environmental groups criticized a sprawling House energy package billed as a response to climate change.

House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOn The Money: Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of emergency loans | House seeks to salvage vote on spending bill | Economists tell lawmakers: Kill the virus to heal the economy House moves toward spending vote after bipartisan talks House Democrats mull delay on spending bill vote MORE (D-Md.) has said the chamber would vote this week on the legislation.

The package would funnel money toward research and development of a number of types of energy while promoting energy efficiency for homes, schools and other buildings.

Republicans on Wednesday knocked the speed at which the 900-page bill, which has not had a legislative hearing, is moving through the House and said it would harm consumers. 

Top Republicans on the chamber’s Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources, and Science, Space and Technology committees slammed the legislation. 

“Here we are in the middle of a global pandemic and Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] wants to spend more than $135 billion on a piece of legislation that will never become law,” said Reps. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenTrump order on drug prices faces long road to finish line Ignore the misinformation: The FDA will ensure the safety of any COVID-19 vaccine Hillicon Valley: Trump backs potential Microsoft, TikTok deal, sets September deadline | House Republicans request classified TikTok briefing | Facebook labels manipulated Pelosi video MORE (R-Ore.), Rob BishopRobert (Rob) William BishopOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA head questions connection of climate change to natural disasters | Pebble Mine executives eye future expansion in recorded conversations | EPA questions science linking widely used pesticide to brain damage in children House GOP seeks to cement Trump rollback of bedrock environmental law LWCF modernization: Restoring the promise MORE (R-Utah) and Frank LucasFrank Dean LucasHillicon Valley: DOJ indicts Chinese, Malaysian hackers accused of targeting over 100 organizations | GOP senators raise concerns over Oracle-TikTok deal | QAnon awareness jumps in new poll House passes legislation to boost election security research Protecting COVID research at American universities from foreign hackers MORE (R-Okla.). “If Democrats wanted to make real progress on clean energy, they wouldn’t have dropped a 900-page bill and called for a vote a week later, without any time for thoughtful consideration through regular order.”

“This bill is chock-full of government mandates that would raise what Americans pay for everything from the vehicles they drive to what they pay to heat, cool, and power their homes,” they added. 

Environmentalists criticized the inclusion of funding for research into a mechanism known as carbon capture and sequestration, which removes carbon from the air. Carbon capture is unpopular with some environmentalists because it’s often used in fossil fuel production.

And a coalition of more than 100 environmental and progressive groups, including 350.org and the Center for Biological Diversity, released a letter urging members of Congress to oppose the bill, citing its support for carbon capture. 

“Any

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White House dismisses criticism of persistent coronavirus supply chain problems as work of ‘useful idiot’

WASHINGTON — The White House is objecting to a new report from the Government Accountability Office that concludes that seven months into the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. continues to struggle with supply chain logistics that have led to shortages of personal protective equipment and diagnostic tests.

The authors of the nearly 400-page GAO report were concerned that not only did those issues continue to persist, but that the Trump administration did not take them seriously enough. “As supply constraints continue,” those investigators wrote, “we found that [the Department of Health and Human Services] and [the Federal Emergency Management Administration] have not developed plans outlining specific actions the federal government will take to help mitigate remaining medical supply gaps needed to respond to the pandemic.”

Those challenges could soon be joined, and supplanted, by an even greater one: that of delivering a coronavirus vaccine to millions of people. The report warned that “without clearly defined roles and responsibilities, the federal response structure may be unable to respond to new supply chain challenges that could emerge.”

The report called for a “national plan” for vaccine distribution. No such plan exists. The lack of such a plan for diagnostic tests through the spring and summer led to competition, replication and confusion.

President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
President Trump speaks to the media on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Monday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

The White House, however, painted the agency’s findings as an attack on the administration. “It is well-known that the GAO is neither non-partisan or independent but simply a useful idiot for the Democrat Party and Big Labor,” White House economic adviser Peter Navarro told Yahoo News in a response forwarded by the White House communications department. “Its bureaucrats lean heavily left and contribute equally heavily to Democrat candidates. In this election season, this new ‘report’ is without merit and simply an in-kind contribution to the Biden campaign.”

GAO is an independent agency that reports to Congress, producing frequent reports on a wide range of government activities.

In response to the White House criticism, the GAO defended its report and conclusions. “For nearly a century GAO has been a source of non-partisan, fact based work for both sides of the aisle in Congress. We do work specifically at the request of both Congressional Chairs of Committees and the Ranking Members, and both turn to our subject matter experts when they are looking for facts,” Chuck Young, the GAO’s managing director of public affairs, wrote in an email to Yahoo News. “The CARES Act was no exception, since it was passed with a high level of bipartisan support, and with mandates for GAO to look at how the law was being implemented. Also in this report, the agencies we looked at all got a chance to comment on our recommendations and in many cases, agreed with them. We followed the facts in this report, as we do in all our work, and we will continue to take that

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Plan for affordable housing in Leonidas, Lower Garden District faces neighborhood criticism; mayor, City Council in support | Local Politics

In a vote that could advance or delay plans to build affordable housing in rapidly gentrifying areas, the City Planning Commission will consider on Tuesday a key piece of a $20 million development plan for vacant sites in Leonidas, the Lower Garden District and other areas along the Mississippi River.

The Planning Commission will consider redividing several lots in the Leonidas area so that the Housing Authority of New Orleans can build affordable duplexes on the lots, which are owned by HANO.    

But the duplexes have been dogged by residents who say HANO’s designs are out of step with their neighborhood’s character. They told the City Council last week that HANO needs a more extensive federal review to ensure its buildings hew to historic standards.

Meanwhile, HANO and partner Iris Community Development say the project will help realize a broader effort to ensure the city’s most desirable areas remain accessible to people with lower incomes. And affordable housing advocates say resident criticisms are actually thinly masked objections to having poorer residents of color as neighbors.



Housing Authority approves new mixed-income developments in these New Orleans neighborhoods

Council members were briefed on the plans at the council’s Community Development Committee last week, but did not vote on them. But several members, and Mayor LaToya Cantrell, agreed with HANO’s take. 

“If we get to the point where certain segments of the community can no longer live here, we’re going to lose the magic that is New Orleans,” said Councilmember Jay H. Banks, who chairs the committee. 

Cantrell added in a statement that the project is “beyond needed,” and will bring “new affordable housing to high-opportunity neighborhoods.”

Two large former public housing sites in Algiers and the Upper 9th Ward would become mixed-income developments under proposals the Housing Aut…

HANO’s current effort is part of a plan to break up the concentrated areas of poverty that were standard under its previous public housing model, and to instead place lower-income residents in higher-income communities that are more likely to be near jobs and opportunities. 

The plan is also aligned with an Obama-era housing rule — which the Trump administration rescinded in July — that required local governments to try to make wealthy neighborhoods more diverse and to pump more money into poor ones. 

HANO wants to redevelop vacant “scattered site” properties it owns as two-family and single-family homes for low-income residents. The majority of the 117 units HANO wants to build are located in Leonidas, while several others are located in the Lower Garden District, East Riverside and West Riverside areas. 

Each of those areas has seen rapid appreciation since 2012, according to a market-value analysis the city last commissioned in 2018. Long-time Leonidas residents, in particular, faced an increasingly higher risk of being priced out from 2009 to 2018, the study found. Median home values in that neighborhood rose anywhere from $50,000 to $150,000 between 2015 and 2017. 

Roughly 80 of the 117 homes HANO wants to build will be leased or sold to people earning at or below 80% of area

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