White House isn’t contact tracing its potential super spreader Rose Garden ceremony

Gallery: Trump’s COVID-19 outbreak: Who got infected? (dw.com)

a group of people standing in front of a crowd

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At least 11 people  have tested positive for coronavirus since attending a Rose Garden ceremony on 26 September to celebrate the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court, including the president, but the White House is not contact tracing the event, according to the New York Times

Instead, the White House has confined its tracing efforts to those who came into close contact with the president in the two days before his diagnosis last Thursday. That leaves out the numerous people who attended  the ceremony at the White House, many of whom weren’t wearing masks  or social distancing.  The tracing effort has also been conducted largely by email, rather than with the rigorous phone interviews public health departments usually use.

Donald Trump unveils Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett



An internal Centres for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) email the New York Times viewed shows a team of agency scientists prepared to go to Washington and assist with tracing after the president’s positive diagnosis, but a call for their help never came.  

Judd Deere, a White House spokesman, said a “robust contact tracing programme” is in place, including full contact tracing for a New Jersey fundraiser Mr Trump held just before he tested positive, and that these efforts continue with the help of “CDC integration”. Two senior CDC scientists told the paper they weren’t aware of the role Mr Deere was describing for the public health watchdog.

All together, 15 members of Mr Trump’s inner circle, including the First Lady, Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, and senior adviser Hope Hicks, have tested positive.

The president left Walter Reed Medical Centre on Monday and tweeted, “Don’t be afraid of Covid.”

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House Dems seek to curb presidential power with new bill targeting potential abuses

House Democrats unveiled a sweeping package of government reforms Monday aimed at curbing future abuses of power by a president and strengthening congressional oversight powers, in response to the conflicts they’ve had with the Trump administration in the last three years. 

The legislation, called the “Protecting Our Democracy Act,” wouldn’t pass the Republican-controlled Senate even if it were to pass the House before the end of the current Congress, but it is among the bills Democrats have prepared, should they recapture the Senate and White House this November. It would complement H.R.1, another reform package targeting voting rights, campaign finance and government ethics House Democrats passed in 2019. 

The committee chairs who authored the legislation say it will prevent future abuses and restore the balance of power between Congress and the White House, and they argue that the foundation of democracy is “deeply at risk” without changes.  

“Since taking office, President Trump has placed his own personal and political interests above the national interest by protecting and enriching himself, targeting his political opponents, seeking foreign interference in our elections, eroding transparency, seeking to end accountability, and otherwise abusing the power of his office,” the chairs said in a statement. “It is time for Congress to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president.” 

The latest legislation tries to claw back more power for Congress and to curb the president’s power under the Constitution, an area where Democrats have struggled, despite hundreds of hours spent on investigations of the current administration and impeachment proceedings that ended with the president’s acquittal in the Senate. 

It would speed up the process by which Congress can turn to the courts to enforce a subpoena and empower the courts to fine government officials who fail to comply. Democrats have used the contempt process to try to compel Attorney General William Barr, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and former White House Counsel Don McGahn to comply with subpoenas, only to see those efforts stall in court or fail to produce documents they sought. 

There are also provisions aimed at limiting the administration’s ability to govern through emergency declarations or to divert federal funds away from the use intended by Congress. 

The bill would also try to curb potential political interference by the Justice Department, and even allow fines against White House officials who violate the Hatch Act by engaging in partisan political activity while acting in an official capacity. An ethics watchdog for the White House recommended that one of President Trump’s key advisers, Kellyanne Conway, be fired for violating the act, but she faced no consequences from the White House. 

Other measures would strengthen protections for whistleblowers in the federal government and try to give further support to the inspectors general who independently investigate federal agencies.  

The president himself would face increased scrutiny and limits on his ability to issue pardons or commutations to relatives or officials who were found to have obstructed Congress. Self-pardons would

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Trump meets with potential Supreme Court pick Amy Coney Barrett at White House

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, who has emerged as a favorite to be nominated for the vacant Supreme Court seat, met Monday at the White House with President TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden leads Trump by 36 points nationally among Latinos: poll Trump dismisses climate change role in fires, says Newsom needs to manage forest better Jimmy Kimmel hits Trump for rallies while hosting Emmy Awards MORE, according to a person familiar with the selection process.

Barrett’s meeting with Trump further cements her status as one of the front-runners to replace Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgRegina King accepts Emmy wearing Breonna Taylor shirt, urges viewers to vote Ocasio-Cortez to voters: Tell McConnell ‘he is playing with fire’ with Ginsburg’s seat Mural of Ruth Bader Ginsburg pops up blocks away from White House MORE, who died Friday of pancreatic cancer. The meeting took place Monday afternoon before Trump left for a campaign trip to Ohio.

The president told reporters he was considering five women for Ginsburg’s seat. But sources familiar with the process say Barrett and Barbara Lagoa are the two judges being seriously considered.

“She’s one of the people that’s very respected, but they’re all respected,” Trump said of Barrett. “She is certainly one of the candidates, yes.”

Trump is expected to name his choice for the vacancy on Friday or Saturday, saying he plans to wait until Ginsburg’s memorial services conclude.

Barrett was a favorite among conservatives in 2018 when Trump was mulling who to nominate to fill then-Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat before he ultimately went with Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughMcConnell locks down key GOP votes in Supreme Court fight Names to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Battle lines drawn on precedent in Supreme Court fight MORE. She remains popular among many Republican senators and conservative groups, and sources said she has an advantage having gone through the vetting process once before.

Trump said he plans to meet with at least a few of the candidates in person. The president said he “may” meet with Lagoa later this week when he is in South Florida.

“She has a lot of support,” Trump said of Lagoa. “I don’t know her, but I hear she’s outstanding. And she’s one of the people we’re looking at.”

Barrett, a former clerk for late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, was nominated by Trump to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 2017. She was confirmed in a 55-43 vote by the Senate later that year. At the time, three Democratic senators supported her nomination: Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyNames to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Momentum growing among Republicans for Supreme Court vote before Election Day Barrett seen as a front-runner for Trump Supreme Court pick MORE (Ind.), who subsequently lost his 2018 reelection bid, Tim KaineTimothy (Tim) Michael KaineNames to watch as Trump picks Ginsburg replacement on Supreme Court Barrett seen as a front-runner for Trump

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House Hunting in Canada: A Rowhouse in Old Montreal With Income Potential

This four-story attached greystone rowhouse is in Old Montreal, the historic riverside district just east of Montreal’s downtown core. The property faces Marché Bonsecours, a restored 1847 building that once housed the city’s main public market. Behind the market building are Montreal’s Old Port and the St. Lawrence River.

“This is the beating heart of scenic Old Montreal,” said Felix Jasmin of Engel & Völkers Montreal, the listing agent.

Built in 1870, the six-bedroom, three-bathroom house offers 12,000 square feet of living space, including a detached rear carriage house. From the street, an arched entryway opens to a long entry hall and double-sized living room whose gleaming marble floors once adorned the Bank of Montreal’s headquarters nearby. “The owner’s contractor happened to be the guy demolishing the bank,” Mr. Jasmin said.

Tall, latticed windows run the length of the living room, illuminating its exposed-brick wall and whitewashed surfaces. “The wooden windows are very typical of Old Montreal,” Mr. Jasmin said. The living room connects to a formal dining room with an enormous chandelier and brick-encased decorative fireplace.

The dining room links to a small, furnished solarium with a glass ceiling and a French country feel. “The idea was to have your aperitifs in the living room, dinner in the dining room, and your liquor in the solarium,” Mr. Jasmin said. From the solarium, a door opens to a small back terrace. The home’s kitchen, also off the solarium, “was meant as a functional kitchen, for catered meals, and it’s a very different look from the rest of the house,” Mr. Jasmin said.

A curved staircase ascends to the main suite, which occupies the entire second floor. “This was the owner’s private floor, and it’s the masterpiece of the building,” Mr. Jasmin said. “It feels like a Parisian apartment.” A large bedroom with en suite bath flows through a wide archway into a high-ceilinged, tiled living room. A pair of cast-iron doors conceal an office, which Mr. Jasmin said could become a bedroom.

Five bedrooms occupy the building’s third floor, though only one bathroom. The floor has a small kitchen with a washer-dryer and a dining area. A spiral staircase leads from the third floor to an unfinished attic, “which is almost full-sized. A tall adult can stand in it,” Mr. Jasmin said.

The owner, a Montreal businesswoman who also lives in Paris, “once hosted fashion shows in the house, and many dinners for Montreal’s who’s who,” Mr. Jasmin said. Over a half-century of ownership, she has replaced electrical and HVAC systems, upgraded windows to withstand Montreal winters, and preserved the landmark facade.

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