The "China Virus"

March 18, 2020

I told you Tuesday about the New York Times reporter who lifted President Trump’s words of context (“Try getting it yourselves”) to make it appear that he told state Governors that they were on their own when it came to obtaining medical equipment to deal with the COVID-19 virus. Here is what he actually said:

“We are backing you in terms of equipment and getting what you need. Also, though, respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment, try getting it yourselves. We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point-of-sale is much better, much more direct if you can get it yourselves.”

Trump himself seems to be so fed up with the media’s endless attempts to undermine, attack, second-guess, badmouth and misquote everything he’s says and does to keep Americans safe that he used part of his coronavirus update press conference yesterday to call out the Times for its deliberately misleading story, which he quite accurately described as “false,” “bad journalism” and “totally disgraceful.”

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I expect tomorrow’s headline in the Times to read, “Trump Response ‘Totally Disgraceful.’”

Trump also blasted that PC idiocy about the term “China virus” being racist (as Dan Bongino pointed out during our joint appearance on “Hannity” last night, China isn’t a race, it’s a country.) “China Virus” or “Wuhan virus” (which I’ve heard is actually what they call it in Wuhan) is no more “racist” than the terms Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Ebola virus, which was first identified in a village near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Trump very pointedly called it the “China virus,” and explained why. He said for the US media to accept and spread China’s propaganda that it’s racist to associate it with its real place of origin deflects responsibility away from China and makes it easier for them to spread the lie that the US military created it. He said, “It did come from China. So, I think it's a very accurate term.” Asked by a reporter (of course) if that didn’t create a “stigma,” he replied:

"I don't think so. I think saying that our military gave it to them creates a stigma.”

I have never been so proud to be a Trump supporter than at that moment.

Besides, if any nation on Earth deserves to be "stigmatized," it's communist China. The real mystery is why in the world the media are so eager to carry water for the totalitarian Chinese government, which is antithetical to everything they claim to support. China has hidden vital information about COVID-19 that could help other nations know what they’re dealing with (and continues to do so), it allows unconscionable slave labor conditions, it’s the biggest polluter in the world, it’s aggressively militaristic, it's genuinely racist, it has no tolerance for freedom of religion or speech, it uses the Internet to monitor and control its own people, it “disappears” officials who criticize its actions…

…And what makes the US media’s shilling for China even more inexplicable is its hostility to the media. Just this week, Western reporters trying to cover the virus at a Chinese hospital had their cameras and cell phones confiscated and wiped, and reporters from three major US newspapers were expelled. One of those papers was even the New York Times!

Yet the Times and other Western outlets would trust China and unquestioningly repeat its bogus talking points while attacking and aggressively questioning everything that our own President and his team of America’s top medical experts tell them. Are they THAT dependent on the Chinese market to stay in business? Or is it just more proof that the most virulent disease plaguing America is not some virus from China but Trump Derangement Syndrome?

The latest news on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic is that the worldwide infection rate has reached 200,000 cases with 8,000 deaths, and there are now cases reported in all 50 US states. The nations with the most cases are China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany, and the most confirmed deaths have been in China, Italy, Iran, Spain and France.

Those most at risk are the elderly and people with underlying medical conditions such as lung and cardiovascular disease. Here’s some good information on how to protect seniors from contracting it.

Yesterday I noted that the world is still turning while we’re focused on the coronavirus and that important news is breaking now on the ‘deep state,’ particularly in the government’s case against Michael Flynn. I praised President Trump for saying he was “strongly considering” a full pardon for Flynn. When the President tweeted that, he likely had in mind the evidence that investigative reporter John Solomon has just made public.

As you know, Flynn was pressured into pleading guilty to lying to investigators when even his questioners had reported they hadn’t seen any sign of intentional deception. For months, Flynn’s defense attorney Sidney Powell has filed brief after brief, trying to get presiding Judge Emmet Sullivan to accept the withdrawal of his plea. I can’t imagine, with all the evidence he has now, that any judge would refuse to do that, but as you’ll see below, this one might.

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The documents described by Solomon, specifically notes from testimony of DOJ officials before the special counsel that were included in a letter to Flynn’s lawyers in 2018, show that there was internal concern about how the investigation of Flynn was being conducted. Suspicions that it was all a set-up –- apparently led by then-FBI Director James Comey –- are looking more and more on the mark.

This correspondence confirms Solomon’s earlier reports –- labeled “opinion” by his editors, though he has presented well-sourced information and is repeatedly proven right –- that Mueller’s team accepted Flynn’s plea of guilty to lying about his conversations with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak even though his interrogators had told the DOJ they didn’t think he was lying and simply had a faulty memory. Former acting Attorney General Sally Yates told the Mueller team that the FBI had briefed her on this and said the agents had characterized Flynn as “very accommodating.” (I would add that the man no doubt welcomed them into his office and never called a lawyer because he had no idea he was being set up.) She told them she was briefed that Flynn denied having a conversation about sanctions but that when nudged at one point, he’d said something like, ‘Oh, thanks for reminding me.”

Yates didn’t speak directly to Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, the interviewing agents, but was told that their assessment was that Flynn showed no “tells” of lying and it was possible he really did not remember the substance of his calls with Ambassador Kislyak.

RELATED READING: What's happening with 'deep state' while virus infects news media

And there it is. MAYBE HE JUST DIDN’T REMEMBER. And for that, the FBI and special counsel pursued him ruthlessly in court, bankrupting him, forcing him to sell his house to pay attorneys and threatening to investigate his family, until he was simply tapped out and pleaded guilty to lying. (He had different representation at the time; perhaps this was their advice to him.) But it seems to have been over essentially NOTHING. Just on this point alone, Flynn deserves a full pardon from President Trump. But wait, there’s more.

Was this an “ambush interview,” as Solomon’s earlier reports have suggested? Well, yes. We already have Comey admitting as much on video; recall his public bragging that he just sent a couple of guys over to the White House to make it look casual. And now we have actual documentation. This correspondence relates former acting Assistant Attorney General Mary McCord’s concern, as expressed to Mueller’s team, that FBI agents didn’t tell Flynn he was under investigation and didn’t give him the usual notification that he could be charged with a crime if he misled the agents.

McCord told the Mueller team her understanding was that Flynn was being investigated to determine whether he had a clandestine relationship with Russia. But by January 30, 2017, the FBI had concluded that they did not believe he did, and had sent a memo to that effect to senior DOJ officials.

Recall that it was Sally Yates who had first brought up the ludicrous idea that Flynn might have violated the Logan Act (conducting foreign policy as a private citizen, a centuries-old law under which NO ONE had ever been successfully prosecuted). That concern was leaked to the news media, and this put pressure on Flynn to resign his new post as national security adviser, which he did.

Yet these newly-obtained documents show that there was internal dispute over whether or not a charge of violating the Logan Act was appropriate. According to the Mueller summary, “McCord said that upon learning of Flynn’s phone calls with Ambassador Kislyak, a Logan Act prosecution seemed like a stretch to her.” And it was. Not only was the Logan Act rarely even invoked, but Flynn wasn’t just a private citizen --- he was the incoming national security adviser! Of course he would be speaking in that capacity with the ambassador.

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Even former deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe affirmed the accounts by McCord and Yates in his own interview with the special counsel. “McCabe and then-acting assistant Attorney General Mary McCord had many subsequent discussions about the Logan Act,” the memo said. “They believed prosecuting a Logan Act violation was a long shot.”

From the Mueller memo: “According to McCabe, after the January 24 interview with Flynn, the interviewing agents returned to the FBI and briefed McCabe. The agents believed Flynn seemed very credible in his interview. Everyone in the room thought it was amazing that the agents believed that Flynn seemed credible since he denied something that everyone else knew to be true.” (Note: they knew it to be true because they had been listening in on his phone calls with foreign officials. And, with his background in intel, he knew they had been listening. So why on earth would he intentionally try to fool them?)

One reason Trump tweeted about pardoning Flynn is that the FBI now claims the original 302s (interview notes with Flynn), which evidence shows may have been altered by Lisa Page, have been “LOST.” The DOJ told Judge Sullivan that the 302s were “not in their possession,” which implies that they do exist...somewhere.

I don’t know what’s going on with this judge, but this was his response: “Things happen.”

If anyone ever deserved a pardon, it’s Michael Flynn.

Oh, and something else regarding "Russia": Remember when the Mueller team filed charges against a couple of Russian companies for financing efforts to use social media to “meddle” in the 2016 election? Perhaps the special counsel assumed Concord Management and Consulting and a related catering firm would just stay quiet, which would have let them avoid a trial while lending credence to the Trump/Russia “collusion” theory, but the companies denied the charges and resolved to fight back in court. And now, after all is said and done and the Mueller team found no evidence of “collusion” with the Trump campaign and the whole investigation is seen to have been a giant, politically-motivated waste of time, the Justice Department has dropped the case against them.

U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich issued a gag order in the case.

Welcome to the Huckabee newsletter, the only media outlet in America that isn’t leading with a coronavirus story! You’re welcome! (That’ll come later.)

Last night, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders squared off in the Democrats’ first one-on-one “debate,” mano y mano (or “old mano y old mano.”)

There was no studio audience, to prevent the spread of disease and to keep from spooking the participants with any sudden noises. The DNC once again changed the rules to keep their one remaining, interesting, appealing, “diverse” candidate, Tulsi Gabbard out, so the Democrats are down to this Hobson’s Choice. Each candidate had a clear objective: Biden had to prove he could go for two hours without wandering off the stage or lapsing into word salad, while Bernie had to prove he had the “fire in the belly” to go after Biden hard on his vulnerabilities and take him down.

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By those measures, Biden could be judged the winner, since he held up remarkably well with only a few brain lapses (like calling the H1N1 or “swine flu” virus that happened under his and Obama’s watch the “N1H1” virus, and deflecting with a “Come on, man” when Bernie challenged him to list the nine PACs he accused Bernie of taking money from.) However, while Bernie launched some aggressive moves on Biden, he didn’t land any knockout blows (neither he nor the moderators even brought up all the questions about Biden’s health, something unimaginable if he were a Republican.) If Bernie had a “fire in the belly,” then he must’ve taken some Mylanta for it before the debate. Any hopes he might have had of painting Biden as the old and out-of-touch guy (at 77, he’s actually a year younger than Bernie) died when Bernie used the phrase “Go to the YouTube,” and immediately became a trending Internet meme.

The only news to come out of the debate was Biden’s promise to choose a female running mate and to nominate a black woman to the Supreme Court. So, aside from the fact that identity politics continues to be the #1 concern of Party leaders, that tells us that Biden would not choose Bernie as a “unity” running mate. Biden did pledge to support Bernie if he won the nomination, but that’s the kind of easy, empty promise politicians make when they’re sure it will never happen (like Hillary promising to respect the results of the election if she lost.)

A few more random thoughts: Biden has moved so far to the left to challenge Bernie that calling him a “moderate” is about as believable as calling him an Olympic decathlete. Both of these guys, should they ever (God forbid!) become President, vow to end fracking and oil drilling, and replace it with sun power and windmills (they might as well toss in unicorn burps for all the good it will do.) That would not only destroy the domestic fuel industry and millions of jobs, it would send gas and oil prices skyrocketing and vastly enrich and empower Russia and OPEC at our expense.

They also seem to be in agreement that virtually all immigration laws should be scrapped. They would turn millions of current illegal immigrants into US citizens, give all illegal immigrants free health care, end ICE raids that arrest illegals with criminal records and deportation orders, end all deportations for at least six months and not deport anyone just for having a criminal record in their home nations (only after they commit a felony here), and be a lot nicer at the border, making it easier and faster for people who cross illegally to get processed and released.

But they’re not for open borders! Perish the thought! They’re just for the functional equivalent of open borders. Instead of building a wall on the border, they’d build a giant WELCOME mat. And they'd do much better than Trump at preventing the spread of foreign diseases, apparently by making it illegal to call them "foreign diseases."

They’re also in agreement (in the midst of a pandemic) that Donald Trump is the only “existential threat” America faces, and that everything he’s doing to stop the coronavirus is wrong, so we have to elect them so they can do the exact same things only with no travel restictions. Here’s an example of how much they really know about this issue.

Bottom line: since the debate didn’t seem to change the dynamics of the race, and Bernie shows no intentions of bowing out, it looks as if things will drag on as before. Biden will likely win the most delegates but possibly fall short of enough to clinch the nomination before the convention. If Biden picks a woman VP, that means no Bernie on the ticket, which will infuriate the Bernie Bros. If he does pick Bernie, he will infuriate women and anyone who cares about the future of America. So once again, in an unbroken winning streak, the winner of the Democratic debate was Donald Trump.

Believe it or not, there are other things going on in the news besides the “novel coronavirus.”

Turn on your TV, though, and chances are 99.99999 percent that the word “coronavirus” will be mentioned within the next 15 seconds. If you're lucky, it’s reasonable and useful information about what is being done on a variety of fronts to deal with the virus and its possible effects on our lives. This is important and we do need to know about it. But the relentless hysteria has become tiresome, especially considering that a distressing amount of the coverage comes from a blame-Trump-at-all-cost political perspective.

Remember, this virus has no agenda except to spread wherever it can. It is not into identity politics: it doesn’t care if you’re black or white, American or Chinese or Iranian, Republican or Democrat, rich or poor, famous or unknown, male or female or trans-whatever. It doesn’t care whether or not President Trump gets re-elected. And It certainly doesn’t care what else is going on that normally would be getting media attention right now.

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But we should care. The world still turns, and what goes on behind the scenes now will determine the direction our nation takes, long after the novel coronavirus is no longer a threat.

For example (speaking of insidious viruses), Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, worked to make sure the revisions to the FISA law that were up for review last week won’t interfere with the FBI’s ability to continue with business as usual. Here’s the full story.

Also, while most media have been obsessed with coronavirus, investigative reporters such as Margot Cleveland have been tediously dissecting Michael Horowitz’s IG report on FISA abuse footnote-by-footnote and creating timelines to piece together what the FBI and CIA were really doing to target Donald Trump, both as a candidate and as President. (I suppose that’s one way to minimize exposure to any virus; instead of being out and about, just sit alone in front of a computer screen. Periodically wiped down with sanitizer, of course.)

Cleveland’s latest column deals with Stefan Halper, a confidential human source (CHS) for the FBI who isn’t identified by name in the IG report but at this point doesn’t have to be. If you’ve read Lee Smith’s THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT, you’re already well-versed on Halper. We know he did quite a lot of spying on the Trump campaign; he secretly recorded Carter Page, George Papadopoulos and even Sam Clovis, who was co-chair of the campaign. Horowitz’s report shows he was involved in this surveillance work before being tapped by the FBI for “Crossfire Hurricane,” which started on July 31, 2016.

So, if Halper was spying on Trump’s people before the FBI started using him as a CHS, who hired him for that? We know he had a previous relationship with the CIA, so perhaps it was John Brennan who got that started. Halper was highly paid (note: with taxpayer funds) by the Defense Department’s Office Of Net Assessment on four government contracts for projects he supposedly completed for them. (There’s much more on this in THE PLOT AGAINST THE PRESIDENT.) But Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, has raised questions about the merits of these contracts.

Were the contracts really just a cover, and what was Halper REALLY doing while on the Defense Department payroll? We’ve asked these questions before, but Cleveland now raises the possibility that Halper was working for...drum roll, please...Hillary Clinton. It seems he was talking to the press about Carter Page at about the same time Christopher Steele was being paid by Fusion GPS to peddle the “dossier” and work up suspicion about Trump’s campaign and Russia. Since the Clinton campaign and the DNC (same thing) were paying Fusion GPS to “seed” the media with tales of Trump’s supposed collusion with Russia, the activities of Steele and Halper appear to have been coordinated. I’ll link to her column and let you decide for yourself.

John Solomon has been busy putting pieces together as well, and it’s now clear that our nation was put through two years of an investigation into President Trump over an issue (working with Russia to undermine the 2016 election) that had been discredited as of January, 2017, by information in the FBI’s own files.

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By then, they’d received multiple warnings about the lack of credibility of Christopher Steele and his “dossier.” They’d determined that key targets of their counterintelligence investigation, such as newly appointed national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, had made exculpatory statements denying any collusion. And they’d concluded that Flynn had NOT colluded with Russians. A motion filed by Flynn attorney Sidney Powell on September 11, 2019, refers to “an internal DOJ document dated January 30, 2017, in which the FBI exonerated Mr. Flynn of being ‘an agent of Russia.’

We know about that motion because Solomon obtained a 2018 letter between Robert Mueller’s office and Flynn’s attorneys that references it. As Solomon reports, it shows that the DOJ exoneration memo was written after Flynn was ambush-interviewed in January 2017 and was based on the fact that Flynn had briefed his agency on the contacts he’d had with Russia. It was all on the up and up, and they knew it.

Yet they pursued Flynn anyway and eventually got him to plead guilty to lying to investigators, who have said they didn’t think he was being deceptive. Presiding Judge Emmet Sullivan is still resisting the idea of letting him withdraw his guilty plea. And Powell still can’t get the original DOJ exoneration memo from prosecutors. “It’s just horrible,” she said during a podcast with Solomon. “They gave us a little three-line summary of it and the letter and told us it existed but have refused to give us the actual document, which I know means there’s a lot of other information in it that would be helpful to us.”

But wait --- there’s even more exculpatory evidence dripping out. Recently released documents about the infamous Trump Tower meeting back accounts of Donald Trump, Jr., and other campaign officials who said there was no talk of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. This was in the testimony of the translator present at the meeting. The agent’s “302” notes read, “There was no smoking gun according to Samochornov [the translator]. There was not a discussion about ‘dirt’ on Hillary Clinton. Samochornov did not think Hillary Clinton was mentioned by name.”

Oh, and guess what? Two years later, when Mueller’s special counsel report was finally released, these exculpatory notes were not included.

By the way, even though President Trump has a nasty virus on his plate right now (yechh), he’s still keeping up with all these developments. In fact, he says he’s “strongly considering” a full pardon for Michael Flynn. After what Flynn has been put through by the “Justice” Department, it’s hard to imagine Trump wouldn’t pardon him, and sooner rather than later.

This Coronavirus is really having an impact on our lives. The stock market has been in free-fall because of the uncertainty of how many people will get sick and what it’s doing to all sectors of the economy, especially the travel industry. Cruise ships are empty, entire nations like Italy, are virtually shutting down, and flights are being canceled all over the world as well as major events being canceled like the South by Southwest Festival in Austin. At public events, I’m now noticing that most people prefer an elbow bump or a wave instead of the customary handshake. Here in our theater, I conduct a meet and greet with our audience after the show, and I’m finding that more of the audience prefers a simple hello rather than shaking hands as well, but I think it’s mostly because there are rumors about me—not that I have coronavirus, but that I have cooties.

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The medical advice hasn’t been consistent in this. Some say not to worry, go on with your business and others say don’t travel at all and stay home. The one thing agreed upon is to wash your hands—a lot.

The one sector of our economy that’s booming is the sale of hand-sanitizers and disinfectant wipes. They’re sold out everywhere. There are even instructions on how to make your own sanitizer by mixing aloe vera gel with rubbing alcohol or with vodka. So, if you see a bunch of your Baptist friends at the liquor store buying up the booze, I’m sure they are there to get the ingredients for hand sanitizer. But boy are they licking their fingers a lot!

I don’t mean to make light of this. It’s a serious issue and one death from it is one too many, but while I’ll take all the precautions I can, I’m not going to stop living my life out of fear of what might happen. I will stop eating directly off buffets with the serving spoon or drinking out of water bottles that people have left opened and half used in airplane seat-back pockets. But I already wash my hands a lot and usually scrub them like a surgeon, especially after shaking a lot of hands. I try to never touch the bottom of my shoes and I do wipe the surfaces around my tray table and seat on airplanes. I only sneeze on planes when the guy in front of me puts his seat right in my face and try to limit my coughing in the direction of people who talk loudly on their cell phones on planes or in restrooms.

We have to take the coronavirus seriously, but we need to use common sense and ultimately trust the Lord to protect us when all our efforts won’t. It’s not practical for me to stop flying, but now that so many in the public are afraid of being on planes because of the virus, I’m flying with fewer people these days so there is a silver lining in those clouds. So if I see you in the airport or on the streets, a nice wave, deep bow from the waist, or tip of the hat will do fine as a greeting to replace the handshake or the kiss on the cheek. And I’m speaking of the cheek on my face of course!