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Live politics updates: Rand Paul says, ‘Tell Dr. Fauci to take a leap’; My Pillow CEO’s WH notes captured in photo

  • January 16, 2021

Rand Paul: ‘Tell Dr. Fauci to take a leap’

Sen. Rand Paul contradicted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and told people during a FOX News interview on Friday to discard their masks once they have been vaccinated against COVID-19 or have been infected with the coronavirus.

“If you’ve had the disease or you’ve been vaccinated and you’re several weeks out of your second dose, throw your mask away and tell Dr. Fauci to take a leap because, once you have immunity, you don’t need to do this,” the Kentucky Republican told Fox News host Lauren Ingram. 

The CDC says “not enough information is currently available” to lift its recommendations that people wear masks and practice social distancing after getting the vaccine. 

“Experts need to understand more about the protection that COVID-19 vaccines provide in real-world conditions before making that decision. Other factors, including how many people get vaccinated and how the virus is spreading in communities, will also affect this decision,” the CDC says. 

“Masks and social distancing will need to continue into the foreseeable future — until we have some level of herd immunity. Masks and distancing are here to stay,” Dr. Preeti Malani, the chief health officer at the University of Michigan, told PBS.

Malani also said that no vaccine is immediately effective. It takes roughly two weeks before an immune system to make the antibodies necessary to block the infections.

Experts also aren’t sure whether the COVID-19 vaccines prevent people from spreading the virus. As of right now, the vaccines are only known to prevent people from getting sick. Until experts can determine that, the safest thing is to keep wearing masks, according to Dr. Tom Frieden, a former CDC director.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Rep. Lou Correa announces he tested positive for COVID-19

Rep. Lou Correa announced on Twitter Saturday that he tested positive for COVID-19 the day before. 

The California Democrat also acknowledged that he will miss President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration because of his illness. 

“Yesterday, I tested positive for COVID-19. I will be responsible self-quarantine, away from my family, for the recommended time,” Correa said. “While I’ll miss the much-anticipated inauguration of President-elect @JoeBiden, I look forward to working with the new Admin to unite our country!”

Correa now joins the more than 60 members of Congress that have tested positive for the coronavirus.

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

Michael Lindell photographed with White House meeting notes on martial law, installing Trump loyalist at CIA

Michael Lindell, CEO of My Pillow, was photographed leaving a White House meeting Friday with notes referring to the use of martial law and a potential CIA shakeup. 

Among the text visible in Lindell’s notes is a reference to “…martial law if necessary upon the first hint of any …” with the rest of the sentence obstructed. A line above that appears to read, “Insurrection Act now as a result of the assault on the … ” Another section of the notes cites “Foreign Interference in the election” and says, “Make clear this is China/Iran.” 

The notes also suggested replacing CIA Director Gina Haspel with Kash Patel, a Trump loyalist serving as the chief of staff to acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller.

“Move Kash Patel to CIA acting,” read Lindell’s notes.

As a staffer to Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Patel worked to discredit the special counsel investigation into Russian election interference. Trump installed him in his position at the Pentagon in November, after his defeat to President-elect Joe Biden. 

Haspel threatened to resign in early December after learning of Trump’s plan to replace her with Patel, according to several senior administration officials, Axios reported.

The photographs of Lindell were taken as he waited to meet with the president. Despite the dramatic moves outlined in the notes, White House officials said that nothing came from the brief 5-10 minute meeting between Trump and Lindell, according to The New York Times.

If Lindell presented the ideas outlined in his notes to the president, it would not be the first time the idea of martial law has been discussed in the White House since Trump’s Nov. 3 loss. During a meeting in December, Trump reportedly asked former national security adviser Michael Flynn about invoking martial law and discussed it during the meeting.

Lindell, a staunch supporter of Trump, has continued to share false claims of widespread voter fraud and Trump’s baseless claims that he was the true winner of an election he lost by more than 4 percentage points. 

As recently as Thursday, Lindell told supporters on Facebook to “keep the faith” and, “We will have our president Donald Trump 4 more years!” 

– Sarah Elbeshbishi

White House to resume release of visitor logs under Biden

During the Biden-Harris administration, the White House will once again release visitor logs, according to the incoming press secretary, Jen Psaki. 

“For the sake of clarity – The Biden-Harris Administration will return to the policy of releasing White House visitor logs,” Psaki said in tweet Friday night. “Also true that visitors will be limited for some time because safety during the pandemic is top priority.”

This change is a shift from President Donald Trump’s White House, which kept the visitor logs private. That move was heavily criticized and even faced a lawsuit in response.

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