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‘Absolutely false and offensive’: Publix slams CBS ‘60 Minutes’ segment on COVID vaccine rollout in Florida

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CBS’s “60 Minutes” is receiving backlash after airing a segment Sunday night about Florida Governor Ron DeSantis‘s vaccine distribution partnership with Publix grocery stores.

The segment revealed that the Governor partnered with Publix grocery stores, the largest grocery store chain in the state, to distribute vaccines after they donated a total of $100,000 to his political action committee in the weeks leading up to the deal’s announcement. The segment also suggested that DeSantis directed vaccines towards wealthy communities, with Florida’s poorer communities being left behind.

However, Publix slammed the “60 Minutes” segment in a statement, calling the accusation “absolutely false and offensive.”

“The irresponsible suggestion that there was a connection between campaign contributions made to Governor DeSantis and our willingness to join other pharmacies in support of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts is absolutely false and offensive,” Publix said. “We are proud of our pharmacy associates for administering more than 1.5 million doses of vaccine to date and for joining other retailers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia to do our part to help our communities emerge from the pandemic.”

Former Democratic Florida State Representative Jared Moskowitz said the allegations that there was a connection between the supermarket’s campaign contributions and the partnership to administer vaccines was “absolute malarkey.”

“@60Minutes I said this before and I’ll say it again. @Publix was recommended by [FL Division of Emergency Management] and [Florida Dept. Health] as the other pharmacies were not ready to start,” Moskowitz tweeted. “Period! Full Stop! No one from the Governor[‘]s office suggested Publix. It’s just absolute malarkey,” Moskowitz tweeted.

“60 Minutes” also aired footage of reporter Sharyn Alfonsi confronting DeSantis at a press conference last month over the donation report.

“Publix, as you know, donated $100,000 to your campaign,” Alfonsi began in the clip. “And then you rewarded them with the exclusive rights to distribute the vaccination in Palm Beach –“

“First, of all what you’re saying is wrong,” DeSantis replied.

“How is that not pay for play?” Alfonsi then asked.

“That’s a fake narrative,” DeSantis replied. “I met with the county mayor, I met with the administrator, I met with all the folks at Palm Beach County and I said, ‘Here’s some of the options: We can do more drive-thru sites, we can give more to hospitals, we can do the Publix.’ And they said, ‘We think that would be the easiest thing for our residents.”

The Daily Wire reported that “60 Minutes” “deceptively edited the interaction to remove nearly the entire portion” of DeSantis’ response to Alfonsi’s accusation.

A.G. Hamilton also noted that “60 Minutes” cut out “several minutes” of DeSantis’s response where he talks about meeting with other retail pharmacies but Publix was the “first one to raise their hand.”

OANN’s Jack Posobiec called out “60 Minutes” for their biased reporting on political donations.

“If you are mad about Publix donating $100G to Ron DeSantis wait till you hear about Big Pharma,” Posobiec tweeted.

“A Publix heir personally donated 100k to DeSantis. Big Pharma donated millions to Joe Biden and tens of millions more to Congress. You won’t see this on @60Minutes,” Posobiec continued.

“60 Minutes has it completely backwards. It would have been a scandal if DeSantis refused to work with Publix which is the most common supermarket found in Florida (the state with the most seniors). Not the other way around.”

“60 Minutes” has yet to comment on the edited exchange.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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GOP Demands Answers: Jan 6 Committee, FBI Won’t Release Info on Suspected Fed Informant Ray Epps

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Screen Shot 2022 01 14 at 4.31.29 PM e1642253255400

The mystery of Ray Epps continues to grow. Multiple videos of Epps have surfaced showing him repeatedly demanding pro-Trump rioters should enter the U.S. Capitol on January 6. Epps’ involvement has led many to speculate that he was an FBI plant who incited the January 6th insurrection. One video of Epps shows Trump supporters shouting “no” to his suggestion of entering the Capitol and even begin to shout that he is a “fed.”

Texas Representative Ronny Jackson tweeted Thursday, “Who’s Ray Epps? Why did he mysteriously disappear from the FBI wanted list? Why can’t we see what he said to the Cheney/Pelosi Witch Hunt committee? Was the FBI involved in any way in planning 1/6? Why won’t they answer ANY of these questions? Something is NOT right here!”

A lot of questions need to be answered in deed. Jackson’s tweet comes after Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) questioned Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.

Cruz got zero answers from Sanborn’s testimony, only causing further curiosity about Epps; just as Jackson suggests. The New York Post transcribed some of the testimony, as follows:

“A lot of Americans are concerned that the federal government deliberately encouraged illegal and violent conduct on Jan . 6 ,” Cruz (R-Texas) told Jill Sanborn, the executive assistant director of the FBI’s national security branch during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

“My question to you – – and this is not an ordinary law enforcement question, this is a question of public accountability — did federal agents or those in service of federal agent s actively encourage violent and criminal conduct on Jan. 6 ?” he asked.

 Sanborn responded by saying she couldn’t disclose “sources and methods.”

“Ms. Sanborn, was Ray Epps a fed?” asked Cruz after stating that Epps was captured on video the night of Jan. 5, 2021 rousing people to “get into the Capitol.”

“Sir, I cannot answer that question,” replied Sanborn, who added that she was “aware of the individual,” but didn’t have “specific background” on him.

Cruz went on and stated that on Jan. 6, Epps was seen talking to rioters moments before they ripped down police barricades outside the Capitol.

 Sanborn responded that she couldn’t answer whether Epps urged them to knock down the barricades.

Cruz then noted that Epps initially appeared on a poster issued by the FBI seeking information about people connected to criminal activity on Jan. 6, but was absent from another FBI “seeking information” poster distributed July 1.

Cruz then notes,  “magically, Mr. Epps disappeared from the public posting” and “according to public records, Mr. Epps has not been charged with anything. No one’s explained why a person videoed urging people to go to the Capitol, a person whose conduct was so suspect the crowd believed he was a fed, would magically disappear from the list of people the FBI was looking at.”

Even more curious, the January 6th Committee investigating the riot has simply said claims that Epps was an informant were “unsupported.” In a statement on Twitter, the panel said “Epps informed us that he was not employed by, working with, or acting at the direction of any law enforcement agency on January 5th of 6th or at any time, & that he has never been an informant for the FBI or any other law enforcement agency.”

Yet the Committee will not release interview transcripts. Yet the Committee expects the American people to just accept their vague and useless tweet? No way.

John Blischak is the attorney for Epps, and told the Epoch Times that his client is not working with, or for the FBI. But…Blischak himself is a former FBI agent. Something smells fishy.

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