Sen. Mike Lee tests positive for COVID-19
Friday morning, following the midnight news that President Donald Trump, the First Lady, and others have contracted the novel Coronavirus, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) tweeted that he, too, has tested positive.
“Yesterday morning, I was experiencing symptoms consistent with longtime allergies,” the senior senator for Utah tweeted. “Out of an abundance of caution, I sought medical advice and was tested for Covid-19. Unlike the test I took just a few days ago while visiting the White House, yesterday’s test came back positive. On advice of the Senate attending physician, I will remain isolated for the next 10 days.”
With the presidential election 32 days away, and the pressure on Senate Republicans to appoint President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett before the election, Lee says he hopes to return to the Senate Judiciary Committee as soon as possible.
“Like so many other Utahns, I will now spend part of 2020 working from home,” he writes. “I have spoken with Leader McConnell and Chairman Graham, and assured them I will be back to work in time to join my Judiciary Committee colleagues in advancing the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett in the Committee and then to the full Senate.”
Following the news late on Thursday that Hope Hicks, a member of Trump’s team, had tested positive for the Coronavirus, the President and his wife Melania began to quarantine in the White House. A few hours later, both tested positive for the virus, sending the White House.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, Trump’s Democratic challenger for the presidency, and his wife Dr. Jill Biden have tested negative for the virus after being in close proximity on the debate stage Tuesday night. They have sent their thoughts to Mr. and Mrs. Trump, wishing them a “swift recovery.”
The full scope of who in Washington, DC has contracted the virus will likely not be known for a few days as the officials await their test results.
This is a developing story.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Jim Jordan demands IRS explain unexpected visit to Matt Taibbi’s home during testimony
Matt Taibbi, a journalist who has been the top of the headlines for exposing Twitter censorship at the direction of the Department of Justice, had a surprise visit from an IRS agent at his home.
This visit occurred the same day that he was testifying before the Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government about what he had discovered inside of the Twitter files. The IRS did not immediately respond to Fox News digital when asked for comment. Now, Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, demands to know why.
SaraACarter.com contacted the IRS media relations office Tuesday afternoon and was told by an IRS representative to send an email to their media relations office for comment. As of Tuesday evening the IRS has yet to respond to the immediate inquiry.
Jordan sent a letter Tuesday to the IRS questioning the visit by the agent to Taibbi’s home in New Jersey. Jordan could not immediately respond for comment.
In his letter, however, Jordan demanded that Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen turn over documents and provide all information requested by the committee.
“As the Committee continues to examine how to best protect Americans’ fundamental freedoms and to assist the Committee in its oversight, we ask that you please provide the following documents and information:
- All documents and communications referring or relating to the IRS’s field visit to the residence of Matthew Taibbi on March 9, 2023;
- All documents and communications between or among the IRS, Treasury Department, and any other Executive Branch entity referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi; and
- All documents and communications sent or received by Revenue Officer [James Nelson] referring or relating to Matthew Taibbi.”
Jordan noted in the letter that his committee is committed to examining “the mounting evidence that the federal government pressured, coerced, and even directed technology companies to take certain actions related to digital content.”
The Republican lawmakers were astonished that “an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) agent visited, unannounced and unprompted, the home of one of the hearing witnesses, Matthew Taibbi, an independent journalist who has reported extensively on government abuse. In light of the hostile reaction to Mr. Taibbi’s reporting among left-wing activists, and the IRS’s history as a tool of government abuse, the IRS’s action could be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate a witness before Congress. We expect your full cooperation with our inquiry.”
The letter went on to say that “Mr. Taibbi joined fellow journalist Michael Shellenberger in testifying before the Select Subcommittee during its March 9 hearing. During the hearing, Mr. Taibbi described the serious government abuse on which he had been reporting and on which he testified to the Select Subcommittee. As he explained:
The original promise of the internet was that it might democratize the exchange of information globally. . . . What we found is in the [Twitter] files was a sweeping effort to reverse that promise and use machine learning and other tools to turn the internet into an instrument of censorship and social control. Unfortunately, our own government appears to be playing a lead role.”
Jordan’s inquiry into the IRS is not the first time the Congress has questioned the actions of this private government contracted agency.
In 2013, the IRS admitted that it had been targeting conservative groups that were seeking tax-exempt status. Lois Lerner, who had then headed the IRS, stated that her agency had been scrutinizing groups that had “tea party” or “patriots” in their names. These were almost all conservative non-profit organizations.
Those inquiries by the IRS mainly took place in 2009 and 2010, and as reported in NPR “hundreds of groups affiliated with the party had sought tax-exempt status as 501(c)(4) “social welfare” organizations. IRS demands for documents left many of them in bureaucratic limbo for a year or more.”
Taibbi’s investigation into Twitter’s actions prior to Elon Musk’s takeover revealed major concerns expressed by former President Donald J. Trump and his supporters that the social media giant was censoring supporters.
The investigations by Taibbi proved that shadow-banning was occurring and it was targeting primarily Republican activists, journalists, and politicians using the platform. The evidence proved the the FBI had advised Twitter to not allow stories or posts that revealed the Hunter Biden laptop scandal that had first been reported by the New York Post. Those accurate stories were censored by Twitter and later it was revealed that the laptop did belong to Hunter Biden.
Senate Republicans are also deeply concerned about the actions taken Taibbi. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, tweeted Tuesday that the IRS visit to Taibbi “this absolutely stinks to high heaven” because the “IRS has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats.”
This absolutely stinks to high heaven. The IRS has a troubling history of targeting the political enemies of Democrats.
The IRS should NEVER be in the business of harassing the American people. https://t.co/twY3KBcgXx
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 28, 2023
Two Democrat lawmakers at the hearing were attempting to get Taibbi to reveal his sources, which is unconstitutional. Taibbi refused to answer Representatives Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, and Stacey Plaskett, D-Virgin Islands questions.
It was during his testimony that Taibbi’s house was being raided by the IRS.
You can follow Alexander Carter on Twitter @AlexCarterDC
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