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Cortney O'Brien

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Things are moving along nicely in the experimental vaccine department at Johnson & Johnson. The company has begun the final stage of clinical trials for its coronavirus contender. With 60,000 participants, it’s the largest trial in the U.S. by far. The researchers say they should know by the end of the year whether they have a safe vaccine.

The vaccine candidate uses an adenovirus to carry a gene from the coronavirus into human cells. Then, it produces coronavirus proteins that can potentially prime the immune system to fight off a later infection by the virus, as the New York Times explains.

The president and his administration shared the “big news.”

Johnson & Johnson’s candidate has a few factors on its side. The vaccine contender does not need to be stored in subzero temperatures like the other two candidates offered by Moderna and Pfizer, and it may require just one dose instead of two.

Dr. Anthony Fauci has explained that, under Operation Warp Speed, they have about six or seven vaccine candidates in development. He too is “cautiously optimistic” that we’ll have a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020. Last week, Trump suggested that every American should expect to have access to a vaccine by April.

Wednesday’s news from Johnson & Johnson should be welcome news for everyone. But, as Mark Levin recently noted, Trump critics have managed to even “denigrate” the impressive work of Operation Warp Speed. The president said it’s because they think he’ll get the “credit” for it.

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: ‘Big News’ on the Coronavirus Vaccine Front

White House senior adviser Kellyanne Conway says she has had a “humbling” experience these past four years in the Trump administration, but she’s ready to move on. On Sunday night, Conway made the surprise announcement that she’s leaving the White House at the end of August, to make more time for family.

Conway started as then-candidate Donald Trump’s campaign manager in 2016, becoming the first successful female campaign manager in history. When she became White House senior advisor, Conway became known for her memorable tete-a-tetes with familiar news anchors, many of which occurred on CNN. President Trump often complimented Conway for being willing to go on CNN when many conservatives wouldn’t.

Conway shared the following letter ahead of her departure.

The past four years have allowed me blessings beyond compare as a part of history on Election Night 2016 and as Senior Counselor to the President. It’s been heady. It’s been humbling.

I am deeply grateful to the President for this honor, and to the First Lady, the Vice President and Mrs. Pence, my colleagues in the White House and the Administration, and the countless people who supported me and my work. As many convention speakers will demonstrate this week, President Trump’s leadership has had a measurable, positive impact on the peace and prosperity of the nation, and on millions of Americans who feel forgotten no more.

The incredible men, women and children we’ve met along the way have reaffirmed my later-in-life experience that public service can be meaningful and consequential. For all of its political differences and cultural cleavages, this is a beautiful country filled with amazing people. The promise of America belongs to us all.

I will be transitioning from the White House at the end of this month. George is also making changes. We disagree about plenty but we are united on what matters most: the kids. Our four children are teens and ‘tweens starting a new academic year, in middle school and high school, remotely from home for at least a few months. As millions of parents nationwide know, kids “doing school from home” requires a level of attention and vigilance that is as unusual as these times.

This is completely my choice and my voice. In time, I will announce future plans. For now, and for my beloved children, it will be less drama, more mama.

Kellyanne Conway

Earlier on Sunday, Conway’s husband George announced he’d be leaving the anti-Trump political action committee The Lincoln Project for the same reason, to focus on their four children.

Conway’s colleagues bid her adieu and wished her well.

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: ‘Less Drama, More Mama’: Kellyanne Conway Announces She’s Leaving the White House

Democrats didn’t even try to make an effort to consider their colleague Sen. Tim Scott’s (R-SC) police reform bill, the JUSTICE Act, on Wednesday. Even after he offered 20 amendments.

Scott, the only black Republican senator in Congress, who has been working on this legislation for five years and knows firsthand what it feels like to be targeted by cops just because of the color of his skin, showed his emotions on “Fox & Friends” Thursday morning. He accused the Democrats of playing “pure politics” and letting the opportunity to make real change pass them by.

“That’s why,” he said, agreeing with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “there will be blood on the Democrats’ hands.”

Scott made the additional point that most of the poorest cities and communities in America, as well as those cities that has devolved into chaos after the police killing George Floyd, are run by Democrats. But that fact escapes them.

“They believe they’re going to win in November, so they would rather write their own reform bill without any input from the Republican Party,” Scott said.

The senator summarized the somber timeline.

“We’ll move on,” Sen. Scott said on the Senate floor on Wednesday. “People will forget about it. And you know what’s going to happen? Something bad. And we’ll be right back here talking about what should have been done.”

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: An Enraged Tim Scott Explains Why Democrats ‘Will Have Blood on Their Hands’

Now-former Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), who has served North Carolina’s 11th congressional district for the last seven years, and was at one time the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, resigned from Congress on Monday to officially become President Trump’s chief of staff. He delivered his formal letter of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Meadows’s resignation was demanded by Article I, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits individuals from holding other civil offices while also serving in Congress.

At the White House, Meadows will replace Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, who had served as acting chief of staff since December 2018. Trump announced the staff shakeup on March 6.

Meadows will start officially reporting for chief of staff duty on Tuesday.

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: Mark Meadows Resigns from Congress to Officially Become White House Chief of Staff

As you’ve already heard, the Senate failed to invoke cloture for procedural motion on the CARES Act on Sunday, the next phase of Congress’s coronavirus emergency relief effort. The final tally was 47-47, far short of the 60-vote threshold. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer spoke for the Democrats by claiming that the GOP measure “includes huge bailouts without protections for people and workers and without accountability, and because it shortchanges our hospitals and healthcare workers who need our help.” Republican senators immediately chewed out their Democratic colleagues for another “unbelievable” round of partisan playmaking.

But the fiercest response came from the Senate Majority Leader himself. Despite his own serious qualms about Phase Two of Congress’s coronavirus response last week, Mitch McConnell and his GOP colleagues gagged and voted for it anyway (his words). Why, he wondered, couldn’t Pelosi do the same courtesy for Part Three?

“It was just a few days ago when this Republican Senate majority moved expeditiously to pass the House Democrats’ ‘phase two’ legislation, even though many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle and I had serious reservations and would have written it differently,” McConnell said. “Nevertheless, I pushed the Speaker’s legislation through the Senate. Because urgency and results matter during a national crisis. Because, imperfections notwithstanding, it was the right thing to do for our country. So I hope and anticipate that a similar degree of bipartisanship and urgency will be reciprocated now.”

When McConnell reacted on the Senate floor, some veteran reporters said that it was the angriest they’ve ever seen him.

You can see for yourself. Either I’m imagining it or his cheeks got really red.

“This obstruction achieves nothing!” McConnell fumed. “Nothing whatsoever.”

Voting “yes” on the bill would not have disadvantaged Democrats in any way, McConnell reasoned, because it would have allowed them another 30 hours of debate. Instead, he said the Democrats “continue to dicker.”

McConnell said he’s scheduling another vote on the measure at a time of his choosing, and he “hopes that some adults show up on the side of the room.”

Trump was asked to respond to the stalled vote during Sunday’s White House press briefing.

“To me, it’s not that complicated,” he said. “We have the help the worker. We have to save the companies.”

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: McConnell as ‘Angry’ as the Press Has Ever Seen Him on the Senate Floor

Some moderate Republican senators believe the revelations in former national security adviser John Bolton’s new book are enough to justify bringing him in as a witness for the impeachment trial of President Trump. According to the leaks, Bolton claims that Trump withheld military aid from Ukraine on the condition that President Zelensky agree to investigate the Bidens.

Having read the report, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) believes that the jurors should be given the chance to hear from Bolton himself. A few of his colleagues followed, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who released a statement sounding more confident than ever that she’ll vote in favor of hearing more witnesses. Other moderates are still on the fence. The Senate will have a chance to vote follow the White House defense team’s opening arguments and a 16-hour round of questions on each side.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), who in January took over the Senate seat left vacant by retiring Sen. Johnny Isakson, directly tagged Romney on Twitter and accused him of “appeasing the left” and acting for the cameras.

Before she was sworn in to the Senate, President Trump shared his concerns about Loeffler and reportedly wanted Rep. Doug Collins to fill the vacant seat instead. Yet, Loeffler has been squarely on the president’s side during the trial, telling the Democrats last week that they already lost their case in the House.

I hope it’s not too awkward in the chamber today! You can follow today’s proceedings on the Townhall live blog.

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: Senator Loeffler Accuses Her Colleague Mitt Romney of Trying to ‘Appease the Left’

On Monday the House of Representatives tabled a vote to censure Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. It was a party line vote, 218-185. Schiff gloated about the result on Twitter and suggested that Democrats will have the last laugh.

Yet, as Republicans like Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) will tell you, their failure to censure does not prove Schiff’s innocence. His work on the impeachment inquiry against President Trump has been one big, biased, secretive mission, Zeldin claimed on Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”

The quid pro quo narrative the Democrats are using “has been obliterated” by the testimony he’s heard during the inquiry, he told Fox News.

“There is nothing from anything that I’ve heard that you could possibly impeach the president of the United States for,” Zeldin said.

The Republican did give Schiff some credit for his creative questioning. The chairman, Zeldin charged, “makes multiple leaps and assumptions” in his questions. It’s “very leading.”

For example, when Schiff had a former senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Michael McKinley, in the hot seat, the chairman asked him to talk about how bad things were in Pompeo’s State Department. McKinley was offended by the tone, so Schiff had to rephrase the question.

“It’s disgusting,” Zeldin said, adding that it’s been a trend throughout all of the depositions.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) can also attest to Schiff’s attempt to shut out Republicans during the process.

“We found out last night that Democrats will now not even allow Republicans to have a copy of the respective transcripts from each of the witnesses we’ve interviewed thus far,” Jordan said on Tuesday. “And if in fact – no copies – we can’t make copies – we don’t get a copy.”

During a congressional hearing Schiff also embellished parts of the phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky, which was the launch pad for the impeachment inquiry.

There are at least seven more witnesses expected to come forward and testify this week for the inquiry. Current acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor is currently testifying on Capitol Hill. Again, yes, behind closed doors.

Zeldin emphasized that there is not one fact Democrats can present to Congress to support impeachment.

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: Lee Zeldin Reveals Adam Schiff’s Biased Questioning During Closed Testimony

On Friday morning, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made the surprising claim that the U.S. offered to lift sanctions against the regime if it would speed nuclear negotiations.

“The German chancellor, the prime minister of England (Britain) and the president of France were in New York and all insisted that this meeting take place. And America says that it will lift the sanctions,” Rouhani said on his official website, according to Reuters. “It was up for debate what sanctions will be lifted and they (the United States) had said clearly that we will lift all sanctions.” (CNBC)

The White House very quickly disputed that charge.

And President Trump confirmed it.

In fact, just last week, Trump ordered a new round of sanctions against the regime after obtaining evidence that it bombed a major Saudi Arabian oil field.

“These are the strongest sanctions ever put on the country,” Trump said. “We are at a level of sanction that is far greater than ever before with respect to Iran.”

The sanctions hit Iran’s Central Bank and its National Development Fund and Iran-based company Etemad Tejarat Pars.

The regime denies having orchestrated the bombing, but the State Department says all the evidence points in one direction.

“In a failed attempt to disrupt the global economy, the Islamic Republic of Iran attacked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the State Department said in a press release. “This act of aggression was sophisticated in its planning and brazen in its execution. Regardless of transparent attempts to shift blame, the evidence points to Iran—and only Iran.”

Author: Cortney O’Brien

Source: Town Hall: White House Disputes Iran’s Claim the US Offered to Lift Sanctions

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