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2:10 PM ET, May 17, 2020


 Top Items: 
USA Today:
The Trump administration has recently removed 4 inspectors general.  Here are the ousted watchdogs  —  WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's decision Friday to fire his department's inspector general marks the fourth time within the last three months that an internal agency watchdog has been removed by the Trump administration.
Discussion: Axios
Eric Trump accuses Democrats of “milking” coronavirus lockdowns to win the election
Spencer Kimball / CNBC:
Mike Pompeo recommended Trump firing of State Department inspector general, White House says
Discussion: NBC News and The Gateway Pundit
Washington Post:
Trump ramps up retaliatory purge with firing of State Department inspector general
Discussion: Breitbart and Outside the Beltway
Michael Morell / Washington Post:
The only culprit in the Flynn ‘unmasking’ scandal is the Trump administration  —  There was no wrongdoing on the part of Obama administration officials who, during the presidential transition in 2016 and 2017, “unmasked” the identity of Michael Flynn, who was set to become national security adviser.
Discussion: Law & Crime
Talia Kaplan / Fox News:
President Trump discusses bombshell revelations in Flynn case in exclusive interview with Maria Bartiromo  —  President Trump called the Russia probe “the greatest political crime in the history of our country, ” and labeled his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn a hero …
Frank Bruni / New York Times:
I'll Take Biden's Confusion Over Trump's Corruption  —  Let's not repeat the false equivalence of 2016.  —  Please tell me why I should care whether Joe Biden is declining mentally when Donald Trump bottomed out morally long ago.  —  I'm serious.  I'd rather drink milk past its expiration date than arsenic.
The Daily Beast:
Billionaire MAGA Fan Peter Thiel Has Had It With Trump's COVID-19 Response  —  More than a dozen sources in Trump's orbit said they could not say whether the Silicon Valley luminary was going to play any meaningful role in the re-elect, like he did in 2016.  —  During the last presidential campaign …
Discussion: Raw Story
Sara Dorn / New York Post:
People flock to NYC-area bars, beaches as ‘quarantine fatigue’ intensifies  —  They're partying like it's 2019.  —  Lockdown-weary New Yorkers ditched the distancing to get social instead this weekend — transforming parts of the Big Apple into a raucous, late-season Mardi Gras.
Discussion: Gothamist
Harry Enten / CNN:
State polls suggest Biden has a clear national lead  —  (CNN)Poll of the week: A new Marquette Law School poll finds former Vice President Joe Biden with a 46% to 43% lead over President Donald Trump in Wisconsin.  —  The poll matches the last poll from Marquette, which also had Biden up by 3 points in Wisconsin.
Discussion: The Guardian
Alexander Burns / New York Times:
Seeking: Big Democratic Ideas That Make Everything Better  —  By the end of primary season, the Democratic Party had all but settled on a conventional center-left agenda.  But the pandemic is forcing the Biden campaign and other leaders to redraw plans for 2021.  —  More than 36 million Americans are suddenly unemployed.
Discussion: Associated Press
No masks.  No gloves.  No problem.  As coronavirus cases soar, carefree day-trippers from Illinois pour in  —  On the first weekend without any statewide stay-at-home orders, Wisconsin was open for business, and at least along the southern border, people from Illinois poured in.
Associated Press:
European leaders are blunt: A vaccine won't come soon enough  —  SOAVE, Italy (AP) — In separate, stark warnings, two major European leaders have bluntly told their citizens that the world needs to adapt to living with the coronavirus and cannot wait to be saved by the development of a vaccine.
Elizabeth Warren / The Atlantic:
My Brother's Death Didn't Have to Happen  —  Senator Elizabeth Warren's oldest brother, Donald Reed Herring, died of COVID-19 in late April, and I heard that she sometimes mentioned this in conversations about policy, though she was reluctant to talk about it publicly.
Discussion: Axios
Josh Chin / Wall Street Journal:
China Told Labs to Destroy Coronavirus Samples to Reduce Biosafety Risks  —  A Chinese senior official says domestic law has clear rules for the handling of highly pathogenic samples  —  A senior Chinese official appeared to confirm Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's allegation that Beijing …
Salena Zito / Washington Examiner:   Pompeo tells Salena Zito the world must ‘impose costs on China’ for coronavirus
USA Today:
Wisconsin's economy is reopening and it's a hot coronavirus mess.  Don't do what we did.  —  Some curious photos began rocketing around social media sites Wednesday night —pictures of people in Wisconsin once again in their natural habitat, crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in bars.
Harry Dunn's mother urges UK to stand up to ‘bully’ US as diplomatic tensions flare  —  The mother of Northamptonshire teenager Harry Dunn has urged the UK to stand up to the “bully” US government as diplomatic tensions reportedly flared up between the two countries.
Jacob Knutson / Axios:
Navarro claims lockdowns will kill “many more” Americans than coronavirus  —  White House economic adviser Peter Navarro claimed on NBC's “Meet the Press” Sunday that lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus will “indirectly” kill more people than the virus itself.
Discussion: The Hill and Breitbart
Washington Post:
In next phase of pandemic, Trump appears poised to let others take the lead  —  President Trump has proclaimed the latest phase of pandemic response the “transition to greatness.”  But Trump appears poised to preside over the eventual transition more as a salesman and marketer than a decider.
Ronn Blitzer / Fox News:
Colorado Gov Polis pushes back against CDC's coronavirus death counts  —  Colorado Gov. Jared Polis pushed back against recent coronavirus death counts, including those conducted by the CDC, days after his own state's health department acknowledged that their numbers had been inflated …
Evelyn N. Farkas / Washington Post:
Russia is interfering in our elections again.  And Trump supporters are emulating Russian tactics.  —  Evelyn N. Farkas was deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia from 2012 to 2015.  She is a Democratic candidate to represent New York's 17th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Wall Street Journal:
As West Cautiously Reopens, New Coronavirus Infection Clusters Emerge in Asia  —  Authorities in U.S. explore a safe restart, but some countries that lifted measures face new clusters of Covid-19  —  While the U.S. and other Western countries tentatively resumed some activity this weekend …
Lee Brown / New York Post:
Nevada congressman admits to affair with intern after podcast exposé  —  A married Nevada congressman has admitted having a longstanding affair with a former intern calling herself “Love Jones” — after she exposed him in an explosive series of podcasts.
Don Thompson / Washington Times:
Gavin Newsom eyes prison closures amid budget woes  —  SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Gov. Gavin Newsom is proposing to significantly shrink the footprint of California's prison system, partly because of massive budget cuts prompted by the pandemic but also because of philosophy.
The Texas Observer:
Is Texas Inflating Its COVID-19 Testing Numbers by Including Antibody Tests?  —  Texas health officials are combining some antibody tests along with more common viral tests in statewide COVID-19 tracking data.  Experts say this muddies the data and potentially helps pad testing numbers …
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 More Items: 
The Daily Beast:
Is The National Enquirer in Its Final ‘Death Spiral’?
Ronn Blitzer / Fox News:
Top investor predicts 'pendulum'-like, ‘uncertain’ economic recovery
Discussion: The Hill
Micki McElya / Washington Post:
Almost 90,000 dead and no hint of national mourning. Are these deaths not ‘ours’?
Anna Fifield / Washington Post:
New Zealand edges back to normal after quashing coronavirus in 49 days
Leo Thuman / Campus Reform:
Ohio professor the latest to be arrested over China ties
Discussion: Breitbart
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Democratic governors hit with flurry of legal challenges to coronavirus lockdowns
Discussion: Detroit Free Press
Jan Hoffman / New York Times:
'I Can't Turn My Brain Off': PTSD and Burnout Threaten Medical Workers
How chatter and conservative anger upended a White House staffing search
Discussion: Raw Story
 Earlier Items: 
Mike Baker / New York Times:
Feds Suspect Vast Fraud Network Is Targeting U.S. Unemployment Systems
Tensions rise between the White House and CDC as Birx critiques virus tracking
Discussion: New York Times and Townhall
Ben Simon / Agence France-Presse:
Israel set to swear in Netanyahu-Gantz unity government
Violet Ikonomova / Deadline Detroit:
Downtown Detroit Realtor Charged With Threatening To Kill Whitmer, Nessel
Paul Mirengoff / Power Line:
Andrew Cuomo's atrocious response to the coronavirus pandemic
Discussion: ProPublica
Dan Balz / Washington Post:
A series exploring the political dynamics surrounding the coronavirus crisis.