Feb 21, 2018

HHS official placed on leave after posting conspiracy theories

Department of Health and Human Services building. Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services has placed Jon Cordova, a top agency official, on leave after posting a slew of baseless claims and conspiracy theories on social media, CNN reports. This reportedly comes in after a CNN KFile inquiry about the numerous unsubstantiated smears Cordova posted.

The backdrop: Cordova, who serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary at HHS, had posted stories about Gold Star father Khizr Khan being a "Muslim Brotherhood agent" and made claims about Texas Senator Ted Cruz being involved in a sex scandal. An agency spokesperson told CNN that Cordova “is currently on administrative leave while we look into this issue further.” Cordova served as a delegate from California at the RNC Convention who voted for Trump and worked with the Trump campaign on the communications team in the Golden State.

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House passes bill to make lynching a federal hate crime

Photo: Aaron P. Bauer-Griffin/GC Images via Getty Images

The House voted 410-4 on Wednesday to pass legislation to designate lynching as a federal hate crime.

Why it matters: Congress has tried and failed for over 100 years to pass measures to make lynching a federal crime.

This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

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