Sep 30, 2019

Misleading Trump tweet claims Ukraine whistleblower complaint "not holding up"

President Trump tweeted Monday that the Ukraine whistleblower's complaint is "mostly" about his call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and that its account of the call is "a fraud" — 2 claims disproven by both the complaint itself and the memo of the call released by the White House.

"The Fake Whistleblower complaint is not holding up. It is mostly about the call to the Ukrainian President which, in the name of transparency, I immediately released to Congress & the public. The Whistleblower knew almost nothing, its 2ND HAND description of the call is a fraud!"
Reality check

The call only encompasses one of four sections of the whistleblower's complaint. The other sections allege that the Trump administration tried to hide Trump's call with Zelensky — and others like it — in a separate computer system for classified information and discuss the events leading up to the July 25 Zelensky call.

The complaint's section about the call is sourced to "multiple White House officials with direct knowledge of the call." It also includes 3 specific allegations about the call:

  1. Trump asked Zelensky to investigate the business dealings of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, in Ukraine.
  2. Trump asked Zelensky for help locating servers that could indicate that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election actually originated in Ukraine, an allegation that originated in far-right conspiracy theories.
  3. Trump said that Zelensky should meet or speak with his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and Attorney General Bill Barr to discuss these matters further.

Despite not having firsthand knowledge of the call, these 3 claims in the whistleblower's complaint were verified by the White House's release of the memo summarizing the Trump-Zelensky call.

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The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 5,410,228 — Total deaths: 345,105 — Total recoveries — 2,169,005Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 1,643,499 — Total deaths: 97,722 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios. This graphic includes "probable deaths" that New York City began reporting on April 14.

The CDC is warning of potentially "aggressive rodent behavior" amid a rise in reports of rat activity in several areas, as the animals search further for food while Americans stay home more during the coronavirus pandemic.

By the numbers: More than 97,700 people have died from COVID-19 and over 1.6 million have tested positive in the U.S. Over 366,700 Americans have recovered and more than 14.1 million tests have been conducted.