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Ex-FDA chief rebukes Trump over claim that "deep state" has slowed virus treatments

Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said Sunday that he rejects President Trump's claim that the "deep state" at the FDA is delaying coronavirus treatments and vaccines for political reasons, telling CBS News' "Face the Nation": "It is a foundational truth that what guides that agency is science."

Why it matters: Gottlieb served as FDA commissioner for two years under the Trump administration. He pushed back on claims from Trump and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows that the agency's bureaucrats don't understand the "urgency" of the moment, saying: "To say these products aren't moving at a historic pace I think is wrong."


Driving the news: Trump plans to announceat a press conference Sunday an emergency use authorization for convalescent plasma, which has already been given to more than 70,000 individuals, the Washington Post reports.

  • Many scientists and physicians say the convalescent plasma might be helpful in treating patients, but warn that it's far from a breakthrough. The plasma is rich in antibodies but there isn't enough evidence to conclusively say it works.
  • Last week, the New York Times reported that the FDA was close to granting an emergency authorization for plasma, but that top health officials intervened because they believed that data from recent trials was too weak.

What they're saying: "I think a lot of that was about plasma, that tweet," Gottlieb said. "There were perceived delays in authorizing plasma under emergency use authorization. It was reported this week that NIH had some misgivings about FDA going forward with that authorization."

  • "But there's reasons some people have some questions about that," he added. "The trial that that's going to be based on, 70,000 patients, wasn't a very rigorously done trial."
  • "I believe plasma's probably beneficial, it's probably weakly beneficial in the setting of this treatment. But I think some people wanted to see more rigorous data to ground that decision. I think that's part of what is going on here with respect to that tweet and questions about the FDA decision-making."

Biden raises $141 million more than Trump

Joe Biden's campaign, the Democratic National Committee and joint fundraising committees raised $466 million cash on hand, the presidential candidate's team announced late Sunday.

Why it matters: President Trump's campaign raised $325 million, his campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh announced earlier Sunday.

Editor's note: This is a developing news story. Please check back for updates.

Virtual Emmys address chaotic year for American TV and society

The Emmy Awards Sunday night addressed the major U.S. issues this year — including the protests on systemic racism and police brutality, the wildfires engulfing parts of the West Coast, the census, the pandemic, essential works and the election.

Why it matters: Award shows have always addressed wider cultural issues, but this year — amid unprecedented stress and uncertainty — that trend has accelerated.

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Arrest over Trump letter containing poison ricin

A suspect was arrested for allegedly "sending a suspicious letter" after law enforcement agents intercepted an envelope addressed to President Trump containing the poison ricin, the FBI confirmed in an emailed statement to Axios Sunday.

The big picture: Axios understands that the suspect, a woman, was arrested at the Canadian border while trying to enter New York.

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Trump campaign goes all in on Pennsylvania

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.

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Inside Joe Biden's Supreme Court strategy

Joe Biden’s closing argument will shift to a dominant emphasis on health care, turning the looming Supreme Court fight into a referendum on coverage and pre-existing conditions, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Biden aides believed they were winning when the race was about the coronavirus pandemic. Now they plan to use the Supreme Court opening as a raucous new field for a health care fight, returning to a theme that gave Democrats big midterm wins in 2018.

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Ginsburg death displaces violence in cities as dominant social media storyline

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Ruth Bader Ginsburg-related social media interactions dwarfed all other topics this week — a departure from a run of weeks where, other than the coronavirus, violence in cities was the dominant storyline.

The big picture: In just two days, there were 41 million interactions (likes, comments or shares) on stories about the late Supreme Court justice, according to exclusive NewsWhip data.

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Biden to Senate Republicans after RBG passing: "Please follow your conscience"

Joe Biden made a direct appeal to Senate Republicans in a speech addressing the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, urging them to "cool the flames that have been engulfing our country" by waiting to confirm her replacement until after the election.

The state of play: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said soon after the news of Ginsburg's death that President Trump's nominee would get a vote in the U.S. Senate by Election Day.

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Leaked Treasury documents reveal massive money laundering in global banking system

Thousands of leaked government documents covering at least $2 trillion worth of transactions reveal how some of the world's biggest banks knowingly moved around the money of oligarchs, terrorists and criminals, with few consequences, according to a massive investigation by BuzzFeed News, the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and hundreds of other news organizations.

The big picture: The investigation, published on Sunday, examines more than 2,100 suspicious activity reports (SARs) filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, known as FinCEN.

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