US Attorney General Bill Barr strongly suggests in a FOX News State TV interview that states don't have the right to shut down businesses and schools during a public health emergency, and hints that the Trump regime may take action against states that don't rescind shelter-at-home orders next month.
Attorney General William P. Barr said Wednesday that some of the government-imposed restrictions meant to control the spread of covid-19 were “draconian” and suggested that they should be eased next month.
In an interview with Fox News’s Laura Ingraham, Barr, long a proponent of executive power, said the government — and in particular state officials — had broad authority to impose restrictions on people in cases of emergency.
But, he said, the federal government would be “keeping a careful eye on” the situation, and stressed that officials should be “very careful to make sure that the draconian measures that are being adopted are fully justified.”
“When this period of time, at the end of April, expires, I think we have to allow people to adapt more than we have, and not just tell people to go home and hide under their bed, but allow them to use other ways — social distancing and other means — to protect themselves,” Barr said.
The White House has advised people to limit the size of social gatherings and practice other social distancing measures through April amid the outbreak of the novel coronavirus that causes the disease covid-19. Most states have imposed even more aggressive measures, ordering residents to gather only in small groups and venture outdoors for only essential trips or possibly face fines or other penalties.
Although Barr has appeared twice at White House coronavirus briefings, his comments to Fox News were the most extensive yet that he has made on the public health crisis and the steps the government has taken to stem it. Repeatedly, Ingraham pressed the country’s top law enforcement official on how the government’s actions comport with Americans constitutional rights to gather and worship freely. Churches, like other businesses, have been essentially closed in the crisis.
Barr said that governments had a right to put restrictions on churches, so long as they were treated no differently than other institutions, but added he was “very concerned” about possible encroachments on Americans’ freedom of religion. Barr said he was also concerned about the “tracking of people” that some experts have advised might be necessary to quickly identify and quarantine those infected.
This is the regime all but promising that states that do not lift orders next month closing down businesses and schools and churches will find themselves facing legal action from the federal government, reduced federal resources, or both.
Barr also attacked the Mueller probe, calling it a step "to sabotage the presidency".
Let me be frank here, this is the clearest sign yet that while Barr is willing to allow states to do what they are doing now, that patience expires at the end of the month. Barr is going to bring the hammer down on states in three weeks unless reined in, and there seems little chance of that.
It's going to take tens of thousands of deaths to get the regime to listen, and even then I expect Trump to cut off states or even send in National Guard before allowing states to continue with stay-at-home orders. Trump gave the game away yesterday.
.@Acosta: How can the administration discuss the possibility of reopening the country when the administration does not have an adequate nationwide testing system for this virus? Don't you need a nationwide testing system for the virus before you reopen?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) April 9, 2020
TRUMP: "No." pic.twitter.com/JokZYfy97T
It will get lethal very quickly if that happens. The death toll will skyrocket, and public order will be severely tested. And trust me, your FOX News State TV-watching relatives absolutely believe they'll be back at Golden Corral and the ball park the first weekend in May.
We may not even make it until May before Trump has Barr go after states.
The Trump administration is pushing to reopen much of the country next month, raising concerns among health experts and economists of a possible covid-19 resurgence if Americans return to their normal lives before the virus is truly stamped out.
Behind closed doors, President Trump — concerned with the sagging economy — has sought a strategy for resuming business activity by May 1, according to people familiar with the discussions.
In phone calls with outside advisers, Trump has even floated trying to reopen much of the country before the end of this month, when the current federal recommendations to avoid social gatherings and work from home expire, the people said. Trump regularly looks at unemployment and stock market numbers, complaining that they are hurting his presidency and reelection prospects, the people said.
Like others, they spoke on the condition of anonymity to reveal internal discussions.
Trump said at his daily briefing Thursday that the United States was at the “top of the hill” and added, “Hopefully, we’re going to be opening up — you could call it opening — very, very, very, very soon, I hope.”
Multiple Cabinet secretaries in recent days have publicly expressed hope that the various government orders directing residents to stay at home and forcing nonessential businesses to close could at least be partially eased next month.
Nancy Pelosi, for her part, is warning Trump to back off but the House isn't returning to session anytime soon, meaning the fate of any future aid for Americans is questionable at best.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled Thursday that the House is unlikely to return to session later this month, her clearest indication yet that Congress — like the rest of the country — could remain shuttered for weeks or even longer as the coronavirus crisis continues.
In a half-hour interview, Pelosi issued a stark warning to President Donald Trump, urging him not to prematurely rush to reopen major segments of the country before the coronavirus is under control, which she said could further send the U.S. economy into a tailspin.
“Nobody can really tell you that and I would never venture a guess. I certainly don’t think we should do it sooner than we should,” Pelosi said when asked if she still planned to bring the House back on April 20, which is the current target date.
“This has taken an acceleration from when we started this…Little did we know then that at this point, we’d be further confined.”
If House Democrats fail to act, then Trump will, and it will be a slaughterhouse. Because what's happening in NYC is coming to cities across the country, especially if we let up on social distancing. And in any other country, what's happening in NYC right now would be called "mass graves".
New York City officials have hired contract laborers to bury the dead in its potter’s field on Hart Island as the city’s daily death rate from the coronavirus epidemic has reached grim new records in each of the last three days.
The city has used Hart Island to bury New Yorkers with no known next of kin or whose family are unable to arrange a funeral since the 19th century.
Typically, some 25 bodies are interred each week by low-paid jail inmates working on the island, which sits off the east shore of the city’s Bronx borough and is accessible only by boat.
That number began increasing in March as the new coronavirus spread rapidly, making New York the epicenter of the pandemic. They are now burying about two dozen bodies a day, five days a week, said Jason Kersten, a spokesman for the Department of Correction, which oversees the burials.
For burial on the island, the dead are wrapped in body bags and placed inside pine caskets. The deceased’s name is scrawled in large letters on each casket, which helps should any body need to be disinterred later, and they are buried in long narrow trenches excavated by digging machines.
“They added two new trenches in case we need them,” Kersten said. To help with the surge, and amid an outbreak of the COVID-19 respiratory illness caused by the virus at the city’s main jail, contract laborers have been hired, he said.
We're only in the opening stanzas of this disaster. If Trump uses the federal government to pressure states into reopening businesses and schools in May or even late April, the death toll will skyrocket.
And that's where we are headed. He's betting millions of lives on "saving" his re-election prospects from a Biden win. Bill Barr is helping him.
Our lives are all on the line.