February 6, 2020

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) cited his faith as he voted to convict President Trump, and Fox & Friends is outraged.

Romney on Wednesday became the first senator in history to vote to remove a president of his own party, and in announcing his decision to do so, Romney said, "As a senator juror, I swore an oath before God to exercise impartial justice. I am profoundly religious. My faith is at the heart of who I am." Similarly, he told The Atlantic that "I have gone through a process of very thorough analysis and searching, and I have prayed through this process," though he noted that "I don't pretend that God told me what to do.”

This type of talk really, really upset Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, who on Thursday's Fox & Friends tore into Romney.

"For him to bring religion into this — it has nothing to do with religion," Kilmeade said. "'My faith makes me do this?' Are you kidding?" ... I mean, that is unbelievable for him to bring religion into this."

Kilmeade, who suggested Romney was being "totally insincere" and had already made up his mind about impeachment long ago, insisted the situation has "nothing to do with faith," an idea that actually didn't seem to go over very well on the show. "Well, I think a lot of people are guided by their faith," Steve Doocy noted.

Shortly after, Trump voiced a similar objection, saying at the National Prayer Breakfast in an apparent swipe at Romney, "I don't like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong." Brendan Morrow

5:33 p.m.

Linda Tripp, the former White House aide who played a major role in former President Bill Clinton's impeachment, died Wednesday at age 70, her son and lawyer confirmed.

Tripp recorded then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky admitting to an affair with Clinton, and eventually shared those recordings with and testified to independent counsel Kenneth Starr. Details of Tripp's death were not yet made public, but she had been treated for breast cancer in the past.

Lewinsky tweeted earlier Wednesday, upon hearing Tripp was ill, "no matter the past ... I hope for her recovery. I can't imagine how difficult this is for her family." Kathryn Krawczyk

5:26 p.m.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, told Democratic lawmakers during a phone call Wednesday that the Trump administration is developing a framework for getting the United States back into a state of "normality" in the wake of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Politico reports.

Fauci didn't provide any possible timeline, but he did say the White House will likely issue some guidance in the coming days about transitioning society out of lockdown eventually.

The cautious forward thinking is likely a result of some optimism among the White House coronavirus task force. Vice President Mike Pence, who heads the unit, told lawmakers there have been early signs that new cases are stabilizing in some areas, echoing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's (D) comments earlier in the day.

That doesn't mean Fauci, Pence, or lawmakers are relaxing, of course. "They're starting to see, they think, this virus in some of these known hot spots begin to maybe top out," Rep. Greg Walden (R-Ore.) told Politico. "There are some hopeful signs in New York and other places. But we all know there's a long way to go." Read more at Politico. Tim O'Donnell

5:04 p.m.

Colorado's Democratic Gov. Jared Polis made it clear his state was in desperate need of ventilators.

In a letter to Vice President Mike Pence sent March 28, Polis asked for 10,000 ventilators and other medical supplies, cc'ing his state's Democratic and Republican senators. But when President Trump announced Wednesday that Colorado was getting 100 ventilators, he said it was at the request of Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).

Gardner, a Republican facing a tough re-election race this year, tweeted Tuesday that Trump had approved Colorado to use National Guard assistance "at the request of the members of the Colorado congressional delegation." That includes Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, as well as four other Democratic House representatives and three Republicans.

The number of ventilators Colorado was granted is far short of the total Polis requested from FEMA and the Department of Health and Human Services. He also asked for millions of surgical and N95 masks and gloves, citing a "crisis-level shortage of these essential supplies." Kathryn Krawczyk

4:38 p.m.

Fears of the COVID-19 coronavirus are reportedly bringing about a ceasefire in Yemen.

The Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Houthi rebels in Yemen are set to announce a suspension of military operations across the country at midnight Wednesday, three people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The decision answers a United Nations call to halt combat.

There are likely many reasons why the U.N. is pushing for a ceasefire, but the argument that seemingly stuck is that a lack of fighting decreases the chances of a COVID-19 outbreak in Yemen, which so far has not reported any confirmed cases of the disease. Staving off an outbreak is crucial, especially considering Yemen is already steeped in the world's largest humanitarian crisis.

It's unclear if the Houthi opposition will follow in the coalition's footsteps, but a spokesman said the group sent the U.N. a plan to end the war, which began in 2014. Read more at Reuters. Tim O'Donnell

4:01 p.m.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is "improving" while still in intensive care with COVID-19, according to a U.K. government official.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Wednesday provided an update on Johnson's condition, saying the "latest from the hospital is the prime minister remains in intensive care where his condition is improving," per The Associated Press. Johnson has "been sitting up in bed and engaging positively with the clinical team," Sunak added.

Downing Street in a statement on Wednesday also said that Johnson "continues to make steady progress," per BBC News, and a spokesperson said he is "responding to treatment."

Johnson was hospitalized on Sunday 10 days after he tested positive for COVID-19. The British prime minister said he went for "some routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms." He had described his initial symptoms as mild. By Monday, he was moved to intensive care, where he remains two days later. Johnson has deputized British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Brendan Morrow

3:57 p.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) had made a few phone calls to the last administration before making his big dropout decision.

Sanders suspended his 2020 run on Wednesday, saying his "path toward victory is virtually impossible" but pledging to stay on primary ballots through the Democratic National Convention to gain influence in the party. And shortly after making that announcement, Sanders reportedly made a call to Joe Biden, who he left as the presumptive Democratic nominee, CBS News reports.

Sanders also consulted former President Barack Obama "several times" before making his decision, NBC News reports. Obama reportedly still isn't ready to hop into the 2020 fray just yet, but Sanders' suspension surely makes it easier for him to do so.

Hillary Clinton, 2016's Democratic nominee, meanwhile had no comment on Sanders' exit. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:45 p.m.

With the federal stockpile for personal protective equipment dwindling during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump administration reportedly sent shipments to states in a third and "final push" before the private sector takes on the bulk of the effort.

But new details from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency released by the House Oversight Committee show that the government did not appear to meet states' specific requests upon delivery. The first two rounds of shipments were based on census data from 2010, while the third round apparently wasn't adjusted for population at all.

Vermont and Texas, for example, which aren't remotely comparable in size, both received 120,900 N95 respirator masks. That's good news for Vermont, but not so much for Texas. To put in perspective, Vermont received 193 respirators for every 1,000 residents while Texas got five per 1,000. While equal distribution sounds nice in theory, it doesn't seem to make much sense in this case. Tim O'Donnell

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