As mentioned in the Trump Tweets Open Thread for Wednesday, the House Oversight Committee held a hearing regarding the coronavirus outbreak. The hearing which was scheduled to last until 1 p.m. D.C. time, was cut short when the witnesses testifying were informed this morning that they had a meeting at the White House at around noon.
At the end of the hearing Chairwoman Democrat Carolyn Maloney (NY), asked if the witnesses could return at 2 p.m. D.C. time, to continue offering testimony.
The House Oversight Committee announced via Twitter, that the hearing would resume at 2 p.m. D.C. time.
#BREAKING: Our #Coronavirus hearing will now resume at 2pm.— Oversight Committee (@OversightDems) March 11, 2020
Thank you @RepChipRoy for making clear that Congress' “very serious concerns” about the Administration’s response to #COVID19 are bipartisan and need to be addressed today. pic.twitter.com/LqD1vv1HbR
Just prior to the announcement that the hearing would continue, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
In response to the WHO announcement, the Stock Market dropped sharply, currently down 1,200 (ish) points, erasing gains made on Tuesday. (Business Insider).
For what it’s worth:
According to four Trump administration officials who spoke to Reuters, the White House, “has ordered federal health officials to treat top-level coronavirus meetings as classified, an unusual step that has restricted information and hampered the U.S. government’s response to the contagion.”
From the article:
The officials said that dozens of classified discussions about such topics as the scope of infections, quarantines and travel restrictions have been held since mid-January in a high-security meeting room at the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), a key player in the fight against the coronavirus.Reuters. 03/11/2020.
Staffers without security clearances, including government experts, were excluded from the interagency meetings, which included video conference calls, the sources said.
“We had some very critical people who did not have security clearances who could not go,” one official said. “These should not be classified meetings. It was unnecessary.”
One official told Reuters, the decision to classify coronavirus meetings came from the National Security Council, “this came directly from the White House.”