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Trump's HHS alters CDC documents for political reasons, official says

September 12, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

Director of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tom Frieden addresses the media on the Ebola case in the U.S. at the Tom Harkin Global Communications Center on October 5, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. The first confirmed Ebola virus patient in the United States was staying with family members at The Ivy Apartment complex before being treated at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas. State and local officials are working with federal officials to monitor other individuals that had contact with the confirmed patient.

Trump-appointed communications officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services pushed to change language to weekly science reports released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so as not to undermine President Donald Trump's political message, according to a federal health official.

(CNN)Trump-appointed communications officials at the US Department of Health and Human Services pushed to change language to weekly science reports released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention so as not to undermine President Donald Trump's political message, according to a federal health official.

Amid tension between the administration and the CDC, former Trump campaign official turned chief HHS spokesman Michael Caputo and his team had demanded to see reports out of the CDC before they are released, a senior administration official said.

A federal official told CNN that in addition to reviewing reports, HHS political appointee Paul Alexander has regularly added his input -- often interpreted by CDC officials as political in nature -- to weekly scientific reports intended to track the ongoing coronavirus pandemic response.

The source said some federal health officials at the CDC believe the interference to be an effort to change communications by the CDC's scientists so as not to contradict the President.

Trump loyalists and administration officials have expressed frustration at the CDC, which is largely made up of career not political employees, which they believe is not working in the best interest of the President.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield has in the past defended the agency and denied officials there are putting politics ahead of science.

The federal health official who talked to CNN added there have been efforts this summer by HHS to all together stop the release of some of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports, some of which have been focused on the latest information on coronavirus.

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