WA Police Commissioner Chris Dawson to push for permanent tough border controls


Western Australia’s police commissioner is backing the Premier’s plan to keep some tough border controls in place beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in an effort to stop drugs entering the state.

Chris Dawson said the extra police powers implemented during the pandemic had resulted in a crackdown on meth and other drugs.

“We stop vehicles and inspect them for fruit fly, for honey, for flowers and all sorts of things … but there’s another pest out there and that’s called meth,” he told 6PR radio on Wednesday.

“That doesn’t just destroy crops … it destroys people’s lives.”

Mr Dawson said he hoped to “refine” the powers, similar to what was done to protect the state’s biodiversity.

“We know it’s working through this state of emergency. Why would we not want to stop meth coming in?” he said.

Almost $50m in cash and “a whole stack of meth” had been taken off the streets in the past six months, resulting in less crime, Mr Dawson said.

“I’m not into disruption, I’m into destruction of these syndicates … we want to wipe out drug trafficking,” he said.

Mr Dawson said while he did not want to live in a police state, he would seek some legislative change following the March 13 election.

“When the new government gets elected, I’ll be putting a legislative reform package through the Minister for Police (and) the Attorney-General,” he said.

Mr Dawson said his position on the issue and his job was always apolitical.

“I don’t want to get in a political spat because my job as police commissioner is to police the criminal activity going on,” he said.

Premier Mark McGowan on Tuesday flagged keeping some interstate border measures in place after the pandemic but was forced to backtrack on one aspect hours later.

Mr McGowan said he had been discussing possible ideas with Mr Dawson, including stationing police at the border for vehicle searches.

But he had to clarify his position on continuing with the G2G pass system — which would allow personal information to be collected — saying it “obviously” would be scrapped.

Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup had accused Mr McGowan of overreaching and treating everyone like a meth trafficker.

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Equal Opportunity Commissioner report reveals sexual harassment allegations in SA Parliament


A damning Equal Opportunity Commission review has found sexual harassment is prevalent in South Australia’s Parliament, with eight people reporting being victims of sexual harassment by MPs or their staff in the past five years.

Allegations outlined in the report by the Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Emily Strickland include sexually suggestive comments, indecent exposure and physical assault.

The review of parliamentary behaviour was ordered last year, after Liberal MP Sam Duluk was outed for inappropriate behaviour at a Christmas Party in Parliament House.

He apologised, but was later banished from the Liberal Party, when he was charged with assaulting SA Best MLC Connie Bonaros.

The Equal Opportunity Commission surveyed parliamentary staff, receiving a response from about a quarter of them.

“27.1 per cent of survey respondents reported they had experienced sexual harassment in the parliamentary workplace,” the report stated.

“Six interview participants and two participants who made written submissions described being victims of sexual harassment in the last five years, and all of those alleged incidents involved either Members of Parliament or staff of Members of Parliament as perpetrators.”

Acting Equal Opportunity Commissioner Emily Strickland handed down the report into the culture of South Australian Parliament today.(

ABC News

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One interview participant recalled an experience with an unnamed person.

“You don’t want to be sitting next to him when he has had some drinks,” the participant said.

Another said: “The culture is rotten … the culture says if you want to advance you have to just put up with behaviour that wouldn’t be tolerated anywhere else.”

Another responded said they had worked in “many other workplaces prior to Parliament” and described it as “the worst”.

Some reported a fear of repercussions and a culture where victims were blamed and not believed.

“[They] treated me like I was to blame for everything that had happened … in fact, it was worse than that: they just ignored me, and many of them continue to do so today,” one respondent said.

Another was told their sexual harassment had occurred because they were “too polite”.

The Acting Commissioner noted that while sexual harassment was overwhelmingly experienced by women and perpetrated by men, the review heard an historic example from one male interview participant.

“If I got in the lift with a certain female MP, I would plant my backside up against the wall of the lift so that I didn’t get my backside pinched,” he said.

Tabling the report in Parliament, the Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the recommendations would be carefully considered.

“Allegations in recent weeks in Canberra have been profoundly disturbing. Allegations of what has occurred in this Parliament have been distressing to many.

“While this review and the Government’s response to this review cannot traverse these allegations, what we as a Government and a Parliament can do is put in place measures to ensure the South Australian Parliament is a safer workplace for everyone.”

A woman with black hair and glasses wearing a checked jacket
SA Attorney-General Vicki Chapman moved a motion requesting a review of harassment in the parliamentary workplace last year.(

ABC News: Lincoln Rothall

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‘Politics prioritised over their welfare’

The review found power dynamics, historical convention, a lack of training and accountability for MPs were all factors in driving harassment.

Almost 80 per cent of respondents who reported experiencing sexual harassment did not report it.

The report found complaints made against MPs were handled particularly poorly.

She said where complaints were made, they were marred by poor communication, a lack of procedural fairness, and a lack of support for those who report.

Ms Strickland said the findings were not unique to the South Australian Parliament, with international reports indicating that harassing behaviours were common in parliaments in the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA and Europe.

She said the cultures of those parliaments enabled the prevalence of problematic behaviours but they can and should “lead change” in the area.

The Acting Commissioner has made 16 recommendations to address the problems including training for MPs and staff, a new centralised parliamentary human resources division, and a code of conduct for MPs.

Ms Strickland also called on both houses to review standing orders to allow breast and bottle feeding in the chamber.

An MP Code of Conduct has been recommended by successive ICAC Commissioners, but the proposal has been repeatedly rejected by the State Government, with Premier Steven Marshall reconfirming his opposition to a code of conduct as recently as last week.

Bullying reported to ICAC

Participants reported bullying both by and towards both staff and MPs.

Four participants reported bullying by female MPs.

“It’s a place where that kind of behaviour isn’t necessarily top down, it’s across to cross, it’s bottom up as well. There’s a lot of dysfunctional working relationships,” one interview participant stated.

The review stated that six matters alleging harassment or bullying had been reported to the Office for Public Integrity in 2019 and 2020.

Three of those matters were not pursued by the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption Ann Vanstone, at least in part, because there was no code of conduct for MPs.

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why outgoing Victorian racing integrity commissioner Sal Perna remains frustrated after 11 years in the job, Sean Carroll to replace him


“Without any doubt at all, there are cases we can’t take any further without that type of information. I think Sean will find that frustrating, just like I did.”

WHO SHOT AT TERRY BAILEY’S HOME?

Like the unsolved murder of racing identify Les Samba, which still haunts the former homicide detective, Perna wishes he got to the bottom of who shot six bullets into the front door of former Racing Victoria chief steward Terry Bailey’s home on the eve of the 2015 spring carnival.

“That bugs me, and I don’t know if VicPol have got much that they’re working on but that would have been a really nice one because you know how much conjecture went around that one as to all the different scenarios that could have led to that happening, but one day we might know,” Perna says.

“That was handled initially by RV to have a look at, but it was immediately given to VicPol to investigate due to the seriousness of the incident. All you need is one bit, especially when you’ve got someone in mind that is probably responsible. I always describe an investigation as a jigsaw puzzle.

Racing Victoria’s former chief steward Terry Bailey outside his house after shots where fired at his front door. Credit:Joe Armao

“You’ve got different pieces from different places but you haven’t got the lid, the box that comes with the jigsaw to show you where the pieces go.”

REVIEWING THE AQUANITA CASE

One project Perna will pass onto Carroll will be the end-to-end review into how the Aquanita case was handled.

Not one positive swab was returned in relation to Aquanita, which will be part of the review, as will the reason why Robert Smerdon was handed back his phone.

“That did happen but I’m not sure at what stage that happened, whether they [RV] got what they needed. But that is going to be subject to the review by Sean,” Perna says.

Banned for life: Trainer Robert Smerdon was disqualified for his part in the Aquanita doping scandal.

Banned for life: Trainer Robert Smerdon was disqualified for his part in the Aquanita doping scandal.Credit:Rob Gunstone

Perna says the text messages that were relied upon to disqualify the trainers and stablehands involved highlight exactly why the racing integrity commissioner’s office needs more power to access phone records.

“That wasn’t a bad piece of investigation by Racing Victoria either … but that stuff is critical,” Perna says.

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“Imagine if you couldn’t get that sort of information. That’s why sports bodies make sure their rules contain the ability to get that sort of thing, to be able to do a phone dump and get people’s SMSes.”

THE WEIR INVESTIGATION

Perna says the collaboration between Racing Victoria and Victoria Police regarding the Darren Weir investigation into animal cruelty and conspiracy to defraud stewards was a watershed moment for racing integrity.

“It was almost a coming of age for racing, where you had the body that’s responsible for the racing-related stuff – so the possession of the jigger, the cruelty part of it – coming together with the body that’s responsible for the criminal stuff,” he says.

“In the past, that probably wouldn’t have happened. It probably would have been one or the other and not the two of them sitting down at a table and discussing it.

“That’s exactly what happened. We had a big discussion on whose role it was to do what, and it meant, for example, when VicPol went to the premises to search it, they had racing stewards there who knew what a jigger looked like, and you had the police knowing what they could take and do that stewards couldn’t.”

Perna said Racing Victoria’s ability to achieve an outcome that didn’t jeopardise the police investigation was also critical to the process.

BIGGEST CHALLENGES

The key focuses for Carroll going forward, according to Perna, should be race fixing, prohibited substances and equine welfare.

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“Race fixing now is really about jockeys pulling horses and not letting them run on their own merits, rather than people manipulating the outcome,” Perna says.

“[With prohibited substances] if you use alcohol as an analogy, everyone knows if you get caught with 0.05, you’re going to get a sanction. I think that’s what people expect.

“The problem comes when people don’t know what’s prohibited and what’s not, and what penalty they’re going to get for certain thresholds or amounts.

“Welfare is a key issue obviously. If it’s integrity related, then we can get involved. That’s more than just malnutrition. If it’s something that’s systemic or serious like live baiting in greyhounds or widespread culling, we can get involved.”

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WHAT’S NEXT?

Perna remains on the International Tennis Integrity Board and the National Basketball Advisory Board, but a well-earned break is on the cards.

The role was “much more” than he ever thought it would be and he believes all three racing codes are better off than they were a decade ago. But there’s still room for improvement.

“The use of technology that they’ve got, the use of equipment like drones, the phone dumping equipment, there’s a hell of a lot they’re doing today that they didn’t have in the past,” Perna says.

“[But] I’m an advocate for bringing the three codes together; I haven’t been able to get that across the line the way I wanted to.

“You’ve got stewards in each of them, you’ve got intelligence analysts, you’ve got betting analysts and form analysts in each of them, you’ve got investigators – those people are all really doing the same job, albeit in a different code.

“I still think – and I haven’t changed my mind since I started in the role – the three integrity units from the three racing bodies should be one unit. How good would it be to harness that, where they’re exchanging information, they’re upskilling each other. It would be powerful to have that.″⁣

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NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller blocked from joining Australian Rugby League Commission


The Herald also revealed he had personally signed off on a recommendation to stop a former officer from serving on the board of the Cronulla Sharks in 2015, claiming the role was an “extraordinary to high risk” for the NSW Police Force.

But V’landys remains intent on ridding the game of its bad boy image, which resulted in the introduction of the no-fault stand-down rule two years ago and a hardware giant walking away from a sponsorship deal in recent months.

We’re trying to address it because the marketplace is telling us if we don’t it’s going to have an affect on us

Peter V’landys

“Out of every negative there’s a positive and the positive here is we’ve got the message out there that the one per cent that do the wrong thing are on notice,” V’landys said.

“Ninety-nine per cent of the players are fantastic. If I call one and say there’s a kid doing it tough in hospital, within minutes they’re there. It is the one per cent that let everyone else down.

“Like it or not there’s a perception in the marketplace that rugby players are bad. We’re trying to protect the one per cent by making them think before they do anything. We’re trying to address it because the marketplace is telling us if we don’t it’s going to have an affect on us – and I’m serious about addressing it.

“Even though we weren’t able to get Mick Fuller it’s not going to affect the determination to get it fixed.”

Peter V’landys was on the verge of a coup to get NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller to join the ARLC.Credit:SMH

As debate raged over Fuller’s candidature, several NRL club chairpersons spoken to by the Herald on Sunday confirmed they supported his appointment. But within hours V’landys’ coup had been scuppered.

The NRL said in a statement it “respects and understands the NSW government’s advice on the matter”.

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The vacant ARLC role won’t be filled before the AGM with a Queensland bloc pushing former Howard and Turnbull government minister Mal Brough as a contender.

V’landys is believed to be wanting a candidate with either a marketing or regulatory background, hence his pursuit of Fuller, who came with the recommendation of Phil Gould.

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Former royal commissioner into youth justice slams Queensland’s ‘knee-jerk’ measures as police welcome new powers


It comes after Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk yesterday announced several tough new measures to be implemented as part of Queensland’s youth crime crackdown.

These include a presumption against bail for some offences and an option for courts to order teenagers to wear GPS tracking devices.

But the former co-commissioner of the Northern Territory’s Royal Commission into the Detention and Protection of Children, Mick Gooda, suggested the punitive measures were reactionary and not based on evidence.

“Communities are grieving and we’ve got to give communities time to get through that process,” Mr Gooda said.

“When decisions are made in a knee-jerk way, it doesn’t produce sustainable outcomes for anyone.”

Mr Gooda said he supported calls in the community to see action on youth crime and to hold young offenders accountable for their actions.

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NT ICAC Commissioner Ken Fleming announces early retirement, citing ‘challenging’ year


The Northern Territory’s first Independent Commissioner Against Corruption has announced his retirement, two years before his term is due to end.

Ken Fleming QC was appointed as the head of the NT’s anti-corruption watchdog in July 2018 and plans to relinquish the role in July this year.

“It is with regret that I announce my retirement as the Northern Territory Independent Commissioner Against Corruption,” he said in a statement.

“2020 was a challenging year for many people, and for me reinforced the importance of being close to family.”

During his tenure, Mr Fleming has overseen the establishment of the powerful corruption-fighting unit, which last year commenced 56 investigations into allegations of serious and systemic misconduct.

His office has publicly released three reports into its investigations, the most notable of which found the NT’s long-serving former Speaker Kezia Purick responsible for breaches of public trust that amounted to “corrupt conduct”.

Former Speaker Kezia Purick rejected adverse findings made against her by the ICAC Commissioner.(ABC News: Michael Donnelly)

Ms Purick resigned from her role following the finding that she had inappropriately interfered with the creation of a political party.

But she told Parliament last year that she did not accept ICAC’s findings against her, saying she had not been afforded natural justice.

Mr Fleming’s time as ICAC Commissioner has not been without controversy.

In late 2019, he relinquished his oversight role in an investigation following the shooting death of 19-year-old Kumanjayi Walker at Yuendumu, after making controversial comments.

Another significant ICAC report looming

In September last year, Mr Fleming flagged the release of a “major report” in November 2020 that “may just fill all of your expectations and longings”.

But the report, including what it related to, was yet to be made public.

Mr Fleming on Thursday said he remained confident his office would continue to fulfil its mandate once he departed in the middle of the year.

“It has been a privilege and an honour to have served as the first NT Independent Commissioner Against Corruption and to have established an office dedicated to preventing, detecting and responding to improper conduct within the Northern Territory.”

NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner, whose government established the ICAC, thanked Mr Fleming for his “outstanding service”.

“Commissioner Fleming is experienced, intelligent and intrepid — qualities that made him the perfect person for such a challenging role,” Mr Gunner said.

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‘Cowboys for Trump’ founder and New Mexico county commissioner, Couy Griffin, arrested over links to US Capitol attack



An elected official from New Mexico who vowed to travel to Washington with firearms to protest president-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration has been arrested by the US Justice Department.

Couy Griffin, a New Mexico county commissioner and founder of a group called Cowboys for Trump, was arrested in Washington on charges related to the attack on the US Capitol earlier this month, according to Justice Department documents.

Mr Griffin was among thousands who stormed the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Mr Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump, according to charging documents.

He stood on the steps of the building but did not enter it.

After the riot, Mr Griffin said he planned to return ahead of Mr Biden’s inauguration this Wednesday.

In New Mexico, Mr Griffin told the Otero County Council last week that he planned to drive to Washington with a rifle and a revolver.

He faces trespassing charges.

Federal authorities have brought criminal charges against more than 100 people so far in connection with the January 6 riot, in which Mr Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol, ransacked offices and attacked police.

Investigators are scouring more than 140,000 videos and photos from the siege, in which five people died, including a police officer.

US officials arrested 10 more people on Saturday and Sunday.

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Among them was Chad Barrett Jones of Kentucky, who authorities said was captured on video using a wooden flagpole to try to break glass door panels in the House of Representatives.

He faces several charges, including assaulting a federal officer.

Two cousins, Daniel Adams of Texas and Cody Connell of Louisiana, also face charges of assaulting a federal officer for allegedly pushing their way past Capitol Police into the building.

Mr Connell posted videos of their activity on social media and told others he planned to return to Washington with firearms and body armour, according to FBI documents.

Law enforcement officials have been bracing for further violence.

More than a dozen states activated National Guard troops following an FBI warning of armed demonstrations by right-wing extremists.

But by late Sunday afternoon, only handfuls of demonstrators had taken to the streets.

Reuters

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver defends Houston Rockets’ James Harden COVID-19 fine


“It’s a highly unusual time and we have to take that into account,” he added later.

Video of the disgruntled star surfaced on social media, where he was shown without a mask at a crowded party in a private event space Monday night. Harden, in a since-deleted Instagram post, explained why he was at the event.

James Harden should be available for the Rockets’ rescheduled match.Credit:Getty Images

He wrote: “One thing after another. I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in a position of success and now it’s a problem. Everyday it’s something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can’t. The real people always end up on top.”

Harden was actually lucky, Silver said. The 31-year-old would have missed out on a game day pay cheque if Wednesday’s fixture had gone ahead, which would have been a larger sanction.

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Instead, Harden will isolate until Friday (Saturday AEDT) and likely be available for the team’s new season opener the next day in Portland.

“Nothing about this was predictable or ideal,” Thunder coach Mark Daigneault said Thursday after his team’s practice in Oklahoma City.

The NBA and the Players Association said that of the 558 players tested for COVID-19 since December 16, two have returned positive tests.

“Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test is isolated until they are cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance,” the NBA and the association said in a joint statement.



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Refuting Trump, FDA commissioner says vaccine could not have been authorized sooner


In an interview with Fox News Saturday, Trump, after seeming to take credit for the speed of the vaccine’s development, said that the Food and Drug Administration could have authorized the shot for emergency use “last week.”

“They could have even done it a week sooner,” the president continued.

“We do not feel that this could have been out a week earlier,” Dr. Stephen Hahn, the FDA commissioner, said on ABC’s “This Week.” “We went through our process. We promised the American people that we would do a thorough review of the application and that’s what we did. We followed our process.”

Noting the pressure Trump and his administration have placed upon the FDA in recent weeks, “This Week” Co-anchor Martha Raddatz challenged Hahn about a Friday report — since denied by the commissioner — that his job was threatened over the speed of the vaccine’s authorization.

“When President Trump tweeted at you last Friday, “Get the dam [sic] vaccines out NOW” — I know you have said that you were not threatened with being fired, but did Chief of Staff Mark Meadows call you and say, ‘hurry up?'”

“We have, from the beginning, Martha, said that the only thing that’s going to matter in this is the science and data,” Hahn said. “And of course, of course, we’ve been asked to speed this process as much as possible.”

Pressed again later by Raddatz whether it was possible Meadows told the doctor he would have to resign if the authorization did not occur Friday, as news reports claimed, Hahn said he did not want to “discuss individual conversations.” He noted only that the FDA was “encouraged to move quickly and we were already moving quickly.”

The FDA did ultimately approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — which had already been authorized in the United Kingdom — Friday, making it the first COVID-19 immunization available in the United States. 2.9 million doses of the vaccine are now being distributed to 636 sites in all 50 states across the country, with the first shipments expected to arrive Monday morning.

But while experts have hailed the rapid vaccine development, widely viewed as a crucial step to end the coronavirus pandemic, there is concern that rampant skepticism about immunization safety could allow for the virus’ continued spread. Recent polls have found that between 25% to 40% of Americans do not want to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

“What kinds of problems do those numbers present?” Raddatz asked Hahn Sunday.

“That is a significant problem,” the commissioner said. “If you think about how we get out of this pandemic, we have to continue our mitigation efforts right now, that is so important, mask-wearing et cetera. But the way we see light at the end of the tunnel, the way we get through this, is to achieve herd immunity.”

According to National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, 80% to 90% of the population will need to be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity, or widespread protection from the disease due to the inability to contract or be affected by it.

“That means we need to vaccinate a significant number of people in this country, including those who are hesitant,” Hahn continued Sunday. “We need to address their fears and concerns. We need to roll this out in a way that provides confidence to people. But we also need to be transparent. What do we know? What do we [not] know?”

Among concerns raised by the public are incidences of allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in the U.K., as it administered its first doses last week. As a result, people in that country with a history of severe allergic reactions are being advised not to take the shot.

“This is why we do a line-by-line assessment of the data,” Hahn said when asked about that warning, adding that allergic reactions were not seen among subjects of the clinical trials, but that the public’s safety is the FDA’s priority and it would follow the U.K.’s lead. “We put in our label that those who have any evidence of severe allergy to any component of this Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine should not receive it. However, we also, out of an abundance of caution, have asked at the distribution sites the available dose of medicines that might be necessary to address it.”

Upon the recommendation of a Centers for Disease Control panel, health care workers and residents and employees of long-term care facilities are to be the first groups of people immunized this week, but with some officials noting that the first vaccine shipments will not contain enough vials to entirely provide for those populations, Raddatz asked Hahn when more doses would be available, including for the general public as a whole.

“I am aware that many in U.S. government are working very closely with Pfizer and other developers to try to get as much out there as possible,” Hahn said, describing it as an “all-hands-on-deck” situation. “We at FDA, what we’re doing is we’re working in terms of making sure that the supply chains are the precursors. So, anything we can do to expedite, we will absolutely do that.”





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FDA Commissioner Hahn denies reports he was threatened with firing


“Representations in the press that I was threatened… is inaccurate,” he said.

FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn on Saturday pushed back on reports that he was threatened with firing.

Sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that in a Friday phone call, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows suggested to Hahn that his job could be on the line if his agency didn’t authorize emergency use of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine by the end of the day.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was authorized by the FDA late Friday.

“Representations in the press that I was threatened to be fired if we didn’t get it done by a certain date is inaccurate,” Hahn told reporters on a Saturday morning call.

Hahn said Saturday that the vaccine was authorized late Friday because science and data determined it was ready, not because of “any other external pressure” and that he would “absolutely” take the vaccine.

Hahn’s comments come after President Donald Trump voiced his resistance Friday morning to turning over distribution of coronavirus vaccines to the incoming Biden administration, tweeting “they want to come in and take over one of the ‘greatest and fastest medical miracles in modern day history.'” He slammed the FDA as a “big, old, slow, turtle” moments after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that emergency authorization use of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine was imminent and vaccinations could start as early as Monday. Trump even called out Hahn personally in his tweet, saying “Stop playing games and start saving lives!!!”

The tweet followed months of Trump pressuring the FDA to speed up its process for approving vaccinations.

Trump has for months publicly pressured the FDA to act faster on authorizing COVID-19 treatments — even when they had not been proven to be effective. During the campaign, Trump openly expressed his desire for a vaccine to become widely available by Election Day, which did not happen.

Shortly after the election, he again bragged about the vaccine effort, which he dubbed “Operation Warp Speed,” calling it “unequaled and unrivaled anywhere in the world, and leaders of other countries have called me to congratulate us on what we’ve been able to do.”

Despite his repeated efforts to take credit for the record pace at which scientists have developed a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, Trump was uncharacteristically silent after the United Kingdom became the first nation to authorize a COVID-19 vaccine.

That day, Meadows summoned Hahn for a second meeting at the West Wing in as many days, a senior administration official told ABC News.

Reports also emerged this month that the U.S. over the summer declined to purchase additional doses of Pfizer’s vaccine. The administration had committed to buying 100 million doses — enough to cover 50 million people, since the vaccine consists of a two-dose regimen — but, according to a senior administration official, it had passed on the chance to lock in hundreds of millions more.

The White House denied the reports. But the administration’s July announcement about its contract with Pfizer noted that Pfizer left open the option for the U.S. “to acquire an additional 500 million doses.”

ABC News’ Katherine Faulders, Anne Flaherty, Ben Gittleson, John Parkinson, Libby Cathey and John Santucci contributed to this report.



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