Trump hasn’t released funds that help families of COVID-19 victims pay for burials. Members of Congress want to change that.

Democratic members of Congress are urging President Donald Trump to authorize FEMA to reimburse funeral expenses for victims of the coronavirus pandemic, citing ProPublica’s reporting about the administration’s policies.

A conservative legal group significantly miscalculated data in a report on mail-in voting

In an April report that warns of the risks of fraud in mail-in voting, a conservative legal group significantly inflated a key statistic, a ProPublica analysis found. The Public Interest Legal Foundation reported that more than 1 million ballots sent out to voters in 2018 were returned as undeliverable. Taken at face value, that would represent a 91% increase over the number of undeliverable mail ballots in 2016, a sign that a vote-by-mail system would be a “catastrophe” for elections, the group argued.

What we know — and don’t know — about possible coronavirus treatments promoted by Trump

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. President Donald Trump’s excitement about decades-old anti-malarial drugs to treat the coronavirus has touched off widespread interest in the medications, hoarding by some doctors, new clinical trials on the fly and desperation among patients who take them for other conditions. Many experts say there isn’t enough evidence that the drugs work for the coronavirus, but at least a few say there’s little to lose in giving hydroxychloroquine to patients who are severely ill with coronavirus. “It’s unlikely to worsen COVID-19, and given that it might help …

This VA hospital cited “misleading” data to restrict mask use for healthcare workers

Hospital employees across the country have been blocked from wearing surgical masks in certain situations to protect against infection by the new coronavirus — including those they bring to work themselves. Workers at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, have been told not to wear face masks unless they have lingering respiratory symptoms after an illness, are under surveillance following COVID-19 exposure or are treating patients showing signs of COVID-19. 

The restriction on wearing masks comes amid widespread shortages of personal protective equipment for health workers and confusion over shifting guidelines from federal officials. Such restrictions are in place at other hospitals, but there’s no indication yet that the practice is widespread. “There is little data that wearing surgical masks in general protect[s] the wearer from becoming infected with COVID-19, while giving the wearer a false sense of protection,” Andrew M. Welch, medical center director for the New Mexico VA Health Care System, noted in a Wednesday email obtained by New Mexico In Depth and ProPublica. On Friday morning, Welch sent staff another email responding to workers’ concerns about the mask ban.

Internal emails show how chaos at the CDC slowed the early response to coronavirus

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. On Feb. 13, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sent out an email with what the author described as an “URGENT” call for help. The agency was struggling with one of its most important duties: keeping track of Americans suspected of having the novel coronavirus.

As doctors and nurses grow desperate for protective gear, they fear they’re infecting patients

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Emergency room physician John Gavin can’t identify the exact patient from whom he contracted the coronavirus, but he’s confident he picked up the illness working one of his 12-hour shifts in Amite, Louisiana’s small, rural emergency room. “There were just so many people who had so many vague symptoms that any of them could have been that person,” he said. “We see a lot of viral-type illnesses.”

But Gavin, 69, is certain that before his coronavirus diagnosis on March 9, officials at Hood Memorial Hospital, where he works, hadn’t made any specific changes to protocols or procedures to protect doctors and nurses from contracting the disease.

Six children died in Border Patrol care. Democrats in Congress want to know why.

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. After a ProPublica investigation into the death of a teenager in Border Patrol custody, House Democrats are ramping up pressure on the Trump administration to explain how six migrant children died after entering the U.S.

“I find it appalling that (Customs and Border Protection) has still not taken responsibility for the deaths of children in their care,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. Thompson said that while some of the children’s deaths may not have been preventable, Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency that first deals with children who cross the border, seems “all too quick to pat themselves on the back for their handling of children last year. These deaths happened under their watch.

How Trump’s trade war is making lobbyists rich and slamming small businesses

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Mike Elrod voted for Donald Trump in 2016, hoping for a break from tight government oversight that his business had endured for years, which he often found unreasonable. “There was a time when every day I dreaded opening the mail,” said Elrod, who founded a small firm in South Carolina called Eccotemp that makes energy-efficient, tankless water heaters. “The Department of Energy would put in an arbitrary rule and then come back the next day and say, ‘You’re not in compliance.’ We had no input into what was changing and when the change was taking place.”

Elrod also thought that big businesses had long been able to buy their way out of problems, either by spending lots of money on compliance or on lobbyists to look for loopholes and apply political pressure.

If carbon offsets require forests to stay standing, what happens when the Amazon is on fire?

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Next month, California regulators will decide whether to support a plan for tropical forest carbon offsets, a controversial measure that could allow companies like Chevron, which is headquartered there, to write off some of their greenhouse gas emissions by paying people in countries like Brazil to preserve trees. The Amazon rainforest has long been viewed as a natural testing ground for this proposed Tropical Forest Standard, which, if approved, would likely expand to countries throughout the world. Now that record fires are engulfing the Amazon, started by humans seeking to log, mine and farm on the land, supporters are using the international emergency to double down on their case for offsets.

Border Patrol condemns secret Facebook group, but reveals few specifics

ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for The Big Story newsletter to receive stories like this one in your inbox. Long known for its insular culture and tendency toward secrecy, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency is saying little in the aftermath of news reports exposing a vulgar and hateful Facebook group for current and retired Border Patrol agents, including supervisors. While CBP officials have publicly condemned the offensive social media posts, they’ve disclosed few details about the steps the agency has taken to identify employees who behaved inappropriately online and hold them accountable. The agency, which is responsible for policing the nation’s borders and official ports of entry, declined to say how many employees CBP has disciplined or how many remain under investigation.