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In a 12-minute phone call in late August, according to the @WSJ  , Michael Caputo (then @HHSMedia  ) told the leader of the Santa group tha #COVID19t  vaccines would likely be approved by mid-November and distributed to front-line workers before Thanksgiving.

This story’s Deep Throat is Ric Erwin, head of the Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas, who recorded calls with loose-cannon HHS spokesman Michael Caputo about a bizarre vaccine-access-for-PR campaign that has since been scrapped by the Trump admin.

HHS halted a coronavirus ad campaign funded by $250M in taxpayer money that would’ve had Santa performers promote the benefits of a vaccine in exchange for early vaccine access ahead of the general public. The deal was Michael Caputo’s brainchild.

After Trump official Michael Caputo offered the quid pro quo, Erwin responded, “Since you would be doing Santa a serious favor, Santa would definitely reciprocate.”

Amid Trump’s push to reopen schools, Michael Caputo’s science adviser asked that the CDC alter its warning about a study of pediatric coronavirus.

Neither Michael R. Caputo nor Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo were there to defend themselves, but they served as key villains Friday in the drama that a House subcommittee staged on the novel coronavirus pandemic.

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In this piece, Michael Caputo, a political spinner close to Roger Stone who Trump installed at HHS to coordinate a pro-Trump message on Covid-19, comes across as troubled and dangerous. He should not be in an important position related to a pandemic.

@ChrisMurphyCT : "Michael Caputo has to go. You cannot encourage the armed insurrection of Americans against the government and have a job in this administration." #AMRstaff 

NEW: We have the Michael Caputo video from Facebook Live. It’s...uncomfortable watching. More, and story, below.

CNN has confirmed top HHS spokesman Michael Caputo apologized to staffers today. His status at HHS is uncertain at this point, we are told. Caputo was already on thin ice at WH and HHS prior to his FB comments, source familiar with the matter added.

And now HHS spokesman Michael Caputo has deleted his personal Twitter account altogether.

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Here are some of key members of your White House pandemic team, writes Michael D'Antonio: Brian Harrison, a former Labradoodle breeder; Michael Caputo, an internet thug; and James Bacon, a college senior, writes Michael D'Antonio for @CNNOpinion 

NEW: In deleted tweets, new HHS spokesman Michael Caputo said the coronavirus was because "millions of Chinese suck the blood out of rabid bats as an appetizer and eat the ass out of anteaters." He said Democrats had a "goal" of "massive deaths."

NEW: In deleted tweets, new HHS spokesman Michael Caputo repeatedly directed sexist and sexually suggestive jabs at different women. Calling some "ugly" and "dogface" and tweeting at former FBI lawyer Lisa Page "what's that on your chin."

Thank you to former campaign adviser Michael Caputo for saying so powerfully that there was no Russian collusion in our winning campaign.

Michael Caputo, just interviewed by Bob Mueller’s team, told me: “It’s clear they are still really focused on Russia collusion. ... They know more about the Trump campaign than anyone who ever worked there.” He didn’t want to discuss specifics

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