Feb 18, 2017

10 Axios stories to get you caught up on last week

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Use the holiday to get caught up on last week.

  1. White House staff was in "survival mode ... scared to death."
  2. The Obamacare repeal effort became a huge mess.
  3. In an interview, Betsy DeVos told Jonathan Swan what she wishes she said at her confirmation hearing.
  4. What made Steve Bannon privately unload on his former reporter.
  5. A peek into how Trump's campaign strategy extends to the Oval Office.
  6. How — and when — President Trump tweets, including a very cool chart.
  7. Speaking of Trump tweets, we took a look at how his tweets affect stock prices.
  8. Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei weighed in on the "opposition party" media.
  9. How the JOBS Act of 2012 affects Snap's IPO.
  10. Last but not least, there was that press conference.

Go deeper

Grassley to hold up pair of nominations until Trump explains IG firings

Grassley questions Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on June 3 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that he will block the confirmation of two of President Trump's nominees until the White House provides "adequate explanations" for why the inspectors general for the intelligence community and State Department were ousted in the past two months.

Why it matters: It's a rare attempt by a Republican to hold Trump accountable for his recent purge of federal watchdogs. Grassley has long considered himself a defender of inspectors general.

John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."