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Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum anchor Election Night '18. Photo: Fox News

Top Fox News anchors said they were disappointed by the DNC's rejection of Fox News as a host for one of the 12 party-sanctioned 2020 presidential primary election debates.

  • Fox News chief political anchor Bret Baier says: "We have viewers that are Democrats, independents, Republicans — and there are lots of them."
  • Fox News anchor Martha MacCallum tells me she hopes the Democratic National Committee will reconsider their ban on Fox-aired 2020 debates, saying tough debate questions aren't "an attack — it's a challenge."

Why it matters: Network debate hosts reap journalistic prestige and massive exposure. For cable networks, debates can be huge ratings and revenue draws.

The DNC's debate announcement says candidates aren't barred from "forums" in which one candidate appears on stage at a time.

  • But candidates are asked not to participate in "debates," where two or more candidates interact.

Executives at Fox News say they're open to sponsoring a televised town hall — albeit one without the imprimatur of the Democratic Party.

  • A DNC official replies: "We think it’s important to reach voters where they’re at, and will continue to do so. But after the story came out in The New Yorker, a debate on FOX became untenable."

Go deeper: Fox News under fire for Tucker Carlson, Jeanine Pirro

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Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”