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Former Homeland Security official Miles Taylor on Wednesday defended his August denial that he authored an anonymous New York Times editorial that described a "resistance" within the Trump administration — an article he now claims to have written.

The state of play: Taylor said Wednesday he refuted having written the op-ed because he wanted President Trump to challenge the claims in his book "on their merits," rather than launching personal attacks on him.

Flashback: Taylor in August denied on CNN — where he is now an on-air contributor — that he was behind the op-ed.

What's new: "You lied to us Miles," anchor Chris Cuomo said in the interview on Wednesday evening. "You were asked in August if you were Anonymous here on CNN with Anderson Cooper and you said no. Now why should CNN keep you on the payroll after lying like that?"

What he's saying: "We have seen over the course of four years that Donald Trump's preference is to find personal attacks and distractions to pull people away from criticisms of his record," Taylor said.

  • "I wrote that work anonymously to deprive him of that opportunity, and to force him to answer the questions on their merits. I'll tell you what happened, Chris. The end result is the president couldn't."
  • "When asked by Anderson, whether I was 'Anonymous' during that time period, I said what I was going to do. I temporarily denied it. But I always said I would ultimately come out under my own name."
  • "I owe an apology for having to maintain that necessary misdirection for that period of time in order for that argument to work."

The big picture: Taylor already publicly endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden in a video funded by Republican Voters Against Trump, accusing the president of wanting to "exploit the Department of Homeland Security for his own political purposes and to fuel his own agenda."

Go deeper

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump, in announcing the latest in a line of post-election firings, embraced unsubstantiated claims of election hacking over one of his own top cybersecurity officials.

Why it matters: This is only the latest example of an ongoing attempt to purge officials deemed insufficiently loyal to the president. But the potential decapitation of cyber leadership at the Department of Homeland Security could also create expertise gaps during the presidential transition period, making the country less secure.

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  1. Vaccines: Here's key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford University's 90%-effective vaccine — New deals in the COVID economy.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 coronavirus deaths — Americans line up for testing ahead of Thanksgiving.
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  4. Politics: California governor and family in quarantine — Sen. Kelly Loeffler to continue quarantine — Operation Warp Speed leader: COVID vaccine push is "isolated from a political environment."
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  6. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  7. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Biden transition names first Cabinet nominees

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden on Monday unveiled his nominations for top national security positions in his administration, tapping former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate czar and former deputy national security adviser Avril Haines as director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: Haines, if confirmed, would make history as the first woman to oversee the U.S. intelligence community. Biden also plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to become the first Latino secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.