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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.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

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

How Trump chose disinformation over his own cyber chief

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.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
Updated 7 mins ago - Health

Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The travel bans and border closures prompted by the Omicron variant likely won't fully prevent its spread, but that won't stop countries from leaning on the measures.

Why it matters: The rapid speed at which countries turned to travel bans with the emergence of Omicron indicates border controls will increasingly become a weapon against infectious disease — whether or not public health experts agree they are effective.

27 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutdown politics

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.