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Welcome to the Axios Morning 5, where we bring you 5 stories to get you smarter for the day ahead. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

Situational awareness, part 1: John McCain's indirect jab at President Trump on Vietnam: "[W]e drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong." Video.

Part 2: Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta has reportedly been swept into Mueller's Russia probe.

Part 3: President Trump claims Republican tax cuts won't touch 401k plans, and says he'll announce a new Federal Reserve pick "very shortly."

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow Axios on Facebook and Twitter for all of your news needs throughout the day, and if you want to read even more Axios, dive into our stream.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
4 hours ago - Health

Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden has picked former FDA chief David Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed, a day after unveiling a nearly $2 trillion pandemic relief plan that includes $400 billion for directly combatting the virus.

Why it matters: Biden's transition team said Kessler has been advising the president-elect since the beginning of the pandemic, and hopes his involvement will help accelerate vaccination, the New York Times reports. Operation Warp Speed's current director, Moncef Slaoui, will stay on as a consultant.

The case of the missing relief money

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A chunk of stimulus payments is missing in action, thanks to a mix up that put as many as 13 million checks into invalid bank accounts.

Why it matters: The IRS (by law) was supposed to get all payments out by Friday. Now the onus could shift to Americans to claim the money on their tax refund — further delaying relief to struggling, lower-income Americans.

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.