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Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump deputized his chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow and his top trade negotiator Robert Lighthizer to take a fresh look at at re-entering Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, a source with knowledge of the meeting confirmed to Axios. Sen. Ben Sasse told reporters about the meeting earlier today.

Flashback: TPP was spearheaded by Barack Obama and designed in part to counter the rise of China. Trump signed an executive order pulling the U.S. out of the deal in January 2017, and the 11 remaining signatories came to a new agreement in March.

“The president is a guy who likes to blue-sky a lot and entertain a lot of different ideas, but he multiple times reaffirmed the point that TPP might be easier for us to join now … and that we might be the 12th party."
— Sen. Sasse

Worth noting: As Axios' Jonathan Swan has written, "The reason this White House is so bad at tamping down speculation is because the guy in the Oval Office quite likes all the gossip and is constantly floating ideas."

Go deeper: Japan sees the TPP as its key weapon in countering Chinese influence and, like other allies, was frustrated to see the U.S. leave the agreement.

Go deeper

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

5 hours ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.

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