Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. Photo: Pool/Getty Images

House and Senate Democrats sent a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos Tuesday alleging they have proof of the agency urging an independent watchdog to drop an active internal investigation into DeVos' reinstatement of a controversial accrediting body, NBC News reports.

Details: Following a congressional request in December, the inspector general began investigating DeVos' decision to reinstate ACICS, an accrediting agency the Obama administration discontinued. Democrats claim that Deputy Secretary Mitchell Zais wrote a letter to Acting Inspector General Sandra Bruce asking her to reconsider the investigation and instead look into the Obama administration's decision to end ACICS. When Bruce refused, Zais attempted to remove her from office.

  • The agency later had to reverse the decision to replace Bruce with a hand-picked inspector general once allegations of conflict of interest came to light.
  • In response to the Democrats' letter, the Education Department released the correspondence Zais sent Bruce asking her to investigate the administration, as well as a statement.
"These claims are simply untrue and don’t match the actual sequence of events. The Department of Education, under Secretary DeVos’s leadership, would never seek to undermine the independence of the Inspector General. For anyone to insinuate otherwise is doing so with no basis in fact and purely for political gain."

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Scoop: Chinese biotech giant's U.S. subsidiary received PPP loan

Chinese biotech company BGI Genomics provided mobile labs for conducting COVID-19 tests at a sports center in Beijing. Photo credit: Xinhua/Chen Zhonghao via Getty Images.

A U.S. subsidiary of Chinese genomics company BGI Group received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), according to data on the program released by the U.S. Treasury Department this week.

Why it matters: BGI's close ties to the Chinese government, which is constructing a massive genetics database of its population, have raised concerns among U.S. officials.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 12,081,232 — Total deaths: 550,440 — Total recoveries — 6,639,503Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11:30 a.m. ET: 3,057,431 — Total deaths: 132,360 — Total recoveries: 953,420 — Total tested: 37,431,666Map.
  3. Public health: Cases rise in 33 states — Fauci says states with severe outbreaks "should seriously look at shutting down"
  4. Education: How Trump's push to reopen schools could backfire — College sports stare down a disaster in the fall.
  5. Jobs: 1.3 million Americans filed for unemployment last week.
  6. Travel: Over 1,000 TSA agents have tested positive.

Supreme Court says Manhattan prosecutors can obtain Trump's financial records

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Manhattan prosecutors can obtain President Trump's financial records — and punted House Democrats' efforts to access similar records to a lower court.

Why it matters: The Manhattan ruling, a 7-2 decision, is a stinging loss for Trump, who has fought relentlessly to keep these records secret.