Physicist William Happer arrives in the lobby of Trump Tower in New York, NY on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

One of the Trump administration's fiercest climate skeptics William Happer is leaving his position on the White House National Security Council on Friday, according to E&E News.

Why it matters: Happer's resignation comes after he failed to encourage the White House to challenge the government's official description of climate change as a national security threat. He was one of the White House's strongest voices against climate science, per E&E News.

Context: Happer joined the staff of Trump's National Security Council in the fall of 2018, earning widespread criticism from House Democrats.

  • Happer is not a formal climate scientist, but he is a physicist at Princeton University.
  • He has made claims that are unsupported by science, including that the earth is in a carbon dioxide "drought" and that burning more fossil fuels will make the planet more habitable to humans.

The big picture, via Axios' Amy Harder: Happer's efforts, had he succeeded, would have represented the most aggressive, full-frontal attack on climate science coming out of the White House, but his resignation doesn't change the basic thrust of Trump's position.

  • The president has aggressively dismissed and mocked climate change, while his administration has wiped websites of its mention and repealed regulations addressing it. None of that will change with Happer gone.

Go deeper: Trump administration voids requirements phasing out inefficient lightbulbs

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.