Mar 10, 2017

Conservatives want Obama/Kerry ally booted from State Dept.

Brian Snyder / AP

Concerns are brewing in conservative pro-Israel circles about the State Department hiring Michael Ratney, who was a senior U.S. diplomat in Jerusalem under John Kerry.

While Obama officials like former Obama ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk are praising Ratney's hire, influential conservatives in the pro-Israel community are ready to unleash a major outcry if he's retained. Here, for instance, is Arthur Schwartz linking to a Conservative Review piece:

Why did you tap this guy to run @StateDept's Israel / Palestinian portfolio, @Reince45? We won the election. Why hire @JohnKerry's guys?— Arthur Schwartz (@ArthurSchwartz) March 10, 2017

Reached for comment, Schwartz, who is known to consult for the Zionist Organization of America, said he was only speaking for himself.

But Axios has learned that pro-Israel conservative figures are reaching out to the White House behind the scenes. If Ratney remains in the job, you can expect a number of public breaks with the administration.

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China reopens Wuhan after 10-week coronavirus lockdown

People wearing facemasks stand near Yangtze River in Wuhan. Photo: HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images

China has lifted its lockdown of Wuhan, the city in Hubei province where the coronavirus outbreak was first reported in December, according to the New York Times.

Why it matters: As cases surged in January, China took the draconian step of sealing off the city of 11 million and shutting down its economy — a response that was viewed at the time as only possible in an authoritarian system, but which has since been adopted by governments around the world.

Go deeperArrow17 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,381,014— Total deaths: 78,269 — Total recoveries: 292,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 378,289 — Total deaths: 11,830 — Total recoveries: 20,003Map.
  3. Trump administration latest: Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill
  4. Federal government latest: Senate looks to increase coronavirus relief for small businesses this week — Testing capacity is still lagging far behind demand.
  5. States update: New York death toll surged to its highest one-day total as state predicts a plateau in hospitalizations.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: The race to reopen America
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Trump removes watchdog overseeing rollout of $2 trillion coronavirus bill

Glenn Fine, acting Pentagon watchdog

President Trump on Monday replaced the Pentagon's acting Inspector General Glenn Fine, who had been selected to chair the panel overseeing the rollout of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill passed last month, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: A group of independent federal watchdogs selected Fine to lead the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, but Fine's removal from his Pentagon job prevents him from being able to serve in that position — since the law only allows sitting inspectors general to fill the role.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy