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President Trump listens to a question during a White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing on April 10. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump was informed in late January of a memo from White House economic adviser Peter Navarro that warned the novel coronavirus could kill up to half a million Americans and cost trillions of dollars, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: Trump has repeatedly denied seeing January and February memos that Navarro sent, while insisting he did "more or less" what his adviser suggested by banning non-U.S. citizens from traveling from China effective Feb. 2.

  • Early missteps allowed COVID-19 to spread throughout the U.S. for weeks before state and local officials took action with strict lockdowns designed to keep the pandemic from spinning further out of control.

What they found: After Trump was presented with a mitigation plan on Feb. 24, "focus would shift to messaging and confident predictions of success rather than publicly calling for a shift to mitigation," NYT reports.

  • Trump's scheduled meeting with health officials advocating for widespread stay-at-home directives was replaced with the Feb. 26 White House briefing that put Vice President Mike Pence in charge of leading the administration's response to COVID-19, per the Times.
  • The axed meeting came after Trump "fumed" over a CDC official's public warning that mitigation efforts like social distancing would be necessary, the Times reports.

What they're saying: “While the media and Democrats refused to seriously acknowledge this virus in January and February, President Trump took bold action to protect Americans and unleash the full power of the federal government to curb the spread of the virus, expand testing capacities and expedite vaccine development even when we had no true idea the level of transmission or asymptomatic spread,” Judd Deere, a White House spokesperson, told Axios in a statement.

Go deeper: Read the Navarro memos, first published by Axios

Go deeper

McCarthy jokes about hitting Pelosi with gavel if he becomes Speaker, in new audio

Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) can be heard saying "it would be hard not to hit" House Speaker Nancy Pelosi with the speaker's gavel if Republicans retake the House in 2022 and he becomes speaker, according to new audio posted to Twitter by a Main Street Nashville reporter.

Driving the news: McCarthy made the comments during a fundraising event in Tennessee, as he was handed an oversized gavel by members of the Tennessee congressional delegation, reports CNN.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

U.S. and U.K. blame Iran for drone strike on oil tanker

Britain's Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab. Photo: Sameer Al-DOUMY / AFP

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said on Sunday that the United States and United Kingdom, respectively, now believe Iran was likely responsible for last week's drone strike on an oil tanker in the Arabian sea.

Why it matters: The United States and Britain now join Israel in accusing Tehran of being behind the July 29 attack off the coast of Oman. Iran has denied involvement.

10 hours ago - Sports

Suni Lee wins bronze medal in uneven bars

Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won her 3rd Olympic medal on Sunday, taking home bronze in the individual uneven bars event.

Driving the news: Also on Sunday, U.S. gymnast MyKayla Skinner won the silver medal in the vault on Sunday after stepping in for Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to prioritize her mental health and well-being.