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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

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

4 hours ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.