Oct 30, 2017

Democrats worry Trump will fire Mueller

Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Democrats are increasingly worried that President Trump will interfere in Special Counsel Bob Mueller's Russia probe — which Trump has called a "witch hunt" — and they're sounding the alarm after the first set of indictments were issued.

A Democratic aide told me, in light of Trump's decision to fire James Comey, it's conceivable Trump will take the same steps with Mueller. "Anything is possible with this president," the aide added.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer: "These reported indictments show that the special counsel's probe is ongoing in a very serious way. The rule of law is paramount in America and the investigation must be allowed to proceed unimpeded. The President must not, under any circumstances, interfere with the special counsel's work in any way. If he does so, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues."
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: "President Trump must not, in any way, try to derail or obstruct this effort. ... Russia's interference in our recent election and their attack on American democracy is an issue of enormous consequence."
  • Sen. Mark Warner: "That is why it is imperative that Congress take action now to protect the independence of the Special Counsel, wherever or however high his investigation may lead. Members of Congress, Republican and Democrat, must also make clear to the President that issuing pardons to any of his associates or to himself would be unacceptable, and result in immediate, bipartisan action by Congress."

Be smart: Things looked bad for Trump after he suddenly fired Comey; they'd likely look even worse if he fired Mueller. And Axios reported on the previous leaks about Trump mulling over the idea of firing Mueller after it was revealed that his probe was focusing on the president's actions.

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Coronavirus updates: First case in sub-Saharan Africa confirmed

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Nigeria confirmed its first novel coronavirus case in an Italian who flew to Lagos from Milan — the first known case in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization has been working to prepare Africa's health care systems to be ready for the outbreak, which is now also confirmed in Algeria and Egypt.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,700 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

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Ad spending on 2020 primary tops $1 billion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spending on the 2020 presidential primary has officially surpassed the $1 billion mark, with more than half of that total coming from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

Why it matters: It's the most money that has been spent this early on in an election cycle in U.S. history.

The growing coronavirus recession threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact.