Feb 16, 2018

White House counsel likely had access to Porter evidence a year ago

Don McGahn. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

The FBI had photos of Rob Porter's ex-wife Colbie Holderness' bruised face "days after President Donald Trump's inauguration last year" according to a CNN report. That puts White House counsel Don McGahn in the spotlight as, per CNN, clearance lawyers in the counsel's office would almost certainly be made aware of such evidence.

The details: Porter "approached McGahn" early on in his time at the White House, "and told [McGahn] that disparaging information from his ex-wives...could be revealed" in the background check process, CNN reports. Their conversation reportedly did not touch on domestic violence. It isn't clear if the FBI sent the photo to the White House, but the agency "would have at least provided a synopsis of what they portray," per CNN.

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 1,056,777 — Total deaths: 55,781 — Total recoveries: 221,262Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12:30 p.m. ET: 257,773 — Total deaths: 6,069 — Total recoveries: 9,311Map.
  3. Politics latest: Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are worried about the difficulties of delivering the $2.2 trillion in stimulus aid.
  4. Jobs update: The U.S. lost 701,000 jobs in March, but the new report doesn't reflect the height of the virus' impact on the economy.
  5. World update: About half of the deaths worldwide are in Italy and Spain, with fatalities exponentially increasing across Europe.
  6. Social media: Bored athletes take to Instagram to connect with fans during coronavirus shutdown.
  7. What should I do? 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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Coronavirus puts ambitious plans for self-driving cars on the shelf

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In two weeks, the coronavirus has brought the entire U.S. auto industry to a screeching halt. When it finally sputters back to life, many companies may be forced to change, defer — or even abandon — their ambitious plans for self-driving vehicles.

The big picture: Auto factories are shut down across North America to prevent the spread of the virus among workers, while stay-at-home orders have kept car shoppers away from showrooms. The resulting financial shock means carmakers have shifted their focus to survival, not investing in expensive technologies with no clear payoff.

Skepticism rises over government's small business bailouts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America today launched its $350 billion bailout for small businesses, and already there is widespread skepticism that the program will run smoothly or be large enough to meet demand.

What's new: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy yesterday said that the affiliation rule will be waived for any company with less than 500 employees that doesn't have a controlling outside shareholder, thus making most VC-backed startups eligible for PPP loans. This was based on a conversation he'd just had with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.