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Screenshot via Fox News

President Trump spent 50 minutes of his 73rd birthday on the phone with the hosts of "Fox & Friends" Thursday — the latest in a series of free-wheeling interviews with one of his favorite TV shows.

The big picture: The chat covered the hottest topics of the news cycle — from Sarah Sanders' White House departure to Kellyanne Conway's Hatch Act violation — and Trump even managed to break some news on the border.

  • Trump used the call to clarify his statement that "there isn't anything wrong with listening" to intelligence on political opponents gathered by foreign nations, arguing that it would be impossible to know whether something should be reported to law enforcement without first looking at it.
"First of all, I don't think anybody would present me with anything bad because they know how much I love this country. Nobody's gonna present me with anything bad. Number two, if I was, and of course you have to look at it because if you don't look at it you're not gonna know if it's bad. How are you gonna know if it's bad? But of course, you give it to the FBI or report it to the attorney general or somebody like that."

Other highlights from the call:

  • Trump said he would not fire White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after a civil service watchdog determined she repeatedly violated the Hatch Act: "It looks to me like they're trying to take away her right of free speech."
  • He backed up Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's accusation that Iran is responsible for attacks on oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz: "Iran did do it. You know they did it because you saw the boat, I guess one of the mines didn't explode and it's probably got essentially Iran written all over it."
  • The president did not commit to endorsing Vice President Mike Pence should he decide to run for president in 2024: "You're talking about a long time, so you can't put me in that position."
  • He broke news, announcing that former acting ICE head and current Fox News contributor Tom Homan will join his administration as a White House "border czar."
  • Trump refused to say who he was considering to replace Sarah Sanders as White House press secretary, but did rule out former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci: "I like Anthony and think he's been very nice, but I think Anthony should stay where he is right now."

The president also chimed in on some of his possible 2020 opponents, saying that he thinks it's a three-way race for the Democratic nomination between former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders.

  • Biden: "He doesn't have — he never did have what it takes."
  • Warren: "I would love to run against her, frankly."
  • Sanders: "[He's] not doing well at all. I would have liked, frankly, to run against him."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: "I don't see Kamala."
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg: "I think that's a joke — Mayor Pete."

Flashback: The highlights from Trump's 47-minute call to "Fox & Friends" last October

Go deeper

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Sen. Tim Scott (R-S.C.) told reporters Wednesday he plans to reintroduce his police reform bill or a similar proposal in the coming weeks, and that he has discussed a potential compromise with Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.).

Why it matters: Eyes have again turned to Washington to take steps to address police reform in the wake of Derek Chauvin's guilty verdict Tuesday, after efforts stalled in Congress last year.

Biden announces small business tax credits for vaccine PTO

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President Biden on Wednesday will call on all employers to provide employees paid time off to get vaccinated or to recover from any side effects, and he'll include a paid tax credit for small businesses to do so, administration officials said.

Why it matters: The administration sees places of work as highly influential in making shots more convenient for working adults who are in high-risk industries.

White House unveils plans for high-profile climate summit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration offered new details this morning about the big, virtual climate summit Thursday and Friday and signaled they expect new emissions reduction and climate finance commitments from multiple countries.

Driving the news: The administration said 40 heads of state would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil.