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Speaking at the start of Monday's coronavirus press briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci clarified his response to a hypothetical question he was asked on CNN, where he said that there was "pushback" to his early recommendations within the Trump administration and that "obviously" earlier mitigation efforts would have saved more lives.

Why it matters: Fauci's comments on Sunday caused backlash among critics who believed that President Trump ignored public health experts. Fauci insisted on Monday that Trump has always accepted his recommendations and that his CNN comments were simply a hypothetical that was misconstrued.

  • Fauci also said that his use of "pushback" was a "wrong choice of words," and that it was more of a discussion among advisers with differing views.

What they're saying:

"The first and only time that Dr. Birx and I went in and formally made a recommendation to the president to actually have a "shutdown" in the sense of strong mitigation, we discussed it. Obviously there would be concerns by some, and in fact, that might have some negative consequences. Nonetheless, the president listened to the recommendation. And went to the mitigation.
The next, second time that I went with Dr. Birx into the president and said 15 days are not enough. We need to go 30 days. Obviously, there were people who had a problem with that because of the potential secondary effects. Nonetheless, at that time the president went with the health recommendations, and we extended it another 30 days. So I can only tell you what I know and what my recommendations were. But clearly as happens all the time, there were interpretations of that response to a hypothetical question that I just thought it would be very nice for me to clarify."
— Dr. Fauci

The big picture: On Sunday night, Trump retweeted a tweet about Fauci's comments that included the hashtag #FireFauci. The White House later put out a statement claiming that media speculation that Trump would fire Fauci is "ridiculous."

  • Fauci knocked down a question from a reporter asking whether he was clarifying his comments "voluntarily," adding: "Don't even imply that."
  • Trump later said that he was aware that the tweet he retweeted included the #FireFauci hashtag, but insisted that it was not an endorsement.
  • "I like him. I think he's terrific," Trump told reporters. "Not everyone's happy with Anthony. Not everybody is happy with everybody."

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Russian police officers beat protestesters at a rally against of jailing of oppositon leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow on Saturday. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Police in Russia on Saturday arrested more than 3,300 people as protesters nationwide demanded that opposition leader Alexey Navalny be released from jail.

Details: Demonstrations began in the eastern regions of Russia and spread west to more than 60 cities.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of the Trump-endorsed Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.