J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Trump's nominee to head the FDA, Scott Gottlieb, has previously proposed a controversial plan: speed up the process for drug approvals under the agency and have politically appointed officials, not doctors, decide which drugs will be approved.

The inspiration: The European Medicines Agency — the European counterpart to the FDA — evaluates new drugs using "a body of politically appointed (and therefore politically accountable) officials, drawn from the European Commission." That means the FDA's European counterpart drug approval process exists outside the agency that evaluates them.

Why it matters: This plan could hurt the FDA's credibility, as drug approvals would become politically motivated by the appointed body Gottlieb proposed.

The FDA's drug approval process is already faster than the European Union's agency. Researchers found that the FDA took an average of 306 days to approve 170 drugs for marketing in the US, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. The European Medicines Agency spent an average of 383 days to approve 144 new drugs for marketing, the study found, so many are challenging the efficacy of Gottlieb's plan to change the review process in the US.

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China-Iran deal envisions massive investments from Beijing

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

China and Iran have negotiated a deal that would see massive investments flow into Iran, oil flow out, and collaboration increase on defense and intelligence.

Why it matters: If the proposals become reality, Chinese cash, telecom infrastructure, railways and ports could offer new life to Iran’s sanctions-choked economy — or, critics fear, leave it inescapably beholden to Beijing.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,353,348— Total deaths: 135,524 — Total recoveries: 1,031,856 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. World: WHO head: There will be no return to the "old normal" for foreseeable future — Hong Kong Disneyland closing due to surge.
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House Judiciary Committee releases transcript of Geoffrey Berman testimony

Geoffrey Berman. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday released the transcript of its closed-door interview with Geoffrey Berman, the former top federal prosecutor in Manhattan who was forced out by Attorney General Bill Barr last month.

Why it matters: House Democrats have seized on Berman's testimony, in which he claimed the attorney general sought to "entice" him into resigning so that he could be replaced by SEC chairman Jay Clayton, to bolster allegations that the Justice Department has been politicized under Barr.