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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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ORR Director Scott Lloyd. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

On October 23, 2017, Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement removed an entire webpage that contained detailed contact information for 22 different staffers, including ORR Director Scott Lloyd, according to a Web Integrity Project investigation and confirmed by HHS.

Why it matters: ORR is the agency that is responsible for caring for the separated migrant children following the implementation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero-tolerance" policy, which sparked international outrage. Although HHS claims there is no correlation, family separations began as early as October 2017, according to the New York Times — around the time the website was modified.

  • The ORR "About" page now links to a general media contact email instead of linking to the full contact page it had previously listed.

HHS response: Caitlin Oakley, an HHS spokesperson, told Axios that ORR’s modification was part of an overall update by it’s umbrella agency, the Administration for Children and Families. “Any suggestions that there was a correlation between this action and the ‘zero tolerance’ policy would be totally inaccurate,“ she said.

Yes, but: WPI points out in its report that other ACF offices, including the Office of Community Services, have kept specific contact information for federal staff readily available on their websites.

The bottom line: Whether or not the change was made with family separation in mind, ORR at the very least made its employees less readily accessible to the public and the media.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.

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