May 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

HHS watchdog targeted by Trump to testify about coronavirus supply shortages

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Health and Human Services principal deputy inspector general, Christi Grimm, will testify before the House Oversight Committee on Tuesday about an April report that found "severe shortages” in coronavirus testing kits and personal protective equipment in U.S. hospitals, a committee spokesperson confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: President Trump targeted Grimm on Twitter after she published the critical report, tweeting on April 6: "Why didn’t the I.G., who spent 8 years with the Obama Administration (Did she Report on the failed H1N1 Swine Flu debacle where 17,000 people died?), want to talk to the Admirals, Generals, V.P. & others in charge, before doing her report. Another Fake Dossier!"

  • Trump has since nominated assistant U.S. attorney Jason Weida to replace Grimm as HHS inspector general.
  • It's one of several steps Trump has taken to purge federal watchdogs for conducting oversight over his administration.

The big picture: Grimm's testimony could prove to be a rare moment of high-profile public scrutiny for the administration after the White House banned members of the coronavirus task force from testifying in the House during May.

  • Rick Bright, the former head of a top vaccine agency, testified to a House subcommittee this month that he was told his repeated warnings about the Trump administration's lack of preparedness for the coronavirus were "causing a commotion."
  • Grimm's appearance, which is being billed as a briefing rather than a hearing, will be conducted via teleconference.

Go deeper: House Democrats request IG probe into removal of top vaccine doctor

Go deeper

Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day, prompting a federal response from the National Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.

The latest: Even with early curfews in New York City and Washington, D.C., protesters are still out en masse. Some protesters in D.C. said they were galvanized by President Trump's photo op in front of St. John's Church on Monday and threat to deploy U.S. troops in the rest of country if violence isn't quelled, NBC News reports.

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump backs off push to federalize forces against riots

Photo: Brendan Smialowski /AFP via Getty Images

A day after threatening to federalize forces to snuff out riots across the country, the president appears to be backing off the idea of invoking the Insurrection Act, sources familiar with his plans tell Axios.

What we're hearing: Aides say he hasn’t ruled out its use at some point, but that he's “pleased” with the way protests were handled last night (apart from in New York City, as he indicated on Twitter today) — and that for now he's satisfied with leaving the crackdown to states through local law enforcement and the National Guard.

What we expect from our bosses

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Workers — especially millennials and Gen Zers — are paying close attention to the words and actions of their employers during national crises, such as the protests following the killing of George Floyd in police custody.

Why it matters: American companies have an enormous amount of wealth and influence that they can put toward effecting change, and CEOs have the potential to fill the leadership vacuum left by government inaction. More and more rank-and-file employees expect their bosses to do something with that money and power.