Evan Vucci / AP

Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders surprised reporters for a second day in a row when she appeared at the briefing podium Wednesday instead of Sean Spicer. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials also spoke, with Sanders claiming that if the White House had announced the guests ahead of time, the media wouldn't have covered them. Other highlights from the off-camera briefing:

Sarah Sanders

  • Is Trump running for reelection? "Of course."
  • On Manafort retroactively registering as a foreign agent: Sanders said she can't speak for the 2016 campaign team.
  • What are Trump's policy preferences on Medicaid? Sanders said she didn't have that information.

ICE acting Director Thomas Homan

  • On separating families: "Families of U.S. citizens get separated every day" and people who are in the U.S. illegally have "put themselves in that position."
  • On notion immigrants are "more dangerous": Homan conceded that undocumented immigrants do not commit more crimes than native born Americans.
  • Number of illegal immigrants in U.S.: "11 to 12 million" said Homan, and noted that he "never heard" of the 30 million estimate Trump used in his 2016 campaign.
  • On ICE's reputation: "People think I'm standing up here and I'm the devil. Why am I so strong on this? If you saw what I saw over the last 33 years, I wouldn't get half the bad media that I get."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began

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COVID Tracking Project

The U.S. confirmed at least 83,010 coronavirus cases on Friday, the country's highest daily total since the pandemic started, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

By the numbers: Friday's total surpassed the U.S.'s previous record set on July 17 when 76,842 cases were recorded. 

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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3 hours ago - Health

Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.