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Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Spicer's back after a quiet weekend in the White House. He opened with a strong defense of the AHCA, as he's done for every briefing since the draft of the new GOP healthcare bill was released last Monday. Spicer also confirmed that Trump is meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping; nodded to Trump's first Cabinet meeting this afternoon — where 4 seats will be vacant thanks to the Senate delaying their confirmations; and noted that Preet Bharara's firing was "standard procedure."

More updates below:

  • Trump's salary: "The president's intention is to donate his salary at the end of the year... and he's asked that you all determine where it goes," said Spicer.
  • Obama wiretapping: "If you look at the president's tweet, he said 'wiretapping'" said Spicer, adding that Trump doesn't mean that Obama personally tapped his phones... he used the term broadly, "that's why it was in quotes." He also noted that "from a WH perspective" there's been an abundance of media reports on intelligence abuse during the 2016 election.
  • Trump's meeting with Angela Merkel is postponed to Friday March 17 due to the upcoming snow storm.

Go deeper

Updated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 219-211 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

Senate Republicans plan to exact pain before COVID relief vote

Sen. Ron Johnson. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.

The new grifters: outrage profiteers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As Republicans lost the Senate and narrowly missed retaking the House, millions of dollars in grassroots donations were diverted to a handful of 2020 congressional campaigns challenging high-profile Democrats that, realistically, were never going to succeed.

Why it matters: Call it the outrage-industrial complex. Slick fundraising consultants market candidates contesting some of their party’s most reviled opponents. Well-meaning donors pour money into dead-end campaigns instead of competitive contests. The only winner is the consultants.