Dec 25, 2017

How Mueller became political

Mueller had near-universal support when he was selected as special counsel. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty

The rising partisan atmosphere around Bob Mueller's investigation is a sharp departure from the near-universal support that greeted his selection as special counsel in May — and threatens to shadow his investigation's eventual findings, the WashPost writes in its lead story.

Why it matters: "Among current and former law enforcement officials, the public attacks on the FBI are seen as an indirect way of trying to discredit Mueller and blunt future findings he may issue."

  • "Trump, while vowing to cooperate with the special counsel, has also encouraged attacks on Mueller's credibility, tweeting that the investigation is 'the greatest Witch Hunt in U.S. political history.'"
  • "The controversy, percolating for months, escalated dramatically in early December with the revelation of text messages in which one of Mueller's former top investigators, Peter Strzok, called Trump an 'idiot' last year."
  • Trump tweeted: "Report: 'ANTI-TRUMP FBI AGENT LED CLINTON EMAIL PROBE' Now it all starts to make sense!"
  • "Republicans in Congress took the cue, seizing upon the texts to attack the credibility of the FBI and the Mueller investigation."

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Half of the globe is on lockdown

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

About half of the planet's population is on lockdown amid the coronavirus crisis.

The latest: About half of deaths worldwide are in Italy and Spain, with fatalities exponentially increasing all over Europe. The global death toll exceeded 55,000 on Friday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 32 mins ago - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates: 700,000 jobs lost in March, death toll still rising

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The U.S. lost 701,000 jobs in March, but the report doesn't reflect the height of the virus' impact on the economy. The jobless hits right now are like a natural disaster striking every state at the same time.

The state of play: Payments to Americans from the $2.2 trillion stimulus package will be distributed in mid-April, but those without IRS direct deposit accounts may not receive checks until August, according to a House Ways and Means Committee memo first reported by CNN and confirmed by Axios.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 50 mins ago - Health

Skepticism rises over government's small business bailouts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America today launched its $350 billion bailout for small businesses, and already there is widespread skepticism that the program will run smoothly or be large enough to meet demand.

What's new: House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy yesterday said that the affiliation rule will be waived for any company with less than 500 employees that doesn't have a controlling outside shareholder, thus making most VC-backed startups eligible for PPP loans. This was based on a conversation he'd just had with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.