Feb 7, 2017

How Spicer cleaned up Trump's Obamacare comment

Carolyn Kaster/AP

White House press secretary Sean Spicer didn't waste any time walking back President Trump's comments from this weekend about Obamacare repeal possibly lasting into next year. Here's what Spicer said at today's briefing:

I think we can have this done legislatively sooner rather than later, but the implementation might take a little bit longer.

What he was cleaning up: In a pre-Super Bowl interview Sunday, Trump told Bill O'Reilly that Obamacare repeal might take a while: "Maybe it'll take until sometime in next year." That set off a new round of stories about how badly the repeal effort was going.

Yes, but: For the legislation to pass "sooner rather than later," Republicans are going to have to release a bill and start working on it, and there's no sign that it will happen anytime soon.

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The rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

Pro-Trump warrior takes the helm of U.S. intelligence

Richard Grenell in Berlin. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By picking Ambassador Richard Grenell to be acting director of national intelligence, President Trump has slotted a pro-Trump warrior into the ultimate apolitical role.

What they're saying: James Clapper, the longest-serving DNI (2010-2017), tells Axios it's "very worrisome installing a partisan with no real intelligence experience in this position."

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers as Israel confirms first case

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship — as Israel confirmed its first case among evacuees from the ship.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 76,000 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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