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Charles Krupa / AP

Health insurer Humana is trying to kill a subpoena from the Federal Trade Commission tied to the agency's review of Walgreens Boots Alliance's $7 billion acquisition of Rite Aid. But the FTC is demanding the D.C. district court require Humana to cough up the documents by June 26, according to court filings.

Why the urgency: Walgreens proposed buying Rite Aid in October 2015 to create the largest pharmacy chain in the country. The FTC is worried the deal would lead to higher drug prices for consumers because Walgreens would have a lot more negotiating power over insurers and employers. But Walgreens and Rite Aid have already agreed to divest some stores and provided other necessary information to the FTC, and therefore legally can finish the deal by July 7.

What the FTC is still examining: Whether Humana's Medicare prescription drug plans, which feature Walmart as the preferred in-network pharmacy, would be a viable plan while excluding the combined Walgreens-Rite Aid giant. Humana is pushing back against the FTC, arguing the subpoena is irrelevant, costly and "unduly burdensome."

What the FTC is saying: "Time is of the essence. Any delay in the resolution of this petition may force the FTC to assess the competitive effects of the transaction with information that is less than comprehensive or to take extraordinary steps to address the merger after it is complete, at which point the prospect of effective relief is far more difficult." Read the full petition.

Looking ahead: If the deal falls through, Amazon could entertain the idea of acquiring Rite Aid (or other small pharmacy and grocer chains like Kroger) as a way to jump fully into the pharmacy market.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”