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Photo: Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley is fighting back blame from the White House that she preemptively announced on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday that the Treasury Department would formalize the additional sanctions the next day. White House later reversed that decision.

“With all due respect, I don't get confused.”
— Nikki Haley in a statement to Fox News' Dana Perino

The background: National Economic Council chairman Larry Kudlow suggested on CNN Tuesday that Haley may have been confused and "got ahead of the curve." He also said sanctions decisions "haven't been determined." Kudlow later told the New York Times he was "totally wrong" to say Haley was confused, and that he called her to apologize for the remark.

The intrigue: National Security Council officials were planning on slapping sanctions on Russian companies that manufactured equipment used by Assad's regime in the alleged chemical weapons attack, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Axios Tuesday.

Behind the scenes: A number of senior White House officials anonymously told reporters that Haley made a mistake by making the announcement ahead of President Trump and that it shouldn't have been made public on the Sunday morning show. A senior official said Trump was angry about the situation.

  • Meanwhile, Haley’s allies say she cleared her remarks with the White House, and Trump changed his mind. Her allies also said that senior White House officials are unfairly throwing her under the bus.

Reality check: It’s wild to have the Ambassador and the president’s chief economic adviser publicly clashing like this.

Go deeper

52 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Facebook exec warns of "more bad headlines"

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

In a post to staffers Saturday obtained by Axios, Facebook VP of global affairs Nick Clegg warned the company that worse coverage could be on the way: “We need to steel ourselves for more bad headlines in the coming days, I’m afraid.”

Catch up quick: Roughly two dozen news outlets had agreed to hold stories based on leaked materials from Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen for Monday publication — but the embargo fell apart Friday night as participating newsrooms posted a batch of articles ahead of the weekend.

"Atmospheric river" to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood

A map depicting 24-hour preciptation forecast (inches) ending Monday at 5a.m. local time. Photo: NOAA

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are set dump historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

Inside Biden's Taiwan flubs

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Twice this year, President Biden has blurted out commitments that the U.S. is prepared to defend Taiwan against a Chinese invasion — forcing the White House to walk back his statements and leading to confusion over a high-stakes national security policy.

Why it matters: U.S. defense officials have publicly aired their concerns that China will take Taiwan by force in the next four to six years, perhaps sooner. The president's position on this question may soon have real-world, life and death consequences.

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