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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Emil Michael has stepped down as chief business officer at Uber, as the result of a wide-ranging workplace investigation that was kicked off by allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination by a former Uber engineer. Michael was not named in those claims, but the investigation ― led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ― nonetheless determined that he should be removed.

Michael announced the news internally on Monday morning via an email, which added that current SVP of strategic initiatives David Richter will be promoted to SVP of business. Uber itself declined to comment.

Why it matters: Michael has been Uber's second-most powerful executive behind CEO Travis Kalanick, and also is largely credited with much of its fundraising prowess.

Why he's out: It's unclear. There were reports last week that Michael inappropriately viewed a medical file of an Uber passenger in India who was raped by her driver (he's now in prison), which was somehow in the possession of an Uber employee who reported to Michael (and who was fired after the reports came out).

  1. Those same reports suggest Kalanick also viewed the documents, but there was no recommendation by Holder that he lose his job.
  2. The sourcing is anonymous, and a source close to Michael who Axios spoke with says he never viewed the file ― which the same source adds was part of a larger case file prepared by an India law firm at the request of Uber's general counsel.
  3. All of this suggests that Michael's departure is related to prior acts, including a suggestion in 2014 that Uber dig up dirt on a reporter.

Michael signs off his memo by saying: "Uber has a long way to go to achieve all that it can and I am looking forwsrd to seeing what you accomplish in the years ahead."

Go deeper

Scammers seize on COVID confusion

Data: FTC; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Scamming has skyrocketed in the past year, and much of the increase is attributed to COVID-related scams, more recently around vaccines.

Why it matters: The pandemic has created a prime opportunity for scammers to target people who are already confused about the chaotic rollouts of things like stimulus payments, loans, contact tracing and vaccines. Data shows that older people who aren't digitally literate are the most vulnerable.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

13 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.

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