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Photo: Michael Reynolds - Pool/Getty Images

Jared Kushner told Republican donors that felons are coming out of jail and registering as Republicans, according to sources who attended a donor retreat in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, last week.

Behind the scenes: "I guess climate change is not their No. 1 issue," Kushner joked of the former prisoners, according to sources who attended the dinner where Kushner spoke. The audience of Republican donors burst out laughing at this comment, these sources said. The remarks came as Kushner and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy discussed the prison reform bill that Trump signed into law at the end of the last Congress.

  • Through his remarks, Kushner was trying to solidify Republican support for prison reform, 1 of 4 sources who attended the dinner said. He praised the policy, but also made a political argument for pushing criminal justice reform, citing recent statistics he said he'd seen of ex-felons registering as Republicans in Florida.
  • Kushner said that if one of his predecessors had cared as much as he does about prison reform then "it would have changed my family." He was referring to his father, Charles Kushner, who went to jail in the mid-2000s after pleading guilty to tax evasion, illegal campaign donations and witness tampering.

What we're hearing: Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser made these comments during a staged conversation with McCarthy at a dinner Tuesday at the Wyoming ranch of John L. Nau III, a major beer distributor and Republican donor. More than 100 donors dined under a tent by the Snake River, with mountains in the backdrop, these sources said.

  • In the same conversation, Kushner described the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement that he helped negotiate as "the best trade deal in the history of the country," a source in attendance said.
  • And Kushner said the president cares less about the politics of a China deal and more about "doing the right thing" with respect to pushing back against China in what has become a global problem, another source familiar with his remarks added.

Go deeper

Updated 5 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker
9 hours ago - World

Biden will move U.S. troops to Eastern Europe "in the near term"

President Biden boards Air Force One at Joint Base Andrews on Jan. 28. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said on Friday he plans to move U.S. troops to Eastern European and NATO countries “in the near term.”

Driving the news: “Not too many” U.S. troops, Biden added in remarks to reporters at Joint Base Andrew upon returning from a trip to Pennsylvania.