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Ratcliffe listens during Robert Mueller's testimony on July 24, 2019. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump announced that Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would not be nominated to become the next director of national intelligence in a pair of Friday tweets, saying it would expose him to "months of slander and libel."

"Our great Republican Congressman John Ratcliffe is being treated very unfairly by the LameStream Media. Rather than going through months of slander and libel, I explained to John how miserable it would be for him and his family to deal with these people. John has therefore decided to stay in Congress."

The state of play, via Axios' Jonathan Swan: Ratcliffe withdrew himself, per sources familiar with the situation. He was watching coverage of his possible nomination pile up, and the White House was getting word that he would struggle to get enough Republicans to confirm him. Ratcliffe "thought better to pull out now than put family through confirmation only to come up shy," texted a source familiar with his thinking.

  • According to a third source familiar with the situation, Ratcliffe did not anticipate the intensity of the reaction to his name being floated.

The backdrop: Ratcliffe, who defended Trump and "downplayed the threat posed by Russia" at former special counsel Robert Mueller's July hearing, is not well-known by many Republican senators or trusted by Democrats, per Politico.

Go deeper: Trump says DNI nominee Ratcliffe will "rein in" intelligence agencies

Go deeper

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker
Updated 6 hours ago - Economy & Business

Janet Yellen co-opts Reaganomics phrase for new Davos speech

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen at a speech this week. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The U.S. needs to focus on increasing its productive potential, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told world leaders Friday, calling for what she terms "modern supply side economics."

Why it matters: She co-opted a phrase traditionally used by political conservatives to describe low-tax and deregulatory policies — and framed the Biden administration's initiatives as the best path forward to achieve greater national prosperity.