Cover: Dutton

ABC's Jonathan Karl writes in "Front Row at the Trump Show," out Tuesday, that during a meeting in 2017, President Trump interrupted a presentation by then-national security adviser H.R. McMaster on the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and demanded a war plan. "I will pass that order on to the Pentagon immediately, Mr. President," McMaster replied.

The big picture: Karl writes that one of the options Trump "had in mind was a naval blockade of Venezuela, which didn't make sense for a lot of reasons, including the fact that Venezuela is not an island."

As McMaster marched into his office, then-chief of staff John Kelly hustled after him, Karl writes:

"What the hell are you doing?" Kelly asked.
"I am going to carry out an order from the commander in chief," McMaster answered.
Kelly told him to stand down and not to pass the president's order on to the Pentagon.

Why it matters: It's a juicy example of the approach Kelly, who tried to bring discipline to a chaotic West Wing, took to corralling Trump.

  • At a crowded sports bar in Manila during a presidential trip, Kelly told Karl that "the most important thing he did was tell the president no. 'No. Don’t tweet that. No. Don’t change your policy on that. No, no, no.'"

Between the lines: When Karl went to Kelly and asked if he could use a certain off-the-record exchange in the book, the retired general had a surprisingly blanket response, Karl writes in a footnote: "[H]e agreed to allow me to quote this and other previously off-the-record remarks he made while he was chief of staff."

Left: The New York Post's Jonathan Karl interviewed Donald Trump in 1994, and Trump asked if he wanted to "get a picture." (Photo courtesy Jonathan Karl) Right: ABC's Jonathan Karl questions President Trump this week. (Photo courtesy Doug Mills/The New York Times)

Go deeper ... New book: Steve Bannon called Nancy Pelosi "an assassin"

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Health

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 13,357,992 — Total deaths: 579,546 — Total recoveries — 7,441,446Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 a.m. ET: 3,432,307 — Total deaths: 136,493 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. Public health: Florida's outbreak is getting worse — Testing is again overwhelmed by massive U.S. caseload.
  4. Business: UnitedHealth posts most profitable quarter in its history — Walmart will require all customers to wear masks.
  5. Politics: White House says it didn't clear Navarro op-ed that attacked Fauci.

Walmart will require all customers to wear masks

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Walmart will require all customers to wear face masks beginning next week in all of its 9,000 company-owned stores, in addition to its Sam's Club locations, the company announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: Walmart is the largest retailer in the U.S. and the latest in a string of national chains — including Costco and Starbucks — to mandate masks for customers.