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Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, apologized Thursday for his participation in President Trump's photo op at St. John's Church last week.

Why it matters: Milley's comments come as tensions remain high between Trump and the Pentagon over the incident, which was preceded by the clearing of peaceful protesters from the area.

  • "I should not have been there. My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics," Milley said during a prerecorded commencement address to National Defense University.
  • "As a commissioned uniformed officer, it was a mistake that I have learned from."

The big picture: The president has also clashed with Defense Secretary Mark Esper on the topic, prompting chatter that he was losing favor with Trump.

  • "I did know we were going to the church," Esper said last week. "I did not know a photo op was happening. ... I do everything I can to try to stay apolitical and to try and stay out of situations that may appear political."
  • The Times reported that Milley similarly believed that he was going "to review National Guard troops and other law enforcement personnel outside Lafayette Square."

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1 hour ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.

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Ripple CEO: SEC lawsuit is "bad for crypto" in the U.S.

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse tells "Axios on HBO" that if his company loses a lawsuit brought by U.S. regulators, it would put the country at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to cryptocurrencies.

Between the lines: The SEC in December sued Ripple, and Garlinghouse personally, for allegedly selling over $1.3 billion in unregistered securities. Ripple's response is that its cryptocurrency, called XRP, didn't require registration because it's an asset rather than a security.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO: "It will be terrible" if COVID-19 vaccine prices limit access

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told "Axios on HBO" that it "will be terrible for society" if the price of coronavirus vaccines ever prohibits some people from taking them.

Why it matters: Widespread uptake of the vaccine — which might require annual booster shots — will reduce the risk of the virus continuing to spread and mutate, but it's unclear who will pay for future shots or how much they'll cost.