Jun 13, 2017

Mattis: "No evidence" Putin wants good relations with U.S.

Alex Brandon / AP

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee Monday evening he sees "no evidence Mr. Putin wants a positive relationship" with the U.S., but added he thinks North Korea is the "most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security," putting it past Russia.

Mattis also critiqued the defense budget, noting he is "shocked" by the low level of U.S. military preparedness. Trump's proposal aims to remedy that by boosting defense spending, but not by as much as many hawks would like:

  • Trump vs. Obama: Trump's proposal calls for $603 billion for the DOD, whereas Obama's called for $584 billion — that is to say "it's basically the Obama approach with a little bit more, but not much," as committee chairman Mac Thornberry put it.
  • That's not enough for defense hawks. They want another $37 billion. John McCain said, the "request is inadequate to the challenges we face" and "illegal under current law" — that's because the 2011 Budget Control Act which is still in place, and means his proposal is $54 billion over budget caps, per the Washington Examiner.

There are even cuts affecting the military: The proposal would lead to military base closures in 2021, which is likely to upset lawmakers, according to The Hill. Mattis said this could generate $2 billion or more in yearly savings.

What else Mattis said:

  • Although Korea is the most dangerous threat to the U.S., he's confident the U.S. can defend itself.
  • The situation in Qatar is "not tidy" but "moving in the right direction."
  • "ISIS and other terrorist organizations represent a clear and present danger."

Go deeper

CDC: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," but more data is needed

CDC Director Robert Redfield briefs reporters on April 8. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus antibody tests are still relatively unreliable, and it's unclear if people who get the virus are immune to getting it again, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautioned on Tuesday.

What they're saying: The agency explicitly warned against using antibody tests to determine whether someone should return to work or to group people within schools or prisons.

Trump accuses Twitter of interfering in 2020 election

President Trump speaks to the press as he departs the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Getty Images

President Trump responded via tweets Tuesday evening to Twitter fact-checking him for the first time on his earlier unsubstantiated posts claiming mail-in ballots in November's election would be fraudulent.

What he's saying: "Twitter is now interfering in the 2020 Presidential Election.They are saying my statement on Mail-In Ballots, which will lead to massive corruption and fraud, is incorrect, based on fact-checking by Fake News CNN and the Amazon Washington Post," the president tweeted. "Twitter is completely stifling FREE SPEECH, and I, as President, will not allow it to happen!"

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 5,584,091 — Total deaths: 349,894 — Total recoveries — 2,284,242Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 1,680,301 — Total deaths: 98,875 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Business: How the new workplace could leave parents behind.
  6. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  7. Public health: CDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 50 mins ago - Politics & Policy