Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told "Fox & Friends" on Wednesday that President Trump's baseless tweet suggesting that an elderly protester injured by police in Buffalo, N.Y., "could be an ANTIFA provocateur" was just raising "questions that need to be asked."

Why it matters: McEnany's willingness to defend the president regarding the tweet hasn't been shared by others in the Republican Party — as most GOP senators refused to acknowledge it and Trump allies inside and outside the White House were left stunned.

  • Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who has faced Trump's ire in recent days, refused to comment on the tweet to reporters on Capitol Hill Tuesday. "Why would you want to fan the flames?" she asked.
  • One former aide even told Axios' Jonathan Swan that it's tweets like this that make him wonder whether Trump actually wants to get re-elected.

What she's saying: "So the president was raising questions based on a report that he saw. They're questions that need to be asked, and every case we can't jump on one side without looking at all the facts at play."

  • "This individual had some very questionable tweets — some profanity-laden tweets — about police officers. Of course, no one condones any sort of violence. We need the appropriate amount of force used in any interaction, but there are a lot of questions in that case."
  • "In fact, you had 56 police officers who resigned in protest of how their fellow officers were treated. So I think we need to ask why those officers resigned, what happened, what facts were on the ground. The president was just raising some of those questions."

The state of play: The conspiracy theory originated on the far-right blog Conservative Treehouse and made its way to the president via a report on One America News Network, which has a history of conspiracy-focused reporting.

  • The OANN reporter, Kristian Rouz, is a Russian national who also writes for the Kremlin-owned outlet Sputnik, per The Daily Beast.

The big picture: The protester, Martin Gugino, could remain in the hospital for the next two weeks, per CNN.

  • The officers who pushed him were charged with second-degree assault and released on bail.
  • As McEnany referenced, dozens of Buffalo police officers on the department's Emergency Response Team resigned from the unit in a show of support with their colleagues.

Go deeper

Pence set to appear at fundraiser hosted by QAnon supporters

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Pence and other prominent Republicans are set to appear at a Montana fundraiser next week hosted by a couple who publicly support the QAnon conspiracy theory, according to an invitation reviewed by AP.

Why it matters: It's yet another example of how the conspiracy theory has gained a foothold in mainstream Republican politics.

Senate Armed Services chair dismisses Trump threat to veto defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe poses with Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 21. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told reporters Wednesday that he plans to move ahead with a crucial defense-spending bill without provisions that would eliminate tech industry protections, defying a veto threat from President Trump.

Why it matters: Inhofe's public rebuke signals that the Senate could have enough Republican backing to override a potential veto from Trump, who has demanded that the $740 billion National Defense Authorization Act repeal Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

Scoop: Uber sells its air taxi business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Uber has agreed to sell its Uber Elevate unit to Joby Aviation, Axios has learned from multiple sources.

Between the lines: Uber Elevate was formed to develop a network of self-driving air taxis, but to date has been most notable for its annual conference devoted to the nascent industry.