Apr 5, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Navy Capt. Brett Crozier tests positive for coronavirus

Photo: Mai/Mai/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images

Navy Capt. Brett E. Crozier has tested positive for the coronavirus just days after losing command of the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt, the New York Times reports, citing two of his Naval Academy classmates.

Why it matters: The ship has seen more than 100 cases of coronavirus on board, and all sailors remaining on the ship must test negative for the disease before being evacuated.

  • The captain's letter — in which he pleaded for more resources and space to quarantine crew members offshore — was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle last week.
  • He was subsequently relieved of duty.

What they're saying:

  • Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly has argued that Crozier evaded the chain of command and "at no time relayed" the urgency that he wrote in his letter. Modly said Crozier "allowed the complexity of his challenge with the COVID breakout on the ship to overwhelm his ability to act professionally, when acting professionally was what was needed most at the time."
  • Joe Biden tweeted Friday: "Captain Crozier was faithful to his duty—both to his sailors and his country. Navy leadership sent a chilling message about speaking truth to power. The poor judgment here belongs to the Trump Admin, not a courageous officer trying to protect his sailors."

What's next: "A group of Democratic senators asked the office of the Department of Defense Inspector General on Friday to investigate the U.S. Navy's response to the coronavirus outbreak aboard the U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt and the firing of its captain," Axios' Marisa Fernandez reported on Friday.

Go deeper

House Democrats pull FISA reauthorization bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

House Democrats pulled legislation Thursday that would have renewed expired domestic surveillance laws and strengthened transparency and privacy protections amid broad opposition from President Trump, House GOP leadership and progressive Democrats.

Why it matters: The failure to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) comes as Trump continues to attack the intelligence community, which he claims abused the law to surveil his 2016 campaign and Trump administration officials.

U.S. GDP drop revised lower to 5% in the first quarter

Data: Bureau of Economic Analysis; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy shrunk by an annualized 5% in the first quarter — 0.2% worse than initially estimated — according to revised figures released by the government on Thursday.

Why it matters: It's the worst quarterly decline since 2008 and shows a huge hit as the economy was just beginning to shut down because of the coronavirus. Economists are bracing for the second quarter's figures to be the worst ever — with some projecting an annualized decline of around 40%.

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The end of the beginning on energy companies' net-zero carbon pledges

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

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Why it matters: A key thing to watch now is whether and how energy giants start providing more granular information on how to transform the pledges into concrete steps.