May 31, 2017

New White House policy: All Russia questions referred to lawyer

Axios

In an off-camera briefing Wednesday, Sean Spicer announced a new White House policy on the Russia investigation: "All questions going forward on [Russia] will be referred to outside counsel Marc Kasowitz." This new policy comes the same day James Comey agreed to testify publicly before the Senate Intel Committee as early as next week. Other highlights:

  • Spicer hedged on the Paris climate deal decision: "I think the President's comments on this that he'll be making a decision in the next few days stand."
  • On "covfefe": Asked whether Americans should be concerned about Trump's "incoherent tweet," Spicer said "the President and a small group of people know exactly what he meant" to an uproar in the briefing room.
  • Up next: Trump is welcoming the Vietnamese Prime Minister to the White House this afternoon.

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Coronavirus spreads to new countries, while U.S. confirms 57 cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Public health officials confirmed Tuesday the U.S. has 57 people with the novel coronavirus, mostly those repatriated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship — an increase they had expected after the passengers were allowed to return home from Japan against their initial advice.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected more than 80,000 others, mostly in mainland China. There's only been two cases of person-to-person infections in the U.S. so far, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now warning that Americans should prepare for a much broader outbreak here.

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Space tourism gets ready for launch

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Why it matters: Right now, most revenue in the space industry is tied up in government contracts, but experts say the maturing industry will need tourism to grow into the $1 trillion economy some predict it could be.

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