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A stunning moment in today's House Intelligence hearing — the director of the National Security Agency, Admiral Michael Rogers, acknowledged on live television that President Trump's loose talk has complicated relationships with Britain and Germany.

  1. On Britain: Rogers was asked about Trump's repetition of an unsubstantiated claim that Britain's top spy agency wiretapped Trump on behalf of President Obama. Rogers gave a forceful "no," said he agreed with the British that the claims were nonsense, and acknowledged that Trump's allegation was unhelpful and "clearly frustrates a key ally of ours."
  2. On Germany: Rogers was asked about Trump's suggestion to German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week that they both had something in common because they'd been wiretapped by Obama. Rogers said it was unhelpful for Trump to raise this controversial incident, which became public due to leaks by Edward Snowden. "It certainly complicates things," Rogers said.

Why this matters: Germany and Britain are two of America's key allies, with foundational shared interests and intimate national security relationships. Britain belongs to the "Five Eyes" — the crucial intelligence alliance with Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. These relationships — as Rogers acknowledged today — are incredibly resilient and will withstand these presidential hiccups. But for an NSA director to publicly state that the President is straining key relationships...that's extraordinary.

Go deeper

Updated 42 mins ago - Health

Texas to end all coronavirus restrictions

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott speaking at the White House in December 2020. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Texas will end its coronavirus restrictions next week with an upcoming executive order, Gov. Greg Abbot (R) announced Tuesday during a press conference in Lubbock.

Why it matters: After Abbott signs the new order, which rescinds previous orders, all businesses can open to 100% capacity and the statewide mask mandate will be over, though large parts of the state will remain under mask local ordinances.

Senate confirms Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo as commerce secretary

Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo (D). Photo: David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The Senate voted 84-15 on Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to lead the Commerce Department.

Why it matters: The agency promotes U.S. industry, oversees the Census Bureau, plays a key role in the government's study of climate change through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and evaluates emerging technology through the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director warns "now is not the time" to lift COVID restrictions — Exclusive: Teenagers' mental health claims doubled last spring.
  2. Axios-Ipsos poll: Americans' hopes rise after a year of COVID
  3. Vaccine: J&J CEO "absolutely" confident in vaccine distribution goals — Vaccine hesitancy is shrinking.
  4. World: China and Russia vaccinate the world, for now.
  5. Energy: Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels.
  6. Local: Florida gets more good vaccine newsMinnesota's hunger problem grows amid pandemic — Denver's fitness industry eyes a pandemic recovery.