Stephanie Grisham and President Trump. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former President Obama's aides denied a claim made by Trump administration press secretary Stephanie Grisham on Tuesday that they left disparaging notes in the White House for incoming staff.

Driving the news: Grisham said in a radio interview that upon arriving at the White House, "every office was filled with Obama books and we had notes left behind that said, 'You will fail,' and 'You aren’t going to make it.'" She has yet to present evidence to support her claim.

What they're saying:

  • Chris Lu, who served as Cabinet Secretary in the Obama administration, tweeted: "This is absolutely not true. Obama repeatedly and publicly praised Bush cooperation during 2009 transition, and pledged we would provide same cooperation to whoever followed us. And that’s what we did."
  • Peter Velz, a press aide in the Obama administration tweeted the note he left his successor, saying it was "dispiriting to hear" from Grisham, "a person with whom I spent a couple amicable hours with during the the 2016 transition where I wished her nothing but institutional knowledge, good luck and all our support."
  • Valerie Jarrett, a former senior advisor to Obama, wrote, "Produce the notes that back this up. I cannot imagine a single one of my former colleagues who would do this. From @BarackObama on down, we all tried to help facilitate a smooth and orderly transition just as President Bush and his team had done for us."
  • Ben Rhodes, who served as Deputy National Security Adviser for strategic communications, tweeted: "This is a lie. If this happened I also don’t think the entire Trump staff would wait 3 years to tell us. Sad to see the WH press secretary fall this far."

Go deeper: Obama cautions 2020 candidates against going too far left

Go deeper

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

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Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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