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Ronald Klain with President Obama in 2014. Photo: Drew Angerer/Bloomberg

The Obama administration's Ebola response coordinator Ronald Klain tore into the White House Thursday over a report in the New York Times that all public statements and appearances by health officials must be coordinated with the office of Vice President Mike Pence.

What they're saying: "I was the WH Ebola Response Coordinator in 2014-15," Klain tweeted. "We never told the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or National Institutes of Health what they could say, or ever censored their medical statements. If the WH is doing that now, it is a danger to public health."

  • White House officials insisted to the Times that "the goal is not to control the content of what subject-matter experts and other officials are saying, but to make sure their efforts are being coordinated."
  • "The vice president wants clear, open and rapid communication," a senior administration official told Axios.

The big picture: President Trump announced Wednesday that Pence will be taking the lead on the administration's response to the coronavirus outbreak. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams were also added to the coronavirus task force on Thursday.

  • Trump has faced criticism for contradictory statements he made at his press conference Wednesday, as he sought to downplay warnings from other health officials that the spread of the virus in the United States is likely inevitable.
  • Pence's public health record while serving as governor of Indiana has also been called into question. He opposed a clean-needle exchange program amid an AIDs breakout among drug users, and he made significant cuts to Indiana's public health budget.

Go deeper

Updated 11 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

13 hours ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.