Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Monday and informed him that he will not be running for Kansas' open Senate seat in 2020, the New York Times first reported and Axios confirmed from a source with direct knowledge.

The big picture: Speculation had persisted for months that Pompeo was exploring a Senate campaign in his home state, despite his repeated insistence that he was focused exclusively on his job at the State Department.

  • Pompeo's profile has been elevated in recent days in the wake of escalated tensions with Iran, with the secretary appearing on every mainstream Sunday cable talk show to discuss the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani.

Between the lines: Republicans fear that the Kansas seat could be in jeopardy with Pompeo opting not to run, especially if former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach were to win the GOP primary.

  • Kobach, who was defeated in the race for Kansas governor in 2018, is known for his hardline views on immigration and dubious claims about voter fraud, and he's widely viewed as unpopular among moderates.

Go deeper ... Pompeo on Trump's Iran threat: "We'll behave lawfully"

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Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre"

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Anthony Fauci told The Atlantic on Wednesday that efforts by certain White House officials to discredit him are "bizarre" and that it "ultimately hurts the president" to undermine a top health official in the middle of a pandemic.

Driving the news: Fauci's comments come on the heels of a USA Today op-ed by White House trade adviser Peter Navarro, who claimed that Fauci has been "wrong about everything" related to the coronavirus that the two have interacted on. Fauci told The Atlantic: “I can’t explain Peter Navarro. He’s in a world by himself.”

3 hours ago - Health

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive for coronavirus

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R) announced on Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and will self-isolate, Tulsa World reports.

Why it matters: The 47-year-old Stitt is believed to be the first governor in the U.S. to test positive. He attended President Trump's rally in Tulsa last month, which the county's health department director said likely contributed to a surge in cases in the region.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 13,397,167 — Total deaths: 580,388 — Total recoveries — 7,449,477Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:30 p.m. ET: 3,459,053 — Total deaths: 136,900 — Total recoveries: 1,049,098 — Total tested: 41,764,557Map.
  3. States: Alabama's GOP governor issues statewide mask mandate — Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt tests positive.
  4. Politics: Fauci says White House effort to discredit him is "bizarre" — Trump says Navarro shouldn't have written op-ed attacking Fauci.