Gates sat down with Mike Allen at the National Archives Building Thursday to discuss his experience leading the DOD, the CIA, and Texas A&M. They talked about Gates' role in Tillerson's nomination, sending strong messages to military aggression, and upcoming challenges for Trump's Administration in geopolitics.

  1. Gates recommended Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State: As he said he told Trump, "an unorthodox choice and person I would recommend is Rex Tillerson. I've known Rex for a number of years, actually through the Boy Scouts where... after these meetings Rex and I would stay up late into the night talking about the world… I felt he had a great understanding of geopolitics and geo-strategy. He wasn't going to need a briefing book to know about Indonesia or South America or the Middle East or Russia…. I later learned from the press that was the first time he had heard Tillerson's name."
  2. On Tillerson's relationship to Putin: "Just because somebody has done business with Vladimir Putin doesn't make them friends."
  3. On Russian fighters coming within feet of American ships and aircraft: "If I were secretary of defense… when that Russian plane flew within 20 or 30 feet of an American warship, I would have sent a message. I would have asked the president to send a message to Putin, 'the next time your forces come that close to one of our ships, we will paint it, and we will shoot.'"
  4. On sending messages to Iran in the Persian Gulf: "You guys get closer than a half mile to one of our ships… I would've sent the message: we're going to react. Just know it. And you're not going to win."

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Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: The swing states where the pandemic is raging — Pence no longer expected to attend Barrett confirmation vote after COVID exposure.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day case records last week
  3. Business: Where stimulus is needed most.
  4. Education: The dangerous instability of school re-openings.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota COVID cases traced to 3 Trump campaign events
  6. World: Restrictions grow across Europe.
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Republicans and Dems react to Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation

President Trump stands with Judge Amy Coney Barrett after she took the constitutional oath to serve as a Supreme Court justice during a White House ceremony Monday night .Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

President Trump said Judge Amy Coney Barrett's Senate confirmation to the Supreme Court and her subsequent taking of the constitutional oath Monday was a "momentous day," as she she vowed to serve "without any fear or favour."

  • But as Republicans applauded the third conservative justice in four years, many Democrats including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) warned of consequences to the rush to replace the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ahead of the Nov. 3 election, with progressives leading calls to expand the court.
Ina Fried, author of Login
1 hour ago - Science

CRISPR pioneer: "Science is on the ballot" in 2020

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

In her three decades in science, Jennifer Doudna said she has seen a gradual erosion of trust in the profession, but the recent Nobel Prize winner told "Axios on HBO" that the institution itself has been under assault from the current administration.

  • "I think science is on the ballot," Doudna said in the interview.

Why it matters: That has manifested itself in everything from how the federal government approaches climate change to the pandemic.