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Ronny Jackson speaking at the White House press briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

At this point it's very difficult to imagine a scenario in which Ronny Jackson is the next Veterans Affairs secretary.

The latest: Senators from both parties spent the day yesterday throwing cold water on Jackson's nomination. And after a trickle of loose and vague suggestions of inappropriate conduct, CNN's Juana Summers and Manu Raju scooped some details last night.

  • Jackson "was intoxicated and banged on the hotel room door of a female employee" during an overseas trip in 2015, according to CNN, and "the incident became so noisy ... that the Secret Service stopped him out of concern that he would wake then-President Barack Obama."
  • "It is one of multiple drunken episodes involving Jackson on overseas trips," CNN reports.

Yes, but: Former Obama administration officials told the New York Times they had seen nothing of the sort. “I am not even sure that I ever saw him in a hotel bar,” Brian McKeon, chief of staff for the National Security Council under Obama, told the paper.

Even so: Jackson's nomination was on ice before the CNN story broke.

  • Sen. Johnny Isakson, who chairs the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, has called White House Chief of Staff John Kelly twice "to express concerns about new information," his office told the Washington Post.
  • The White House defended Jackson last night, even after President Trump said yesterday afternoon that if it were him, he'd drop out out.
  • But without more support from Senate Republicans, this is looking more like a question of when, not if, Jackson's nomination falls apart — and it may not be long.

Go deeper

New Zealand aims to create smoke-free generation with tobacco ban

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a December news conference in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand officials announced Thursday legislative plans to outlaw smoking by making it illegal to sell or supply tobacco products to the next generation as part of a lifetime ban.

Why it matters: "People aged 14 when the law comes into effect will never be able to legally purchase tobacco," Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall said in a statement announcing the proposed law, part of the Smokefree 2025 Action Plan.

FDA approves AstraZeneca COVID drug for people with immune problems

Photo: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for an AstraZeneca COVID-19 antibody drug for people with compromised immune systems.

Why it matters: The drug, Evusheld, is the first antibody therapy authorized in the U.S. to prevent coronavirus symptoms before virus exposure.

Scoop: U.S. begins denying Afghan immigrants

Afghan refugees on a bus bound for temporary housing after arriving in Greece. Photo: Byron Smith/Getty Images

The Biden administration has begun issuing denials to Afghans seeking to emigrate to the United States through the humanitarian parole process, after a system that typically processes 2,000 applications annually has been flooded with more than 30,000.

Why it matters: Afghans face steeper odds and longer processes for escaping to the U.S., despite the earlier sweeping efforts by the Biden administration to assist its allies. Immigration lawyers and advocacy groups say the government has set untenable barriers to a safe haven in the U.S.