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Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

White House sources tell Axios that they expect White House physician Ronny Jackson to withdraw as President Trump's nominee to run the Veterans Affairs Department, after Democrats on Capitol Hill circulated harsh new allegations.

What we're hearing, from a senior administration source: “There’s no question about whether the White House will stand by him. There is a question about how much longer he wants to put himself through it.”

Sen. Jon Tester of Montana, the top Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee, said Jackson was known as "the candy man" for dispensing drugs. Tester's staff circulated a "Summary of Allegations Against Admiral Jackson" that included "hostile work environment" and "drunkenness."

  • Marc Short, White House director of legislative affairs: “It is incredibly reckless for Senator Tester to besmirch the character of an admiral who has served our country in combat and provided medical care for three White Houses, Republican and Democrat, based upon unsubstantiated allegations.”

Why the White House held on so long:

  • What if the goal is to get Democrats to pile on an admiral who passed background checks across Republican and Democratic administrations?
  • Also, White House staff are genuinely defensive of Jackson — a man who’s well liked in the building — against what staff see as unfair airing of unverified allegations. 
  • It's the view of some Republicans that going all-in could backfire on Democrats, especially if some of the allegations are disproven.

Be smart: A U.S. senator is giving credence to these allegations. Tester has a tough reelection race in a red state, and may have some incentive not to cause problems for the administration. So the fact that he’s putting his reputation behind these claims is significant, though it certainly doesn’t prove they’re true.

Go deeper

Complaint to FTC: Amazon search results full of potentially deceiving ads

Photo: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Amazon does not sufficiently distinguish between its search results and paid ads, potentially "deceiving millions of consumers," according to a complaint filed to the Federal Trade Commission.

Why it matters: Joan Moriarty, research director for the Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of labor unions that filed the complaint, told the Washington Post the group is "very hopeful" that the FTC will investigate the complaint because Lina Khan (D), a known Amazon critic, is now chair.

4 hours ago - Health

Pfizer-BioNTech: Booster doses more effective at blocking Omicron

Prepared doses of the BioNtech-Pfizer Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine in Germany on Dec. 7. Photo: Thomas Kienzle/AFP via Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that two doses of their COVID-19 vaccine were significantly less effective at neutralizing the Omicron variant in early lab tests, but a three-dose regimen was more effective.

Why it matters: Omicron, which has been labeled a variant of concern by the World Health Organization after being identified by scientists in South Africa last month, has forced vaccine makers to reassess the effectiveness of their vaccines against this specific new form of coronavirus.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden unveils "Building a Better America" branding

President Biden speaks on infrastructure while visiting a bridge in Woodstock, N.H., last month. Photo: John Tully/Getty Images

President Biden today launched a new website and unveiled bold new branding as part of a nationwide tour to sell the benefits of his infrastructure package.

Why it matters: The White House says passage of the new law shows the ability to "forge bipartisan consensus and prove our democracy can deliver big wins" even in these toxic times.