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Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

ICYMI, Axios had an exclusive this morning on Sean Spicer's attempts to push back on reports that Trump campaign aides "had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election." And it was a hot topic at Spicer's press briefing today along with the budget and the revised travel ban executive order...

  • Spicer responds to Axios' exclusive: Spicer refused to comment directly on our reporting that he connected CIA Director Mike Pompeo with reporters. He instead stated that the White House continued to deny the accuracy of the NYT story and directed reporters to engage with "subject matter experts" to corroborate that.
  • On a special prosecutor for Russia: "Special prosecutor for what?" Spicer added: "At what point, how many people have to say there's nothing there until you realize that there's nothing there?"
  • The budget: OMB Head Mick Mulvaney was a special guest to discuss the topline budget numbers officials received today. Mulvaney reiterated that this is only a blueprint, and the full budget will come in early May.
  • The revised travel ban can be expected in the "middle of this week." The White House will continue defending the original executive order, though, "because [the administration] was right the first time."
  • Yemen raid: On the heels of criticism from a fallen Navy SEAL's father, Spicer said that 3 DoD investigations will occur, but affirmed that they're all standard operating procedure. He again characterized the mission as "successful."
  • Internal leak inquiry? Spicer said he isn't aware of one.
  • The art of the deal: When asked if Trump secured something for the U.S. in exchange for his support of the One-China policy, Spicer said, "The president always gets something."

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
1 hour ago - Sports

2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

10 months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Now, less than six months ahead of their new start date, the dreaded word is being murmured: "canceled."

Driving the news: The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Games will have to be called off, The Times reports (subscription), citing an unnamed senior government source.

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.

3 hours ago - Technology

Review of Trump ban marks major turning point for Facebook

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook's decision to ask its new independent Oversight Board to review the company's indefinite suspension of former President Trump is likely to set a critical precedent for how the social media giant handles political speech from world leaders.

What they're saying: "I very much hope and can expect … that they will uphold our decision," Facebook's VP of global affairs Nick Clegg tells Axios.