Feb 27, 2017

Russia, Trump's budget spice up Monday's briefing

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

U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdraws from 3rd base this month

A soldier stands guard at the Qayyarah airbase in southern Mosul on March 26. Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United States-led coalition in Iraq withdrew from K-1 Air Base in the northern part of the country on Sunday, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the third site that coalition forces have left this month as the U.S. gathers troops in Baghdad and at Ain al-Asad Air Base.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 679,977 — Total deaths: 31,734 — Total recoveries: 145,625.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 124,686 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per CDC, those residents should "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska issues a stay-at-home order — New York tries to nearly triple hospital capacity in less than a month and moved presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's initial handling of the virus balk at call for U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The year of the protest meets the year of the lockdown

Hong Kong demonstrators protest a government ban on face masks in October. Photo by Laurel Chor/Getty Images

The year of the mass uprising has collided with the year of the coronavirus lockdown, leaving protest movements around the world stalled. 

The big picture: The enduring images of 2019 are of protest — from Hong Kong to Khartoum, across the Middle East and through much of Latin America. Seemingly overnight, though, social distancing has made such mass demonstrations almost unthinkable.

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