Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Today's press briefing centered around President Trump's congratulatory phone call to Vladimir Putin, which Sen. John McCain had criticized, saying, “An American president does not lead the Free World by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections."

Asked whether the election had been free and fair, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said the U.S. can't "dictate how other countries operate." She also said there were "no specific plans made at this time" for a meeting between Trump and Putin. Trump had said earlier Tuesday they'd be meeting in the "not too distant future."

  • Sanders said the issue of Russian election meddling did not come up on the call between Trump and Putin, nor did the poisoning of ex-spy Sergei Skripal with a Russian-made nerve agent in the U.K.
  • On the Russia investigation: "To pretend like going through this absurd process for over a year would not bring frustration seems a little ridiculous."
  • Sanders said Trump isn't considering firing special counsel Robert Mueller, and that the White House doesn't "feel like that's the most productive step forward."
  • On the issue of human rights violations in Yemen, Sanders said she is "not aware that that came up specifically" with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

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Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,921,616 — Total deaths: 546,318 — Total recoveries — 6,506,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 3,035,231 — Total deaths: 132,042 — Total recoveries: 936,476 — Total tested: 36,878,106Map.
  3. Public health: Deaths are rising in hotspots — Déjà vu sets in as testing issues rise and PPE dwindles.
  4. Travel: United warns employees it may furlough 45% of U.S. workforce How the pandemic changed mobility habits, by state.
  5. Education: New York City schools will not fully reopen in fallHarvard and MIT sue Trump administration over rule barring foreign students from online classes.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: A misinformation "infodemic" is here.
1 hour ago - Health

Fighting the coronavirus infodemic

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An "infodemic" of misinformation and disinformation has helped cripple the response to the novel coronavirus.

Why it matters: High-powered social media accelerates the spread of lies and political polarization that motivates people to believe them. Unless the public health sphere can effectively counter misinformation, not even an effective vaccine may be enough to end the pandemic.

Tulsa health official: Trump rally "likely contributed" to coronavirus spike

President Trump speaks at his campaign rally in Tulsa, Okla. on June 20, 2020. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's campaign rally and related protests in Tulsa in late June "more than likely" contributed to the area's recent surge in confirmed coronavirus cases, Tulsa City-County Health Department Director Dr. Bruce Dart said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Public health officials, including Dart himself, had urged the campaign to postpone the rally, fearing that a large indoor gathering with few people wearing masks could accelerate the spread of the virus.