Mar 20, 2018

Sanders: U.S. can't "dictate" how Russia should conduct elections

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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Top Trump ally sounds 2020 election alarm over coronavirus response

Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

There is growing concern among top conservative leaders that the Trump administration isn't addressing the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus, several sources tell Axios. One top adviser said if the recovery is bungled it could cost President Trump the election.

What we're hearing: "The next 4-8 weeks is really going to decide whether Trump gets reelected," Stephen Moore, Trump's former nominee for the Federal Reserve board, told Axios. If the administration mishandles its economic recovery efforts, he said, Trump is "in big trouble."

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,600,427 — Total deaths: 95,506 — Total recoveries: 354,006Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 465,329 — Total deaths: 16,513 — Total recoveries: 25,410Map.
  3. Public health latest: U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under a CDC public health orderDr. Anthony Fauci said social distancing could reduce the U.S. death toll to 60,000.
  4. Business latest: The Fed will lend up to $2.3 trillion for businesses, state and city governments — After another 6.6 million jobless claims, here's how to understand the scale of American job decimation.
  5. 2020 latest: Top conservative leaders are concerned the Trump administration isn't addressing the virus' long-term economic impact.
  6. States latest: FEMA has asked governors to decide if they want testing sites to be under state or federal control.
  7. World latest: Lockdowns have led to a decline in murders in some of the world's most violent countries — Boris Johnson is moved out of the ICU but remains in hospital with coronavirus.
  8. In Congress: Senate in stalemate over additional funding for small business relief program.
  9. 1 SNL thing: "Saturday Night Live" will return this weekend in a remotely produced episode.
  10. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredPets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  11. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Federal court temporarily blocks coronavirus order against some abortions

Gov. Greg Abbott. Photo: Tom Fox-Pool/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled Thursday that clinics in Texas can immediately offer medication abortions — a pregnancy termination method administered by pill — and can also provide the procedure to patients nearing the state's time limits for abortions.

Driving the news: The decision comes after federal appeals court ruled 2-1 on Tuesday in favor of an executive order by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott that prohibits abortions during the coronavirus outbreak.

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