Aug 22, 2018

White House maintains Trump "did nothing wrong"

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, during her 100th White House press briefing Wednesday, maintained that President Trump has done "nothing wrong" in the Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort sagas.

Why it matters: This is in the wake of a guilty verdict for President Trump's former campaign manager and a plea deal for his longtime personal lawyer.

"As the president's said, and we've stated many times, he did nothing wrong, and there are no charges against him... Just because Michael Cohen made a plea deal doesn't mean that implicates the President in anything."
— Sanders

As for Paul Manafort's guilty verdict: "The Manafort case doesn't have anything to do with the president, doesn't have anything to do with his campaign, and has nothing to do with the White House."

Three big things:

  • Sanders flatly denied that the president lied about his knowledge of Cohen's payment to Stormy Daniels, calling it "a ridiculous accusation." Until recently, Trump denied knowing about the $130,000 payment, but Cohen maintained in his guilty plea that Trump directed him to make it.
  • Sanders said she is unaware of whether Trump is considering a pardon for Manafort.
  • She stated that the president has "the constitutional authority" to revoke intelligence officials' security clearances, despite them traditionally being revoked by their superiors. She added that Trump is consulting with members of his national security team regarding the issue, and that he wants the White House to examine the overall process of who has and maintains a security clearance.

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Details: Tuesday night's grim milestone came hours after President Trump said it's "going to be a very painful two weeks," with projections indicating the novel coronavirus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place. "They are going to be facing a war zone," he said of medical workers.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 857,957 — Total deaths: 42,139 — Total recoveries: 178,091.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 188,547 — Total deaths: 3,899 — Total recoveries: 7,068.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful," with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans.
  6. Coronavirus in custody: Inmates in all U.S. federal prisons are set to enter a 14-day quarantine on April 1. A federal judge on Tuesday ordered U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release 10 detained immigrants who are at risk of contracting COVID-19 while in confinement.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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