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Kin Cheung / AP

Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson has disavowed a campaign against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which is being pushed by a group Adelson funds, the Zionist Organization of America.

Andy Abboud, who represents Adelson, tells me: "Sheldon Adelson has nothing to do with the ZOA campaign against McMaster. Had no knowledge of it. And has provided zero support, and is perfectly comfortable with the role that McMaster is playing."

Update: Abboud followed up with another phone call to clarify that Adelson doesn't know McMaster and hasn't developed an opinion about him. Adelson doesn't want his intervention to be interpreted as a political endorsement; but rather that he has had nothing to do with, and doesn't support, the campaign against McMaster.

Why this matters: Adelson is one of the biggest financial donors in Republican politics, and his influence over national security and Israel-related matters is substantial. His is a voice listened to by President Trump and other senior White House officials like Jared Kushner.

  • The campaign Adelson is disavowing is being led by the Zionist Organization of America — a conservative pro-Israel group funded by Adelson.
  • ZOA's president Mort Klein, who is close to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, has accused McMaster of being soft on Israel and unserious about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. He's called for Trump to "reassign" McMaster "to another position where he can do no further harm on these critical national security issues."
  • Klein is increasingly isolated in his opposition to McMaster. His only senior ally inside the White House is Bannon; the rest of the senior staff has united in disgust at the outside campaign against McMaster.
  • David Friedman, Trump's staunchly pro-Israel ambassador, is vouching for McMaster, though he was unable to convince Klein.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Thousands without power as "hazardous" winter storm lashes East Coast

Satellite imagery of the Northeastern U.S. taken by NOAA on Jan. 17. Photo: NOAA

A major winter storm lashed much of the East Coast Sunday and Monday, causing widespread power outages and disrupting travel over the holiday weekend.

The latest: Authorities in North Carolina confirmed that two people died in a car crash and that they responded 600 vehicle accidents during the storm on Sunday, per the Washington Post.

Texas abortion law remains in effect after appeals court ruling

Pro- and anti-abortion protesters outside the Supreme Court as arguments begin about the Texas abortion law on Capitol Hill in November. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A U.S. appeals court transferred a challenge to Texas' law banning most abortions after about six weeks of pregnancy to the state supreme court in a 2-1 vote on Monday evening.

Why it matters: The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals' decision means the country's most restrictive abortion law can remain in place for the time being.

5 hours ago - World

At least 2 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least two people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Monday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. A New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson told Axios over the phone that two people had been confirmed to have died in the disaster.