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Carolyn Kaster / AP

First in Axios AM ... President Trump is establishing an American Technology Council to help the government deliver better digital services. The administration is bringing big names from the Silicon Valley to the White House in early June, to try get ideas and cooperation from a group that has been skeptical.

  • What it does: Officials say the new council is part of the efforts by Jared Kushner's White House Office of American Innovation to unite the government with private-sector ideas to solve long-term problems. The ATC will coordinate strategy with other departments and agencies, and funnel advice to Trump.
  • Why it matters: The White House will announce the council today as part of an effort to show it's thinking ahead to the next 1,000 days — the rest of the term (actually 1,361). The innovation office wants to take what it learned in the first 100 days and turn it into action.
  • The summit: About 20 leading tech CEOs will spend half a day in working sessions. We're told a few tech titans have indicated a willingness to participate. The CEOs have to worry about blowback from their workforces, so dealing with this administration will always be delicate. But we're told some have shown excitement about the bipartisan issue of modernizing government.
  • The backstory: Modernizing government IT has been a passion project of Kushner's. The council will be run by two of Kushner's lieutenants, Chris Liddell and Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intra-governmental and technology initiatives. Liddell — the White House director of strategic initiatives, and former CFO of Microsoft and GM — will be the council's director.
  • Between the lines: Kushner has a stunningly broad portfolio, and is building a formidable internal team.
  • FYI: In addition to Kushner, Liddell and Cordish, members of the ATC include the President, who is chairman; the Vice President; SecDef; Secretary of Commerce; Secretary of Homeland Security; Director of National Intelligence; OMB Director; Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy; and U.S. CTO.
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Go deeper

Trump pressures Barr to release so-called Durham report

Bill Barr. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump and his allies are piling extreme pressure on Attorney General Bill Barr to release a report that Trump believes could hurt perceived Obama-era enemies — and view Barr's designation of John Durham as special counsel as a stall tactic, sources familiar with the conversations tell Axios.

Why it matters: Speculation over Barr's fate grew on Tuesday, with just 49 days remaining in Trump's presidency, after Barr gave an interview to the Associated Press in which he said the Justice Department has not uncovered evidence of widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

CDC to cut guidance on quarantine period for coronavirus exposure

A health care worker oversees cars as people arrive to get tested for coronavirus at a testing site in Arlington, Virginia, on Tuesday. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

The CDC will soon shorten its guidance for quarantine periods following exposure to COVID-19, AP reported Tuesday and Axios can confirm.

Why it matters: Quarantine helps prevent the spread of the coronavirus, which can occur before a person knows they're sick or if they're infected without feeling any symptoms. The current recommended period to stay home if exposed to the virus is 14 days. The CDC plans to amend this to 10 days or seven with a negative test, an official told Axios.

  • The CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
4 hours ago - Health

CDC panel: COVID vaccines should go to health workers, long-term care residents first

Hospital staff work in the COVID-19 intensive care unit in Houston. Photo: Go Nakamura via Getty

Health-care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line to get coronavirus vaccines in the United States once they’re cleared and available for public use, an independent CDC panel recommended in a 13-1 emergency vote on Tuesday, per CNBC.

Why it matters: Recent developments in COVID-19 vaccines have accelerated the timeline for distribution as vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna undergo the federal approval process. States are preparing to begin distributing as soon as two weeks from now.