Mar 29, 2017

Senate Intel has approached 20 for questioning in Russia probe

Susan Walsh / AP

Senate Intel Committee Chair Richard Burr and Ranking Member Mark Warner said at a press conference on Wednesday that the committee is "within weeks" of completing its review of Russian election meddling, with the first public hearing coming Thursday.

The committee has hired seven staffers to analyze documents and scheduled five interviews, with 15 more to be scheduled (Kushner and Manafort are on the list, and they've spoken to Flynn).

Burr said the White House hasn't blocked Sally Yates from participating. He wouldn't rule out WH coordination with Russia, saying it would be "crazy to draw conclusions" at this stage.

The air in the room: Burr and Warner wanted to build confidence that a fair investigation will take place — notable given the polarizing House proceedings under Devin Nunes. Burr pledged to "go wherever the intelligence leads us."

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health