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After a week punctuated by Trump administration exits and tensions with Russia and North Korea, lawmakers and politicos took to the Sunday shows to make sense of it all.

One key quote: When asked by CNN's Jake Tapper on "State of the Union" whether he was fired or resigned from his post heading the Department of Veterans Affairs, David Shulkin simply replied, "I did not resign."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who once led Trump's transition team, told ABC's "This Week" that the president is now filling cabinet and West Wing roles with people whose views and personalities align with his own. Christie said 35 eight-inch binders of vetted individuals were thrown out when he was replaced by Vice President Mike Pence as the head of the transition team.

  • Speaking of administration exits, Christie also said that he believes it'll be hard for EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to keep his job after reports that Pruitt rented a Washington condo for $50 per night from an energy lobbyist.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Sen. Lindsay Graham said he's unsure why Trump won't stand up to Putin directly when asked about the president's congratulations on Putin's election victory. The White House expelled 60 Russian diplomats from the country this week as tensions escalate between the U.S. and Russia over the nerve agent attack against an ex-spy in the U.K.

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

And Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chaired the House Select Committee on Benghazi, asked about the House and Senate Russia probes on CBS' Face the Nation said, "Congress has proven itself incapable of conducting serious investigations ... I'm glad we have Bob Mueller."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - World

Courage vs. coddling with China

Peng Shuai of China serves during the China Open in Beijing in 2017. Photo: Andy Wong/AP

The women's professional tennis tour suspended tournaments in China Wednesday out of concern for Peng Shuai, on the same day that a top business voice made excuses for Beijing.

Why it matters: Ahead of February's Winter Olympics in Beijing, some sports figures are taking on the regime — while Big Business shrinks from confrontation with the world's second-largest economy.

2 hours ago - Sports

What to know about the first MLB lockout since 1995

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Hope you enjoyed the recent flurry of free-agent activity, because it's likely the last non-lockout-related MLB news for a while.

Driving the news: The owners locked out the players after the collective bargaining agreement expired at midnight last night, leading to MLB's ninth work stoppage — and first since 1995.

Biden extends mask mandates for travelers into 2022

President Biden delivers remarks at the White House on Dec. 1. Photo: Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images

President Biden will announce new testing protocols for international travelers on Thursday and extend masking requirements through March as the U.S. prepares to fight the Omicron variant this winter, according to senior administration officials.

Driving the news: The U.S. will tighten pre-departure testing protocols starting early next week by requiring all inbound international travelers to take COVID-19 tests within one day of their departure rather than three.