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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."

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.

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.

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."

Go deeper

42 mins ago - Health

Standardized testing becomes another pandemic victim

Photo: Edmund D. Fountain for The Washington Post via Getty

National standardized reading and math tests have been pushed from next year to 2022, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: There’s mounting national evidence that students are suffering major setbacks this year, with a surge in the number of failing grades.

1 hour ago - World

European countries extend lockdowns

A medical worker takes a COVID-19 throat swab sample at the Berlin-Brandenburg Airport. Photo by Maja Hitij via Getty

Recent spikes in COVID-19 infections across Europe have led authorities to extend restrictions ahead of the holiday season.

Why it matters: "Relaxing too fast and too much is a risk for a third wave after Christmas," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

2 hours ago - Health

Africa CDC: Vaccines likely won't be available until Q2 of 2021

Africa CDC director Dr. John Nkengasong. Photo: Mohammed Abdu Abdulbaqi/Anadolu Agency via Getty

Africa may have to wait until the second quarter of 2021 to roll out vaccines, Africa CDC director John Nkengasong said Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: “I have seen how Africa is neglected when drugs are available,” Nkengasong said.