Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The Pentagon's investigation into foreign payments to former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn dominated a large portion of Thursday's briefing. Spicer said the probe was "appropriate" and that Trump made the right call to fire Flynn.

  • On whether Flynn was properly vetted: "Why would you re-run a background check on someone... that had and did maintain a high-level security clearance [under the Obama administration]?"
  • Trump's tax plan: Spicer originally said the plan would remove tax preferences for 401Ks, but the WH later clarified that 401K retirement savings plans would not be impacted by Trump's tax proposal.
  • On shutdown questions: "The Democrats at the last minute have come in and thrown a lot of monkey wrenches into the ability to get this done despite the president doing everything he can to show good faith."
  • Trump's NAFTA changes: The focus is on agriculture services, and some areas outside of NAFTA — like dairy.

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Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan urged to return absentee ballots to drop boxes

Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valle, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo by KEREM YUCEL via Getty

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic attorney general of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

53 mins ago - Technology

Facebook warns of "perception hacks" undermining trust in democracy

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Facebook warned Tuesday that bad actors are increasingly taking to social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems or have otherwise seriously disrupted elections.

Why it matters: "Perception hacking," as Facebook calls it, can have dire consequences on people's faith in democracy, sowing distrust, division and confusion among the voters it targets.

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.