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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.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
47 mins ago - Technology

Intel CEO wants to compete against Apple

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger hasn't given up on the idea of the Mac once again using Intel chips, but he acknowledges it will probably be years before he gets that chance.

  • In the meantime, he is focused on powering Windows machines that give Apple CEO Tim Cook a run for his money.

Why it matters: In getting pushed out of the Mac, Intel not only lost a customer, but picked up a new rival.

51 mins ago - Health

Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, in an "Axios on HBO" interview, said he's reluctant to withhold federal funding from states that won't enforce school mask mandates because he doesn't want to hurt students.

Why it matters: Cardona's comments suggest there are limits to how far the Biden administration will go in pressuring states to adopt universal masking — or vaccine mandates.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Axios on HBO

GOP senator smacks Trump

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) told “Axios on HBO” he’s not sure former President Donald Trump would win the Republican nomination if he ran in 2024 — a rare voice of criticism from within the party.

  • When I raised the conventional wisdom that Trump would be expected to win the nomination, Cassidy jumped in.“
  • I don't know that,” the senator said during our interview in Chalmette, La.