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Axios

Sean Spicer was back behind the podium — which some predicted might not happen — after Trump's first foreign trip. But the questions quickly turned to focus on a country that Trump didn't visit: Russia.

The elephant in the briefing room: Spicer said that Jared Kushner's alleged outreach to the Russians to set up a backchannel was "not a confirmed action" and cited statements from Homeland Security head John Kelly and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster brushing aside concern. He added, "Mr. Kushner's attorney has said that Mr. Kushner has volunteered to share what he knows with Congress."

  • Delaying tactic: Spicer kicked things off with a detailed recap of Trump's trip that spanned nearly 10 minutes.
  • Trump's Senate nuclear option tweet: "He wants action. This president was elected to get things done."
  • The next FBI head: Spicer confirmed that Trump would be interviewing former FBI Deputy Director John Pistole and Chris Wray.
  • On Merkel's criticism: Spicer said Trump has a "fairly unbelievable" relationship with the German chancellor and added that her views on the changing nature of the U.S.-German relationship are a "good thing" because Trump wants more burden sharing.
  • Does Trump believe human activity causes climate change? "Honestly, I haven't asked him."
  • The possibility of a staff shakeup: "The president is very pleased with his team."

Go deeper

Updated 20 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona Republicans censure Cindy McCain and GOP governor

Combination images of Cindy McCain and Gov. Doug Ducey. Photo: FilmMagic/FilmMagic for U.S.VETS/Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Arizona Republican Party members voted on Saturday to censure prominent GOP figures Cindy McCain, Gov. Doug Ducey and former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who've all faced clashes with former President Trump.

Why it matters: Although the resolution is symbolic, this move plus the re-election of Trump loyalist Kelli Ward as state GOP chair shows the strong hold the former president has on the party in Arizona, despite President Biden winning the state in the 2020 election.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Education: Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge — Pfizer to supply 40 million vaccine doses to lower-income countries — Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca vaccine.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

DOJ: Capitol rioter threatened to "assassinate" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

Supporters of former President Trump storm the U.S. Captiol on Jan. 6. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A Texas man who has been charged with storming the U.S. Capitol in the deadly Jan. 6 siege posted death threats against Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the Department of Justice said.

The big picture: Garret Miller faces five charges in connection to the riot by supporters of former President Trump, including violent entry and disorderly conduct on Capitol grounds and making threats. According to court documents, Miller posted violent threats online the day of the siege, including tweeting “Assassinate AOC.”

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