May 30, 2017

Spicer brushes aside Kushner question in post-trip briefing


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."

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Joe Biden. Photo: Scott Olson / Staff

Joe Biden said he's spoken to Sen. Bernie Sanders and former President Barack Obama about selecting a running mate — and that he wants to build "a bench of younger, really qualified people" who can lead the nation over the course of the next four presidential cycles.

Driving the news: Biden spoke about the state of the 2020 race during a virtual fundraiser on Friday night that was opened to pooled coverage.

Trump ousting intelligence community inspector general

Michael Atkinson, inspector general of the intelligence community. Photo: Bill Clark / Getty Images

President Trump notified key lawmakers on Friday that he’s firing Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community's inspector general, who first alerted Congress last September of an "urgent" complaint from an official involving Trump's correspondence with the Ukrainian president.

Why it matters: The move, to take effect in 30 days, comes amid a broader initiative to purge the administration of officials seen as disloyal to the president.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Axios Visuals

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,097,909 — Total deaths: 59,131 — Total recoveries: 226,106Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 277,828 — Total deaths: 7,406 — Total recoveries: 9,772Map.
  3. Public health latest: The CDC is recommending Americans wear face coverings in public to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. The federal government will cover the costs of COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said.
  4. 2020 latest: "I think a lot of people cheat with mail-in voting," President Trump said of the 2020 election, as more states hold primary elections by mail. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock said Friday that every county in the state opted to expand mail-in voting for the state's June 2 primary.
  5. Business updates: America's small business bailout is off to a bad start. The DOT is urging airlines to refund passengers due to canceled or rescheduled flights, but won't take action against airlines that provide vouchers or credits.
  6. Oil latest: The amount of gas American drivers are consuming dropped to levels not seen in more than 25 years, government data shows. Trump is calling on the Energy Department to find more places to store oil.
  7. Tech updates: Twitter will allow ads containing references to the coronavirus under certain use cases.
  8. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Senators call for independent investigation into firing of Navy captain.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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