Andrew Harnik / AP

Sean Spicer repeatedly declined to say President Trump has confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions — after Trump's tweets yesterday questioning key Justice Dept. decisions — saying instead that he had not discussed the matter with Trump. Key takeaways from his Tuesday briefing:

  • Will Trump watch Comey's testimony? "The president has a full day Thursday."
  • Can Trump's tweets be considered official WH statements? "They are considered official statements by the president of the United States."
  • On Qatar's diplomatic crisis: "This issue is not new. There's been tension among Qatar's neighbors for quite some time."
  • On health care reform stalling in the Senate: "We just don't have time to waste. Obamacare continues to collapse."
  • On the alleged leaking a confidential NSA document by contractor Reality Winner: "While I don't want to comment on any specific case or allegation, I think it's important to note that any disclosure of classified information is a threat to national security."

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Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus — COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19.
  3. World: Polish President Andrzej Duda tests positive for COVID-19.
What Matters 2020

The missed opportunities for 2020 and beyond

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Jason Armond (Los Angeles Times), Noam Galai, Jabin Botsford (The Washington Post), Alex Wong/Getty Images

As the 2020 presidential campaign draws to a close, President Trump and Joe Biden have focused little on some of the most sweeping trends that will outlive the fights of the moment.

Why it matters: Both have engaged on some issues, like climate change and China, on their own terms, and Biden has addressed themes like economic inequality that work to his advantage. But others have gone largely unmentioned — a missed opportunity to address big shifts that are changing the country.

Pence chief of staff Marc Short tests positive for coronavirus

Marc Short with Katie Miller, Vice President Pence's communications director, in March. Photo: Doug Mills/The New York Times via Reuters

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, tested positive for the coronavirus Saturday and is quarantining, according to a White House statement.

Why it matters: Short is Pence's closest aide, and was one of the most powerful forces on the White House coronavirus task force.

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