Jun 12, 2017

Spicer won't speculate on if and when Trump will testify on Russia

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Sean Spicer again said that President Trump will "have an announcement shortly" on whether he taped his conversations with James Comey. Spicer also reaffirmed Trump's willingness to testify under oath on the Russia probe to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, but said he hasn't spoken with the president about whether he would testify before Congress, and wouldn't speculate as to if and when Trump will follow through. Briefing highlights:

  • What role did Sessions play in the firing of Comey? Spicer said he won't comment on conversations between the attorney general and the president.
  • Is Trump on board with Sessions testifying publicly? "He's going to testify. We're aware of it," said Spicer. He also said that it would be "premature" to state whether the WH would invoke executive privilege to recuse Sessions from answering certain questions.
  • On the 9th Circuit upholding the travel ban block: "We continue to be confident the [travel ban] is lawful...will be upheld by the Supreme Court."
  • On DC/Maryland emoluments lawsuit against Trump: "It's not hard to conclude there are partisan motivations behind today's lawsuit," said Spicer.

Details of Workforce Development Week from Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta:

  • Apprenticeships: The WH's Workforce Development Week is focused on increasing apprenticeships and skill-based learning "across most if not all industries," said Acosta. He notes that there are 360K job vacancies in manufacturing and 200K in construction for workers if they learned the required skills.
  • Student-focus: WH is pushing for "private-private partnerships" between colleges and companies, said Acosta. "Apprentices earn while they learn and... avoid substantial student debt that you see with higher education today."
  • Business backing: "I have spoken to several CEOs. Ivanka Trump has spoken to several CEOs, and there's excitement in the business sector," said Acosta. "Every CEO that I have spoke with has made a personal commitment to pursuing these."
  • Nod to Ivanka: Acosta repeatedly thanked Ivanka Trump for her efforts in launching the program.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 952,171 — Total deaths: 48,320 — Total recoveries: 202,541Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 216,722 — Total deaths: 5,137 — Total recoveries: 8,672Map.
  3. Stimulus updates: Social Security recipients won't need to file a tax return to receive their checks.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week, a staggering number that eclipses the record set on March 26.
  5. Health updates: The Trump administration won't reopen enrollment for ACA marketplaces this year.
  6. National updates: The Grand Canyon closed after a resident tested positive for coronavirus.
  7. World update: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu re-entered self-quarantine after his health minister tested positive for coronavirus.
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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The weirdest NBA draft ever

Table: Axios Visuals

The 2020 NBA draft was already shaping up to be the weirdest draft in years, and now that the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the sports world, it could be the weirdest draft ever.

Why it matters: While most drafts have a clear hierarchy by the time April rolls around, this draft does not. There's no reliable No. 1 pick, almost every top-10 prospect has a glaring weakness and the global sports hiatus has shrouded the whole class in mystery.

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A sign in Livingston, Mont. Photo: William Campbell/Corbis via Getty Images

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