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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Greetings from Washington, D.C., where my Axios colleague Mike Allen just finished up an on-stage interview with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Takeaways:

  • Carry: Carried interest tax treatment will be changed in the White House tax plan, at least for "hedge funds" When it comes to other asset classes, including real estate, no promises were made.
  • Mnuchin vs. Trump rhetoric: The Treasury Sec declined to commit to the 15% corporate tax rate that Trump preached on the campaign trail. He also talked about 3%-3.5% GDP growth, versus Trump's talk of 4%.
  • Techmeme weeps: Mnuchin breezily dismissed the notion that AI and machine learning will soon replace wide swaths of workers, saying that "it's not even on our radar screen" because it's an issue that is "50 or 100 years" away.
  • Trade: "So long as we can renegotiate deals that are good for us, we won't be protectionist. Otherwise we will."
  • Taxes: Tax reform is "a lot simpler" than healthcare reform. He still plans to get it done by the August recess, and it will be comprehensive (i.e., not breaking it up into more passable pieces). As for going after healthcare, Mnuchin says the past two months of planning were necessary. "We would not have been ready to go a month ago on tax reform and now we are."
  • BAT: Mnuchin punted when asked to make the pro-BAT argument to a Wal-Mart shopper, but did say that he doesn't expect to introduce it "as is."
  • Silicon Valley: "I don't understand these valuations."
  • Movie producer hat: "Hollywood could learn a lot more from D.C. than D.C. could learn from Hollywood."
  • Worries: Mnuchin says that cybersecurity is his biggest in-house focus, and that his meetings with foreign leaders have dealt heavily with issues like money laundering and other illicit activities.
  • Debt limit: "We need to raise the debt limit and that's something we're going to do."
  • Bottom line: "I am a bull. Buy American."

Go deeper

22 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.