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Ford on "Morning Joe" in 2016 (MSNBC)

The N.Y. Times' Kate Kelly and Andrew Ross Sorkin have the backstory on last month's firing of Harold Ford Jr., the former congressman and "Morning Joe" regular, by Morgan Stanley for inappropriate conduct:

"Reporters were asking about allegations that [he] had harassed a female journalist," Reuters' Lauren Tara LaCapra, in 2014 ... Morgan Stanley officials briefed on the process say that amid a national outcry over sexual harassment, the bank had little choice but to fire Mr. Ford after it learned of the allegation."

  • "Even though the harassment charge was never corroborated, they said, the bank found evidence that Mr. Ford had misled executives about some of his behavior, which itself constituted cause to remove him."
  • "And they say Mr. Ford already had received a final written warning about abuse of his expense account and other conduct."
  • "[S]ettlement negotiations between Mr. Ford’s lawyers and Morgan Stanley are continuing. A person close to Mr. Ford said he was seeking a public statement from the bank that he hadn’t been fired specifically because of sexual harassment."

After the Times article posted, Ford issued this statement: "I am gratified to learn that Morgan Stanley now it acknowledges what I always knew, that I did not engage in any acts of sexual misconduct or harassment. I only wish for the sake of my good name and reputation that they had admitted the truth five weeks ago."

Go deeper

12 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.

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