May 3, 2017

The highlights from Spicer's Wednesday briefing

Lazaro Gamio / Axios

Spicer told reporters that "it is literally impossible at this point" to predict how the GOP health care bill will affect premiums and benefits. As for those with preexisting conditions? Spicer said that Trump has made it "very clear" that everyone with a preexisting condition will be covered.

  • Border wall update: Spicer clashed with Breitbart's Charlie Spiering over whether the photos of the "various types of walls" shown during the briefing represented the final border wall. Spiering noted that the photos looked more like fences. Spicer insisted that one was a levee wall and one was a bollard wall.
  • Trump's lunch with Abbas: Spicer said Trump raised the issue of payments to Palestinian terrorists in his lunch with Abbas, and emphasized the need to resolve the issue.
  • On Trump's Comey tweets: "The president has confidence in the director," said Spicer.
  • Hillary Clinton's "comeback": "With all respect to her, you don't get to pick the day the election's on," said Spicer. "I'm a Patriots fan. If games ended in 3rd quarter, a different team would have been here last week."

Go deeper

Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 10 mins ago - Health

SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.