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Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Trump's meeting with top executives from Harley-Davidson will start at 1p.m. sharp, so Spicer kept this one short. The highlights:

  • Religious liberty, code for discrimination?: The president "wants to make sure that you don't penalize someone for wanting to express their faith." Spicer stated that executive orders on religious liberty are not in the works right now.
  • Treasury is not easing sanctions against Russia: But it is "a regular course of action" that the Treasury does quite often when sanctions are imposed.
  • Iran on notice: General Flynn was "really clear" yesterday that Iran has violated the joint resolution, "We're not going to sit by and take it."
  • Leaks on Yemen strike: Spicer said the initial plan was approved under the Obama administration: "This was a very, very well thought out and executed effort." He also reiterated his belief that it was a "successful operation" made difficult by the loss of Navy Seal Ryan Owens.
  • National Prayer Breakfast: As for Trump's comments on "praying" for Arnold Schwarzenegger's performance on The Apprentice: "He meant it as a lighthearted moment because Mark Burnett was there...I think you have to look at the totality of his remarks which were beautiful," said Spicer.

Go deeper

27 mins ago - World

Iran's nuclear dilemma: Ramp up now or wait for Biden

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The world is waiting to see whether Iran will strike back at Israel or the U.S. over the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran's military nuclear program.

Why it matters: Senior Iranian officials have stressed that Iran will take revenge against the perpetrators, but also respond by continuing Fakhrizadeh’s legacy — the nuclear program. The key question is whether Iran will accelerate that work now, or wait to see what President-elect Biden puts on the table.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

Biden says he won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.