Mar 8, 2017

The takeaways from Spicer's Wednesday briefing

Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Spicer opened his daily briefing with a nod to International Women's Day, adding that we should be celebrating women 365 days of the year. When asked if WH staffers participated in the women's strike, Spicer laughed and said, "I'm not aware of any that are not here..." More highlights below.

  • Obamacare repeal: "We're going to have a full court press" at the WH on behalf of Republican healthcare legislation, adding that, "We are enacting conservative values" with the new plan. On the Congressional Budget Office score, "If you're looking at the CBO for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place," noting that the CBO score (price tag) was "way off last time."
  • WikiLeaks: Said the WH cannot confirm the authenticity of the alleged CIA documents, but that "this should be a major concern, not just in regard to WikiLeaks, [but all leaks]..." Added that there is a "massive difference" between exposing Podesta's emails and the latest WikiLeaks, and later noted, "We will go after people that leak information... we will go after them at the highest level of law."
  • On whether Trump is the target of a counterintelligence probe: "That's what we need to find out," said Spicer. He later circled back to clarify that there is "no reason to believe that the president is the target of any investigation whatsoever."
  • H-1B visa reform: "I think there is a natural desire to have a full comprehensive look" at visa programs, said Spicer.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 5,405,029 — Total deaths: 344,997 — Total recoveries — 2,168,408Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 1,642,021 — Total deaths: 97,698 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,195Map.
  3. World: White House announces travel restrictions on Brazil, coronavirus hotspot in Southern Hemisphere Over 100 coronavirus cases in Germany tied to single day of church services — Boris Johnson backs top aide amid reports that he broke U.K. lockdown while exhibiting symptoms.
  4. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks headed into Memorial Day weekend Report finds "little evidence" coronavirus under control in most statesHurricanes, wildfires, the flu could strain COVID-19 response
  5. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Public employees brace for layoffs.
  6. Federal government: Trump attacks a Columbia University study that suggests earlier lockdown could have saved 36,000 American lives.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Republicans sue California over mail-out ballot plan

California Gov. Gavin Newsom during a February news conference in Sacramento, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

President Trump accused Democrats of trying "Rig" November's general election as Republican groups filed a lawsuit against California Sunday in an attempt to stop Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) from mailing ballots to all registered voters.

Driving the news: Newsom signed an executive order this month in response to the coronavirus pandemic ensuring that all registered voters in the state receive a mail-in ballot.

Federal judge strikes down Florida law requiring felons to pay fines before voting

Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: oe Raedle/Getty Images

A federal judge on Sunday ruled that a Florida law requiring convicted felons to pay all court fines and fees before registering to vote is unconstitutional.

Why it matters: The ruling, which will likely be appealed by state Republicans, would clear the way for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons in Florida to register to vote ahead of November's election.