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Robin Groulx / Axios

Axios interviewed President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday.

The big picture: He's clarifying three controversial interviews he gave this week.

  • On telling the Times of London that he'll "start off trusting both" Putin and Merkel: "All I said was that I give everybody an even start; that's all I said... So, I give everybody an even start; that right now, as far as I'm concerned, everybody's got an even start...I think people start off on a somewhat equal footing."
  • On telling the Washington Post that he wants "insurance for everybody": "[T]here are many people talking about many forms of health care where people with no money aren't covered. We can't have that. Now, whether it's Medicaid block grants or whatever it may be, we have to make sure that people are taken care of and it's going to be a very important part to me."
  • On telling the WSJ that border adjustment, the central part of Paul Ryan's tax plan, is "too complicated": Border adjustments are "still on the plate," but lower priority than health care.

Rest of the details from the interview below:

  1. Trump weighed in on his experience with intelligence briefings: He says they're too long and feature reports that should be a single page instead of 200. "I like bullets or I like as little as possible."
  2. But he singled out his incoming CIA chief for praise: "[Mike] Pompeo is going to be fantastic."
  3. He named his closest allies: Named only the UK, China and Russia when listing the "close to a hundred different groups" who've called to congratulate him on his win. "I give everybody an even start; that right now, as far as I'm concerned, everybody's got an even start."
  4. He named the top reason he's a nationalist: Trade, specifically NAFTA.
  5. On automation: Trump's on record for preferring goods be made in the U.S., but conceded it's not for everything. Notable: He singled out pharmaceutical companies on the automation and outsourcing.
  6. His take on Apple and making the iPhone in the U.S., a campaign trail staple: Trump claimed Tim Cook has his "eyes open to it" and that Cook "really believe he loves this country and I think he'd like to do something major here.
  7. On deportations, Trump referenced Obama's own record: Trump first deployed this line in the 3rd general election debate.
  8. And yes, on that wall: He's going to use the 2006 law, as previously detailed, to get a start.
  9. Trump responded to whether he's concerned that calling the media "fake news" will cause him problems over time: "I hadn't thought of it that way, no."
  10. He weighed in on the WH briefing: "I'm all for keeping [the existing space]. It's easy, but you're going to have a lot of people that, perhaps, won't fit in the room."
  11. Contrast that with social media: Which Trump said was his "only way of getting the word out." He boasted of his social media following, which is approaching 50 million between Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
  12. Trump said he spoke to Obama on Tuesday: The president told Trump the standard challenge about supporting an Obamacare replacement, given a better option.
  13. He's been in touch with most living presidents: Trump named calls from presidents Clinton and Bushes 1 and 2. He didn't mention Carter.
  14. Oh, and he showed us a letter from George HW Bush: On why the 41st president won't be at the inauguration. Stay tuned.
  15. And talked about unnamed Democratic advisors: Trump said he's had lots of Dems reaching across the aisle with advice. He didn't name anyone
  16. BONUS: Is lying ever necessary? Trump: "I don't want to answer the question because it's -- it gets to, you know, a different level than we're talking about for this interview."

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

Brazil senators vote to recommend criminal charges for Bolsonaro

Brazilian senators vote on probe into President Bolsonaro's handling of pandemic. Photo: Gustavo Minas/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Brazilian Senate committee Tuesday voted to approve a report recommending President Jair Bolsonaro be charged with a raft of criminal indictments, including crimes against humanity over his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, per AP.

Why it matters: Bolsonaro has become the face of a right-wing approach to the pandemic that includes repudiating vaccines and masks and resisting lockdowns and other mitigation measures. The Senate report holds him personally responsible for half of the country's 600,000 deaths.

Former Georgetown tennis coach pleads guilty to accepting admissions bribes

Gordon Ernst (left) former head tennis coach at Georgetown, outside a courthouse in Boston in 2019. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

A former Georgetown University head tennis coach has pleaded guilty Tuesday to bribery charges related to facilitating the admission of prospective applicants.

Why it matters: Gordon Ernst solicited and accepted bribes from William Singer, ringleader of the cheating scheme uncovered by Operation Varsity Blues, and families in exchange for helping prospective applicants get into Georgetown as student athletes, according to the Justice Department.

8 hours ago - Health

CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot

Photo: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in updated guidelines Tuesday that some immunocompromised people who have received either Pfizer or Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines will be able to get a fourth shot.

Details: People over 18 who are "moderately to severely immunocompromised" and have received three doses of an mRNA vaccine may get a fourth shot (of either the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccines) at least six months after getting their third Pfizer or Moderna dose, per the CDC.