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HHS official placed on leave after posting conspiracy theories

HHS Building
Department of Health and Human Services building. Photo: SAUL LOEB / AFP / Getty Images

The Department of Health and Human Services has placed Jon Cordova, a top agency official, on leave after posting a slew of baseless claims and conspiracy theories on social media, CNN reports. This reportedly comes in after a CNN KFile inquiry about the numerous unsubstantiated smears Cordova posted.

The backdrop: Cordova, who serves as the principal deputy assistant secretary at HHS, had posted stories about Gold Star father Khizr Khan being a "Muslim Brotherhood agent" and made claims about Texas Senator Ted Cruz being involved in a sex scandal. An agency spokesperson told CNN that Cordova “is currently on administrative leave while we look into this issue further.” Cordova served as a delegate from California at the RNC Convention who voted for Trump and worked with the Trump campaign on the communications team in the Golden State.

Jonathan Swan 12 hours ago
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A stunning leak rattles Trump and his aides

President Trump discussed his call with Russian President Vladimir Putin during an Oval Office meeting with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Kevin Dietsch, Pool / Getty Images

One of the most startling leaks — and stunning revelations — of this whole administration has left President Trump and his senior staff furious and rattled. The Washington Post reports in its lead story: "Trump did not follow specific warnings from his national security advisers [yesterday] when he congratulated ... Putin on his reelection — including a section in his briefing materials in all-capital letters stating 'DO NOT CONGRATULATE.'"

Why it matters: The speed and sensitivity of the leak prompted immediate finger-pointing within the administration, as aides reeled from a leak that could only have come from a small group of people, each of whom is trusted with sensitive national secrets.

Mike Allen 12 hours ago
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Scoop: Zuckerberg finally plans to speak

Mark Zuckerberg in 2016. Photo: Lluis Gene / AFP / Getty Images

Axios is told that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to speak out in the next 24 hours on the data-harvesting revelations that have hammered his stock price, inflamed lawmakers in D.C. and Europe, and trapped his social network in a crisis of trust.

Quote"It’s a big deal, and he knows it."
— A source close to Zuckerberg

What's been happening: We're told that Zuckerberg was initially more focused on how to fix the problems than on what to say. But that left a vacuum that provoked merciless coverage, increased lawmakers' suspicions, and even left some employees demoralized.