Jun 18, 2017

Trump admin. still struggling to staff up

Evan Vucci / AP

"Republicans say they are turning down job offers to work for a chief executive whose volatile temperament makes them nervous" and "are asking head-hunters if their reputations could suffer permanent damage," according to the WashPost lead story, by Lisa Rein and Abby Phillip:

  • "The White House picked up the hiring pace in May and the first half of June ... It has advanced 92 candidates for Senate confirmation, compared with 59 between Trump's inauguration and the end of April. But the Senate has just 25 working days until it breaks for the August recess."
  • "Trump has 43 confirmed appointees to senior posts, compared with the 151 top political appointees confirmed by mid-June in President Barack Obama's first term and the 130 under President George W. Bush."
  • A White House official said about 200 people are being vetted for senior-level posts.
  • White House press secretary Sean Spicer: "I have people knocking down my door to talk to the presidential personnel office ... There is a huge demand to join this administration."

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WHO won't call coronavirus a pandemic as cases spread

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The World Health Organization will not yet call the coronavirus a pandemic, claiming that needs across affected countries are too varied and the classification would increase fear, per a briefing Monday.

The big picture: As South Korea and Italy stepped up emergency measures in efforts to thwart the spread of the virus, WHO expressed concern about infections with no clear link to China. COVID-19 has killed at least 2,620 people and infected almost 80,000 others, with all but 27 deaths occurring in mainland China.

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Democrats demand new Russia sanctions over 2020 election interference

Putin and Trump. Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Handout/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Senate Democratic leaders will send a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday afternoon demanding they sanction Russia — and potentially Russian President Vladimir Putin himself — for attempting to influence the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: The letter follows reports that a senior intelligence official briefed Congress that Russia is again interfering in the November election to help Trump. White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected that assessment on Sunday, and CNN later reported that the briefer may have overstated the intelligence community's evidence about Russia's goals.