Dec 2, 2017

Trump defends Flynn: "There was nothing to hide"

Michael Flynn was ousted as National Security Adviser in February after contact with Russians. Photo: Carolyn Kaster / AP

President Trump is now defending Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who just yesterday pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the U.S.

Trump tweeted: "I had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI. He has pled guilty to those lies. It is a shame because his actions during the transition were lawful. There was nothing to hide"

Context: This loyalty to Flynn is reflective of how Trump has always talked about him — back in May, Trump told NBC's Lester Holt that Flynn is "a very good man" even after he knew that Flynn had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with the Russians.

Why it matters: Instead of distancing himself from Flynn like he did after George Papadopoulous pleaded guilty for the same thing, Trump is defending Flynn and claiming that he didn't do anything unlawful during the transition. And that is curiously the same timeframe Flynn is willing to give information about to Special Counsel Bob Mueller when he will reportedly testify about Trump.

One question: Did the White House previously know that Flynn lied to the FBI in addition to Pence? Trump's tweet suggests as much, when he writes that he "had to fire General Flynn because he lied to the Vice President and the FBI," which hasn't been reported.

Go deeper

International coronavirus treatment trial uses AI to speed results

Hydroxychloroquine is one of the drugs that will be included in the trial. Photo: John Philips/Getty Images

The first hospital network in the U.S. has joined an international clinical trial using artificial intelligence to help determine which treatments for patients with the novel coronavirus are most effective on an on-going basis.

Why it matters: In the midst of a pandemic, scientists face dueling needs: to find treatments quickly and to ensure they are safe and effective. By using this new type of adaptive platform, doctors hope to collect clinical data that will help more quickly determine what actually works.

We can't just flip the switch on the coronavirus

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It feels like some big, terrible switch got flipped when the coronavirus upended our lives — so it’s natural to want to simply flip it back. But that is not how the return to normalcy will go.

The big picture: Even as the number of illnesses and deaths in the U.S. start to fall, and we start to think about leaving the house again, the way forward will likely be slow and uneven. This may feel like it all happened suddenly, but it won't end that way.

Go deeperArrow19 mins ago - Health

The Fed rescues Wall Street, but Main Street is another story

llustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In less than a month, the Federal Reserve has unleashed a multi-trillion dollar tour de force to buoy the U.S. economy against the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: While it has steadied the markets, the Fed is poorly equipped to offset the hit being absorbed by small business owners and the close to 17 million Americans who have filed for unemployment in just the past three weeks.