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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Cover:

"Nightmare Scenario," a book out next week on President Trump's handling of COVID, reports that he said he hoped it would take out his former national security adviser, John Bolton, who had just written an explosive tell-all about his time in the White House.

When asked about the quote, Bolton gave Axios' Jonathan Swan this classic reply: "Fooled me — I thought he was relying on his lawyers."

Here's the passage by Washington Post journalist Yasmeen Abutaleb and Damian Paletta in "Nightmare Scenario," out Tuesday:

Trump had tried to joke about the virus for months, sometimes even mocking people who had become ill. ... At one meeting several months [before Trump got sick], NEC director Larry Kudlow had stifled a cough. The room had frozen.. ... Trump had waved his hands in front of his face, as if to jokingly ward off any flying virus particles, and then cracked a smile. "I was just kidding," he'd said. "Larry will never get COVID. He will defeat it with his optimism." ... "John Bolton," he had said ... "Hopefully COVID takes out John."

The authors' sources thought Trump was deadly serious.

Go deeper: DOJ drops criminal probe, civil lawsuit against John Bolton over Trump book

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Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jun 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump works refs ahead of book barrage

Graphic: Axios Visuals

Former President Trump has given at least 22 interviews for 17 different books since leaving office, with authors lining up at Mar-a-Lago as he labors to shape a coming tsunami of Trump tomes, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Trump advisers see the coming book glut as proof that interest in "POTUS 45," as they call him, has never been higher. These advisers know that most of the books will paint a mixed picture, at best. But Trump is working the refs with charm, spin and dish.

Team Trump's Facebook ads circumvent ban

Via Facebook

Former President Trump may be banned from Facebook, but his political operation continues using it to raise money, records show.

Why it matters: A new round of ads purchased by a political group associated with him shows how the former president can continue tapping the world's largest social network even as Trump himself is barred from the platform.

2 hours ago - World

Biden: U.S. combat mission in Iraq will end this year

Biden returning to the White House on July 25. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

The United States' combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq will be completed "by the end of the year," President Biden said Monday prior to a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi.

Why it matters: Biden is close to shifting the U.S. military mission in Iraq to a fully advisory role more than 18 years after combat troops were sent to the country under the former President George W. Bush.