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Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

President Trump predicted yesterday that the Republican National Convention will open as scheduled in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Aug. 24 — "We have no contingency plan" — setting a new bar for a phased return to business in America.

The big picture: With the virus peak for New York projected to be Thursday, and for the nation April 15, Trump continued to leaven dire warnings with a sunny streak.

  • "This will be probably the toughest week — between this week and next week," he said Saturday in the White House briefing room.

After emphasizing dire warnings earlier in the week, Trump yesterday was back in reopen mode:

  • "I want fans back in the arenas," Trump said. "I can’t tell you a date, but I think it’s gonna be sooner rather than later."

Before the briefing, Trump held a conference call with 13 commissioners of major men's and women's U.S. pro sports leagues, including WWE chair Vince McMahon.

  • A person with direct knowledge of the call told AP that Trump believes the NFL season will start as scheduled Sept. 10, with fans in seats.
  • But California Gov. Gavin Newsom said when asked if the NFL season will start on time: "I'm not anticipating that happening in this state."

🗞️ P.S.: The cover of Sunday's WashPost Sports section: "Wait till next year? Uncertainty abounds, but some experts say the games may not return until 2020," by Adam Kilgore.

  • "Disease experts suggest that the possibility feared most in the sports world — no major events for the rest of the year — may be more real than many believe."
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Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”