Mar 15, 2018

Trump: Reports of staff shakeup are "very exaggerated and false"

Photo: AFP / Getty Images

President Trump batted away recent reports of a Cabinet shakeup during a meeting with Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in the Oval Office this morning, calling the rumors "very exaggerated and false." But then he kept the confusion alive, adding:

"There will always be change. And I think you want to see change. I want to also see different ideas."

The bottom line: As Axios' Jonathan Swan reported earlier today, no one in Trumpworld knows what the president will do next.

More from Trump:

  • Was Vladimir Putin behind the nerve agent attack in the U.K.? Trump issued his strongest denouncement yet: "It looks like it ... It certainly looks like the Russians were behind it. Something that should never ever happen, and we're taking it very seriously."
  • A nod to the Taoiseach: "A tremendous number of Irish are living in New York, where I grew up and they’re living in the United States. And these are truly wonderful people. We love ‘em.”

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Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

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Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

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.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

GOP congressman accuses California pension official of working for China

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The latest season of Red Scare has come to Sacramento.

Driving the news: Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ind.) has repeatedly accused Ben Meng, chief investment officer of the California Public Employees' Retirement System (CalPERS), of tacitly working on behalf of the Chinese government. Banks also says that, were it up to him, Meng would be fired — and has questioned the patriotism of California Gov. Gavin Newsom for not at least investigating Meng.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World