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A bag of USAID food aid is carried in South Sudan in October. Photo: Alissa Everett/Getty Images

Trump appointees are contorting themselves ever more greatly to show loyalty to the president, with one agency official today couching internal HR advice as if the election result were still in doubt.

Behind the scenes: On an internal Zoom call with staff of the U.S. Agency for International Development, senior agency official Tim Kaiser said one purpose was to discuss employee health care options "during an exit transition — if that were to take place."

  • "As we all know, nothing has been certified as of yet, so I just want to provide some encouragement for everyone out there," said Kaiser, the deputy White House liaison at USAID and one of Trump's point people within the agency.
  • A spokesperson declined to comment on an internal meeting.

Flashback: Officials at the White House itself have been caught up in the word games.

  • Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany implicitly conceded Joe Biden had beat her boss by saying on Fox News Sunday that Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would cast tie-breaking votes in the Senate if Republicans lose two upcoming Georgia special elections.

Go deeper

Jan 27, 2021 - Health

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

Chris Cuomo accuser: On-air "hypocrisy" spurred report

Journalist Chris Cuomo. Photo: Gilbert Carrasquillo/GC Images

A woman who accused fired CNN journalist Chris Cuomo of sexual misconduct said Sunday she decided to come forward after learning of his comments about women who made similar accusations about his brother. He denies her allegations.

Why it matters: Her attorney Debra Katz said in a statement that she heard "the hypocrisy" of his on-air words about his brother, former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and was "disgusted by his efforts to try to discredit these women," so "retained counsel to report his serious sexual misconduct against her to CNN."

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

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