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President Trump tweeted on Sunday evening about the ongoing California wildfires, stating that "bad environmental laws" have "magnified" the disaster and "made [it] so much worse."

"California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!"

Our thought bubble, via Axios science editor Andrew Freedman: President Trump appears to be referring to endangered species protections, which mandate availability of water for some species. However, firefighters haven’t complained about lack of water for firefighting, but rather, the extreme nature of these fires.

  • The factors contributing to these fires include decades of national forest mismanagement and climate change, which is making summers hotter and drier than they otherwise would be.
  • The Trump administration is working on broad changes to the Endangered Species Act — as well as opening federal forests to logging, oil and gas drilling. This tweet appears to tie the fires to both policy goals — without any evidence that they are key factors in the state’s devastating fire season.

What they're saying:

  • Ryan Maue, a meteorologist who works with the Cato Institute: "Blue check marks: please take a deep breath and read up on California's forest management issues that are decades in the making. Governor Brown blames climate change for wildfires and avoids any meaningful conversation on policy solutions."
  • Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA: "Lost in recent conversation over #wildfire risk is the following point by @thirstygecko: Warming #climate & drying forests/vegetation across American West is clearly not the only relevant factor behind emerging era of megafires. But it is large & growing contributor.#CAfire #CAwx"

Go deeper: In vast stretches of the warming, drying American West, there is no well-defined wildfire season anymore.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Health

CDC panel endorses Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12-to 15-year-olds, following the FDA's emergency use authorization.

Why it matters: Approval from the CDC panel was the final step needed before inoculations could be offered at any vaccination site for this age group.

  • Pfizer has said its vaccine is 100% effective at protecting against COVID-19 in a trial of more than 2,200 children between the ages of 12 and 15.

GOP lawmakers downplay Capitol riot at House hearing

Photo: Jon Cherry via Getty Images

Republican members of Congress sought to minimize the Capitol insurrection at a House hearing on Wednesday, with statements calling pro-Trump rioters "patriots" and other lawmakers falsely denying demonstrators were supporters of the former president at all.

Driving the news: The hearing comes shortly after House Republicans voted to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) from leadership over her criticism of former President Trump's actions leading up to and on Jan. 6.

McConnell, McCarthy say 2017 tax law is "red line" in infrastructure talks

The top Republicans in the House and Senate told reporters after meeting with President Biden at the White House that "there is a bipartisan desire to get an outcome" on an infrastructure package, but stressed that revisiting the 2017 tax cuts is a "red line."

Why it matters: Wednesday marked the first time that Biden has hosted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) at the White House.