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

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 12,859,834 — Total deaths: 567,123 — Total recoveries — 7,062,085Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 3,297,501— Total deaths: 135,155 — Total recoveries: 1,006,326 — Total tested: 40,282,176Map.
  3. States: Florida smashes single-day record for new coronavirus cases with over 15,000 — NYC reports zero coronavirus deaths for first time since pandemic hit.
  4. Public health: Ex-FDA chief projects "apex" of South's coronavirus curve in 2-3 weeks — Coronavirus testing czar: Lockdowns in hotspots "should be on the table"
  5. Education: Betsy DeVos says schools that don't reopen shouldn't get federal funds — Pelosi accuses Trump of "messing with the health of our children."

Scoop: How the White House is trying to trap leakers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, has told several White House staffers he's fed specific nuggets of information to suspected leakers to see if they pass them on to reporters — a trap that would confirm his suspicions. "Meadows told me he was doing that," said one former White House official. "I don't know if it ever worked."

Why it matters: This hunt for leakers has put some White House staffers on edge, with multiple officials telling Axios that Meadows has been unusually vocal about his tactics. So far, he's caught only one person, for a minor leak.

11 GOP congressional nominees support QAnon conspiracy

Lauren Boebert posing in her restaurant in Rifle, Colorado, on April 24. Photo: Emily Kask/AFP

At least 11 Republican congressional nominees have publicly supported or defended the QAnon conspiracy theory movement or some of its tenets — and more aligned with the movement may still find a way onto ballots this year.

Why it matters: Their progress shows how a fringe online forum built on unsubstantiated claims and flagged as a threat by the FBI is seeking a foothold in the U.S. political mainstream.