Jan 29, 2019

Trump disavows Cliff Sims on "Team of Vipers" release date

President Trump disavowed his former staffer Cliff Sims, whose White House insider memoir "Team of Vipers" was released Tuesday, in a tweet, calling Sims "a mess" and "nothing more than a gofer."

"A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction. He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!"

Behind the scenes: Trump has been toying with attacking Sims on Twitter for the best part of a week. Some staff have counseled him against tweeting about Sims — arguing it would only elevate him and help sell his book — but, as ever, Trump couldn't help himself. One issue for Trump: there are numerous photographs showing that Sims was in many of the meetings he describes in the book. And one of the chief complaints about Sims from former White House colleagues who loathe him is that he "was in rooms he wasn’t supposed to be in."

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 5,682,389 — Total deaths: 354,944 — Total recoveries — 2,337,385Map.
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Updated 22 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.

U.S. coronavirus death toll crosses 100,000

Data: Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

More than 100,000 Americans have died of the coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins — a terrible milestone that puts the death toll far beyond some of the most tragic events in U.S. history.

By the numbers: The death toll from COVID-19 now stands at more than 34 times the number of people who died on 9/11.