President Trump suggested that the news media is pushing for a confrontation with Russia in a Thursday tweet, saying reporters "hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin."

"The Fake News Media wants so badly to see a major confrontation with Russia, even a confrontation that could lead to war. They are pushing so recklessly hard and hate the fact that I’ll probably have a good relationship with Putin. We are doing MUCH better than any other country!"

The backdrop: It's Trump's latest in a multi-day series of tweets defending his Helsinki performance — and it comes on the heels of a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll which shows that Americans are sharply divided over Trump's press conference with Putin, with 7% of Democrats and 79% of Republicans saying they approved of his comments.

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Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump has not attended a White House coronavirus task force meeting in “several months,” NIAID director Anthony Fauci told MSNBC on Friday.

Why it matters: At the beginning of the pandemic, the task force, led by Vice President Mike Pence, met every day, but in the "last several weeks," members have held virtual meetings once a week, Fauci said, even as the number of new cases continues to surge in the country.

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How to help save 130,000 lives

People wear face masks outside Grand Central Terminal in New York City. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

Nearly 130,000 fewer people will die of COVID-19 this winter if 95% of Americans wear face masks in public, according to research published Friday.

Why it matters: “Increasing mask use is one of the best strategies that we have right now to delay the imposition of social distancing mandates," Dr. Christopher Murray of the University of Washington told the N.Y. Times.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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