Dec 18, 2017

Trump's judicial nominee withdraws nomination after viral video

Matthew Peterson, the Trump judicial nominee who couldn't answer basic legal questions during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing last week, has withdrawn his nomination, a White House official told AP.

The defining moment: A video of Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) questioning Peterson, who currently serves as a commissioner on the Federal Election Commission, went viral after Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) tweeted it out to his more than 187k followers.

Why it matters: Petersen, who was tapped for a lifetime appointment on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is now the third Trump judicial pick to withdraw in the past week amid concerns over their lack of relevant work experience and previous controversial remarks on polarizing issues.

Go Deeper: Trump has now appointed most ever federal appeals judges in 1st year; Judicial appointments are the sleeper story that matters.

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Coronavirus updates: First case in sub-Saharan Africa confirmed

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Nigeria confirmed its first novel coronavirus case in an Italian who flew to Lagos from Milan — the first known case in sub-Saharan Africa. The World Health Organization has been working to prepare Africa's health care systems to be ready for the outbreak, which is now also confirmed in Algeria and Egypt.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,850 people and infected over 83,700 others in some 50 countries and territories. The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica, and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 2 hours ago - Health

Ad spending on 2020 primary tops $1 billion

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Spending on the 2020 presidential primary has officially surpassed the $1 billion mark, with more than half of that total coming from billionaire Michael Bloomberg, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

Why it matters: It's the most money that has been spent this early on in an election cycle in U.S. history.

The growing coronavirus recession threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

In just a matter of weeks, top economists and investment bank analysts have gone from expecting the coronavirus outbreak to have minimal impact on the U.S. economy to warning that an outright recession may be on the horizon.

What's happening: The spread of confirmed coronavirus cases in Europe, the Middle East and the U.S., and the speed at which they are being discovered has set the table for the outbreak to have a larger and much costlier impact.