Jun 21, 2019

Trump's temps

Photo: Getty Images

Amidst all the tension this week, it's worth stepping back for a minute to remember that President Trump doesn't have a permanent secretary of defense.

Why it matters: Running the Pentagon is no small task for a permanent, seasoned chief. It's a huge undertaking for a temp, the AP reminds.

  • Trump said today that he called off yesterday's retaliatory strike against Iran upon learning about its expected death toll compared to zero casualties for an unmanned drone.
  • New this afternoon: Trump is expected to nominate soon-to-be acting Secretary Mark Esper — who was the secretary of the Army until acting Secretary Patrick Shanahan dropped out of the confirmation process — in the near future, the N.Y. Times reports.
  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer: “With everything going on in Iran and all the provocations and counteractions, and to have no secretary of defense at this time is appalling ... It shows the chaos in this administration. They have so many empty positions, revolving doors, in the most sensitive of security positions.”

What's next: "For the moment both Shanahan and Esper have been attending White House and other meetings and taking part in debates over how to respond to Iran’s destruction of the drone," the AP notes.

The bottom line: "The law prohibits Esper from being nominated for the job while also serving as acting secretary. If he is nominated, he’ll have to step down and move to another job until the Senate votes on his confirmation. So that would mean yet another acting secretary meantime."

Go deeper: How Trump and Iran got to the brink of war

Go deeper

Fed temporarily lifts Wells Fargo's growth restrictions

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday it will temporarily lift Wells Fargo’s growth restrictions, which were put in place following the bank’s customer abuse scandals.

Why it matters: The Fed’s only reason for lifting the cap is so Wells Fargo can dole out more loans to struggling small businesses as part of the government’s coronavirus aid package. Earlier this week, the bank said it could only lend a total of $10 billion, thanks to Fed restrictions that it can’t grow its assets beyond $1.95 trillion.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 1,450,343 — Total deaths: 83,568 — Total recoveries: 308,617Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 12 p.m. ET: 399,979 — Total deaths: 12,912 — Total recoveries: 22,539Map.
  3. Business updates: Roughly one-third of U.S. apartment renters didn't make April payments.
  4. Federal government latest: The U.S. has begun to see "glimmers of hope" despite its highest recorded number of deaths in 24 hours, Anthony Fauci said.
  5. Public health latest: Surgeon General Jerome Adams highlighted the disproportionate impact the illness is having on African-American communities.
  6. World latest: Indians look to Taiwan amid China's coronavirus missteps
  7. 🚌 Public transit: Systems across the country are experiencing ridership collapse, squeezed funding streams and slow recovery from the pandemic.
  8. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Bernie Sanders suspends presidential campaign

Photo: ANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Wednesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign.

The big picture: It's an end to the campaign of the leading progressive in the race — and the candidate who seemed to be the clear front-runner for the Democratic nomination just a few months ago. It also makes Biden the presumptive Democratic nominee four months before the party's convention in Milwaukee.