AP

When asked if President Trump stands by his statement that he didn't ask former FBI Director James Comey for his loyalty, or ask him to stop investigating Michael Flynn, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters she "can't imagine the president not standing by his own statement."

As for whether Trump has read Comey's opening statement for tomorrow's testimony? Sanders said she wasn't sure, but "I did find the timing of the release a little bit interesting."

Other highlights from her press gaggle aboard Air Force One.

  • Does Trump plan on live tweeting the Comey hearing? Sanders said she's "not aware of any specific plans for that" but knows the president has a full day tomorrow.
  • Does the president have confidence in Sessions? "I haven't had a chance to have an extensive conversation with him today, but I certainly plan to ask him that," said Sanders. It's the second straight day the White House declined to answer.
  • Did Trump consult with Sessions about his new FBI pick? "I don't know about the final decision, but I do know Christopher Wray met with the DOJ, and they vetted and referred candidates, including Wray, to the president."
  • How frustrated is Trump with the Russia probe? "The president is very focused on his agenda... he's not letting distractions get in the way of that."

Go deeper

Deadly Hurricane Zeta churns inland after lashing Louisiana

A satellite image of Hurricane Zeta. Photo: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

Hurricane Zeta has killed at least one person after a downed power line electrocuted a 55-year-old in Louisiana as the storm moved into Alabama overnight.

What's happening: After "battering southeastern Louisiana and southern Mississippi," it began lashing Alabama late Wednesday, per the National Hurricane Center.

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Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases

Catholics go through containment protocols including body-temperature measurement and hands-sanitisation before entering the Saint Christopher Parish Church, Taipei City, Taiwan, in July. Photo: Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Taiwan on Thursday marked no locally transmitted coronavirus cases for 200 days, as the island of 23 million people's total number of infections reported stands at 550 and the COVID-19 death toll at seven.

Why it matters: Nowhere else in the world has reached such a milestone. While COVID-19 cases surge across the U.S. and Europe, Taiwan's last locally transmitted case was on April 12. Experts credit tightly regulated travel, early border closure, "rigorous contact tracing, technology-enforced quarantine and universal mask wearing," along with the island state's previous experience with the SARS virus, per Bloomberg.

Go deeper: As Taiwan's profile rises, so does risk of conflict with China

Updated 55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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