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Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images


Presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) declined to call Syria's President Bashar al-Assad a war criminal during a CNN Town Hall interview with Dana Bash Sunday.

What she's saying: “I think that the evidence needs to be gathered, and as I have said before, if there is evidence that he has committed war crimes, he should be prosecuted as such."

The big picture: Gabbard met with Assad when she made a secret trip to Syria in 2017. In February, she told MSNBC: "Assad is not the enemy of the United States because Syria does not pose a direct threat to the United States." But Gabbard told Bash she believed her past comments on Assad had been misunderstood.

Biggest anecdote: "There have been reports showing that chemical weapons have been used in Syria, both by the Syrian Government as well as different terrorist groups on the ground in Syria," Gabbard told Bash. "The skepticism and the questions that I raised were very specific around incidents that the Trump Administration was trying to use as an excuse to launch a U.S. Military attack in Syria."

Go deeper: Tulsi Gabbard: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate

Go deeper

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.