May 4, 2020 - Politics & Policy

White House won't allow members of coronavirus task force to testify in May

Fauci and Birx. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The White House informed Congress on Monday that members of the administration's coronavirus task force, which includes health experts Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx, won't be allowed to testify in May.

Why it matters: The administration argues that having officials spend time testifying diverts critical resources and attention from its pandemic response. The move is likely to draw backlash from Democrats who have already accused the administration of skirting oversight during the coronavirus crisis.

  • The White House said that "all other departments, agencies, and witnesses may accept hearing invitations," but stressed that "agency resources should still be prioritized toward the COVID-19 response."
  • White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows is permitted to authorize exceptions to the guidance.

The White House had previously barred testimony from Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases expert, saying in a statement last week:

"While the Trump administration continues its whole-of-government response to COVID-19, including safely opening up America again and expediting vaccine development, it is counter-productive to have the very individuals involved in those efforts appearing at Congressional hearings."
— White House spokesperson Judd Deere

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.

Minneapolis will ban police chokeholds following George Floyd's death

A memorial for George Floyd at the site of his death in Minneapolis. Photo: Steel Brooks/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Minneapolis has agreed to ban the use of police chokeholds and will require nearby officers to act to stop them in the wake of George Floyd's death, AP reports.

Why it matters: The agreement between the city and the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, which has launched an investigation into Floyd's death while in police custody, will be enforceable in court.