Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senior Trump administration officials privately warned several states that spikes in coronavirus cases put them in high-risk "red zones" while publicly downplaying the threat of the virus, according to documents released by a special House committee overseeing the coronavirus response.

Why it matters: Democrats have long called for a national plan to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, while the White House has offered only guidance and insisted that states take the lead.

What the documents say: The eight weeks of reports, released by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis, detail how each state was fairing amid the pandemic. The reports often contradict what was being said publicly by White House officials, including President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

  • In a June 23 report, the White House coronavirus task force privately warned seven states that they remained in the "red zone," indicating the highest risk of coronavirus spread. But just a week earlier, on June 16, Pence claimed in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the "panic" over a possible second wave of COVID-19 cases was "overblown."
  • On June 26, Pence said during a televised task force briefing that "all 50 states are opening up safely and responsibly.” But in a private report dated June 29, the White House task force had concluded that 10 states were in the "red zone."
  • Similar contradictions were seen this month. On Aug. 3, President Trump encouraged schools to reopen, tweeting: "Cases up because of BIG Testing! Much of our Country is doing very well." But in a private report dated Aug. 2, White House officials had warned that 23 states were in the "red zone." By Aug. 9, 48 states and the District of Colombia were in red or yellow zones.

What Democrats are saying: “The Task Force reports released today show the White House has known since June that coronavirus cases were surging across the country and many states were becoming dangerous ‘red zones’ where the virus was spreading fast,” Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), chairman of the subcommittee, said in a statement. 

  • “Rather than being straight with the American people and creating a national plan to fix the problem, the President and his enablers kept these alarming reports private while publicly downplaying the threat to millions of Americans," Clyburn added.
  • "As a result of the President’s failures, more than 58,000 additional Americans have died since the Task Force first started issuing private warnings, and many of the Task Force’s recommendations still have not been implemented. It is long past time that the Administration finally implement a national plan to contain this crisis, which is still killing hundreds of Americans each day.”
  • The White House did not immediately comment on the release of the reports.

Go deeper: Read the reports

Go deeper

Biden prioritizing schools, teachers in coronavirus playbook

Anthony Fauci appears via video on Tuesday with Vice President-elect Harris and President-elect Biden. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President-elect Biden's COVID checklist includes getting Americans to wear masks as a patriotic duty, vaccinating 50 million people and reopening the majority of schools by the end of April.

Why it matters: The remote learning adopted by many of America's biggest school districts has been a disaster for students and parents alike.

Scoop: West Wing fears COVID spread after Trump lawyer Jenna Ellis attends WH party

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump's lawyer Jenna Ellis has informed associates she tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple sources tell Axios, stirring West Wing fears after she attended a senior staff Christmas party on Friday.

Driving the news: There are concerns about the potential for another White House superspreader event, though it was unclear whether Ellis posed a risk when she attended. Ellis declined to confirm the diagnosis to Axios.