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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Biden on Wednesday expressed "great confidence" in Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley after a new book said the general secretly assured his Chinese counterpart that President Trump had no plans to launch an attack.

The big picture: Details emerged that Milley told his Chinese counterpart that if Trump did decide to attack, Milley would give him a heads-up, Axios' Jonathan Swan reports.

  • New excerpts from "Peril" by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa report secret moves by the highest-ranking military officers to manage national security risks that they believed former President Trump posed near the end of his term.

What they're saying: "The president has worked side by side with Chairman Milley for almost eight months as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said earlier Wednesday.

  • "His experience with him has been that he is a patriot, he is somebody who has fidelity to the Constitution, and he has confidence in his leadership and the role he has played in his experience with him."
  • "I can't speak to anonymous unconfirmed reports about prior conversations during the last administration," Psaki said.

What to watch: Milley will testify at a Sept. 28 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, where he will likely field questions on his actions during the final days of the Trump presidency.

Go deeper: Mark Milley's crisis

Editor’s note: This post has been updated with new details throughout.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 21, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden tests negative after contact with staff member who has virus

Photo: Angus Mordant/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden tested negative for COVID on Monday, several days after being in contact with a "mid-level" White House staffer who has tested positive for the virus, press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement on Monday evening.

Driving the news: "This morning, after being notified of the staffer’s positive test, the President received a PCR test and tested negative," Psaki said in the statement. "He will be tested again on Wednesday."

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Texas governor: "All hostages are out alive and safe"

SWAT team members deploy near the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/AFP via Getty Images

All four hostages have been safely released after a day-long standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on Saturday night.

The latest: "Around 9 p.m., the HRT — hostage rescue team — breached the synagogue, they rescued the three [remaining] hostages, the suspect is deceased," said police chief Michael Miller of Colleyville, located roughly 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth. The other hostage had been released earlier Saturday.

The new normal: Google searches reveal America's COVID shopping habits

Data: The New Normal; Google Trends; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

As the pandemic enters its third year, some of America's COVID-era shopping habits — including strong demand for tequila and sweatpants — are here to stay.

Driving the news: Axios worked with Google Trends and the Schema Design firm to create The New Normal, which analyzes the products Americans have Googled since 2020. Items with a lasting increase in search interest help fill in the details of what our "new normal" looks like.