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President Trump said Friday he doesn't "know anything about" the White House pandemic office his administration disbanded in 2018.

Reporter: Thank you, Mr. President. Yamiche Alcindor from PBS NewsHour. My first question is you said that you don't take responsibility, but you did disband the White House pandemic office, and the officials that were working in that office left this administration abruptly. So what responsibility do you take to that? And the officials that worked in that office said that the White House lost valuable time because that office was disbanded. What do you make of that?"
President Trump: "Well, I just think it's a nasty question, because what we've done is, and Tony [Fauci] has said numerous times, that we've saved thousands of lives because of the quick closing. And when you say me, I didn't do it. We have a group of people. I could perhaps ask Tony about that, because I don't know anything about it. I mean, you say we did that. I don't know anything about it."
Reporter: "You don't know about the reorganization that happened at the National Security Council?"
Trump: "It's the administration, perhaps they do that, let people do, you used to be with a different newspaper than you are now, you know things like that happen." 
Reporter: "But this is a reorganization at the National Security Council."
Trump: "Please go ahead. We're doing a great job. Let me tell you, these professionals behind me, these great, incredible doctors and businesses people, the best in the world, and I can say that, whether it's retailers or labs or anything you want to say, these are the best in the world. We're doing a great job. And we are 40 people right now, 40, compare that with other countries that have many, many times that amount, and one of the reasons we have 40 and others have, and again, that number is going up, just so you understand. And the number of cases, which are very small relatively speaking, it's going up. We've done a great job, because we acted quickly, we acted early, and there's nothing we could have done that was better than closing our borders to highly infected areas."

Context: The White House disbanded the global health security team in 2018 following a shake-up by then-national security adviser John Bolton.

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's "overwhelming force" doctrine

President-elect Biden arrives to introduce his science team in Wilmington yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

President-elect Biden has ordered up a shock-and-awe campaign for his first days in office to signal, as dramatically as possible, the radical shift coming to America and global affairs, his advisers tell us. 

The plan, Part 1 ... Biden, as detailed in a "First Ten Days" memo from incoming chief of staff Ron Klain, plans to unleash executive orders, federal powers and speeches to shift to a stark, national plan for "100 million shots" in three months.

Off the Rails

Episode 2: Barbarians at the Oval

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 2: Trump stops buying what his professional staff are telling him, and increasingly turns to radical voices telling him what he wants to hear. Read episode 1.

President Trump plunked down in an armchair in the White House residence, still dressed from his golf game — navy fleece, black pants, white MAGA cap. It was Saturday, Nov. 7. The networks had just called the election for Joe Biden.

Fringe right plots new attacks out of sight

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Domestic extremists are using obscure and private corners of the internet to plot new attacks ahead of Inauguration Day. Their plans are also hidden in plain sight, buried in podcasts and online video platforms.

Why it matters: Because law enforcement was caught flat-footed during last week's Capitol siege, researchers and intelligence agencies are paying more attention to online threats that could turn into real-world violence.