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President Trump steps off Air Force One in Minneapolis on Wednesday. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump's aides aren't answering basic questions about "who knew what when" about his coronavirus diagnosis — and a lot of those questions are coming from inside the house.

Why it matters: Some current and former White House officials have been privately complaining about the reckless attitude internally toward social distancing and mask wearing, feeling they are being put at risk unnecessarily every day when they show up to work.

The White House has still not adequately explained why Trump went to a donor event in New Jersey on Thursday after learning that one of his closest aides contracted the virus. 

Even some top West Wing aides were left in the dark about the chain of events that started with Hope Hicks feeling symptoms and isolating on Air Force One on Wednesday, and culminated with the president's 1 a.m. tweet that he had tested positive.

  • "There have been plenty of rumors, but a complete lack of information from the top," a senior administration official said.
  • "No one can trust what they're hearing, because even what is being said publicly doesn't seem to add up."

Pressed on the timeline that led up to a Trump trip to New Jersey for fundraisers on Thursday, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows — not wearing a mask — told reporters in the White House driveway:

  • "I'm not going to get into the ticktock," Meadows said. "I can tell you, in terms of Hope Hicks, we discovered that right as the Marine One was taking off yesterday."
  • "We actually pulled some of the people that had been traveling and in close contact. ... [W]e had already started the contact tracing."

Asked when President Trump knew about Hicks' diagnosis, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told Fox News' Harris Faulkner: "I don’t know the answer to that. I’m not going to get into an exact timeline."

  • As to the decision-making after Hicks quarantined on the plane on Wednesday night, McEnany said: "[I]mmediately when she got a positive result ...  there was contact tracing that was put into place."

Officials tell Axios that when McEnany briefed reporters from the podium on Thursday, she was unaware that Hicks had the coronavirus.

A White House official tells Axios that only a small circle of officials were informed of Hicks' diagnosis immediately: "[I]t has been our practice throughout this when it comes to the personal health information of staffers, non principals, we don't share or confirm those details."

  • That circle didn't include several of the administration officials who traveled with the president on Wednesday or Thursday — a decision that frustrated many in the White House.

Go deeper... Axios Re:Cap on the questions raised by Trump's positive test

Go deeper

Jan 8, 2021 - Health

Biden to release nearly all available COVID-19 vaccine doses to the public

Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden plans to release nearly all available coronavirus vaccine doses when he takes office, CNN reports.

Why it matters: Releasing nearly all doses would allow more people to get vaccinated with at least one dose. At the moment, the Trump administration is withholding half of U.S. vaccine production to ensure recipients receive their second dose, which is required by both the Moderna and Pfizer shots to ensure 95% efficacy.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Pelosi threatens second impeachment if Trump does not resign

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote in a letter to members Friday that Congress will move forward with impeaching President Trump for a second time if he does not leave office "imminently and willingly."

Driving the news: House Democrats had a caucus call at noon to discuss the topic of impeachment. Assistant House Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) told CNN that Democrats could bring articles of impeachment to the House floor as soon as "mid-next week" if Vice President Pence and Cabinet members do not invoke the 25th Amendment.

Updated Jan 8, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Trump will skip Biden inauguration

Trump and Biden shake hands at Trump's 2017 inauguration. Photo: Jonathan Newton /The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Friday that he will not be attending President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Why it matters: It's a break from tradition that comes as Trump faces massive backlash over the storming of the U.S. Capitol by a mob of his supporters.