Dec 12, 2017

White House: Trump was referring to "corruption" in Gillibrand tweet

Sanders quiets a reporter and fields a question from another one. Photo: AP

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday President Trump's tweet that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand "would do anything" for campaign contributions wasn't a sexual innuendo. "Only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way," she said. Sanders added that Trump was referring to political "corruption."

Sanders argued that Trump had used similar terminology many times to refer to both male and female politicians of both parties. "There's no way that this is sexist at all," she said.

  • Does Trump want a second special counsel to investigate the investigators? "I think it's something that certainly causes a lot of concern not just for the president and the administration but for all Americans... this looks really bad and this is something we should definitely look at."
  • On Sen. Gillibrand: "I'm talking about the fact that she's controlled by special interests, I'm talking about the fact that she's a wholly owned subsidiary of people who donate to her campaign, she's a puppet for Chuck Schumer."
  • On foreign autocrats using "fake news" to deflect criticism: "I think the White House is concerned about false and inaccurate information being pushed out to mislead the American people," Sanders said, dodging the question.

At the top of the briefing, Dept. of Homeland Security official Lee Cissna talked immigration reform in light of the recent attempted terror attack in New York. The suspect, a Bangladeshi national, entered the U.S. through family connections via chain migration, he said. Cissna also said the U.S.'s diversity visa program "is wracked with fraud" and "vulnerable to exploitation by terrorists."

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Japan to close schools through late March to control coronavirus outbreak

A couple takes photos in front of the Olympic rings in Tokyo. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Thursday that the government will ask elementary, middle and high schools around the country to close until late March as an attempt to contain its novel coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Why it matters: The government's decision — impacting 12.8 million students across 34,847 schools — comes as concerns mount about the spread of the virus in Japan, which has 189 confirmed cases and hundreds more abroad the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Go deeper: The latest coronavirus updates

What the coronavirus means for Trump's presidency

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images

A poor response to the coronavirus could be politically devastating for President Trump, and so far his administration has given the strong impression that it’s still scrambling as the risk of a pandemic mounts.

Why it matters: There’s only so much any president can do to stop a virus from spreading, and for now the coronavirus is still very much under control within the U.S. But if the disease get worse in the months ahead, and if the administration seems to be caught off guard, that spells trouble for public confidence in Trump.

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Coronavirus updates: New global case numbers surpass China's

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus is now affecting every continent but Antarctica and the WHO said Wednesday the number of new cases reported outside China has exceeded those inside the country for the first time.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,800 people and infected over 82,000 others in some 50 countries and territories. As Denmark and Estonia reported their first cases Thursday, Scott Morrison, prime minister of Australia — which has 23 confirmed infections — told a news conference, "The risk of a global pandemic is very much upon us."

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health