January 28, 2020

The John Bolton who worked in the Reagan administration probably never saw this coming.

According to Fox Business' Lou Dobbs, Bolton, who has never drifted from Republican politics in his 40-plus years in Washington, D.C., is now "a tool for the left." That's what a graphic on Dobbs' show declared Monday night, while a zany web connected Bolton to "foreign policy RINO" Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and former FBI Director James Comey.

Bolton was Romney's foreign policy adviser during his 2012 presidential run, and through Bolton, Romney is apparently connected to Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and his brother Col. Yevgeny Vindman, Dobbs' very simplified web map showed. Yevgeny Vindman is an attorney for the National Security Council, so Dobbs mirrored right-wing publications in alleging Vindman may have leaked the chunk of Bolton's book that reportedly implicates Trump in a Ukraine quid pro quo. Bolton also shares a book agency with Comey and fellow former Trump official Cliff Sims, which somehow apparently furthers the case that Bolton "has been reduced to a tool for the radical Dems," Dobbs said Monday.

Bolton, of course, was also Dobbs' Fox colleague for more than a decade before he left the network to become Trump's national security adviser. He worked in the three prior GOP administrations before that, and as The New York Times' Maggie Haberman noted, Fox owner Rupert Murdoch helped push Bolton over the edge when Trump was considering him for the national security spot. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:35 p.m.

He was just a little bit off on that one.

During Senate testimony Tuesday, Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf was grilled by Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) about the United States' preparedness for a potential coronavirus outbreak. At one point Kennedy asked Wolf about the virus' fatality rate, which Wolf said was likely somewhere between 1.5 and 2 percent. He then veered off course by telling Kennedy that the flu's fatality rate is in the same ballpark, which is not correct or even particularly close.

Kennedy didn't seem convinced, but opted not to press Wolf more on the flu stats. That didn't mean he let him off the hook generally, however. The senator was not pleased with Wolf's answers to a number of his questions and reportedly grew visibly irate at times, The Hill reports.

The Trump administration as a whole has taken some criticism for what some perceive to be a lackadaisical, overly-optimistic response to the outbreak. Tim O'Donnell

5:13 p.m.

As President Trump capped his visit to India on Tuesday, he praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to religious tolerance in the country.

"We did talk about religious freedom, and I will say that the prime minister was incredible in what he told me," Trump said during a press conference. "He wants people to have religious freedom, and very strongly."

It probably isn't realistic to expect Trump to have said anything else or criticize his host, especially after he was so pleased with how he was received during his visit. But the praise was juxtaposed against violent outbreaks in New Delhi on Tuesday spurred by a Modi-backed law, which excludes Muslims from a list of migrant groups who are granted a path to Indian citizenship if they can prove they're fleeing persecution from neighboring countries.

The U.S. State Department and Congress have expressed concern over the citizenship law and other actions viewed as part of a crackdown against India's Muslim population conducted by Modi's Hindu nationalist government. But Trump seemingly wasn't willing to cross that line during his trip. He did say he asked Modi about it, but ultimately he wants to "leave that to India." Read more at The Washington Post. Tim O'Donnell

4:54 p.m.

In a surprise announcement, Disney has named a successor to its longtime CEO Bob Iger, who oversaw a banner year for the company in 2019, including the successful launch of a new streaming service and box office domination. Bob Chapek, the parks division head and a 27-year veteran of The Walt Disney Company, will replace Iger immediately, with Iger assuming the role of executive chairman until his contract ends on Dec. 31, 2021.

"With the successful launch of Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses and the integration of Twenty-First Century Fox well underway, I believe this is the optimal time to transition to a new CEO," Iger said in a statement.

Iger has headed The Walt Disney Company for the past 15 years, recently publishing a memoir about his experience; the end of his tenure is a "seismic move" for the company, The Hollywood Reporter writes. Others have noted the strange and abrupt timing of Iger's exit, with strategist Matthew Ball observing on Twitter that the decision comes as Iger is "14 months into 36 month extension" and that he "didn't do this during blow-them-away earnings a few weeks ago."

Named the 2019 businessperson of the year by Time, Iger's announcement also follows a year when Disney dominated 33 percent of all domestic box office grosses, marking "the first time since at least 1999 that a single studio has commanded this much box office revenue in the U.S. and Canada," Variety reports. Disney+, which launched last November, garnered a massive 10 million subscribers within a day of its launch.

"Iger is unassailable," Time wrote in its profile last year, before Iger's surprise announcement. "He's transformed his company from a stuffy media doyen into a sexy cultural force. He can glide to retirement in 2021 on the fumes of that triumph." Jeva Lange

4:26 p.m.

One day after President Trump tweeted that the stock market is "starting to look very good to me," the markets once again took a dive.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 879 points on Tuesday after the Centers for Disease Control came out with a dire warning about the coronavirus, saying its community spread in the United States appeared inevitable and Americans should be ready for the potential of major disruptions in their lives, CNBC reports.

Additionally, the S&P 500 on Tuesday fell about 3 percent, and CNBC notes that "the last time the S&P 500 fell more than 3 percent two days in a row was in November of 2008 during the financial crisis," citing Bespoke Investment Group.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said Tuesday that the coronavirus spreading in the U.S. is "not so much of a question of if" but rather "a question of when," and "we are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad," The New York Times reports.

This came after the Dow on Tuesday plunged 1,031 points in what NBC notes was its worst performance in two years. Brendan Morrow

2:46 p.m.

White House officials aren't on the same page as top health officials.

President Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Tuesday told CNBC there was basically nothing to worry about when it comes to the coronavirus' effect on the U.S. "We have contained this. I won't say [it's] airtight, but it's pretty close to airtight," he said. He also reassured viewers that while the coronavirus may be a "human tragedy," it won't be an "economic tragedy," since there aren't any "supply disruptions" just yet.

Supply disruptions may be one thing, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention nearly simultaneously warned of incoming "disruption to everyday life," saying the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. is "not so much of a question of if" but rather "a question of when."

As CNN's Phil Mattingly put it, Kudlow's comments are "more or less, the exact opposite of what lawmakers were told in a briefing from top [Trump administration] health officials this morning." FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver seemingly agreed Kudlow's (and President Trump's) comments were misguided, tweeting it "seems very very very very risky for the Trump administration to claim coronavirus is contained in the U.S. if it later proves not to be contained."

Perhaps Kudlow realized he may have sounded a bit too optimistic, because shortly after his CNBC appearance he told reporters the possibility of further travel restrictions are "under discussion." He continued, "I'm going to wait on that. I don't want to get ahead of my skis or their skis. It's all under discussion."

Still, he insisted the U.S. is very prepared for anything the coronavirus may throw our way. "We're not going to get caught with our pants down," he predicted, per Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs. "The virus is not going to last forever." Harvard epidemiologists may have something to say about that. Summer Meza

2:17 p.m.

The Centers for Disease Control is warning Americans to prepare for the possibility of a severe disruption of their lives as a result of a coronavirus outbreak in the United States.

Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said Tuesday that the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. is "not so much of a question of if" but rather "a question of when," The New York Times reports.

Messonnier also told Americans they should "prepare for the expectation that this might be bad," saying schools may need to use "internet-based teleschooling," business may need to use "video or telephone conferences and increase teleworking options," and communities might have to "modify, postpone, or cancel mass gatherings," CNBC reports.

"Now is the time for businesses, hospitals, communities, schools, and everyday people to begin preparing," she said. "I understand this whole situation may seem overwhelming and that disruption to everyday life may be severe. But these are things that people need to start thinking about now." Messonnier also explained that she has told her family they "ought to be preparing for significant disruption to our lives."

Health officials also briefed members of Congress about the coronavirus threat on Tuesday, after which Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said, per The Washington Post, that lawmakers were warned there's a "very strong chance of an extremely serious outbreak of the coronavirus here in the United States." More than 50 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. Meanwhile, President Trump has downplayed the threat, saying on Tuesday, "I think that whole situation will start working out." Brendan Morrow

1:06 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is on good terms with some Democratic exes.

While she can't claim to have raised thousands of dollars from ex-boyfriends, like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) can, Warren has remained quite friendly with several ex-Democratic presidential candidates. In an interview with NBC News, Warren said she's texted nature photos with Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D) shortly after he dropped out of the race, talked math with Andrew Yang, and kept in touch with former Housing Secretary Julián Castro, who has endorsed her run.

But she says Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) have particular insight into what NBC News calls the "loneliness" of the campaign trail, something Warren described as like "living in a movie that is running at high speed with everything coming so quickly."

"Kamala and Kirsten, in particular, ask me am I getting rest? Am I eating? And am I having some fun out there?" said Warren of her fellow women candidates. "It's a very personal experience to run. Running for president can be thrilling but also very lonely," she said. "The candidate stands alone."

Warren even got back in good graces with former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) after taking him down a few pegs in one of the first debates. Delaney said her call to wish him well after he dropped out was "quite lengthy and quite in-depth" and showed "she's not entirely self-absorbed. She actually listens."

Read more about Warren's relationship with her ex-competitors at NBC News. Summer Meza

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