Trump denies 'mission accomplished' message as administration mulls winding down coronavirus task force

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Trump denies sending 'mission accomplished' message as administration considers winding down coronavirus task force
President Trump on Tuesday denied he was declaring "mission accomplished" in the U.S. fight against coronavirus as his administration confirmed being in talks to potentially wind down the coronavirus task force, even as the number of COVID-19 cases continued to grow and parts of the economy began to reopen.

The president defended the talks Tuesday while speaking to the media in Phoenix, where he was touring a mask production facility, saying his advisers were continuing to examine the virus “very closely,” and the doctors on the task force would continue to make their voices heard.

“We can't keep our country closed for the next five years,” the president said. “We've learned a lot about the coronavirus.”

Vice President Pence, who has led the task force, said Tuesday that White House officials were “having conversations” about finishing up the group’s business and, instead, having “agencies take over the work” -- specifically mentioning the Federal Emergency Management Agency [FEMA]. Pence said, though, that the earliest the agencies could take over the group’s responsibilities would be Memorial Day or early June.

The Trump administration's discussions about winding down the task force come as a revised mortality model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IMHE) predicts coronavirus deaths in the U.S. will nearly double to 135,000 through August. Click here for more on our top story

Other related developments:
- To get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox, sign up here.
- Trump on US coronavirus deaths: 'I don't sleep at night thinking about it'
- IHME director explains big spike in COVID death projections
- Coronavirus and heatwaves pose new risks, experts say

Obama's office bashed Senate Republicans' Biden-Ukraine probe, linked it to 'Russian disinformation campaign,' letter shows
The office of former President Barack Obama in March privately bashed Senate Republicans’ investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden and his son in Ukraine, a probe it deemed as lending credence to a “Russian disinformation campaign,” according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

The letter, addressed to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), which manages presidential records, was written in response to a request on Nov. 21, 2019, by Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson for Obama administration records on Ukraine-related meetings. It referred to their request as improper use of the NARA’s release terms and a supposed effort “to shift the blame for Russian interference in the 2016 election to Ukraine.” Click here for more.

Other related developments: 
- Hannity bashes 'truly disgusting' Obama letter hitting Biden-Ukraine probe: 'What were you hiding?
- Obama endorses Biden, after months on 2020 campaign sidelines

Pelosi agrees Biden-Reade case is ‘closed issue’: ‘I’m not going to answer this question again’
For House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the sexual assault allegations against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden are now a “closed issue,” one that’s no longer worth discussing.

The San Francisco Democrat did, however, agree with Biden’s request for a search of Senate documents held by the National Archives, to see if any proof exists of a complaint by former Senate staffer Tara Reade about Biden from 1993, when Reade claims the alleged sexual assault occurred.

Pelosi shared her views Tuesday in an interview with MSNBC’s Ari Melber. It was the host who asked Pelosi whether she considered the case against Biden – meaning the allegations by Reade – to be a “closed issue.”

“Well, it is for me,” Pelosi responded. Click here for more.

Other related developments:
- Pelosi backs Biden's denial of assault claim: 'I thought that he dealt with it'
- Biden records on total lockdown, despite request to unseal purported Reade complaint
- Biden allegations reverberate on Senate campaign trail, as Dems face accusations of double standard

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Fox News First is compiled by Fox News' Bryan Robinson. Thank you for making us your first choice in the morning! Stay healthy, stay safe, and remember that hard times don't last forever - we will get through this coronavirus pandemic together. We'll see you in your inbox first thing Thursday morning.