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Wednesday's Mini-Report, 12.16.20

Today's edition of quick hits.

Today's edition of quick hits:

* They're getting close: "Congressional leaders and the White House are nearing agreement on a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief deal that will likely include a new round of direct payments, three sources familiar with the negotiations said Wednesday."

* This isn't going away: "Several major veterans organizations on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to fire Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie after a federal watchdog report found he and his senior staff mishandled a congressional aide's claim that she was sexually assaulted at a VA hospital."

* Perhaps Azar isn't a great source: "Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar has been offering a rosy timeframe for when the COVID-19 vaccine will be widely available, but other officials working on the Pentagon-led effort to speed the virus to the public are now presenting a less optimistic forecast. In remarks Thursday, officials from the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed projected that the COVID-19 vaccine would not begin to be widely available until late spring or summer."

* Smart move: "Robert O'Brien, President Donald Trump's national security adviser, cut short a European trip to return to Washington to coordinate the government response to the suspected Russian cyber attack on multiple federal agencies, according to an administration official."

* In some U.S. communities, local officials who try to keep the public safe are themselves made to feel unsafe, which is insane: "A Republican mayor in western Kansas announced in a letter to city officials and on social media Tuesday that she is resigning, effective immediately, because of threats she has received after she publicly supported a mask mandate."

* Amazing philanthropy: "MacKenzie Scott, philanthropist and author, has announced that she has given away $4.1 billion in the past four months to hundreds of organizations as part of a giving pledge she announced last year."

* Can you blame them? "Next-door neighbors of Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's private club in Palm Beach, Fla., that he has called his Winter White House, have a message for the outgoing commander in chief: We don't want you to be our neighbor."

* This, oddly enough, likely helped keep the public safe: "Only a tiny fraction of the more than 900 guests invited to an indoor holiday party hosted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his wife Susan showed up on Tuesday following an outcry from public health officials and U.S. lawmakers warning that the reception bore all the hallmarks of a superspreader event, said two U.S. officials familiar with the event."

* FBI: "President Donald Trump has come so close to firing FBI Director Christopher Wray in recent months that the White House counsel's office has warned him not to do so because it could put him in potential legal jeopardy, according to a senior administration official with direct knowledge of the discussion and a U.S. official familiar with the discussion."

* One of the craziest stories I've ever seen: "A former Houston Police Department Captain was arrested and charged for running a man off the road and pointing a gun at his head in an attempt to prove claims of a massive voter fraud scheme in Harris County, according to a news release from the Harris County's DA's office."

* I know very little about baseball, but this seems great: "Major League Baseball on Wednesday announced that records of Negro Leagues players and teams will be included in the game's official statistics, in a 'long overdue recognition.'"

See you tomorrow.