Matt Rourke / AP

Paul Ryan is a master avoider when asked about Donald Trump's latest controversies. On Friday afternoon, however, House Speaker reinforced several strong positions in an interview with Politico reporters Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer.

1. He disagreed with Trump on Russia: Despite Trump's fondness for Vladimir Putin — and the possibility that the President will remove sanctions on Russia — Ryan made clear he's sticking with the hawkish wing of his party. Asked about McCain's suggestion that sanctions on Russia be codified into law, Ryan said Obama's latest wave of sanctions were long overdue and "should stay."

2. And said he'll keep pushing criminal justice reform: Despite Trump's push for 1960s-style law-and-order — and the President's appointment of hardliner Jeff Sessions as Attorney General — Ryan insists criminal justice reform is a priority this year. He said he's spoken to House Judiciary chair Bob Goodlatte and asked him to pick up where he left off last Congress.

3. On torture, he dismissed Trump comments saying torture works: For the second day running, Ryan forcefully emphasized that torture was illegal and would remain so. "The president says things like this," Ryan said. "And I think you and I and everyone else needs to get used to that. We are not going to change the law on torture." (Notable: POTUS said earlier today that he'll defer to Defense Secretary Mattis and not push for torture.)

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting — McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election — Republican senators defend Fauci as Trump escalates attacks.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — University of Michigan students ordered to shelter-in-place.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Trump threatens to post "60 Minutes" interview early after reportedly walking out

Trump speaks to reporters aboard Air Force One, Oct. 19. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was considering posting his interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" prior to airtime in order to show "what a FAKE and BIASED interview" it was, following reports that he abruptly ended the interview after 45 minutes of taping.

Why it matters: Trump has escalated his war on the media in the final stretch of his re-election campaign, calling a Reuters reporter a "criminal" this week for not reporting on corruption allegations about Hunter Biden and disparaging CNN as "dumb b*stards" for the network's ongoing coronavirus coverage.

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McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged White House negotiators not to cut a deal with Democrats on new coronavirus stimulus before the election.

Driving the news: McConnell informed Senate Republicans of the move at a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, two people familiar with his remarks tell Axios. McConnell's remarks were first reported by the Washington Post.

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