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Rep. Adam Schiff and Mike Allen. Photo: Lawrence Jackson for Axios

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told Axios' Mike Allen Friday that Rudy Giuliani's trip to Ukraine to ask Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate opponents of President Trump is an example of the "ethical standards of the country being dumbed down to where anything goes as long as you stay above that bar of criminality."

I give Giuliani credit for consistency. He said just a few weeks that there's nothing wrong with seeking help from a foreign power. ... The fact that he would be so open about it, boastful almost, doing it with the knowledge and support of the president — it takes your breath away. I continue to think I'll cease to be shocked. And then I'm shocked again.
Imagine in an ordinary world, the lawyer of the president going to a foreign power and trying to encourage them to investigate the family of a political opponent. He said some people might think it's improper. Arguably everyone thinks it's improper. But that's not stopping them.

The backdrop: The New York Times reported Thursday that Giuliani is planning to travel to Kiev in the coming days to urge Zelensky to pursue 2 inquiries — one into the origins of the Mueller investigation and one into former Vice President Joe Biden's alleged intervention in Ukrainian politics on behalf of his son.

Giuliani told the Times' Ken Vogel:

We’re not meddling in an election, we’re meddling in an investigation, which we have a right to do. There’s nothing illegal about it. Somebody could say it’s improper. And this isn’t foreign policy — I’m asking them to do an investigation that they’re doing already and that other people are telling them to stop. And I’m going to give them reasons why they shouldn’t stop it because that information will be very, very helpful to my client, and may turn out to be helpful to my government.

Go deeper: Ukrainian official casts doubt on Biden conflict scandal promoted by Giuliani

Go deeper

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

59 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.

Biden blindsides Europe with new AUKUS alliance on China

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden is constructing and deepening new alliances to strengthen the U.S. position in its showdown with China, but he risks alienating longstanding allies in the process.

Why it matters: Biden heralded a new agreement to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines as part of a trilateral security pact with the U.K. and the U.S. as an "historic step" to update U.S. alliances to face new challenges. The message from French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was quite different.