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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
6 mins ago - Economy & Business

Tesla's wild rise and European plan

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

Dave Lawler, author of World
47 mins ago - World

China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Photo: Paul J. Richards/AFP via Getty Images

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

College basketball is back

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.