Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who announced Wednesday that he has formed an exploratory committee for a potential third-party presidential run, dismissed concerns on MSNBC that his candidacy could help re-elect President Trump.

What he's saying: Amash said that denying more candidates on the 2020 ballot is essentially "voter suppression" and "frankly un-American," adding, "If people want to vote for someone, they should vote for that person."

  • Amash, who has been critical of Trump and was the lone House Republican to support impeachment after the Mueller report came out, also said "it cuts both ways," and that some Trump supporters believe he is helping Biden.
  • "We don't know who people will vote for. It's impossible to say whether more people will vote for Biden or Trump if I'm in the race or not in the race, so I think there's a bit of a factual issue there. But more important, we want to give the American people more choices. This is about democracy."

The big picture: Amash, a libertarian who did not vote for the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package, criticized the idea of the federal government controlling the entire country's coronavirus response, arguing that it should mostly be left to the states and people at home.

  • Amash has advocated for direct payments from the government, which he said would streamline the relief process by eliminating bureaucracy and transaction costs.

Go deeper

Rand Paul: Republicans should apologize to Obama for complaining about spending

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tore into his fellow Republicans on Fox News Wednesday for considering a coronavirus relief package that could cost more than $1 trillion, calling on them to apologize to President Obama "for complaining that he was spending and borrowing too much" during his time in office.

Why it matters: Paul's comments, while tongue-in-cheek, underscore the divisions within the Senate Republican conference, where as many as 20 GOP senators are likely to vote against any coronavirus relief bill — even if a deal is reached between Democrats and Trump administration.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 19,648,084 — Total deaths: 727,024 — Total recoveries — 11,941,723Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 4,998,105 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.
Updated 3 hours ago - World

Brazil coronavirus death toll tops 100,000 and case numbers surpass 3 million

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.