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Welcome to the Axios Morning 5, where we bring you 5 stories to get you smarter for the day ahead. Check out our Apple News channel for the latest smart brevity on politics, tech, business, science and the future of work, and sign up here for our free newsletters.

Situational awareness, part 1: John McCain's indirect jab at President Trump on Vietnam: "[W]e drafted the lowest income level of America and the highest income level found a doctor that would say that they had a bone spur. That is wrong." Video.

Part 2: Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta has reportedly been swept into Mueller's Russia probe.

Part 3: President Trump claims Republican tax cuts won't touch 401k plans, and says he'll announce a new Federal Reserve pick "very shortly."

Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow Axios on Facebook and Twitter for all of your news needs throughout the day, and if you want to read even more Axios, dive into our stream.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
5 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden's carbon emissions-cutting pledge faces tough climb

Image from the Rhodium Group study "Pathways to Paris." Courtesy of the Rhodium Group.

The verdict is in: President Biden's U.S. emissions-cutting pledge isn't a fantasy, but the path to meeting it is very difficult and relies on forces outside of White House control.

Driving the news: The Rhodium Group just released an analysis of policy combinations that could close the gap between the current U.S. trajectory and Biden's vow under the Paris Agreement to cut emissions in half by 2030.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Updated 9 mins ago - Economy & Business

Johnson & Johnson pulls the trigger on Texas talc gambit

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It's official: Johnson & Johnson has invoked a Texas legal loophole in an attempt to protect the bulk of its corporate assets from claims that its baby powder caused ovarian cancer and mesothelioma.

Why it matters: It's the biggest and boldest invocation yet of the so-called Texas two-step defense. But it's still not clear whether it's going to work.

Poll: U.S. leadership approval rebounds from Trump low

A Gallup report published Tuesday found approval of United States leadership in 46 countries and territories hit 49% — up from 30% at the end of Donald Trump's presidency, and matching former President Obama's first year (2009).

Why it matters: Biden's efforts to reengage with the international community following the Trump administration appear to be improving the global approval ratings for U.S. leadership, though this poll does not take into account the withdrawal from Afghanistan in August.