Angela Merkel and Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The House-Senate deal made on Monday on must-pass defense legislation would impose sanctions against companies helping Russia complete the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline to Germany.

Why it matters: Critics contend the project will bolster Russia's leverage in Europe plus erode energy security and Ukrainian access to Russian gas.

But, but, but: The Trump administration, which opposes the project, has not imposed sanctions under existing authorities.

  • Last year Trump softened U.S. criticism toward the project, breaking with the years-long State Department posture.

What they're saying: GOP Sen. Ted Cruz said via Twitter late last night that he would work with the administration to "make sure these sanctions are fully implemented and any violators are tracked and duly designated."

  • He worked with Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen on the provision.

The intrigue: The project is well under construction, so it's unclear if the bill will prove anything more than symbolic.

  • "In October, Denmark gave its long-delayed permission for the pipeline to be built in its waters, clearing a final hurdle for a project that is more than 80 per cent finished," the Financial Times reports.
  • However, their piece notes that sanctions could slow the development.

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33 mins ago - Sports

Sports return stalked by coronavirus

Tampa Bay Rays left fielder Austin Meadows bumps elbows Friday during a workout at Tropicana Field. Photo: Kim Klement/USA Today Sports via Reuters

When MLB teams arrived at the ballpark this weekend for the first summer workouts of 2020, the comforting sounds of baseball brought smiles to players' faces.

Between the lines: Even the loudest crack of the bat couldn't mask the eerie silence or distract from the ever-present coronavirus threat.

239 scientists call on WHO to recognize coronavirus as airborne

People walk at the boardwalk in Venice Beach. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

A group of 239 scientists in 32 countries is calling for the World Health Organization to revise its recommendations to account for airborne transmission as a significant factor in how the coronavirus spreads, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: The WHO has said the virus mainly spreads via large respiratory droplets that fall to the ground once they've been discharged in coughs and sneezes. But the scientists say evidence shows the virus can spread from smaller particles that linger in air indoors.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 11,294,859 — Total deaths: 531,419 — Total recoveries — 6,078,552Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 2,839,917 — Total deaths: 129,676 — Total recoveries: 894,325 — Total tested: 34,858,427Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity.
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Trump extends PPP application deadlineKimberly Guilfoyle tests positive.
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: 31 MLB players test positive as workouts resume.
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.