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Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday dismissed new impeachment evidence obtained from Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Rudy Giuliani, stating that there is "no question that there have been a series of grifters" who have associated themselves with the Trump campaign.

The exchange:

BRENNAN: "Doesn't it trouble you that [Parnas] was working so closely with Rudy Giuliani, who was acting on the president's behalf and saying he was acting on the president's behalf?"
CORNYN: "Well, there is no question that there have been a series of grifters and other hangers-on that have associated themselves with the president's campaign or claim to have special relationships with the president, but this is not the issue that the Senate is going to be deciding."

Why it matters: Parnas has claimed that the campaign to pressure Ukraine to announce an investigation into the Bidens was carried out with President Trump's consent and awareness. "President Trump knew exactly what was going on," Parnas told MSNBC last week.

Yes, but: Many have questioned whether Parnas is a reliable narrator because he's been indicted for violating federal campaign-finance laws.

  • Cornyn criticized Democrats for wanting to "rest their case" on someone "under indictment in the Southern District of New York with extensive ties to Russian oligarchs and organized crime."

The big picture: At least five former Trump campaign advisers or associates have been convicted or pleaded guilty to various crimes in the last three years.

  • Giuliani, the president's personal lawyer, is reportedly under investigation for his business dealings, including his activities in Ukraine.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
50 mins 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.

56 mins ago - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

Wall Street bets it all on a vaccine

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It's the time of year when Wall Street shops are rolling out predictions for where they see the stock market headed in the coming year. There's one common theme: Widespread distribution of a vaccine is the reason to be bullish.

Why it matters: Analysts say vaccines will help the economy heal, corporate profits rebound and stock market continue its upward trajectory.

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