Photo: Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Department of Justice officials wouldn't have met with Rudy Giuliani about a fraud case had they known that federal prosecutors were investigating two of his business associates, a DOJ official told the New York Times Sunday.

Why it matters: The highly unusual statement by DOJ spokesperson Peter Carr to the NYT clearly distances the department from President Trump's personal lawyer, whose associates Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman have been indicted in New York on campaign finance charges.

  • Guliani's business dealings with Ukraine are being investigated by federal prosecutors in the New York case against his associates. He's also at the center of the impeachment inquiry for allegedly trying to press Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden over unsubstantiated corruption allegations.

What they're saying: Brian Benczkowski, the head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and other top Justice Department officials met with Giuliani before the pair was charged to discuss a fraud case "in which he and other attorneys were representing the defendants," per the Times.

"When Mr. Benczkowski and fraud section lawyers met with Mr. Giuliani, they were not aware of any investigation of Mr. Giuliani’s associates in the Southern District of New York and would not have met with him had they known."
— Carr's statement to the NYT

Go deeper: Trump's Rudy problem

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Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 20,388,408 — Total deaths: 743,599— Total recoveries: 12,616,973Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 5,150,590 — Total deaths: 164,681 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits — U.S. producer prices rose last month by the most since October 2018.
  4. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.

Trump congratulates QAnon conspiracy theorist on GOP runoff win

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Wednesday tweeted congratulations to Marjorie Taylor Greene, a vocal QAnon conspiracy theorist who won the Republican nomination in Georgia's deep-red 14th Congressional District runoff.

Why it matters: The president's approval illustrates how the once-fringe conspiracy theory has gained ground within the GOP. Greene is among the at least 11 GOP candidates for Congress who have openly supported or defended the QAnon movement or some of its tenets, per Axios' Jacob Knutson.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

What Kamala Harris means for Biden's climate change plans

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joshua Lott/Stringer.

Sen. Kamala Harris' VP selection could heighten the ticket's focus on environmental justice while prompting fresh Trump campaign political attacks on Democrats' energy plans.

Why it matters: Her introduction comes in an election year that has seen more emphasis on climate change than prior cycles. One effect of the movement ignited by the police killing of George Floyd is a new focus on environmental burdens that poor people and communities of color face.