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Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee has obtained phone records showing that President Trump was not one of the blocked numbers his son Donald Trump Jr. called before and after the infamous June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, CNN first reported and ABC News later confirmed.

The big picture: Trump Jr. made phone calls to two blocked numbers the same day he spoke with Russian pop star Emin Agalarov, who helped set up a meeting three days later with a Kremlin-linked lawyer claiming to have dirt on Hillary Clinton. He made another phone call to a private number several hours after the meeting. There has long been speculation that the calls were to his father, and that then-candidate Trump had advanced knowledge of the meeting — an allegation he has denied.

  • Three sources familiar with the calls tell ABC News that the blocked numbers belong to NASCAR CEO Brian France and real estate developer Howard Lorber, longtime Trump family friends who supported the president during the 2016 campaign. Lorber has extensive business dealings in Russia and brought Trump to Moscow in 1996 to explore real estate options, according to the Washington Post.

What we don't know: It's unclear why Trump Jr. made the phone calls and what was discussed during the three conversations, which lasted 11 minutes, 4 minutes and 3 minutes, respectively. It's also not known whether special counsel Robert Mueller has obtained the phone records.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
12 mins ago - Economy & Business

Stock buybacks are kicking back into high gear

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was expected that with the economy improving and company balance sheets already loaded with cash, U.S. firms would slow down their debt issuance in 2021 after setting records in 2020. But just the opposite has happened.

Why it matters: Companies generally issue bonds for one of two reasons — because they're worried about not having enough cash to cover their expenses or because they want to lever up and make risky bets.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

Japan vows deeper emissions cuts ahead of White House summit

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga. Photo: Carl Court/Getty Images

Japan on Thursday said it will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% below 2013 levels by 2030, per the AP and other outlets.

Why it matters: The country is the world's fifth-largest largest carbon dioxide emitter and a major consumer of coal, oil and natural gas.

2 hours ago - Technology

The global race to regulate AI

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Regulators in Europe and Washington are racing to figure out how to govern business' use of artificial intelligence while companies push to deploy the technology.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, the EU revealed a detailed proposal on how AI should be regulated, banning some uses outright and defining which uses of AI are deemed "high-risk."

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