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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

Journalism's two Americas

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There's a sharp divide in American journalism between haves and have-nots. While national journalists covering tech and politics on the coasts reap the benefits of booming businesses and book deals, local media organizations, primarily newspapers, continue to shrink.

Why it matters: The disparate fortunes skew what gets covered, elevating big national political stories at the expense of local, community-focused news.

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Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.

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