Alex van der Zwaan. Photo: Samuel Corum / Anadolu Agency / Getty Images

Alex van der Zwaan pleaded guilty at a D.C. district court Tuesday following charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller. Van der Zwaan's plea comes after allegations that he lied to the FBI in a November 2017 meeting at Mueller's office in D.C. about his communications related to a report his law firm had prepared on the trial of a Ukrainian politician.

The details: Van der Zwaan was allegedly in talks with Rick Gates, and "Person A," who a Mueller associate identified on Tuesday as one of Manafort and Gates' colleagues based in Ukraine.

From inside the court room: What wasn't included in the court documents was that Van der Zwaan gave a draft copy of the report to a PR firm in an unauthorized manner then sent talking points on how to spin it when it would be made public to Gates.

  • Van der Zwaan communicated with "Person A" using encrypted messaging, according to a lawyer on Mueller's team.

What's next: The FBI has seized his passport and he must ask permission by the court to travel to Manhattan, where his law firm, Skadden, is located.

  • Van der Zwaan faces up to 5 years in prison and up to $250,000 in fines. He could face deportation or future denial of U.S. citizenship.
  • Sentencing is scheduled for April 3 and van der Zwaan's defense team is trying to expedite it since his wife is pregnant and due in August.

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

White House aides and Senate Republicans have spent the past week readying binders full of messaging and rebuttals to guide Judge Amy Coney Barrett to a pre-Nov. 3 confirmation. "We knew for days it was going to be Amy," a Senate GOP aide involved in her confirmation process told Axios.

What we're hearing: Beyond the expected questions about her views on religion, abortion and health care, Republicans worry about Democrats painting Barrett as someone who is insensitive and unfair to “the little guy,” one source involved in the talks told Axios.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Debate commission co-chair: We don't expect moderators to fact-check candidates

Presidential Debate Commission co-chair Frank Fahrenkopf Jr. said Sunday he doesn't expect Fox News anchor Chris Wallace or any of the other moderators to fact-check President Trump or former Vice President Joe Biden at the debates.

What he's saying: "There's a vast difference between being a moderator in a debate and being a reporter who is interviewing someone," Fahrenkopf said on CNN's "Reliable Sources."

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