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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Facebook has suspended the account of Ukrainian lawmaker Andrii Derkach, an associate of Rudy Giuliani accused by the U.S. of being "an active Russian agent for over a decade," for election interference activity.

Why it matters: The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Derkach in September for "alleged efforts to interfere in the U.S. presidential election," including by releasing edited audio tapes and other unsubstantiated claims to denigrate Joe Biden and other officials.

  • The Washington Post first reported that Derkach has been working with Giuliani to gather negative information against Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, who served on the board of Ukrainian gas company Burisma.
  • Giuliani told NBC News last month that he was unaware that Derkach was a Russian agent and downplayed his work with the Ukrainian lawmaker.

What they're saying: "We removed this account and this Page for violating our policy against the use of our platform by people engaged in election-focused influence operations," Facebook said in a statement to The Daily Beast, which first reported the story.

The big picture: The suspension comes as Facebook continues to crack down on misinformation, particularly around the upcoming presidential elections.

  • In September, Facebook announced they took down fake accounts and pages linked to Russian agents who were associated with election interference in the past.
  • The platform also took steps last week to limit the circulation of a controversial New York Post story about Hunter Biden, which was based on what the paper said were emails provided to it by Giuliani.

Go deeper: Facebook takes down Russian misinformation operation.

Go deeper

Updated Jan 25, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Dominion files $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani

Photo: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems filed a defamation lawsuit against Rudy Giuliani on Monday seeking $1.3 billion in damages for his "demonstrably false” allegations about the company's voting machines.

Why it matters: Giuliani led former President Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election and spread the baseless conspiracy theory that Dominion's voting machines flipped votes from Trump to Joe Biden.

Biden threatens new sanctions against Ethiopian officials over Tigray conflict

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

President Biden on Friday signed an executive order allowing the Treasury and State Departments to impose sanctions against Ethiopian officials "responsible for, or complicit in, prolonging the conflict" in the Tigray region.

Driving the news: Hundreds of thousands of people are facing famine conditions in Tigray, but less than 10 percent of the needed humanitarian supplies has reached the region over the last month "due to the obstruction of aid access" by the Ethiopian government, according to Biden administration officials.

Top general: Calls to China were "perfectly within the duties" of job

Gen. Mark Milley. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley told the Associated Press on Friday that calls with his Chinese counterpart during the final months of Donald Trump's presidency were "perfectly within the duties and responsibilities" of his job.

Why it matters: In his first public comments on the calls that have prompted critics to question whether the general went too far, Milley maintained that such conversations are "routine," per AP.

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