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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

Scoop: Trump lawyers to avoid Michigan lawmaker meeting after COVID exposure

Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Rudy Giuliani and other key members of President Trump's outside legal team won't be attending today's meeting with two Michigan lawmakers because they've been exposed to the coronavirus, two sources familiar with the internal discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: This added turmoil inside the president's legal operation comes at a time when the president is urging Republican state lawmakers to interfere with the electoral process and reverse Joe Biden's victory to a Trump win.

Trump is on an island

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Most of President Trump's closest advisers have completely distanced themselves from his legal effort and are avoiding his lawyers to avoid being swept into their courtroom dramas.

Why it matters: Some of the president's advisers act like they think he can still overturn the election results — because they remain on the payroll and don't have another choice. But talk to them privately, and many say Rudy Giuliani and his team are on a dead-end path.

Donald Trump Jr. tests positive for coronavirus

Donald Trump Jr. speaking at CPAC in February 2020. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Donald Trump Jr. tested positive for the coronavirus at the beginning of this week and has been in quarantine, though he is not experiencing any symptoms, according to a spokesperson for the president's son.

Why it matters: His diagnosis adds to the list of people associated with President Trump who have been infected by the virus, including the president himself.

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