Carolyn Kaster / AP

Sergey Kislyak, the former Russian ambassador to the United States, dismissed the notion that he tried to recruit Trump team officials as "nonsense" after CNN caught up with him in Russia.

  • On reports Jared Kushner wanted to set up a Russian backchannel: "I've said many times that we do not discuss the substance of our discussions with our American interlocuters. Out of respect to our partners."
  • On the Oval Office meeting where Trump disclosed classified intel: "I'm not sure that I heard anything that would be secretive, but it was a good meeting and we were discussing things that are important to your country and to mine."
  • On the recently passed sanctions bill: "[It's] basically a statement of being anti-Russian. It's not going to be wished away, it's going to stay and it's going to spoil ability of both countries to resume a normalcy in our relations. And normalcy in our relationship is exactly what is missing."

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Updated 49 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

The hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.