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Fox News sued by parents of slain DNC staffer

Parents of Seth Rich
Mary and Joel Rich hold a photo of their son in their home. Photo: Matt Miller for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The parents of Seth Rich, the former DNC staffer who was murdered in 2016, have filed suit against Fox News, reporter Malia Zimmerman, and guest commentator Ed Butowsky over a retracted 2017 article that tied his death to a conspiracy theory that Rich had a hand in WikiLeaks' release of hacked DNC emails. They allege that the "sham story" exploited their son's murder "through lies, misrepresentations, and half-truths."

The details: The filing claims Fox News and the writers are liable for "intentional infliction of emotional distress" with the story's publication. The Rich family is seeking monetary and compensatory damages to be determined in a court of law. Fox News declined to comment on the allegations, citing pending litigation.

Erica Pandey 1 hour ago
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How China became a powerhouse of espionage

Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

As China’s influence spreads to every corner of the globe under President Xi Jinping, so do its spies.

Why it matters: China has the money and the ambition to build a vast foreign intelligence network, including inside the United States. Meanwhile, American intelligence-gathering on China is falling short, Chris Johnson, a former senior China analyst for the CIA who's now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells Axios: "We have to at least live up to [China's] expectations. And we aren't doing that."

Caitlin Owens 2 hours ago
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Congress doesn't love the spending bill, but it passed anyway

Congressional leaders
Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. (Photo: Matt McClain / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

House Speaker Paul Ryan touted the defense spending increase, Sen. Rand Paul angrily tweeted about arcane government spending, and Democrats shook their head at the lack of gun control measures. But most members of Congress accepted the omnibus spending bill for what it is: A giant collection of what has to get done to keep the government functioning, while mustering enough votes to pass.

Why it matters: This is a $1.3 trillion dollar bill affecting every branch of government that passed mostly because it had to. Members voted on it without really reading it, as it was released Wednesday night and passed the Senate shortly after midnight Friday.