Photo: Lior Mizrahi via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the heads of the other coalition parties decided this morning to dissolve the Knesset and hold early elections on April 9th, 2019. The elections were supposed to be in November 2019.

Why it matters: This high-stakes political drama is connected to the attorney general's upcoming decision whether to indict Netanyahu on three separate cases of bribery. Last week, the state prosecutor said a decision on the Netanyahu cases will be made in the next several months. The decision to go for early elections might influence his timetable.

Just a month ago, after the resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Netanyahu fought hard to keep his coalition together, warning in a press conference that the Israeli security situation was very unstable and early elections would be dangerous. Today, Netanyahu tossed aside this talking point and announced early elections.

The bottom line: The early elections in Israel are very meaningful for the White House and its involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian process, with Netanyahu being one of President Trump's staunchest allies in the international community. A senior White House official told me, "The upcoming election in Israel on April 9 is one of many factors we are considering in evaluating the timing of the release of the peace plan."

Go deeper: Netanyahu is fighting for his political survival

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 33,477,825 — Total deaths: 1,003,922 — Total recoveries: 23,209,109Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:15 p.m. ET: 7,176,111 — Total deaths: 205,676 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.

Mueller defends Russia investigation in rare public statement

Photo: David Hume Kennerly/GettyImages

Former special counsel Robert Mueller in a statement on Tuesday defended his team's handling of the Russia investigation after Andrew Weissmann, a former prosecutor in his office, wrote in a new book that investigators should have done more to hold President Trump accountable.

Driving the news: In the tell-all book, “Where Law Ends,” released on Tuesday, Weissman addresses what he calls the special prosecutor office's failures in its investigation.

Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

Why it matters: The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden's team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown tonight.