Danny Moloshok / AP

More news has emerged from the Donald Trump-Morning Joe spat this afternoon regarding the White House's alleged pressuring of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski to soften their Trump coverage or face a scathing gossip piece in the National Enquirer about their relationship.

"Tapes" part 2? Per CNN, an NBC spokesman confirmed that Scarborough kept NBC executives in the loop regarding the Trump administration's alleged threats, suggesting that his tweet about texts and phone records from his contacts with the White House might be corroborated.

New York Magazine reports that Scarborough's point of contact in the White House about the Enquirer story was Jared Kushner, although a source familiar with the interactions strongly disputed to Axios that there was any 'quid pro quo' offered and said Kushner told Scarborough that he wasn't the person to deal with it and he should take it up with the President.

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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.

52 mins ago - World

"I stood up for that": Pope Francis voices support for same-sex civil unions

Pope Francis at St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. Photo: Vatican Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.

Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.

2 hours ago - World

Countries waiting to see if Trump wins before moving on Israel normalization

The delegation lands at Israel's Ben Gurion airport. Photo: Jack Guez/AFP via Getty

The White House is attempting to leverage momentum from Israel's normalization deals with Bahrain and the UAE to get more Arab countries on board before the U.S. election.

Driving the news: President Trump wants Sudan's removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list to be accompanied by a pre-election announcement on Israel.

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