Mar 2, 2017

Jeff Sessions: Russia allegation "false"

Alex Brandon / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice last year with the Russian ambassador to the US, the Washington Post reports, though he later said he had no "contact with the Russians". The Sessions response:

I never met with any Russian officials to discuss issues of the campaign. I have no idea what this allegation is about. It is false.

Sessions was asked during a confirmation hearing earlier this year about contacts between the Trump campaign and Russia. He said at the time that he did not have "communications with the Russians," and claimed he wasn't aware of any contacts.

The then-senator met once with Sergey Kislyak in his capacity as a member of the Armed Services Committee, and once after an event. He is already under pressure to step aside and appoint a special prosecutor for ongoing Russia-related investigations. For context, Michael Flynn resigned after misleading the White House about conversations with Kislyak.

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A pause button for debts

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Governments have forcibly put much of the U.S. and the global economy on pause in recent weeks, for very good reason. Factories, offices, sporting arenas, restaurants, airports and myriad other institutions have closed down. But one thing hasn't been paused: monthly debt-service obligations.

The big picture: The less movement and activity there is in an economy, the more the coronavirus curve is flattened. But the obligations in bond and loan contracts can't be paused. That's worrying CEOs who fear a wave of business failures if economic activity doesn't pick up next month.

U.S. has expelled thousands of migrants under coronavirus public health order

Photo: Jinitzail Hernández/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The U.S. has expelled more than 6,000 migrants using new powers enabling the federal government to almost immediately turn back border-crossers under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emergency public health order that went into effect March 21, according to new Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data.

The big picture: The order has drastically lowered the number of immigrants in CBP custody to fewer than 100, the agency's acting commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters on Thursday. The number of people coming into the U.S. overall has plummeted due to coronavirus-related travel bans in place at both the northern and southern borders.

U.S. coronavirus updates: 16 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About 16 million Americans have filed for jobless benefits over the past three weeks due to the economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.

The big picture: Both the federal government and individual states are surveying different models of when it will be safe enough to reopen some parts of the economy and allow Americans to return to work. President Trump is preparing to launch a second coronavirus task force focused on reviving the U.S. economy.

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