The Johnson & Johnson campus on August 28, 2019. Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday that it has reached a $20.4 million settlement with 2 Ohio counties ahead of a massive opioid trial, under what the Washington Post describes as a "tentative" deal.

The big picture: These Ohio counties — Cuyahoga and Summit County — were set to be one of the first cases to go to trial from lawsuits brought by over 2,500 counties, cities, Native American tribes and others against nearly 2 dozen pharmacies, drug manufacturers, and distributors for their role in the U.S. opioid epidemic, the Post reports.

Details: Johnson & Johnson said it has agreed to pay the Ohio counties a combined $10 million, in addition to reimbursing the counties $5 million for legal and trial expenses and directing $5.4 million in charitable contributions to non-profits "in connection with opioid-related programs" in both counties.

What's next: If this settlement is finalized, there would be 6 defendants scheduled to stand trial in October for their alleged role in the opioids epidemic, the Post reports.

Go deeper: Podcast: Johnson & Johnson's landmark opioids verdict

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CEO confidence rises for the first time in over 2 years

Data: Business Roundtable; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

A closely-watched CEO economic confidence index rose for the first time after declining for nine straight quarters, according to a survey of 150 chief executives of the biggest U.S. companies by trade group Business Roundtable.

Why it matters: The index, which still remains at a decade low, reflects corporate America's expectations for sales, hiring and spending — which plummeted amid uncertainty when the pandemic hit.

Official says White House political appointees "commandeered" Bolton book review

John Bolton's book "The Room Where it Happened." Photo: Chris Delmas/AFP via Getty Images

A former career official at the National Security Council claims her pre-publication review of former national security adviser John Bolton's explosive book on President Trump was "commandeered by political appointees for a seemingly political purpose," according to a letter from her lawyers filed in court on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The White House fought against the publication of Bolton's book for most of the year on the grounds that it contained harmful and "significant amounts of classified information."

House Democrats unveil sweeping reforms package to curtail presidential abuses

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at preventing presidential abuse and corruption, strengthening transparency and accountability, and protecting elections from foreign interference.

Why it matters: While the bill has practically no chance of becoming law while Trump is in office and Republicans hold the Senate, it's a pre-election message from Democrats on how they plan to govern should Trump lose in November. It also gives Democratic members an anti-corruption platform to run on in the weeks before the election.

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