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House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) was asked Wednesday whether he was concerned about elevating Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.) to GOP leadership after she has promoted baseless claims about the election. He responded: "I don't think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election."

Why it matters: Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) was ousted as House GOP conference chair earlier Wednesday — in a vote that McCarthy supported — over her continued criticisms of former President Trump and his lies about election fraud.

Driving the news: Just 48 hours earlier, Trump said in a statement, "The major Michigan Election Fraud case has just filed a bombshell pleading claiming votes were intentionally switched from President Trump to Joe Biden."

  • "The number of votes is MASSIVE and determinative," the former president falsely claimed. "This will prove true in numerous other States. All Republicans must UNIFY and not let this happen."
  • Stefanik, a Trump ally who is the only candidate running to replace Cheney, objected to the certification of Biden's Electoral College win and continues to believe that there are "serious concerns about the election that have not been addressed," a spokesperson told the Washington Post.

Reality check: Trump's own Justice Department has said there is no evidence of substantial election fraud that would overturn the results of the election. Dozens of courts throughout the country have tossed out election fraud lawsuits backed by Trump and his allies.

Driving the news: “First of all the conference will decide," McCarthy said when asked about Stefanik. "But I don’t think anybody is questioning the legitimacy of the presidential election. I think that is all over with. We’re sitting here with the president today. So from that point of view, I don't think that's a problem."

Go deeper

Aug 17, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden officials: Trump left bare cupboard on Afghanistan

Photo: Oliver Contreras/Sipa/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senior national security officials presiding over a historic foreign policy collapse are privately expressing deep frustrations about the thin Afghanistan withdrawal plans left behind by Donald Trump.

Why it matters: Many experienced operatives in both parties are aghast that President Biden and his team didn't ready better preparations over nearly seven months since taking office.

Aug 18, 2021 - Axios Denver

Election controversy in Colorado's Mesa County escalates

Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters on Aug. 10 at a conference in South Dakota hosted by Mike Lindell, the CEO of MyPillow and an ally of former President Trump. Photo via YouTube

The head of elections in Mesa County was already in hot water — and now it's beginning to boil.

Driving the news: The FBI announced an investigation Tuesday into the alleged security breach of election equipment at the office of Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters, a Republican.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.