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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Wall Street billionaire Leon Black expressed remorse for his personal business and philanthropic relationship with Jeffrey Epstein on Monday in a letter sent to investors and obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Black's letter follows a bombshell New York Times report that revealed that ties between Black, co-founder and CEO of Apollo Global Management, and Epstein were deeper than previously disclosed, including upward of $75 million changing hands.

In the letter to limited partners in Apollo funds, Black reiterated past statements that Epstein was never involved in Apollo business and that he engaged Epstein in "estate planning, tax and philanthropic endeavors."

  • Black also wrote that his family was with him during a visit to Epstein's infamous island estate and that he occasionally met at Epstein's townhouse because Epstein didn't maintain a separate office.
  • He also said he will cooperate with all legal inquiries into Epstein.

Read the letter.

Go deeper: Axios Re:Cap podcast talks to NY Times business reporter Matthew Goldstein about today's bombshell report. Listen here.

Go deeper

Exclusive: Biden ads court young Black men in final campaign stretch

Photo: Screengrab via YouTube/Joe Biden

The Biden campaign is releasing five ads on Tuesday targeting millennial Black men in 16 battleground states.

Why it matters: Black voters overwhelmingly prefer Democrat Joe Biden, but President Trump actually is earning more support nationally from Black men than he received in 2016 — 17%, up from 14%. Biden is pushing to halt the trend and maximize his own turnout, which could make a difference in tight contests.

OIG: HHS misused millions of dollars intended for public health threats

Vaccine vials. Photo: Punit Paranjpe/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel alerted the White House and Congress on Wednesday of an investigation that found the Department of Health and Human Services misused millions of dollars that were budgeted for vaccine research and public health emergencies for Ebola, Zika and now the COVID-19 pandemic.

Why it matters: The more than 200-page investigation corroborated claims from a whistleblower, showing the agency's violation of the Purpose Statute spanned both the Obama and Trump administrations and paid for unrelated projects like salaries, news subscriptions and the removal of office furniture.

John Kerry: U.S.-China climate cooperation is a "critical standalone issue"

President Biden's special climate envoy John Kerry said Wednesday that the U.S. must deal with China on climate change as a "critical standalone issue," but stressed that confronting Beijing's human rights and trade abuses "will never be traded" for climate cooperation.

Why it matters: The last few years have brought about a bipartisan consensus on the threat posed by China. But as the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter, China will be a vital player if the world is going to come close to reining in emissions on the scale needed to meet the Paris Agreement goals of limiting warming to 2°C above pre-industrial levels.