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Alex Brandon / AP

The loyalty pledge: The NYT reports that a week after taking office, Trump "summoned" Comey to the White House for a dinner in which he twice asked the FBI Director to promise to be loyal to him — and Comey declined. This tallies with earlier reports that Trump wanted and didn't receive an assurance of loyalty, and is shows the Comey camp clearly wants to get his side of the story out.

Russia on his mind: Trump told NBC's Lester Holt that before pulling the trigger on firing Comey he thought, "you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story."

Our full coverage: Trump blames press team but loves Sanders, Majority of Americans disagree with Comey firing, The White House's evolving explanations, Fallout is just beginning.

The full Trump/Russia quote: "Regardless of recommendation I was going to fire Comey knowing there was no good time to do it. In fact, when I decided to just do it I said to myself, 'you know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story. It's an excuse by the Democrats for having lost an election that they should have won.' And the reason they should have won it is the electoral college is almost impossible for a Republican to win."On the timing:"When I did this now I said, 'I probably maybe will confuse people. Maybe I'll lengthen the time, because it should be over with, in my opinion it should have been over a long time ago because all it is is an excuse. I told myself, I might even lengthen out the investigation. But I told myself, I have to do the right thing for the American people. He's the wrong man for the position."On Sally Yates and Michael Flynn:"My White House Counsel Don McGahn came back to me and didn't make it sound like an emergency, and she actually didn't sound that way either in the hearings the other day in the hearings the other day, like it had to be done immediately. This man has served for many years, he's a general, he's in my opinion a very good person. I believe it would be very unfair to hear from somebody who we don't even know and immediately run out and fire a general."

Go deeper

Updated 45 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Facebook paying up to $14M to settle employment discrimination claims

Photo: T.J. Kirkpatrick/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Facebook has agreed to pay up to $14.25 million to settle allegations that it discriminated against American workers by reserving positions for temporary visa holders, the Justice Department announced on Tuesday.

Why it matters: The settlement represents the largest civil penalty and monetary award that the Civil Rights Division has recovered in the 35-year history of the Immigration and Nationality Act's anti-discrimination provision.

Updated 3 hours ago - World

Mapping repression in China's Xinjiang region

Data: © Mapbox, © OpenStreetMap; Map: Will Chase/Axios

A sweeping new report released today by an Australian research organization reveals new details about how the Chinese Communist Party — and specifically who within the party — is carrying out its campaign of repression in Xinjiang.

Why it matters: Uncovering the actual offices and individuals implementing the Chinese government's genocide and forced labor policies in Xinjiang can bring accountability and help international companies delink supply chains in compliance with U.S. and EU forced labor laws.

Report: U.S. Latinos near 50% homeownership rate

Real estate broker Alex Betances sits in front of a home in Reading, Pa. Photo: Ryan McFadden/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Image

Latinos increased their homeownership rate to nearly 50% in 2020, according to a report from a group monitoring U.S. Hispanic wealth creation.

Why it matters: The Hispanic Wealth Project found that the homeownership rate grew despite the lack of diversified financial assets among Latinos and around 15% who still live below the federal poverty line ($26,500 for a family of four).