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White House chief of staff Mark Meadows dismissed FBI Director Chris Wray's testimony that the U.S. has never historically seen evidence of widespread voter fraud, including by mail, during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" on Friday.

Why it matters: Meadows' statement highlights the Trump administration's strategy to sow doubt in November's election results by challenging the legitimacy of mail-in ballots, which are expected to skew heavily in Democrats' favor.

What he's saying: "With all due respect to Director Wray, he has a hard time finding emails in his own FBI," Meadows said.

  • "This is a very different case. The rules are being changed, and so what I'm suggesting is perhaps [Wray] ... in North Carolina and other places where multiple ballots, duplicate ballots, are being sent out, perhaps he needs to get involved on the ground and then he would change his testimony on Capitol Hill."

The big picture: President Trump has repeatedly baselessly claimed that increased mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic will lead to widespread voter fraud, while providing no evidence to support his assertions. He declined this week to commit to a peaceful transition of power over the issue.

  • Wray did tell the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Thursday that the FBI had seen local election fraud "from time to time" and that the agency takes election threats seriously, which he said includes potential threats through mailed ballots.

Go deeper

Dec 15, 2020 - World

Putin congratulates Biden on U.S. election win

Russia's President Vladimir Putin during an teleconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence in Moscow. Photo: Alexei Nikolsky/Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a message of congratulations to President-elect Joe Biden, the Kremlin announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Putin was one of the few world leaders to refrain from congratulating Biden for his election win. But after the Electoral College affirmed his election victory, the Kremlin released a statement saying Putin looked forward to having "interaction and contact with" Biden, per Russia's TASS news agency.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Political consultants pocket taxpayer cash

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Members of Congress are turning to the same political consultants who got them elected to blast out taxpayer-funded communications from their government offices, records show.

Why it matters: While those members are barred from politicking with official funds, the firms have expertise in boosting elected officials' images for political gain and are in high demand for both campaign and government work.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull
  2. Vaccines: WHO: No evidence that healthy children, teens need boosters — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America
  3. Politics: Government website for free COVID tests launches early
  4. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older
  5. Variant tracker