Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) falsely claimed on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump did not ask Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival on a July 25 phone call.

The exchange:

DANA BASH: "The president asked a leader of a foreign country to investigate his political rival. So one simple question to start, is that appropriate?"
MEADOWS: "Well one, he didn't do that. I don't agree with your premise. He talked about investigations. If you look at the transcript, I think he said 'will you do us a favor,' based on the United States going through a lot. Talking about 2016 elections. ... We know that Joe Biden was involved with Ukraine, dozens of contacts with Ukraine. At a minimum, he should have recused himself from anything related to his son and I think you can agree with that."

Why it matters: The leading Trump ally's defense illustrates the degree to which House Republicans will dispute key facts in the impeachment inquiry, which will cross another critical threshold this week as the House Judiciary Committee votes on articles of impeachment.

Reality check: As CNN's Dana Bash points out, President Trump specifically asked Zelesnky on the July 25 phone call to investigate Joe Biden, who was at that point seen as the likely frontrunner in the 2020 Democratic primary. Trump did not raise any broader concerns about corruption in Ukraine.

  • Meadows claimed that running for public office should not immunize someone from investigations. However, multiple witnesses testified during the impeachment hearings that Trump didn't care as much about whether Ukraine actually carried out the investigations.
  • Rather, the president simply wanted Zelensky in a "public box" by having him announce that Ukraine would open the investigations in a statement on CNN, according to testimony.

Go deeper: House updates its guide for impeachment

Go deeper

Scoop: Lawmakers tee up hearing with academics ahead of antitrust report

Big Tech CEOs testify before the House Judiciary antitrust panel in June. Photo: Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP via Getty Images.

Mostly academics will be testifying at Thursday's House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing which will reveal where its year-long investigation into big tech and competition is going, a source familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: The hearing is the next step following testimony from Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Google's Sundar Pichai, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Apple's Tim Cook before the committee in July. A showing of academics and think-tank types signals the lawmakers are still sorting out competition theories and possible legislative fixes to perceived antitrust abuses.

Biden releases 2019 tax returns ahead of debate

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign released his 2019 tax returns on Tuesday, showing that he and his wife, Jill, paid nearly $300,000 in federal taxes last year.

Why it matters: The release, timed just hours before the first presidential debate, comes days after a bombshell New York Times report said that President Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes in 2016 and 2017. Biden's team is hoping to make the tax contrast a sticking point during their showdown.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 33,454,037 — Total deaths: 1,003,571 — Total recoveries: 23,204,219Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2:15 p.m. ET: 7,165,067 — Total deaths: 205,476 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. States: NYC's coronavirus positivity rate spikes to highest since June.
  5. Sports: Tennessee Titans close facility amid NFL's first coronavirus outbreak.
  6. World: U.K. beats previous record for new coronavirus cases.

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