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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

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

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