Defense Secretary James Mattis with President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum Saturday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Russia had attempted to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections, and that Vladimir Putin has "continued efforts to try to subvert democratic processes," CNN reports.

"There is no doubt the relationship has worsened. [Putin] tried again to muck around in our elections this last month, and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines."

Why it matters: This appears to be the first instance of a high-level Trump administration official acknowledging that Russian electoral interference continued into the 2018 midterms. President Trump canceled a meeting with Putin at the G20 summit over Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait, but had an "informal conversation" with the Russian president at dinner Friday night, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

U.S. policy shift will allow taxpayer funding for projects in West Bank settlements

Friedman (L) with Netanyahu. Photo: Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. and Israel will announce tomorrow that they are expanding three agreements on scientific cooperation to include Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Israeli and U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: This is a substantial policy shift for the U.S., which did not previously allow its taxpayers' money to be spent in the Israeli settlements.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage" Axios-Ipsos poll: Federal response has only gotten worse.
  2. Health: Hospitals face a crush — 13 states set single-day case records last week.
  3. Business: Winter threat spurs new surge of startup activity.
  4. Media: Pandemic causes TV providers to lose the most subscribers ever.
  5. States: Nearly two dozen Minnesota cases traced to three Trump campaign events.
  6. World: Putin mandates face masks.

McConnell: Confirming Amy Coney Barrett will help GOP retain Senate

Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) expressed no regrets about Judge Amy Coney Barrett's controversial confirmation, telling Politico in an interview that he believes the decision to place her on the Supreme Court just a week before the election will help Republicans retain the Senate.

Why it matters: With a week to go until Election Day, many Republicans are concerned that President Trump's unpopularity could cost them the Senate. McConnell has long viewed the transformation of the federal judiciary through the confirmation of young conservative judges as his defining legacy.