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Axios' Mike Allen (left) and retired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster. Photo: Axios

Retired Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, President Trump's former national security adviser, said Russian President Vladimir Putin is "determined to drag us all down like the KGB operator he is" through political subversion and disinformation.

What he's saying: "He's quite adept at it. He's one of the best liars in the world, deceivers in the world. ... Let's just stop being chumps about this. Right?"

  • "Russia is operating under the theory that he (Putin) can maybe be the last man standing because he'll be successful, in his view, at shaking confidence within our democratic societies in Europe and in the United States, in particular.

The big picture: McMaster, who has a new book out, "Battlegrounds," said all presidents, not just Trump, get Putin wrong in trying to foster a relationship, but "it's not going to get better," he said.

  • "The reason it's not is the ideology and emotion that drives (Putin). He is driven by a sense of honor lost, associated with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the loss of the Cold War, and then also this drive to restore Russia to national greatness, as I mentioned."

Watch the event.

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
Nov 10, 2020 - World

As Trump fights the transition in D.C., the world moves on to Biden

"Next." Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Governments around the world are preparing to work with President-elect Biden — but they still have to navigate what could be a bumpy final 10 weeks of President Trump.

Split screen: Around the time Biden was holding his first call as president-elect with a foreign leader, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump was firing his secretary of defense, Mark Esper.

Biden plans to ask public to wear masks for first 100 days in office

Joe Biden. Photo: Mark Makela/Gettu Images

President-elect Joe Biden told CNN on Thursday that he plans to ask the American public to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his presidency.

The big picture: Biden also stated he has asked NIAID director Anthony Fauci to stay on in his current role, serve as a chief medical adviser and be part of his COVID-19 response team when he takes office early next year.

What COVID-19 vaccine trials still need to do

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

COVID-19 vaccines are being developed at record speed, but some experts fear the accelerated regulatory process could interfere with ongoing research about the vaccines.

Why it matters: Even after the first COVID-19 vaccines are deployed, scientific questions will remain about how they are working and how to improve them.

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