Axios Sep 8
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Mexico hit by massive earthquake


A major earthquake with a magnitude of 8.1 hit Mexico Thursday night, according to the US Geological Service.

  • It's the biggest earthquake to hit the country in a century, said Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who said the quake was magnitude 8.2. It was centered off the Pacific coast, near Chiapas. "He said that there have been 62 aftershocks and it's possible one as strong as 7.2 could hit," per the AP.
  • At least 32 people have died, and 1 million people were reportedly without power after the earthquake, per AP.
  • Several buildings suffered severe damage in parts of southern Mexico. Juchitan in Oaxaca state said sections of its town hall, a hotel, a bar and other buildings have been reduced to rubble, per Reuters.

Despite concerns of subsequent tsunami waves, the biggest were less than four feet, per the NYT.

Mike Allen 11 hours ago
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A huge clue about Mueller's endgame

Robert Mueller testifies before Congress in 2013. Photo: Saul Loeb / AFP / Getty Images

Axios has learned that special counsel Robert Mueller has focused on events since the election — not during the campaign — in his conversations with President Trump's lawyers. The top two topics that Mueller has expressed interest in so far: the firings of FBI director James Comey and national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Why it matters: That suggests a focus on obstruction of justice while in office, rather than collusion with Russia during the campaign. But both sagas are interwoven with Russia: Trump himself has linked Comey's firing to Russia, and Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with the Russian ambassador during the transition.

Amy Harder 13 hours ago
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Column / Harder Line

The swamp’s tug-o-war over America’s ethanol mandate

American eagle with corn in its claws
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

A biofuels standard Congress passed more than a decade ago in the name of rural development, energy security and climate change has devolved into an arcane fight over market share that has nothing to do with those initial three goals.

Why it matters: The law — called the renewable fuel standard that requires refineries to blend biofuels into gasoline — is a textbook example of how regulations create winners, losers and unintended consequences.