Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Microsoft announced that it will acquire Bonsai, a Berkeley-based artificial intelligence company that helps non-programmers develop machine-learning tools for industrial applications like manufacturing, heating and cooling systems, and vehicle testing.

Why it matters: Companies in just about every sector are trying to infuse AI into their decision-making — but developing specialized machine learning is difficult and expensive. Services like Bonsai or Google's AutoML could help make it accessible.

What to watch: Microsoft has mounted a major effort to build AI into its software and poured resources into the area. The company said in a blog post announcing the acquisition that Bonsai will help create an "AI toolchain" for creating and running autonomous systems on its Azure Cloud.

Correction: This story originally described Microsoft as "lagging behind its competitors in AI research."

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Election influence operations target journalists

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Foreign and domestic actors looking to influence the 2020 election are trying to trick real reporters into amplifying fake storylines. This tactic differs from 2016, when bad actors used fake accounts and bots to amplify disinformation to the population directly.

Why it matters: The new strategy, reminiscent of spy operations during the Cold War, is much harder for big tech platforms to police and prevent.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 a.m. ET: 7,115,338 — Total deaths: 204,758 — Total recoveries: 2,766,280 — Total tests: 101,298,794Map.
  3. States: 3 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week
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Democrats demand Trump release his tax returns after NYT report

Compilation images of House Nancy Pelosi and President Trump. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images/Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democrats called on President Trump to disclose his tax returns following a New York Times report alleging he paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and nothing in 10 of the past 15 years.

Details: Trump said the report was "total fake news," that he's unable to release the returns as they're "under audit" by the IRS, "which does not treat me well." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a statement the report "provides further evidence of the clear need" for a House lawsuit to access the tax returns and "ensure the presidential audit program is functioning effectively, without improper influence."