Jan 26, 2019

Pelosi questions Trump's ties to Putin in wake of Stone arrest

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi issued a statement Friday in response to the arrest of longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, in which she claimed that Stone's indictment "makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people."

"It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it."

The big picture: Pelosi points out that the 37 indictments issued by Robert Mueller, as well Trump's repeated attempts to undermine the special counsel's investigation, raise questions about his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The New York Times reported earlier this month that Trump has privately considered withdrawing from NATO, which Pelosi says would be a "massive victory for Putin."

"The indictment of Roger Stone makes clear that there was a deliberate, coordinated attempt by top Trump campaign officials to influence the 2016 election and subvert the will of the American people. It is staggering that the President has chosen to surround himself with people who violated the integrity of our democracy and lied to the FBI and Congress about it.
In the face of 37 indictments, the President's continued actions to undermine the Special Counsel investigation raises the questions: what does Putin have on the President, politically, personally or financially? Why has the Trump Administration continued to discuss pulling the U.S. out of NATO, which would be a massive victory for Putin?
Lying to Congress and witness tampering constitute grave crimes. All who commit these illegal acts should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law. We cannot allow any effort to intimidate witnesses or prevent them from appearing before Congress.
The Special Counsel investigation is working, and the House will continue to exercise our constitutional oversight responsibility and ensure that the Special Counsel investigation can continue free from interference from the White House."

Go deeper

America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday, while Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 as of Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 51 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."