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President Donald Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

New court filings released this week by special counsel Robert Mueller's team have provided new evidence that federal investigators are zoning in on President Trump as a key figure in the wide-ranging Russia investigation, the Washington Post details in a new report late Thursday.

Why it matters: New "documents show investigators have evidence that Trump was in close contact with his lieutenants as they made outreach to both Russia and WikiLeaks — and that they tried to conceal the extent of their activities," per the Post. The court filings also cast new doubts on "Trump’s repeated claims that he had no business interests in Russia"

Details: On Thursday, Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to Congress in 2017 about the length and scope of his work on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. Cohen reportedly said he lied out of loyalty to Trump and to be consistent with the president's political messaging.

  • In Cohen's guilty plea, Trump was reportedly identified as "Individual 1" and was said to have received information from Cohen about a Moscow project with Russia up until June 2016.
  • A draft document revealed on Tuesday showed that prosecutors are closely focusing on the president's interactions with longtime political adviser Roger Stone, who sought information about WikiLeaks’ plans to release information meant to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

What they’re saying: Trump ally and constitutional lawyer Alan Dershowitz told the Post that Cohen’s confessions do not indicate whether Trump committed a crime, but suggested that Trump was not being forthcoming about his business ties with Russia.

  • Tim O’Brien, a Trump biographer and critic stated: “This is part of the fact pattern that gets to the heart of whether there was collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin during the campaign.”

Go deeper

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

Biden speaks to Mexican president about reversing Trump's "draconian immigration policies"

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Ismael Rosas/Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

President Biden told his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, on a phone call Friday that he plans to reverse former President Trump’s “draconian immigration policies.”

The big picture: The Biden administration has already started repealing several of Trump’s immigration policies, including ordering a 100-day freeze on deporting many unauthorized immigrants, halting work on the southern border wall, and reversing plans to exclude undocumented people from being included in the 2020 census.