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Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

On March 9, 2017, then-FBI director James Comey briefed the Gang of 8 on the FBI's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, including the "principal U.S. subjects of the investigation," according to a redacted version of the Mueller report.

What's new: On March 16, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) informed the White House counsel's office of the existence of "4-5 targets" in the Russia investigation, according to meeting notes written by Don McGahn's then-chief of staff, Annie Donaldson. Mueller does not make clear whether Donaldson was present at Burr's briefing.

On March 16, 2017, the White House Counsel's Office was briefed by Senator Burr on the existence of "4-5 targets." The "targets" were identified in notes taken by Donaldson as "Flynn (FBI was in—wrapping up—) -> DOJ looking for phone records"; "Comey~Manafort (Ukr + Russia, not campaign)"; [REDACTED]; "Carter Page ($ game)"; and "Greek Guy" (potentially referring to George Papadopoulos, later charged with violating 18 U.S.C. § 1001 for lying to the FBI) Donaldson and McGahn both said they believed these were targets of SSCI. But SSCI does not formally investigate individuals as "targets"; the notes on their face reference the FBI, the Department of Justice, and Comey; and the notes track the background materials prepared by the FBI for Comey's briefing to the Gang of 8 on March 9 (Donaldson could not rule out that Burr had told McGahn those individuals were the FBI's targets).
— Mueller report, page 52 of volume 2

Why it matters: The Senate Intelligence Committee's Russia investigation has long been considered to be less partisan than its House counterpart, which has been marred by infighting. It's unclear whether Burr had the blessing of Ranking Member Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) to brief the White House.

Statement from Burr's spokeswoman Caitlin Carroll:

"Chairman Burr does not recall this specific conversation with Mr. McGahn in March of 2017; however, any conversations between the two would have been in reference to the need for White House personnel to voluntarily comply with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation. If specific individuals were discussed, they would have been those known to the Committee, the White House, and the media. The Chairman’s stewardship over the Committee’s bipartisan and fact-based investigation over the last two years speaks for itself."

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.