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President Trump arrives yesterday with First Lady Melania Trump and Vice President Pence at the funeral of the Rev. Billy Graham in Charlotte, N.C. Photo: Jim Watson / AFP / Getty Images

There's a contagion of Washington coverage that isn't worthy of your time. The stories sound dramatic but tell you little, if anything.

Be smart: Jonathan Swan emails me: "The very important collective impact of this reporting is that it could make Trump more angry than ever about the probe."

See if you can spot the pattern:

  • "Source: Mueller looking into what Hicks knows." (CNN)
  • "Mueller asking if Trump knew about hacked Democratic emails before release." (NBC)
  • "Mueller asking about Trump's Russia business deals and Miss Universe pageant." (Newsweek)
  • "Mueller team asks about Trump's Russian business dealings as he weighed a run for president." (CNN)
  • "Mueller looking at Ivanka Trump's interaction with Russian lawyer at Trump Tower." (The Hill)

Why it doesn't matter: All we know is what yappy witnesses tell reporters they were asked about.

  • News flash: Mueller is looking at everything.
  • That's his job. When he was named, he was empowered/instructed to look into the "FBI investigation of Russian government efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election and related matters." That there is a broad mandate.
  • This gives us literally zero insight into what the special counsel is actually doing and thinking.
  • These kernels aren't from Mueller's office: We've seen time and again (and again) that his office is one of Washington's few leak-free zones.
  • Yes, it looks bad. Based on conversations with White House insiders, I can tell you they're more bearish than ever about the outcome. But we're all guessing.

The bottom line: Here's one headline that's true: "Expect more ‘surprises’ from Mueller probe, former crusading prosecutor says."

  • And expect plenty more "scoops" about what Mueller is asking gabby witnesses.
Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Health

Schools face an uphill battle to reopen during the pandemic

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Biden's plan to accelerate the reopening of K-8 schools faces major challenges from a still out-of-control pandemic and more contagious coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The longer American kids miss in-person schooling, the further they fall behind. But the uncertain state of the science on the role young children play in the pandemic continues to complicate efforts to reopen schools.

Focus group: Former Trump voters say he should never hold office again

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

"Relief" is the top emotion some swing voters who used to support Donald Trump say they felt as they watched President Biden's swearing-in, followed by "hope."

Why it matters: For voters on the bubble between parties, this moment is less about excitement for Biden or liberal politics than exhaustion and disgust with Trump and a craving for national healing. Most said Trump should be prohibited from ever holding office again.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

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  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
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