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Kommersant Photo via AP

Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian attorney who met with Donald Trump Jr. in June 2016, was initially granted special access into the U.S. by President Obama's Justice Department, according to a report from The Hill.

How it happened: Veselnitskaya was granted limited "special immigration parole" by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch to defend Russian businessman Denis Katsyv in a federal forfeiture case. The Hill confirmed she was in the country from October 2015 to early January 2016, but officials "could not immediately explain" how she was still in the U.S. for her meeting with Trump Jr.

The Magnitsky Act, a 2012 human rights law against Russia, was Veselnitskaya's primary focus during most of her time in the U.S. Both she and Trump Jr. said this was the main topic of their meeting in June, despite the original pretense of discussing information on Hillary Clinton.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Key government agency says Biden transition can formally begin

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy. Photo: Alex Edelman/CNP/Getty Images

General Services Administrator Emily Murphy said in a letter to President-elect Joe Biden on Monday that she has determined the transition from the Trump administration can formally begin.

Why it matters: Murphy, a Trump appointee, had come under fire for delaying the so-called "ascertainment" and withholding the funds and information needed for the transition to begin while Trump's legal challenges played out.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Key information about the effective COVID-19 vaccines — Oxford and AstraZeneca's vaccine won't just go to rich countries.
  2. Health: U.S. coronavirus hospitalizations keep breaking recordsWhy we're numb to 250,000 deaths.
  3. World: England to impose stricter regional systemU.S. hotspots far outpacing Europe's — Portugal to ban domestic travel for national holidays.
  4. Economy: The biggest pandemic labor market drags.
  5. Sports: Coronavirus precautions leave college basketball schedule in flux.

Michigan board certifies Biden's win

Poll workers count absentee ballots in Detroit, Michigan on Nov. 4. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Michigan Board of State Canvassers certified the state's election results on Monday, making President-elect Joe Biden's win there official and granting him the state's 16 electoral votes.

Why it matters: Republican Party leaders had unsuccessfully appealed to delay the official certification, amid the Trump campaign's failed legal challenges in key swing states.

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