White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien on Sunday defended President Trump's track record on deterring Russian interference in the U.S. election, telling NBC's "Meet the Press": "We've put so many sanctions on Russia there's almost nothing left to sanction."

Why it matters: A top counterintelligence official revealed in a statement Aug. 7 that the Russian government is "using a range of measures" to "denigrate" Joe Biden ahead of the election, while China and Iran would prefer that Trump is defeated.

Key exchange:

O'BRIEN: "We want all of them to stay out of the election and what we've done to make sure that happens is we've spent millions and millions of dollars hardening election infrastructure, working with 50 secretaries of state on cybersecurity, and we've also sent very strong messages to all these countries. With respect to Russia, we put so many sanctions on Russia there's almost nothing left to sanction."
CHUCK TODD: "So it's not working. "
O'BRIEN: "Look, these are foreign powers that are adverse to the United States. We are in a period of great power competition and look, Russia and China are on the other side. But what we've done is we've pushed back, unlike the last administration."

What to watch: O'Brien denied that President Trump has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for a meeting in the U.S., but said that "at some time we'd love to have Putin come here hopefully to sign a terrific arms control deal that protects Americans and protects Russians."

Go deeper

Kayleigh McEnany: Trump will accept "free and fair" election, no answer on if he loses

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said Thursday that President Trump will "accept the results of a free and fair election," but did not specify whether he will commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses to Joe Biden.

Why it matters: Trump refused to say on Wednesday whether he would commit to a peaceful transition of power, instead remarking, "we're going to have to see what happens."

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 33,417,386 — Total deaths: 1,002,864 — Total recoveries: 23,193,238Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 a.m. ET: 7,150,824 — Total deaths: 205,107 — Total recoveries: 2,794,608 — Total tests: 102,342,416Map.
  3. Health: Americans won't take Trump's word on the vaccine, Axios-Ipsos poll finds.
  4. Media: Fauci: Some of what Fox News reports about COVID-19 is "outlandish"
  5. States: Cuomo extends New York moratorium on evictions until 2021.
  6. World: More than 1 million people have now died from coronavirus — India the second country after U.S. to hit 6 million cases.