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Rep. Devin Nunes at a Trump event. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

There's one sentence in the last paragraph of the GOP memo that could thwart President Trump's efforts to discredit the Russia probe, the Washington Post points out. “The Papadopoulos information triggered the opening of an FBI counterintelligence investigation in late July 2016 by FBI agent Pete Strzok."

Why it matters: This line undermines the argument that the FBI counterintelligence investigation happened because the Trump dossier set it in motion. Instead, it points to a former Trump campaign associate (who has since been charged in Mueller's probe) as the reason.

Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee wrote as much in their response to the Devin Nunes memo: “This ignores the inconvenient fact that the investigation did not begin with, or arise from Christopher Steele or the dossier, and that the investigation would persist on the basis of wholly independent evidence had Christopher Steele never entered the picture.”

Background, per WashPost:

  • The FBI received information about Papadopoulos near the end of July 2016.
  • The Australian government alerted the FBI to Papadopoulos' bragging about having access to damaging information on Hillary Clinton, provided by Russians.
  • Per WashPost: "Papadopoulos bragged to one of their diplomats during a boozy night at a London bar in May 2016."
  • In October, Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russians
  • Trump and those close to him have since tried framing Papadopoulos as a person with no real connection to the campaign, similar to an intern.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - World

Remote work shakes up geopolitics

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The global adoption of remote work may leave the rising powers in the East behind.

The big picture: Despite India's and China's economic might, these countries have far fewer remote jobs than the U.S. or Europe. That's affecting the emerging economies' resilience amid the pandemic.

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.

AOC and Ilhan Omar want to block Biden’s former chief of staff

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar are boosting a petition against Joe Biden nominating his former chief of staff to a new role in his administration, calling Bruce Reed a "deficit hawk” and criticizing his past support for Social Security and Medicare cuts.

Why it matters: Progressives are mounting their pressure campaign after the president-elect did not include any of their favored candidates in his first slate of Cabinet nominees, and they are serious about installing some of their allies, blocking anyone who doesn't pass their smell test — and making noise if they are not heard.

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