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Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Patrick Byrne resigned as CEO of online retailer Overstock.com Thursday after the company publicly announced his relationship with admitted Russian agent Maria Butina, the New York Times reports.

The big picture: Writing in a letter to shareholders, Byrne said his disclosure "may affect and complicate all manner of business relationships." The relationship lasted from 2015 to 2018 and was mostly unknown until Overstock posted a news release last week. Byrne was involved in the federal inquiry into the 2016 presidential election that was handled separately from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference. He said he had helped law enforcement agents with their "Clinton Investigation" and "Russia Investigation," per NYT.

"Thus, while I believe that I did what was necessary for the good of the country, for the good of the firm, I am in the sad position of having to sever ties with Overstock, both as C.E.O. and board member."
— Patrick Byrne wrote

Background: Butina was the first Russian national convicted for seeking to influence U.S. politics during the 2016 campaign. She was sentenced to 18 months in prison — with credit for 9 months already served — in April.

  • Butina pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge, admitting she and her American boyfriend, Republican operative Paul Erickson, worked with a Russian government
    official to "establish unofficial lines of communication with Americans having power and influence over U.S. politics."

What's next: Jonathan Johnson has been named interim CEO of Overstock.com.

Go deeper

34 mins ago - Health

Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note ±3.3% margin of error for the total sample size; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

About half of Americans are worried that trick-or-treating will spread coronavirus in their communities, according to this week's installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This may seem like more evidence that the pandemic is curbing our nation's cherished pastimes. But a closer look reveals something more nuanced about Americans' increased acceptance for risk around activities in which they want to participate.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: The good and bad news about antibody therapies — Fauci: Hotspots have materialized across "the entire country."
  2. World: Belgium imposes lockdown, citing "health emergency" due to influx of cases.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Education: Surge threatens to shut classrooms down again.
  5. Technology: The pandemic isn't slowing tech.
  6. Travel: CDC replaces COVID-19 cruise ban with less restrictive "conditional sailing order."
  7. Sports: High school football's pandemic struggles.
  8. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.
Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated 9 hours ago - Economy & Business

Dunkin' Brands agrees to $11B Inspire Brands sale

Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Dunkin' Brands, operator of both Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins, agreed on Friday to be taken private for nearly $11.3 billion, including debt, by Inspire Brands, a restaurant platform sponsored by private equity firm Roark Capital.

Why it matters: Buying Dunkin’ will more than double Inspire’s footprint, making it one of the biggest restaurant deals in the past 10 years. This could ultimately set up an IPO for Inspire, which already owns Arby's, Jimmy John's and Buffalo Wild Wings.