Dec 1, 2018

3. Pompeo denies Trump canceled Putin meeting over Cohen guilty plea

President Trump crosses paths with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit in Argentina. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNN's Wolf Blitzer that it was "ludicrous" to suggest President Trump canceled his G20 meeting with Vladimir Putin because of news that Michael Cohen was pleading guilty in the Mueller investigation, claiming Russian aggression against Ukraine was the sole reason for the decision.

Why it matters: Trump's decision to cancel the meeting, announced via tweet, came just hours after his former personal attorney pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his work on plans to build a Trump Tower in Moscow — a plea that directly brought Trump and his business entanglements in Russia into the special counsel's investigation. Pompeo maintains that the meeting was canceled "because the Russians behaved in a way that is deeply inconsistent with international law."

Go deeper

43 mins ago - Technology

The slippery slope of protest surveillance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump's call to treat antifa supporters like terrorists could be a green light for high-tech surveillance of dissidents.

Why it matters: It's unlikely the Trump administration can designate antifa as a terrorist group in any legally meaningful way, but the declaration gives law enforcement tacit approval to use a plethora of tech tools to monitor protesters and left-leaning activists.

The biggest crisis since 1968

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Bettmann/Contributor

The year 1968 has been on a lot of people’s minds lately — another year of protests, violence and upheaval that seemed to be tearing the nation apart.

Yes, but: This crisis also has moments we’ve never seen before — and some historians and experts say the differences suggest that 2020 doesn't compare well at all.

SoftBank to launch $100M fund backing companies led by people of color

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure said in a letter to employees early Wednesday that the firm will create a $100 million fund that "will only invest in companies led by founders and entrepreneurs of color."

Why it matters: The Opportunity Growth Fund is one of the first to put significant capital behind companies' statements of empathy and outrage in response to protests over systemic racism in the U.S. typified by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African Americans by police.