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Rand Paul on Capitol Hill earlier this year. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

After Sen. Rand Paul tweeted last night to confirm his serious injuries following an alleged assault by his neighbor, he followed up with two tweets to stories pushing back on the widely-reported narrative that the dispute was over landscaping. His neighbor had earlier issued a statement through his lawyer denying that the incident had anything to do with politics and describing the issue as "trivial."

What happened: Without any additional context, Paul tweeted a Breitbart article headlined "Exclusive: Rand Paul's Neighbors Say Reports Blaming Savage Assault on 'Landscaping Dispute' Are Fake News" and a Washington Examiner piece titled "Rand Paul's neighbors rip media 'landscaping dispute' reports." Both pieces largely feature the same neighbors expressing effusive praise about Paul's behavior in their subdivision and don't offer any sort of alternative motive for the incident.

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
8 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.