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Bebeto Matthews / AP

Paul Manafort's notes taken during the infamous meeting with Russian officials at Trump Tower last summer — which also included Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner — use the word "donations" and "RNC" in close proximity, per NBC News. A spokesman for Manafort told Axios, "It is 100 percent false to suggest this meeting included any discussion of donations from Russian sources to either the Trump campaign or the Republican Party."

Who's seen them: Manafort's notes were taken on a smart phone — NBC's source refers to them as "cryptic" — and are in the possession of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees as well as Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation.

Why it matters: Foreign individuals can't contribute any money to American election campaigns. It's impossible to know exactly what Manafort's notes mean based on this report, but it's another blast of smoke surrounding the Russia investigation just when the Trump administration needs it least.

Go deeper

Banks cash in as Wall Street blows out Main Street

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

America’s big banks capped off a winning year, led by soaring Wall Street-facing business lines.

Why it matters: Banks cashed in on the white-hot IPO market, record debt issuance, and sky-high trading volume — all of which played out as economic peril softened the consumer side of their businesses.

Updated 8 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden to attempt "emergency economic relief" by executive order

President Biden. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

President Biden will continue his executive action blitz on Friday, issuing two more orders in an attempt to provide immediate relief to struggling families without waiting for Congress.

Why it matters: In his second full day in office, Biden is again resorting to executive actions as he tries to increase payments for nutritional assistance and protect workers' rights during the pandemic.

20 mins ago - Economy & Business

What Biden's EV push could mean for jobs

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden's swift effort to re-establish stricter fuel efficiency mandates, along with his broader push toward vehicle electrification, is as much about creating new jobs as it is protecting the environment.

Why it matters: The U.S. lags far behind the rest of the world in electric vehicle adoption. Catching up will require big investments in EV production — including battery cell manufacturing and mining of raw materials — to avoid dependence on imports and foreign supply chains.