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Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

A recent report from The Hill reveals that FBI agents watched as Russian spies launched an intelligence operation on Hillary Clinton when she became Secretary of State under President Obama. Moscow's goal, according to "interviews and once-sealed FBI records," was to gain access to Clinton, her husband Bill, and members of their inner circle.

Why it matters: President Trump drew attention to the report by retweeting Sean Hannity today, who linked to The Hill and wrote, "BOOM!! Tick Tock." However, it's crucial to note — as the story does — that there is no evidence the FBI believes that the Clintons, or anyone close to them, did anything illegal. It also appears that the main spy operation failed. The significance is that Moscow was attempting to influence the U.S. government during the Obama administration, with the State Department as a central target.

More details from the records: A female Russian spy illegally used a false identity to get close to a major Democratic donor with the goal of gaining intelligence on the State Dept. She was later arrested and deported.They also reveal that a subsidiary of Russia's state-controlled nuclear energy company hired a Washington firm to lobby the Obama administration. At the time, the firm was giving hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to Bill Clinton's global charitable initiative. The firm also helped the Russian agency strike deals that led to billions in new U.S. commercial nuclear business.On top of that, Hillary Clinton was also helping send American executives to Moscow to support Putin's aims of building a tech sphere in Russia, similar to that of Silicon Valley.What they're saying:.

  • "There is not one shred of doubt from the evidence... that the Russians had set their sights on Hillary Clinton's circle, because she was the quarterback of the Obama-Russian reset strategy and the assumed successor to Obama as president," a source told The Hill.
  • "In the end, some of this just comes down to what it always does in Washington: donations, lobbying, contracts and influence — even for Russia," said Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence.

Go deeper: The full report from The Hill, and the background on a similar FBI investigation into the Obama-era Russian Uranium deal.

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”