Susan Walsh / AP

The NYT broke the story earlier this evening about President Trump asking Comey to drop the FBI's probe into Michael Flynn.

Here's the buried part of that story that will spawn a slew of investigations:

  • The scene: "Mr. Comey had been in the Oval Office [the day after Flynn was fired] with other senior national security officials for a terrorism threat briefing. When the meeting ended, Mr. Trump told those present — including Mr. Pence and Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to leave the room except for Mr. Comey."
  • The request: "Alone in the Oval Office, Mr. Trump began the discussion by condemning leaks to the news media, saying that Mr. Comey should consider putting reporters in prison for publishing classified information, according to one of Mr. Comey's associates."

Our thought bubble: Now would be a good time to learn if Trump really has tapes of his conversations or not.

On what legal grounds? Some have argued the Espionage Act can be used to punish media for publishing classified information. It has been used to prosecute 11 leakers (the majority of which occurred under Obama), none of whom have been journalists. Some argue the Supreme Court's 1971 decision that the government could not prevent the NYT from publishing classified documents (the Pentagon Papers) would protect journalists if prosecution questions surfaced today.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press weighed in: "The comments attributed to President Trump cross a dangerous line. But no president gets to jail journalists."

Put that in perspective: The countries that jail the most journalists, per the Committee to Protect Journalists: Turkey (81 imprisoned), China (38), Egypt (25), Eritrea (17), Ethiopia (16), Vietnam (8), Iran (8), Bahrain (7), Syria (7).

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Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump's Tucker mind-meld

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty Images and BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images

If you want to understand the rhetorical roots of Trump's Independence Day speech at Mount Rushmore, go back and watch Tucker Carlson's monologues for the past six weeks.

Between the lines: Trump — or rather his speechwriter Stephen Miller — framed the president's opposition to the Black Lives Matter protest movement using the same imagery Carlson has been laying out night after night on Fox.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 11,366,145 — Total deaths: 532,644 — Total recoveries — 6,154,138Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. ET: 2,874,396 — Total deaths: 129,870 — Total recoveries: 906,763 — Total tested: 35,512,916Map.
  3. States: Photos of America's pandemic July 4 ICU beds in Arizona hot spot near capacity — Houston mayor warns about hospitals
  4. Public health: U.S. coronavirus infections hit record highs for 3 straight days.
  5. Politics: Former Trump official Tom Bossert says face masks “are not enough”
  6. World: Mexican leaders call for tighter border control as infections rise in U.S.
  7. Sports: Sports return stalked by coronavirus
  8. 1 📽 thing: Drive-in movie theaters are making a comeback.

Bolton's hidden aftershocks

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The news media has largely moved on, but foreign government officials remain fixated on John Bolton's memoir, "The Room Where It Happened."

Why it matters: Bolton's detailed inside-the-Oval revelations have raised the blood pressure of allies who were already stressed about President Trump's unreliability.