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Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) claimed without evidence to NBC News Monday that Ukraine favored Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election — comparing the allegation to Russian interference in the same race.

Every elected official in the Ukraine was for Hillary Clinton. Is that very different than the Russians being for Donald Trump?"

Why it matters: Republicans are using a debunked conspiracy theory that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election to justify President Trump's decision to freeze congressionally approved aid to the country.

  • That freeze is at the center of an ongoing impeachment inquiry against the president.

What they're saying: Burr stated that he doesn't "think there’s any question that elected officials in Ukraine had a favorite in the election."

  • When asked if he would consider that as "meddling," Burr responded: "I mean, you’ll have to define meddling, but that was something that was publicly out there."
  • "It was called meddling when it was just Russia had a preference on who would win. And I'm saying, you can't go any further than that until somebody investigates Ukraine, if you want to find out there was more that went on," Burr said.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Swing voters oppose Texas abortion law

Protesters at a rally at the Texas State Capitol. Photo: Jordan Vonderhaar/Getty Images

All 10 swing voters in Axios’ latest focus groups — including those who described themselves as "pro-life" — said they oppose Texas' new anti-abortion law.

Why it matters: If their responses reflect larger patterns in U.S. society, this could hurt Republicans with women and independents in next year's midterm elections. The swing voters cited overreach, invasion of privacy and concerns about frivolous lawsuits jamming up the courts.

46 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden bombs with Manchin

Then-Vice President Joe Biden conducts a ceremonial swearing-in for Sen. Joe Manchin in 2010. Photo: Tom Williams/Roll Call

President Biden failed to persuade Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) to agree to spending $3.5 trillion on the Democrats' budget reconciliation package during their Oval Office meeting on Wednesday, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Defying a president from his own party — face-to-face — is the strongest indication yet Manchin is serious about cutting specific programs and limiting the price tag of any potential bill to $1.5 trillion. His insistence could blow up the deal for progressives and others.

Biden blindsides Europe with new AUKUS alliance on China

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden is constructing and deepening new alliances to strengthen the U.S. position in its showdown with China, but he risks alienating longstanding allies in the process.

Why it matters: Biden heralded a new agreement to help Australia acquire nuclear submarines as part of a trilateral security pact with the U.K. and the U.S. as an "historic step" to update U.S. alliances to face new challenges. The message from French foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was quite different.