Rosenstein announcing indictments against 12 Russian intelligence agents last week. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Thursday that conclusions reached by U.S. intelligence agencies and criminal indictments presented are "based on evidence," adding that they don't "reflect mere guesses."

Why it matters: Rosenstein's remarks came after President Trump raised doubts at a press conference with Vladimir Putin about U.S. intelligence agencies' conclusion that Russia had meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

Less than 24 hours later, amid widespread rebuke, Trump claimed he misspoke and accepts the conclusions reached by the intelligence community.

Rosenstein's remarks on Thursday at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado, while announcing a new system designed to counter foreign actors attempting to interfere in the U.S. political process:

"Intelligence assessments include analytical judgments based on classified information that cannot be disclosed because the evidence is from sources — people who will be unable to help in the future if they are identified and might be harmed in retaliation for helping America — and methods — techniques that would be worthless if our adversaries knew how we obtained the evidence. Indictments are based on credible evidence that the government must be prepared to introduce in court if necessary."

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Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.