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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."

Go deeper

18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Hundreds of Biden staffers receive COVID vaccine

Screenshots of an email inviting White House staff to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, obtained by Alayna Treene/Axios

A week into the job, President Biden's White House medical team has administered the coronavirus vaccine to several hundred staffers — and aims to vaccinate all in-person staff over the next few weeks, officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: The new administration is ramping up steps to protect President Biden and all staff working inside the White House complex. The administration is also requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The Leon Black clock strikes midnight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Leon Black is "retiring" as CEO of Apollo Global Management, the alternative investment giant he has led since co-founding it in 1990. But he is not making a full break, as Black will remain chair of Apollo's board of directors.

Why it matters: This is the culmination of 18 months of head-in-the-sand obfuscation of Black's dealings with Jeffrey Epstein.

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.