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Evan Vucci / AP

In an interview out this morning, President Trump tells TIME Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer, in response to a question about the risk to his reputation caused by false and ever-changing utterances: "Hey, look, I can't be doing so badly, because I'm President and you're not."

That "My Way" approach is part of the reason the Russia story has been festering, and now is erupting.

Health-care reform will be dead and born again many times before its true fate is sealed. That's how complicated legislation works.

But the Russia story

is going from fishy, to career-ending (Manafort, Flynn), to investigation-worthy, to FBI criminal probe, to a wide, Watergate-like scandal that could bring all of government to a halt:

  • House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), without informing his Democratic counterpart, saying he "recently confirmed that on numerous occasions, the intelligence community incidentally collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition." (What he revealed, what he didn't.)
  • Trump saying he feels "somewhat" vindicated.
  • Feds have evidence suggesting Trump associates coordinated anti-Hillary releases with Russians.
  • The Manafort contract: You don't pay $10 million to play small ball. You pay it to blow up enemies.

If you read only 1 paragraph: Watergate was a coverup of a burglary. This could be the coverup of a nuclear-armed U.S. nemesis that infiltrated our politics with the specific aim of disrupting the very foundation of our democracy — a presidential election — and did so, possibly, in a manner that elected its preferred candidate and locked in all party control that could decimate the opposition party for years.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.