Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump tells Reuters that Russia is "not helping us at all with North Korea," and that the Russian actions are "denting" progress China is making. He also said North Korea is getting "closer every day" to getting a missile that can hit the U.S.

Putin "can do a lot," Trump said, "but unfortunately we don't have much of a relationship with Russia, and in some cases it's probable that what China takes back, Russia gives. So the net result is not as good as it could be."

Context: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called out both Russia and China for helping North Korea today in Vancouver at a meeting to discuss nuclear security and North Korea, and European countries told Reuters earlier this month that Russian tankers have been helping supply fuel to North Korea in violation of international sanctions. China is suspected to have been supplying the North with fuel in recent months as well.

On future talks with North Korea: Trump said he's "not sure that sitting down [with the North Koreans] will solve the problem."

  • This comes just after North Korea and South Korea held the first talks in just about two years earlier this month in advance of the Olympics in Seoul.

Trump would not comment on whether the U.S. is considering launching a "bloody nose" strike against North Korea, which carries with it numerous risks, including a humanitarian crisis in China as well as retaliation from North Korea.

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Updated 10 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
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  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

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Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

The hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.