Sep 21, 2017

Russia probe narrows in

Robert Mueller testifies on Capitol Hill in 2013. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Brian Williams said on his MSNBC show last night that Mueller has "become a vacuum cleaner" and the WashPost front-pager by Carol Leonnig and Roz Helderman said: "White House lawyers are now working to turn over internal documents that span 13 categories."

Quote du jour, from a government official: "I am convinced that no matter where they end up, this investigation will run to completion even if they fire Mueller. ... There is a feeling of inevitability now that we didn't have before — not of the outcome of the investigation but that there will be an outcome. There is no escaping this thing, whatever the conclusions."

  • "Mueller has asked for all documents related to meetings between Trump and Comey while Comey served at the FBI, records of any discussions regarding Comey's firing and any documents related to a statement by then-press secretary Sean Spicer made on the night Comey was fired. He has also asked for any documents related to a meeting Trump held in the Oval Office with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov the day after Comey was fired."
  • WashPost lead story by Tom Hamburger, Roz Helderman, Carol Leonnig and Adam Entous: "Less than two weeks before Donald Trump accepted the Republican presidential nomination, his campaign chairman offered to provide briefings on the race to a Russian billionaire closely aligned with the Kremlin," Oleg Deripaska, an aluminum magnate with whom Manafort had done business in the past.
  • Manafort email on July 7, 2016: "If he needs private briefings we can accommodate."
  • "People close to Manafort believe Mueller's goal is to force the former campaign chairman to flip on his former Trump associates and provide information."

Go deeper: "How the Russia probe closed in on Paul Manafort" — timeline by Axios' Dave Lawler.

Go deeper

Updated 29 mins ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Over 500 schools in South Korea have either closed or postponed reopening, according to the Korea Times, which cites data from the Ministry of Education.

Why it matters: South Korea has been a model for how to handle the novel coronavirus, and the closures reportedly followed concerns from parents and teachers over child safety. The country's confirmed death toll has plateaued at 269 over the past few days, with few increases, per Johns Hopkins data.

Updated 31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 5,877,503— Total deaths: 362,731 — Total recoveries — 2,464,595Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4 p.m. ET: 1,735,971 — Total deaths: 102,286 — Total recoveries: 399,991 — Total tested: 15,646,041Map.
  3. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March —How the U.S. might distribute a vaccine.
  4. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  5. Supreme Court: Senators Grassley, Leahy urge Supreme Court to continue live streams post-pandemic.
  6. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.
  7. 🚀 Space: How to virtually watch SpaceX's first crewed launch Saturday.

Trump to end Hong Kong’s special trade status

President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President Trump announced on Friday that the U.S. would be fundamentally changing longstanding policies toward Hong Kong as a result of Chinese encroachment on the city's autonomy.

Why it matters: Trump said he would be effectively ending the special trade status that has allowed Hong Kong to flourish as a gateway to the Chinese market. That leaves an uncertain future for businesses that operate in Hong Kong, not to mention the city's 7 million residents, and could be met with reprisals from Beijing.