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Prigozhin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

Yevgeniy Prigozhin, a Russian oligarch who controls a mercenary force in Syria, was communicating with Syrian officials and the Kremlin "days and weeks before and after" an attack on U.S. and Syrian Democratic Forces earlier this month, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: This could indicate that the Kremlin signed off on an attack against U.S. troops in Syria that left scores of Russians dead and threatens to raise military tensions to new heights. It also adds to the intrigue surrounding Prigozhin, a Putin ally who was indicted by Robert Mueller for operating the Russian "troll farm" that carried out online election interference.

In an intercepted January cable to a Syrian official, Prigozhin said he had "secured permission" from a Russian minister for a “fast and strong” initiative in early February, per the Post.

  • The attack "marked the biggest direct challenge to the U.S. military presence in eastern Syria" since the U.S. "began deploying there in 2015," per the Post.
  • Big picture: The U.S. retaliated against pro-regime forces because they crossed the deconfliction line that was agreed upon by U.S. and Russian forces. And, U.S. forces were in communication with Russian officials before, during, and after the attack.

Go deeper: Read the full Washington Post report.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

“You blew it”: GOP activist turns on corporations over vaccine mandates

The chairman of the American Conservative Union said on "Axios on HBO" he accepts "Joe Biden is my president, and I want him to succeed," but predicted Republicans retake the House and Senate in 2022 — with greater than 50% odds Donald Trump runs in 2024.

The big picture: In a joint interview with his wife, Mercedes, Matt Schlapp also refused to share their vaccination status. And he told corporate America "you blew it" by embracing vaccine mandates and liberal social stances that have alienated GOP voters and politicians.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Pelosi expects “billionaire’s tax” to pay for Biden social spending

Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Sunday she expects the chamber to pass the bipartisan infrastructure plan by week’s end, and alternatives to corporate tax hikes and a “billionaires tax” will be used to finance President Biden’s promised expansion to the social safety net.

Why it matters: Pelosi’s comments come as House and Senate leaders try to wrap up a deal. What will get cut — and how the remainder will be paid — are linchpins to a final agreement.