President Donald Trump at a White House meeting. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

Russian government officials and businessmen helped Venezuela launch the world's first state-issued cryptocurrency last month, which is intended to help sidestep U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, TIME reports, citing anonymous officials familiar with the issue.

The backdrop: TIME's report comes a day after President Trump signed an executive order prohibiting U.S. citizens from buying the newly created 'Petro.’

The details: An unnamed Russian state bank executive, who handles cryptocurrencies matters, said senior government advisers have overseen the Venezuela plan, which President Vladimir Putin signed off on last year.

  • TIME also reports that Maduro’s Russian advisers, Denis Druzhkov and Fyodor Bogorodsky, who both have major ties to Russian banks and billionaires, were at the launch of the digital currency last month.

The Russian government denied TIME's report, with the Finance Ministry saying none of Russia's financial authorities were involved in the petro's creation. Venezuelan officials did not respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper with the TIME investigation.

Go deeper

The Biden blowout scenario

Joe Biden speaks at an outdoor Black Economic Summit in Charlotte yesterday. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Joe Biden or President Trump could win the election narrowly — but only one in a popular and electoral vote blowout. 

Why it matters: A Biden blowout would mean a Democratic Senate, a bigger Democratic House and a huge political and policy shift nationwide.

2 hours ago - Technology

Justice's moves ring Big Tech with regulatory threats

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The Department of Justice proposed legislation to curb liability protections for tech platforms and moved a step closer toward an antitrust lawsuit against Google Wednesday.

The big picture: As President Trump faces re-election, lawmakers and regulators are hurriedly wrapping up investigations and circling Big Tech with regulatory threats.

Democrats' mail voting pivot

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Democrats spent the early months of the coronavirus pandemic urging their base to vote absentee. But as threats of U.S. Postal Service delays, Team Trump litigation and higher ballot rejection rates become clearer, many are pivoting to promote more in-person voting as well.

Why it matters: Democrats are exponentially more likely to vote by mail than Republicans this year — and if enough mail-in ballots are lost, rejected on a technicality or undercounted, it could change the outcome of the presidential election or other key races.

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