Updated Jan 24, 2018

Meet Putin's oligarchs

The U.S. Treasury is finalizing a list of oligarchs close to Vladimir Putin to be penalized under the sanctions passed last year in response to the Kremlin’s election meddling. It’s “expected to amount to a blacklist of Russia’s elite,” per Bloomberg.

The big picture: Two Russian billionaires have been caught up in the Russia probe, while suspicion around other wealthy men with close ties to Putin has deepened in Washington. Here’s a look at the oligarchs already under U.S. sanctions, and the ones who have caught Robert Mueller's eye.

Card deck: Axios Visuals. Net worth estimates via Forbes

The state of the oligarchy: Despite Russia’s economic woes, just three countries (the U.S., China and Germany) have more billionaires than Russia’s 96, according to Forbes. Together they are worth about $400 billion dollars — and that sum is growing.

Some of Russia’s richest men rose to prominence before Vladimir Putin came to power, but remaining among Russia’s business elite requires at least tacit support for, and from, the president.

Meanwhile a newer cluster of oligarchs has entered the fray. These are members of Putin’s inner circle, who have capitalized on those bonds to grow their wealth and influence.

The latest: Four U.S. senators are calling on the White House to include Alisher Usmanov, a metals magnate and former Facebook investor worth $15.1 billion, in the next round of sanctions.

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Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.

The Fed may be setting the table for 2020 rate cuts

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Fed looks to be laying the groundwork to lower U.S. interest rates this year, just as they did in April 2019 before cutting rates in July, September and October.

Why it matters: A Fed rate cut makes taking on debt more attractive for U.S. consumers and businesses, helping to juice the economy, but also puts the central bank in a weaker position to fight off a potential recession.

Morgan Stanley to buy E*Trade in a $13 billion deal

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Morgan Stanley is planning to buy E*Trade Financial Corp. in a $13 billion all-stock deal, the Wall Street Journal reports, with plans to acquire the company known for helping everyday Americans manage their money.

Why it matters: The deal, which would be the largest by a major American bank since the financial crisis, signals Morgan Stanley‘s desire to bulk up in wealth management.