Susan Walsh / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions held a press conference to announce his recusal from any ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign's contact with Russian officials. His announcement came after reports last night that he met twice with the Russian ambassador to the U.S. but denied any such contacts during his Senate confirmation hearings.

  • To kick it off: "I never had meetings with Russian intermediaries or Russian operatives about the Trump campaign."
  • But: "Since I had involvement with the campaign, I should not be involved with any campaign investigation...Therefore, I have recused myself from the matters that deal with the Trump campaign." Sessions was already considering recusal and had an initial meeting with staff on Monday and a follow-up planned for today before the reports hit last night.
  • His September 8 meeting with the Russian ambassador: "I don't remember a lot of it." He added, "We talked a little bit about terrorism, as I recall, and the subject of the Ukraine came up." He said the conversation got "testy."
  • Like high school but more political: "Most of these ambassadors are gossipy...but I don't recall any type of political campaign discussions."

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New Jersey governor allows schools to reopen for in-person learning

Gov. Phil Murphy in December 2019. Phoot: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Wednesday he will sign an executive order allowing private and public K-12 schools and universities to reopen for in-person learning in September.

The big picture: New York and New Jersey have now authorized school districts to begin reopening. Both states and Connecticut ordered travelers from 31 states to quarantine before crossing their state borders after they were able to manage the pandemic.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 20,412,501 — Total deaths: 744,649— Total recoveries: 12,629,465Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1:30 p.m. ET: 5,163,509 — Total deaths: 164,994 — Total recoveries: 1,714,960 — Total tests: 63,252,257Map.
  3. Politics: Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"
  4. Business: U.S. already feeling effects of ending unemployment benefits.
  5. Public health: America is flying blind on its coronavirus response.
  6. Education: Gallup: America's confidence in public school system jumps to highest level since 2004.

Pelosi on state of coronavirus stimulus talks: "It's a chasm"

Democrats and the Trump administration remain "miles apart" on negotiations over a coronavirus stimulus deal, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Wednesday.

Driving the news, via Axios' Dion Rabouin: Congress' failure to renew enhanced unemployment measures for millions of Americans at the end of July is already affecting consumer spending patterns, holding down retail purchases and foot traffic, economists at Deutsche Bank say.