Pressed on whether it was appropriate for President Trump to solicit foreign interference from Ukraine and China, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said on ABC's "This Week" that the president is a "human" and that "things happen."

The exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I asked if it was okay to solicit. We've seen the president in public ask the Ukrainians to get involved, ask the Chinese to get involved.
SHELBY: Well, those were just statements, political. They make them all the time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's okay?
SHELBY: I didn't say it was okay, I said people make them. People do things. Things happen.

Why it matters: There has been a range of responses from Republicans on the question of whether Trump's conduct toward Ukraine was appropriate, with some arguing that it was improper but not impeachable — and others disputing the claim that he was soliciting foreign interference.

  • Shelby's response reflects the discomfort some Republicans have with admitting they had issues with Trump's behavior, when the president himself has insisted he did nothing wrong.
  • Shelby, who has been sworn in as an "impartial juror" in the Senate impeachment trial, said he doesn't believe Trump's conduct "rises to the standard of an impeachable offense," but added: "I still think we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself."

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Updated 18 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 30,199,007 — Total deaths: 946,490— Total recoveries: 20,544, 967Map
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 6:30 a.m. ET: 6,675,593 — Total deaths: 197,644 — Total recoveries: 2,540,334 — Total tests: 90,710,730Map
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Mike Allen, author of AM
50 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Mike Bloomberg's anti-chaos theory

CNN's Anderson Cooper questions Joe Biden last night at a drive-in town hall in Moosic, Pa., outside Scranton. Photo: CNN

Mike Bloomberg's $100 million Florida blitz begins today and will continue "wall to wall" in all 10 TV markets through Election Day, advisers tell me.

Why it matters: Bloomberg thinks that Joe Biden putting away Florida is the most feasible way to head off the national chaos we could have if the outcome of Trump v. Biden remained uncertain long after Election Day.

Biden's hardline Russia reset

Photo Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Getty Images photos: Mark Reinstein

When he talks about Russia, Joe Biden has sounded like Ronald Reagan all summer, setting up a potential Day 1 confrontation with Russian President Vladimir Putin if Biden were to win.

Why it matters: Biden has promised a forceful response against Russia for both election interference and alleged bounty payments to target American troops in Afghanistan. But being tougher than President Trump could be the easy part. The risk is overdoing it and making diplomacy impossible.