Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

A screenshot of NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on MSNBC's "The 11th Hour with Brian Williams," Sept. 16.

National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden told MSNBC's "'The 11th Hour with Brian Williams Monday that Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden warned countries in 2013 there would be "consequences" if they granted him asylum.

What he's saying: Snowden told MSNBC's Brian Williams from Russia that he applied for asylum in 27 different countries. "[E]very time one of these governments got close to opening their doors, the phone would ring in their foreign ministries and on the other end of the line would be a very senior American official," he said.

"It was one of two people. Then-Secretary of State John Kerry or then-Vice President Joe Biden. And they would say, look, we don't know what the law is, we don't care if you can do this or not, we understand that protecting whistleblowers and granting asylum is a matter of human rights and you could do this if you want to.
But if you protect this man, if you let this guy out of Russia, there will be consequences. We're not going to say what they're going to be, but there will be a response."

Flashback: Rafael Correa, who was then president of Ecuador, said in June 2013 he had a "friendly and very cordial" phone conversation with Biden in which the then-vice president asked him to turn down Snowden's asylum request, AP reported at the time.

The big picture: Snowden has been on a media blitz ahead of the release of his memoir this fall. The exiled American told France Inter radio that he would be happy to leave Russia and move to France, which rejected his application for asylum in 2013.

  • Snowden told "CBS This Morning" earlier he would like to return to the U.S. if he could settle on negotiations for a "fair trial" over charges relating to his leaking of classified information to journalists in 2013 about the NSA’s bulk collection of phone and internet metadata from U.S. citizens.
  • In his wide-ranging interview with Williams, Snowden said he hadn't taken a position on the 2020 race, but he found President Trump "simple to understand." 
"Donald Trump strikes me like nothing so much as a man who has never really known a love that he hasn’t had to pay for. And so everything that he does is informed by a kind of transactionalism. I think and what he’s actually looking for is simply for people to like him, unfortunately that produces a lot of negative effects."

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”