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Screenshot: "Axios on HBO"

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz told "Axios on HBO" he doesn't think the Trump campaign's focus on the Biden family's business dealings are having any sway with voters.

The big picture: After watching the Trump-Biden debate with "Axios on HBO" on Thursday night, Cruz said he thought Trump had done very well. But when asked whether he thought voters were moved by the release of the Hunter Biden emails, Cruz replied, "I don't think it moves a single voter."

  • Cruz also said that "one of Biden's best points was when he said, 'All of these attacks back and forth about my family and his family, they don't matter. What matters is your family.'"

Why it matters: Cruz is not alone in this view. One of Trump's top advisers told me he had urged Trump to stop talking about anything to do with Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton's emails or "Russiagate" and to instead focus solely on the economy.

  • "I think we should be unifying, we should be explaining, we should be lifting people up," Cruz said. "I think it's a turnout election. But my assessment of turnout is the left is showing up no matter what. That those who hate Trump will crawl over broken glass to vote against him."
  • "The big unknown in this election is: Is everyone else gonna show up?"
Highlights from our interview:

1) The gender gap: We discussed why women have abandoned the Republican Party in droves. Asked why men find Trump much more appealing than women do, Cruz replied, "Why do men like pro wrestling more than women do?" (Cruz acknowledged he thinks the party’s "tone and rhetoric has alienated some women.")

2) The national debt: We had a lively exchange on the Republican Party's hypocrisy on the issue.

3) The Supreme Court: I asked Cruz how he reconciles his 2016 view that it was fine to hold the Supreme Court at eight justices throughout a Hillary Clinton presidency, if necessary, with his current view that it's essential to confirm a ninth justice to prevent a "constitutional crisis."

Go deeper

GOP implosion: Trump threats, payback

Spotted last week on a work van in Evansville, Ind. Photo: Sam Owens/The Evansville Courier & Press via Reuters

The GOP is getting torn apart by a spreading revolt against party leaders for failing to stand up for former President Trump and punish his critics.

Why it matters: Republican leaders suffered a nightmarish two months in Washington. Outside the nation’s capital, it's even worse.

Ro Khanna accuses Biden of quitting Middle East

Rep. Ro Khanna. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile for Web Summit via Getty Images

An outspoken progressive Democrat is wary of President Biden’s approach to the Middle East, arguing it’s like “conceding defeat of the aspiration” to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it matters: A number of members of Biden’s own party dislike his Middle East strategy, as his administration signals the region is no longer the priority it was for President Obama and his predecessors.

Democrats eye reconciliation for immigration

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Comprehensive immigration reform is a pipe dream, but some Senate Democrats are hoping to tie key immigration provisions to the next big reconciliation push.

Why it matters: Immigration is one of the most controversial and partisan issues in U.S. politics, which is why the budget reconciliation process — which allows for bills to pass the Senate with a simple majority rather than the usual 60 votes — is so attractive.