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Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort all received this email from a top Russian official. Photos: Evan Vucci / AP; Richard Drew / AP; Mary Altaffer / AP

A senior Russian official emailed senior level aides of Trump's campaign team offering to set up a "backdoor" meeting between Trump and Vladimir Putin, NYT reports.

Why it matters: Although the meeting never actually happened (Jared Kushner and others eventually declined the invitation at the advice of others), it's the latest example in a growing list of ways the Trump campaign team had contacts with Russian officials discussing meetings with Trump.

The email subject line: "Russian backdoor overture and dinner invite." Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of the Russian central bank who is an advocate of Christian causes, sent the email, which made its way to senior level aides first. Once it reached Jared Kushner, the meeting was squashed, per NYT.

Timing: This email came just weeks after a Russian official told Trump campaign foreign policy adviser that they had "thousands of emails" containing "dirt" on Hillary Clinton. Not long after the prospects of this meeting ended, Donald Trump Jr. arranged a meeting with a Russian lawyer in August 2016.

Read more about the email on NYT.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.