Nov 18, 2017

The "backdoor" Russia meeting proposed to Trump's team

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.

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America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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