Feb 14, 2017

The curious case of the Russian missiles leak

Alexei Nikolsky / AP

The story got lost amid the wall-to-wall Michael Flynn coverage, but it hasn't been lost on Republican insiders crafting Russia policy.

The New York Times reports today that administration officials have leaked news that Russia "secretly deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints from American officials that it violates a landmark arms control treaty that helped seal the end of the Cold War."

What Republicans on Capitol Hill are wondering: Republicans have been protesting Russia's violations for a couple of years already; so they're naturally wondering about motive. Was it someone in the Administration who is trying to prevent President Trump's Russia outreach? As one insider pointed out to us, there's no apparent need for urgent action to justify the leak's timing.

"You'll note that the Times says 'Russia now has two battalions'. Two. As in they didn't just rush this out yesterday," the insider added. "Those things take a lot of time to put in place. That's why this story isn't exactly urgent especially when there's really no response we can take."

Why this matters: The Trump Administration is (understandably) rife with paranoia, and the paranoia is seeping out on the Hill and being nourished by the extraordinary series of leaks coming from the intelligence community. On the campaign trail, Trump promised to go to war with Washington. He may have underestimated Washington's powers to fight back.

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Coronavirus hospitalizations keep falling

Data: COVID Tracking Project, Harvard Global Health Institute; Note: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee and Puerto Rico have not reported hospitalizations consistently. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, particularly in New York and other northeastern states that were among the hardest hit by the virus.

Yes, but: Some states are still recording stagnant or rising amounts of hospitalizations.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day.

The latest: Protesters were out en masse after curfews were in force in areas including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — one of the cities where there was a late-night flash-point between police and protesters.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).