Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images

It's easy to lose sight of what truly matters in this Russia investigation. And, to be fair, only Robert Mueller truly knows. But lost in the buzz around the BuzzFeed story, was a bombshell floated by Trump’s own lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

What he said: In remarks that he yesterday tried to walk back as "hypothetical," Giuliani admitted Trump's team may have been working on — and updating him on — a potential Trump Tower in Moscow all the way up to Election Day.

This possibility is a huge deal for four reasons:

  1. Giuliani suggested that then-candidate Trump was aware of — and discussed — the deal far longer than previously disclosed. Giuliani, relaying a quote from the president that hardly sounds hypothetical, said in an interview with the N.Y. Times that Trump had told him the Trump Tower Moscow discussions were "going on from the day I announced to the day I won."
  2. That would mean Trump was being untruthful or highly misleading with his repeated campaign denials of any Moscow business dealings, as late as his Oct. 9 debate with Hillary Clinton: "I don’t deal there."
  3. This would mean Trump was cooking up a business deal with Vladimir Putin’s Russia while calling for warmer relations with Russia and questioning the U.S. role in Putin’s nemesis, NATO.  
  4. And Russian officials would have had negative information to hold over Trump, during the election and after. They would have known Trump was misleading the American people about his Moscow deal. 

Why this matters: Imagine there was no drip, drip, drip — and we learned in one fell swoop that an American presidential candidate was secretly negotiating a multibillion-dollar business deal with an enemy of the United States (and falsely denied it) while that nation was seeking to tip our election in his favor.

Be smart: It appears the Giuliani strategy includes, little by little, confirming troubling facts so that they won't seem as jarring when revealed in full by Mueller or others.

  • This allows Trump and others to say: "This isn’t new." Or: "Trump disclosed this earlier."

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 7 a.m. ET: 4,998,802 — Total deaths: 162,425 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats, and some Republicans, criticize the move.
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  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posted a photo of himself to Facebook congratulating his soccer team, Palmeiras, for winning the state title Saturday, moments after the health ministry confirmed the national COVID-19 death toll had surpassed 100,000.

Why it matters: Brazil is only the second country to confirm more than 100,000 deaths from the coronavirus. On Sunday morning, it became the second country to surpass 3 million cases, per Johns Hopkins. Only the U.S. has reported more. Bolsonaro has yet to address the milestones. He has previously tested positive for COVID-19 three times, but he's downplayed the impact of the virus, which has crippled Brazil's economy.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with the latest coronavirus case numbers and more context.