House and Senate leaders struck a deal late Wednesday night that would ramp up sanctions against Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election (in a package that also heightened sanctions on Iran and North Korea) while also limiting President Trump's power to nix them.

Where Europe comes in: European allies are concerned that the sanctions against Russia would inadvertently be damaging to their economies as well.

Here's why
  • The bill seeks to strike at the heart of Russia's economic lifeline, which is its sale of oil and natural gas. Oil and natural gas exports pay for half of the Russian state budget, and Russia's biggest customer is Europe.
  • It's not only Russia that is reliant: Europe depends on Russia for about a quarter of its energy supplies.
  • And some of Europe's biggest energy and construction companies have big contracts to build Nordstream 2, an enormous natural gas line under the Baltic Sea that's meant to allow Russia to finally all-but sever its dependence on export lines crossing Ukraine.

And they might retaliate: EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker said Wednesday, "If our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days. 'America First' cannot mean that Europe's interests come last." Juncker's warning is a dig at Trump, but...

Trump's hands might be tied: The White House doesn't like the bill either, arguing it limits Trump's abilities to deal with Russia. But he's likely to sign it anyway, given its popularity and the likelihood that lawmakers will have the votes to override a potential veto.

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Graeme Jennings- Pool/Getty Images

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

Harris to Black voters: Casting a ballot is about honoring your ancestors

Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris speaks at a "Get Out The Vote" rally at Morehouse College. Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Kamala Harris appealed to Black voters in Georgia on Friday, urging them to "honor the ancestors" by casting ballots, and again calling President Trump a "racist."

Why it matters: The U.S. saw a significant decline in African-American voter turnout between 2012 and 2016, reaching its lowest point since 2000. Higher turnout among Black Americans this year could tip the balance in favor of Democrats in key battleground states, including Georgia.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci: Trump hasn't been to a COVID task force meeting in months.
  2. Sports: The youth sports exodus continues — Big Ten football is back.
  3. Health: U.S. hits highest daily COVID-19 case count since pandemic began —AstraZeneca to resume vaccine trial in U.S.How to help save 130,000 lives.
  4. Retail: Santa won't greet kids at Macy's this year.
  5. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.

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