Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has a three-point approach to the US-Russia relationship, and it looks a lot like President Obama's 2015 plan, developed during the Ukraine crisis, per Buzzfeed News, which was briefed on the classified plan.

Why it matters: Tillerson's three "pillars," and the points where his plan differs from Obama's, demonstrate how conflicted the administration is over how to improve relations with Russia while maintaining a check on Vladimir Putin's behavior.

The plan:
  • First, the U.S. will make clear to Russia that aggression — such as arming the Taliban — will not be tolerated.
  • Second, there will be engagement on issues that concern the U.S. Among these are the civil war in Syria — where Russia just threatened U.S. planes after the U.S. downed a Syrian jet — and North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
  • Third, Tillerson's plan will pursue "strategic stability" with the Kremlin — an equilibrium of cooperation on shared interests and pushback against aggression.
What's not in there:
  • "Resilience" of Russian neighbors. Tillerson's plan does not include specific measures to empower the Eastern European countries which are at risk of Russian interference, Buzzfeed reports. This element was central in Obama's approach.
  • The White House perspective. Obama's plan primarily came out of his National Security Council, but Tillerson drafted his framework from within the State Department.
What it means:

James Carafano, a defense expert on Trump's transition team, told Buzzfeed, "Putin will deliver nothing on Syria or North Korea, and this will allow Tillerson to show Trump he tried." Trump's Plan A has always been to cooperate with Russia, but if Carafano is right, Tillerson may just be going through the motions while preparing for a more confrontational strategy. In the meantime, the administration risks being stuck in no-man's land, neither meaningfully confronting Russia nor tangibly improving the relationship.

Go deeper

Woman who allegedly stole laptop from Pelosi's office to sell to Russia is arrested

Photo: FBI

A woman accused of breaching the Capitol and planning to sell to Russia a laptop or hard drive she allegedly stole from Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office was arrested in Pennsylvania's Middle District Monday, the Department of Justice said.

Driving the news: Riley June Williams, 22, is charged with illegally entering the Capitol as well as violent entry and disorderly conduct. She has not been charged over the laptop allegation and the case remains under investigation, per the DOJ.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.