Bullit Marquez / AP

It's been a busy week, mostly preoccupied with James Comey's Senate testimony on Thursday and the subsequent updates. Here are the top defense stories you might have missed this week:

1. U.S.-backed Kurdish forces have entered Raqqa, the de facto capital of ISIS. ISIS "losing Raqqa is the beginning of the end for Daesh," via The Guardian.

2. Trump-Saudi $110 billion weapons deal revealed to Defense News: "Previously slim on specifics, includes seven THAAD missile defense batteries, over 100,000 air-to-ground munitions and billions of dollars' worth of new aircraft, according to a White House document obtained by Defense News and authenticated by a second source."

3. The U.S. vs. the Kurds: This September, the U.S. will oppose the Kurdish region's decision to hold a referendum on independence. A referendum is necessary because "Iraqi Kurds currently enjoy almost total autonomy, but tensions with the Baghdad government remain over control of oil reserves." More via RadioFreeEurope.

4. American military casualties abroad. Three U.S. soldiers were killed in a Taliban attack in Eastern Afghanistan. The Afghanistan soldier also wounded another U.S. soldier, per The Hill. Trump was "following the emerging situation in Afghanistan."

5. The U.S. helps Philippines in fight against ISIS. After recently threatening to kick U.S. military out of the region, the Philippines government is now accepting "technical support" from the U.S. as Islamic militants to continue to terrorize their country. "Nearly 140 militants and 60 government troops have been killed the fighting." More from The Atlantic.

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

Right-wing media defanged by dissolving anti-Biden storylines

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.