Illustration: Rebecca Zisser / Axios

An emergency funding request of $4 billion dollars sent to Congress last week shows a new interest from the Trump administration in dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat; it wants to stop nuclear weapons from flying before they even really get started, the NYT reports. This would interfere with control systems in the North or shoot them down just after liftoff.

Why it matters: Other methods of intercepting North Korean missiles only work about half the time — and that's only in test situations.

The challenge: Even if we develop this kind of defense, the risk is that the phase is so short (about a minute or so), that the U.S. probably wouldn't be able to reach the missile in time, and if we falsely detect a nuclear launch — but it's actually just a test — we risk provoking North Korean retaliation.

Go deeper: How the U.S. is prepared to handle the North.

Go deeper

Updated 24 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 p.m. ET: 30,911,999 — Total deaths: 959,059— Total recoveries: 21,147,903Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30p.m. ET: 6,796,384 — Total deaths: 199,474 — Total recoveries: 2,590,671 — Total tests: 95,108,559Map.
  3. Politics: Testing czar on Trump's CDC contradictions: "Everybody is right" Ex-FDA chief: Career scientists won't be "easily cowed" by political vaccine pressure.
  4. Education: What we overlooked in the switch to remote learning.
  5. Health: The dwindling chances of eliminating COVID-19 — 7 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  6. World: England sets £10,000 fine for breaking self-isolation rules — The countries painting their pandemic recoveries green.

Arrest over letter to Trump containing poison ricin

President Trump returning to the White House from Minnesota on Sept. 18. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

A suspect was arrested for allegedly "sending a suspicious letter" after law enforcement agents intercepted an envelope addressed to President Trump containing the poison ricin, the FBI confirmed in an emailed statement to Axios Sunday.

Details: The suspect, a woman, was arrested while trying to enter New York from Canada, law enforcement forces said.

Trump campaign goes all in on Pennsylvania

Trump poster in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The president's campaign is placing more importance on Pennsylvania amid growing concern that his chances of clinching Wisconsin are slipping, Trump campaign sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, twice Wisconsin's number, actually has been trending higher in recent public and internal polling, a welcome development for the campaign.