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Rick Gates, Roger Stone and Steve Bannon. Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP, Mark Wilson and Stefano Montesi - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and ex-Trump campaign chairman Rick Gates — two prominent witnesses in the Russia investigation — are expected to testify at former Trump campaign adviser Roger Stone's trial, prosecutor Aaron Zelinsky said Wednesday, per AP.

Why it matters: Zelinsky, who worked with former special counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia probe, said Stone tried to cover up his alleged attempts to determine if WikiLeaks had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, the New York Times reports.

  • Zelinsky accused Stone of concealing emails and texts "that would have exposed" his attempts to pass information from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to senior Trump officials, per the Times.
  • Stone is also accused of repeatedly lying to Congress, witness tampering and blocking the House investigation into whether Trump's campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election, per AP.

Background: Bannon communicated with Stone in Oct. 2016 about Assange's publicly announced plan to release information related to the 2016 presidential election, emails obtained by the New York Times show.

  • WikiLeaks published thousands of hacked emails from the DNC and Clinton's campaign on July 22, 2016.
  • The FBI, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence concluded in 2017 that Russian intelligence relayed hacked DNC material to WikiLeaks.

Go deeper: Prosecutors accuse Stone of violating gag order with social media posts

Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”