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Mikhail Metzel, Pool via AP

President Trump said Wednesday that Vladimir Putin would have preferred Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election, in part because the U.S. is exporting more energy than it would have under Clinton.

He's right that the U.S. is probably going to export more natural gas and oil under his administration than it would have under Clinton — as for the broader point about Putin wanting Clinton to win, I'll leave that to others to debate.

Why it matters: The never-ending story of the day seems to be how deep ties run between Trump and Russia. On energy, Trump doesn't seem to be softening plans that go against what Putin wants. The president appears genuinely serious about encouraging more oil and natural gas production and exports that will hurt Russia, whose economy is heavily dependent upon such exports.

The quote: "We're going to be exporting energy – he doesn't want that," Trump said in an interview with CNB published in part on Wednesday. "He would like Hillary where she wants to have windmills. He would much rather have that because energy prices would go up and Russia as you know relies very much on energy."

The other candidate: As secretary of state, Clinton was actually quite aggressive in touting how American oil and natural gas can be used as a geopolitical tool influencing other nations. But during the presidential election, Clinton adopted more liberal policies against fossil-fuel production as she responded to Bernie Sanders' campaign. Maybe Clinton would have moved back to the center on this issue as president, but she nonetheless would have been more susceptible to giving into pressure from environmental groups in a way Trump isn't.

To be sure:

It's still early in the Trump administration, and its policies toward energy exports could still evolve. What's more, the administration's power over Russia's influence in energy is limited, as I reported in my

Harder Line column

this week about natural-gas exports.

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.

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