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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

A pro-Trump network of conservative operatives has been compiling dossiers of potentially damaging public comments and social media posts by journalists who have produced unfavorable coverage of the administration, the New York Times' Ken Vogel and Jeremy Peters report.

The big picture: The group has already released information on journalists at CNN, the Times and the Washington Post, but sources say the operation has only disclosed a fraction of its dirt. More is set to be disseminated as the 2020 election campaign ramps up, including potentially "fireable" information on "several hundred" journalists, according to one source. The research is also said to include information on journalists' families and any "toxic" political affiliations.

What they're saying: The White House press office said no one in the White House, including the president, was aware of or involved in the scheme and that no funding for the operation has been provided by the administration or the Republican National Committee.

  • But, but, but: According to the Times, "The Trump campaign said it was unaware of, and not involved in, the effort, but suggested that it served a worthy purpose. 'We know nothing about this, but it’s clear that the media has a lot of work to do to clean up its own house,' said Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s communications director."
  • Sam Nunberg, who worked on the 2016 Trump campaign, told the Times: "Two can play at this game. The media has long targeted Republicans with deep dives into their social media, looking to caricature all conservatives and Trump voters as racists."

The bottom line: Trump has long been at war with the press, consistently deeming factual reporting "fake news" and attacking journalists as the "enemy of the people." The effort to delegitimize reporters on a personal level, even if not led by Trump himself, appears to be an unprecedented step.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - World

At least 125 dead in western India after landslides, monsoon flooding

Vehicles driving through a flooded street in Mumbai on July 19. Photo: Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

At least 125 people are dead after monsoon rains triggered landslides in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, authorities said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

State of play: Downpours lasting several days have impacted hundreds of thousands of people, as major rivers are in danger of breaking through their banks.

Updated 3 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

🚨: China wins 1st gold of Tokyo Olympics

📺: The Olympic events to watch today

🎾: Athlete spotlight - Naomi Osaka looks to snag gold on home soil

👻: How the no-spectator Olympics could affect the athletes

🇺🇸: "What an honor it is to watch you soar," first lady tells U.S. Olympians

🥇: The six new sports at Tokyo 2020

💉 About 100 U.S. Olympic athletes are unvaccinated

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

3 hours ago - Sports

China wins 1st gold of Tokyo Olympics

Silver medalist Anastasiia Galashina of Russia, gold medalist Yang Qian of China and bronze medalist Nina Christen of Switzerland celebrate on the podium after the 10m air rifle women's final. Photo:

China's Yang Qian won the first gold of the Tokyo Olympics, narrowly beating Anastasiia Galashina of the Russian Olympic Committee in the women's 10-meter air rifle final.

Why it matters: The first medal ceremony of the Games took on extra meaning after a year-long delay and other hurdles brought on by the pandemic. Athletes are required to hang medals around their own necks in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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