Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump continued to insist Sunday that no quid pro quo took place over Ukraine aid in the face of mounting testimonies in the impeachment inquiry.

Why it matters: The president is doubling down in an apparent message to Senate Republicans, some of whom have reportedly acknowledged the possibility that a quid pro quo may have taken place during Trump's July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

  • The Washington Post reports the senators concluded at a private lunch Wednesday that Trump's request for Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid was legal and standard foreign policy. Therefore, it wouldn't constitute an impeachable offense.

Between the lines: Republican leadership sources told Axios' Jonathan Swan and Jim VandeHei they expect many GOP senators to "ultimately settle on a talking point that Trump's actions were 'inappropriate but not impeachable.'" Republicans' strategy is to "stay unified, in votes and voice," they write.

Go deeper: Trump's new reality: the daily dump

Go deeper

The apocalypse scenario

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democratic lawyers are preparing to challenge any effort by President Trump to swap electors chosen by voters with electors selected by Republican-controlled legislatures. One state of particular concern: Pennsylvania, where the GOP controls the state house.

Why it matters: Trump's refusal to commit to a peaceful transfer of power, together with a widely circulated article in The Atlantic about how bad the worst-case scenarios could get, is drawing new attention to the brutal fights that could jeopardize a final outcome.

Federal judge rules Trump administration can't end census early

Census workers outside Lincoln Center in New York. Photo: Noam Galai/Getty Images

A federal judge ruled late Thursday that the Trump administration could not end the 2020 census a month early.

Why it matters: The decision states that an early end — on Sept. 30, instead of Oct. 31 — would likely produce inaccuracies and thus impact political representation and government funding around the country.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Where bringing students back to school is most risky

Data: Coders Against COVID; Note: Rhode Island and Puerto Rico did not meet minimum testing thresholds for analysis. Values may not add to 100% due to rounding; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Schools in Southern and Midwestern states are most at risk of coronavirus transmission, according to an analysis by Coders Against COVID that uses risk indicators developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The big picture: Thankfully, schools have not yet become coronavirus hotspots, the Washington Post reported this week, and rates of infection are lower than in the surrounding communities. But that doesn't mean schools are in the clear, especially heading into winter.

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