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Rex Tillerson looks at Trump after a 9/11 memorial service in 2017. Photo: Brendan Smiaowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump pressed former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to "help persuade the Justice Department to drop a criminal case against an Iranian-Turkish gold trader" in 2017, which Tillerson reportedly refused and described as illegal, Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: Trump is currently facing an impeachment inquiry that grew from a whistleblower report on his interactions with another foreign leader, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Between the lines: The dismissal of gold trader Reza Zarrab’s case was a high priority for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan until the trader "agreed to cooperate" with New York prosecutors, per Bloomberg.

  • Zarrab was also a client of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani at the time — and part of the president's request included asking Tillerson to speak with Giuliani.
  • Tillerson reportedly refused Trump's request on the grounds that it would interfere in an ongoing investigation against Zarrab "on charges of evading U.S. sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program," Bloomberg reports.

The big picture: This week, the president received swift bipartisan backlash after withdrawing U.S. forces from northern Syria where Turkish troops are expected to advance. Trump's announcement took place after a phone call with Erdoğan.

  • Sanctions against Turkey are already on the table. Erdoğan said on Wednesday the country had already launched its offensive against U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters and Islamic State operatives in northern Syria.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Updated 12 mins ago - Sports

Tiger Woods crash: What we know

Photo: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Tiger Woods underwent emergency surgery to repair damage to his right leg and ankle, after he was involved in a single-vehicle accident on Tuesday in which his SUV ran off the road.

What we know: The golf star "is currently awake, responsive and recovering in his hospital room" at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, according to a late-night statement from his team.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
14 mins ago - Podcasts

Corporate America pressures Congress to act on stimulus

Big corporations and top CEOs are putting pressure on Congress and the White House to pass economic stimulus measures, as the political debate drags on.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper with Heather Higginbottom, a former Obama administration official and president of the JPMorgan Chase Policy Center, about why her organization just published its first-ever set of policy recommendations.

Capitol repairs, security top $30M since Jan. 6 attacks

Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton on Wednesday said that repairs and security expenses related to the Jan. 6 insurrection have already cost more than $30 million.

The state of play: Congressional appropriations committees have allocated the $30 million for repairs and perimeter fencing around the Capitol building through March 31, per NPR.