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Trump and Sweden's prime minister at the press conference. Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump denied at a press conference this afternoon that Russia had affected “our votes” in 2016, but did note that “certainly there was meddling” from Russia and “probably” other countries and individuals. Trump said his administration is doing a “very, very deep study” and would issue “strong suggestions” ahead of the 2018 midterms.

The backdrop: The Trump administration has been repeatedly accused of inaction on this issue, after NSA Director Mike Rogers said he had not been given an order to stop Russian hacking, and the New York Times reported the State Department hadn’t spent a cent of the $120 million granted to fight election interference.

Trump's answer to the question was meandering. He spoke at some length about reasons to expect a “big surprise” from Republicans in 2018 because of a strong economy and his accomplishments on cutting regulations and confirming judges, among other things, before pivoting suddenly back to election interference.

  • “You have to be very vigilant,” he said, adding that having a “paper backup system” for votes is very important. He said many agencies, including Homeland Security, were studying the issue.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour 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.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution

Joe Biden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

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