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.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 18,187,396 — Total deaths: 691,352 — Total recoveries — 10,841,436Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 4,711,323 — Total deaths: 155,379 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized coronavirus testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  4. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign for schools.
  5. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.

In photos: Thousands evacuated as Southern California fire grows

A plane makes a retardant drop on a ridge at the Apple Fire north of Banning in Riverside County, which "doubled in size" Saturday, per KTLA. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A massive wildfire that prompted mandatory evacuations in Southern California over the weekend burned 26,450 acres and was 5% contained by Monday afternoon, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The big picture: As California remains an epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., some 15 separate fires are raging across the state. About 7,800 people were under evacuation orders from the Apple Fire, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, as hundreds of firefighters battled the blaze. CalFire said Monday that a malfunction involving a "diesel-fueled vehicle emitting burning carbon from the exhaust system" started the Apple Fire.

Twitter faces FTC fine of up to $250 million over alleged privacy violations

Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket

The Federal Trade Commission has accused Twitter of using phone numbers and emails from its users to make targeted ads between 2013 and 2019, Twitter said in an SEC filing published Monday.

Why it matters: Twitter estimates that the FTC's draft complaint, which was sent a few days after its Q2 earnings report, could cost the company between $150 million and $250 million. The complaint is unrelated to the recent Twitter hack involving a bitcoin scam.