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Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov via Getty Images

President Trump has repeatedly sought to conceal the details of his face-to-face conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin from senior officials in his own administration, the Washington Post's Greg Miller reports.

Details: After meeting with Putin in Germany in 2017, Trump reportedly took notes from his own interpreter and instructed them not to discuss the contents of the conversation with other administration officials. This is just one example of what Miller reports is "a broader pattern" of Trump shielding his communications with Putin from the public as well as senior government officials — a pattern that has resulted in there being "no detailed record" of his face-to-face meetings with the Russian leader at "five locations over the past two years."

The big picture: Trump's 2-hour closed-door meeting with Putin in Helsinki over the summer has drawn scrutiny from Democrats in Congress, after Trump appeared to side with Putin over the findings of the U.S. intelligence community about Russian interference in the 2016 election.

  • Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), new chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Post that the meeting will be a target for investigators now that Democrats have taken control of the House. While in the minority, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee attempted to subpoena Trump's interpreter, but were blocked by Republicans.

Go deeper: FBI reportedly probed whether Trump was secretly working for Russia

Go deeper

8 mins ago - World

Jimmy Lai among Hong Kong pro-democracy leaders sentenced to prison

Students standing under a banner during a flag raising ceremony on the first annual National Security Education Day in Hong Kong. Photo: Vernon Yuen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A Hong Kong court sentenced a group of pro-democracy activists to up to 18 months in prison Friday for organizing a massive unauthorized protest in August 2019 that drew an estimated 1.7 million people, AP reports.

Why it matters: Critics say the sentences send the message that even peaceful pro-democracy activism will be severely punished. They mark a continuation of Beijing's overhaul of Hong Kong's political structure, designed to crack down opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

Local news moves to the inbox

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A slew of new companies are launching platforms for local newsletters, a shift that could help finally bring the local news industry into the digital era.

Driving the news: Substack, the email publishing platform for independent journalists, on Thursday announced a new local news platform.

J&J vaccine pause hurts its reputation

Reproduced from Economist/YouGov poll; Chart: Axios Visuals

Americans' confidence in the safety of Johnson & Johnson's coronavirus vaccine took a big dip this week after the pause in its use, per new YouGov polling, even though the risk of blood clots following the shot is extremely low, if it exists at all.

Why it matters: For the majority of people, particularly high-risk Americans, getting the J&J shot is almost certainly less dangerous than remaining vulnerable to the coronavirus.