Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the UN General Assembly. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Trump administration's dealings with Ukraine — including details first brought to light in a whistleblower complaint and now under investigation by multiple House committees — may have undermined critical American security interests both in Europe and across the globe.

The big picture: The House impeachment inquiry — spearheaded the the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees — is already reshaping the 2020 elections and could also have a profound impact on the United States' global standing and ability to project influence.

Between the lines: The inquiry encompasses a range of sensitive and consequential issues:

  • Balance of powers: The increasing centralization of foreign policy in the hands of the executive branch — to the exclusion of Congress — has raised concerns about the ability of the American people to influence foreign policy decisions. The more the Trump administration ignores Congressional mandates, such as military aid to Ukraine and subpoena requests, the further U.S. governance drifts from its Constitutional foundations.
  • Conduct of diplomacy: Administration officials may have been pursuing off-the-books, back-channel initiatives unauthorized by Congress — effectively sidelining consensus-driven foreign policy. If top political appointees or non-governmental envoys such as Rudy Giuliani advanced personal political agendas, that would compound the harm to American credibility abroad.
  • Russia deterrence: Withholding American military aid to Ukraine weakens its national defense and undercuts a shared goal of the U.S. and its Western allies. It also sends a troubling signal to NATO — and Russia — about America's determination to stand up to Russia's physical aggression in Europe.
  • Election security: Trump's conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky could constitute solicitation of a foreign campaign contribution. Moreover, little has been done to strengthen U.S. cyber defenses, and Trump has continued to downplay concerns about foreign interference.

The bottom line: The Ukrainian issues under mounting scrutiny could be only the tip of an iceberg. If the Trump Administration blocks cooperation with the impeachment inquiry, it could end up exacerbating perceptions that private interests have been placed above national security — a potentially challenging position for a commander in chief seeking reelection.

Joel Rubin is the president of the Washington Strategy Group and a former deputy assistant secretary of state.

Go deeper

Dems race to address, preempt stimulus fraud claims

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Biden officials are working to root out the systematic fraud in unemployment and Paycheck Protection Program claims that plagued the Trump administration’s efforts to boost the economy with coronavirus relief money, Gene Sperling told House committee chairmen privately this week.

Why it matters: President Biden just signed another $1.9 trillion of aid into law, with Sperling tapped to oversee its implementation. And the administration is asking Congress to approve another $2.2 trillion for the first phase of an infrastructure package.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Biden close to picking Nick Burns as China ambassador

Nicholas Burns. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Nicholas Burns, a career diplomat, is in the final stages of vetting to serve as President Biden’s ambassador to China, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Across the administration, there's a consensus the U.S. relationship with China will be the most critical — and consequential — of Biden's presidency. From trade to Taiwan, the stakes are high. Burns could be among the first batch of diplomatic nominees announced in the coming weeks.

Biden's Russian sanctions likely to achieve little

President Biden announces new sanctions against Russia. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Despite bold talk from top administration officials, there's little reason to think the Russia sanctions package President Biden announced Thursday will do anything to alter Russian President Vladimir Putin's behavior or calculus.

Why it matters: While it's true some elements of the package — namely, the targeting of Russia's sovereign debt — represent significant punitive measures against Moscow, it leaves plenty of wiggle room for the Russian president.