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!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

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!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump is pushing the limits on how much Congress will tolerate of a president using his office to target political rivals.

Why it matters: Ukraine is reportedly at the center of a whistleblower's concerns over Trump's contact with a foreign leader, the WashPost and N.Y. Times report.

  • The phone call: Trump reportedly urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "about eight times" to cooperate with his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani on investigating Joe Biden's son Hunter, the WSJ reported Friday afternoon.
  • The whistleblower: While few specifics are known about the whistleblower complaint, Trump's call with Zelensky was two weeks before the issue was raised. Per the Post, Trump made a "promise" that troubled a member of the intelligence community.
  • The standoff: Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and the Justice Department have blocked Congress from accessing that whistleblower report, despite an intelligence community watchdog's referral.
  • The pressure: “Of course I did," Giuliani told CNN last night, when asked if he's pressured Ukraine on investigating Biden. Giuliani later tweeted that a "President telling a Pres-elect of a well known corrupt country he better investigate corruption that affects US is doing his job."
  • The money: The Trump administration has been withholding $250 million in aid for Ukraine that's meant to deter Russia. In July, Trump told Zelensky that the key to improving ties was Ukraine investigating corruption.

Between the lines: It's not clear that this example provides a reasonable case for investigation into the Biden family, as JustSecurity noted earlier this month.

  • "Trump and Giuliani allege, contrary to evidence, that Biden improperly pressured the Ukrainian government in 2016 to fire then-Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in the midst of a corruption investigation of one of Ukraine’s biggest gas companies, Burisma Group. Biden’s youngest son, Hunter, was serving on the company’s board at the time."
  • "But the prosecutor ...was the target of pressure by Ukrainian anti-corruption advocates and a host of international supporters of Ukraine, who argued he should be fired for failing to pursue major cases of corruption."
  • "And it was the widely known and publicly espoused position of the U.S. government ... that the prosecutor’s ouster was among crucial anti-corruption measures that the Ukrainian government needed to take."
  • The other side: "Several former officials in the Obama Administration ... insisted that Hunter’s role at Burisma had no effect on his father’s policies in Ukraine, but said that, nevertheless, Hunter should not have taken the board seat," The New Yorker reported earlier this year.

What's next: Zelensky is among the world leaders with whom Trump is slated to meet next week at the UN General Assembly.

  • Expect Democrats to keep pushing for more information on the whistleblower report, as well as for more details on Trump's phone calls.
  • "If it's true that the president requested that the president of Ukraine interfere in an American election, we are in really dangerous, brand new territory," Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) told the WashPost's Bob Costa today.

The bottom line: “It doesn’t matter what I discussed but I will say this, somebody ought to look into Joe Biden," Trump told reporters Friday.

  • Biden's response: "Not one single credible outlet has given any credibility to his assertion. Not one single one and so I have no comment except the president should start to, ah, be president."

Go deeper

D.C.'s building boom grinds to a halt

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The decades-long building boom that remade Washington D.C. is screeching to a halt, undone by broader construction trends and the legacy of the post-pandemic workplace.

Why it matters: Dizzying construction has reshaped the city, reinvigorated downtown and created bustling new communities. 

Facebook fights for its image

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Facebook is ditching apologies and taking a more combative stance against its critics as it faces a new barrage of negative coverage and leaked internal reports.

Driving the news: As part of the new posture, Facebook started testing placing positive messages about itself in users' News Feeds last month, according to a New York Times story Tuesday.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Charter schools boomed during the pandemic

Expand chart
Data: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

Charter schools picked off hundreds of thousands of public school students across the U.S. during the pandemic, according to a new analysis from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

Why it matters: The pandemic has weakened America's public education system, as Zoom classes, teacher fatigue and student disengagement take their toll. And that hobbled system is shedding students to charter schools, private schools and homeschooling.