Feb 15, 2017

Trump’s campaign had “repeated contacts” with Russia

Matt Smith via Flickr CC

Four current and former U.S. officials confirmed Trump's election aides and associates in the year leading up to the election had "repeated contacts" with Russian intelligence officials and other Russian government officials, the NYT reports. The investigation includes banking and travel records and interviews.

Timing: American intelligence officials intercepted these communications around the same time as they found evidence Russia was hacking the Democratic National Committee. (Note these are different from the calls between Trump's former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn and the Russian Ambassador to the U.S.)

The caveat: However, the officials said they see no evidence of cooperation between Trump's campaign aides and Russian hacking.

Who's involved? Since the Federal Bureau of Investigation's probe is ongoing, the officials did not disclose the identity of those implicated — except Paul Manafort, Trump's former campaign chairman. Tuesday Manafort said: "I have never knowingly spoken to Russian intelligence officers."

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Coronavirus kills 2 Diamond Princess passengers and South Korea sees first death

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. U.S. numbers include Americans extracted from Princess Cruise ship.

Two elderly Diamond Princess passengers have been killed by the novel coronavirus — the first deaths confirmed among the more than 600 infected aboard the cruise ship. South Korea also announced its first death Thursday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed more than 2,200 people and infected over 75,465 others, mostly in mainland China, where the National Health Commission announced 118 new deaths since Thursday.

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SoftBank to cut its stake to get T-Mobile's Sprint deal done

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

T-Mobile and Sprint announced a revised merger agreement that will see SoftBank getting a smaller share of the combined company, while most shareholders will receive the previously agreed upon exchange rate. The companies said they hope to get the deal as early as April 1.

Why it matters: The amended deal reflects the decline in Sprint's business, while leaving most shareholders' stake intact and removing another hurdle to the deal's closure.