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Trump talks to reporters about yesterday's call with Putin. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Trump is trying to move into a new, post-Mueller phase in his relationship with Vladimir Putin.

The state of play: Trump apparently feels liberated, after the conclusion of the Mueller report, to return to his default of trying to do business with the Russian president.

The tell: Trump said yesterday that he discussed trying to do trade deals, during a call with Putin that lasted more than an hour.

Why it matters: At Trump's core — and no matter the spin from the White House — he is transactional and has never absorbed or accepted the intelligence community’s findings about Russia’s attack on America’s election system. 

The context: The president seemed to return to Helsinki-era Trump while discussing the call:

  • Trump undercut his own intelligence community and national security team by suggesting the Russian president had benign intentions in Venezuela, and tweeting that he and Putin talked about the "Russian Hoax."
  • Trump admitted he didn't confront Putin about the widespread Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, detailed by Mueller.

How it's playing: "HEAR NO EVIL. AGAIN," said the CNN headline.

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Updated 3 hours ago - Economy & Business

Our make-believe economy is here to stay

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Federal Reserve and global central banks are remaking the world's economy in an effort to save it, but have created something of a monster.

Why it matters: The Fed-driven economy relies on the creation of trillions of dollars — literally out of thin air — that are used to purchase bonds and push money into a pandemic-ravaged economy that has long been dependent on free cash and is only growing more addicted.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Why Trump may still fire Barr

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Attorney General Barr may be fired or resign, as President Trump seethes about Barr's statement this week that no widespread voter fraud has been found.

Behind the scenes: A source familiar with the president's thinking tells Axios that Trump remains frustrated with what he sees as the lack of a vigorous investigation into his election conspiracy theories.

Mike Allen, author of AM
4 hours ago - World

Scoop: Trump's spy chief plans dire China warning

Xi Jinping reviews troops during a military parade in Beijing last year. Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters

Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe on Thursday will publicly warn that China's threat to the U.S. is a defining issue of our time, a senior administration official tells Axios.

Why it matters: It's exceedingly rare for the head of the U.S. intelligence community to make public accusations about a rival power.

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