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Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump directed his acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to withhold nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine days before he phoned the country's president and allegedly urged him to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden's son, the Washington Post and New York Times report.

Details: The White House told Axios that the reports, published late Monday, are "completely false." WashPost reported that officials in the administration's Office of Management and Budget notified the Pentagon and State Department about the request at an interagency meeting in July.

  • The departments were reportedly told that the Trump administration was examining whether the spending was necessary.

What they're saying: "The media pushed the Russia lie for almost 3 years with no evidence, and now they are doing it all over again," White House spokesperson Hogan Gidley told Axios' Alayna Treene.

"These allegations are completely false, but because the media wants this story to be true so badly, they’ll once again manufacture a frenzy and drive ignorant, fake stories to attack this President."
— Hogan Gidley

Context: Trump earlier flatly denied that he had withheld aid in order to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate allegations of conflicts of interest related to the work of the former vice president's son Hunter Biden with a Ukrainian energy company.

  • The country's prosecutor has found no evidence to support the claims of wrongdoing by Biden or his son.
  • The president defended his right to discuss Biden during his July phone call with Zelensky on Monday. "If you don't talk about corruption, why would you give money to a country that you think is corrupt?" he said.

The state of play: Several Democratic lawmakers and party allies — including Biden — have called on Trump to release a transcript of the call and have demanded that a whistleblower report flagging the call as problematic be turned over to Congress.

The big picture: Several House Democrats spoke out in support of bringing impeachment proceedings against Trump if the White House tries to block Democratic investigations into the allegations, or if they are proven to be true.

  • 7 freshman House Democrats in swing districts who have previously been hesitant toward impeachment wrote in a Monday Washington Post op-ed that they "believe these actions represent an impeachable offense" if proven true.

Go deeper: Key House committees threaten subpoenas over Trump-Ukraine allegations

Go deeper

Salesforce rolls the dice on Slack

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Salesforce's likely acquisition of workplace messaging service Slack — not yet a done deal but widely anticipated to be announced Tuesday afternoon — represents a big gamble for everyone involved.

For Slack, challenged by competition from Microsoft, the bet is that a deeper-pocketed owner like Salesforce, with wide experience selling into large companies, will help the bottom line.

FBI stats show border cities are among the safest

Data: FBI, Kansas Bureau of Investigation; Note: This table includes the eight largest communities on the U.S.-Mexico border and eight other U.S. cities similar in population size and demographics; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

U.S. communities along the Mexico border are among the safest in America, with some border cities holding crime rates well below the national average, FBI statistics show.

Why it matters: The latest crime data collected by the FBI from 2019 contradicts the narrative by President Trump and others that the U.S.-Mexico border is a "lawless" region suffering from violence and mayhem.

Miriam Kramer, author of Space
2 hours ago - Science

The rise of military space powers

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Nations around the world are shoring up their defensive and offensive capabilities in space — for today's wars and tomorrow's.

Why it matters: Using space as a warfighting domain opens up new avenues for technologically advanced nations to dominate their enemies. But it can also make those countries more vulnerable to attack in novel ways.