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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Newly released documents from special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation link the Russia probe and the current impeachment inquiry into the president, the Washington Post reports.

What's new: Digital news platform BuzzFeed successfully sued for the documents. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort suggested in 2016 that Ukraine could have been responsible for hacking the Democratic National Committee instead of Russia, the newly released internal memos show.

The backdrop: In their July 25 phone call, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine. They say Crowdstrike..." The whistleblower accused Trump, in that call, of trying to "pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president's 2020 reelection bid" by investigating Joe and Hunter Biden in exchange for military aid.

  • In the call, which is now at the center of the impeachment inquiry, the president appeared to subscribe to a right-wing conspiracy theory that Crowdstrike, the U.S.-owned firm hired by the DNC to investigate hackers responsible for the 2016 breach, is owned by Ukraine.
  • Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney walked back his comments in October about the Trump administration freezing military aid as leverage to get Ukraine to investigate that conspiracy theory.

What else: According to the new memos, former Trump deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates told the FBI he believed the president and others may have known ahead of time about WikiLeaks’ plans to release DNC emails allegedly stolen by Russia, per the Post.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.