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Photo: Angela WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

Former Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko told the Washington Post on Thursday that he does not believe Joe Biden's son, Hunter, has violated any Ukrainian laws.

Why it matters: A whistleblower complaint released Thursday details how beginning in March 2019, Lutsenko floated allegations that Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire former Prosecutor General Viktor Shokin in order to quash an investigation into a company called Burisma Holdings, where Hunter Biden served as a board member. Rudy Giuliani and President Trump capitalized on the allegations — which Lutsenko later walked back — in a campaign to get the Ukrainian government to open an investigation into Biden.

The big picture: Lutsenko first said that there was no evidence of wrongdoing by Biden or his son in an interview with Bloomberg in May. Nonetheless, Trump and Giuliani have continued to push for an investigation, even after House Democrats announced they would launch an impeachment inquiry into Trump for allegedly soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election.

  • The whistleblower complaint states that according to multiple U.S. officials, Ukrainian leadership was "led to believe" that a phone call or meeting between Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky — which Ukraine desperately wanted — would depend on whether Zelensky showed a willingness to "play ball" on the Biden issues aired by Lutsenko and Giuliani.

Go deeper: Read the whistleblower complaint with summaries of each section

Go deeper

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

34 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

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