The founder of Blackwater and an associate of Vladimir Putin held a secret meeting in part to establish a "back-channel line of communication" between Donald Trump and the Russian president, according to the Washington Post.

The time and place: January 11 (9 days before the inauguration) on Seychelles in the Indian Ocean.

The participants: Erik Prince, the founder of the private military company Blackwater (and brother of Education Secretary Betsy Devos) and an "unnamed Russian close to Vladimir Putin." Arranged by the UAE.

The goal: Per the Post, "to explore whether Russia could be persuaded to curtail its relationship with Iran, including in Syria," which would require US concessions.

Where we stand: The FBI is investigating the meeting as part of the wider Russia probe. Sean Spicer said, "we are not aware of any meetings and Erik Prince had no role in the transition." A spox for Price said it was a "complete fabrication."

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Updated 26 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Politics: Ex-FDA chief: Pence campaigning after COVID exposure puts others at risk — Mark Meadows: "We are not going to control the pandemic"— COVID-19 looms over White House Halloween celebrations.
  2. Health: 13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week — Fauci says maybe we should mandate masks if people don't wear them — America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19.
  3. World: Italy tightens restrictions Spain declares new state of emergency.
Updated 32 mins ago - Health

13 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week

Data: Compiled by Axios; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

13 states set new highs last week for coronavirus infections recorded in a single day, according to the COVID Tracking Project (CTP) and state health departments. Kansas, Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming surpassed records from the previous week.

The big picture: The pandemic is getting worse again across the country, and daily coronavirus cases have risen in the U.S. for six straight weeks, according to a seven-day average tracked by Axios. The U.S. reported over 80,000 new cases on both Friday and Saturday.

Senate advances Amy Coney Barrett nomination, setting up final confirmation vote

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

The Senate voted 51-48 on Sunday to advance the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett, setting up a final confirmation vote for Monday.

Why it matters: It's now virtually inevitable that the Senate will vote to confirm President Trump's third Supreme Court nominee before the election, which is just nine days away.

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