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Alexander Zemlianichenko / AP

Three Russian military actions of note in recent days:

  1. Russia secretly launched a cruise missile today that would be capable of threatening NATO's European members. This move breaches its responsibility to the INF arms treaty that keeps it from possessing, producing, or flight-testing a ground-launched cruise missile with range capabilities of 500 to 5000 kilometers.
  2. A Russian spy ship was spotted off the coast of Delaware, this morning, per Fox News. The ship remained in international waters, not in U.S. territory, and similar Russian activity has been detected in years past.
  3. The Pentagon reports Russian aircraft flew within 100 yards above the American destroyer USS Porter in the Black Sea on three separate occasions Friday, per ABC News. (A Russian Defense Ministry spokesman claims there was no such flyby). The Pentagon claims the flybys were "unsafe and unprofessional." This would have taken place the same day that Putin invited Trump to a meeting in Slovenia.

Why it matters: Russia is boasting its military capabilities and asserting itself. This comes a day after Trump's National Security Advisor Mike Flynn was ousted, which Russian leadership claimed showed off American's "Russophobia," Trump's inability to lead, worsening U.S.-Russian relations, and (on the flip side) that it had no impact on U.S.-Russian relations, per an AP report. (One caveat: according to CNN, the U.S. government has been unable to draw links between the three activities.)

Go deeper

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Kellyanne Conway's parting power pointers

Kellyanne Conway addresses the 2020 Republican National Convention. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP holdouts press on with plans to crush Cheney

Screenshot of emails to a member of Congress from individuals who signed an Americans for Limited Government petition against Rep. Liz Cheney. Photo obtained by Axios

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

Democrats aim to punish House GOP for Capitol riot

Speaker Nancy Pelosi passes through a newly installed metal detector at the House floor entrance Thursday. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.