Lazaro Gamio / Axios

The Washington Post reported Wednesday that special counsel Robert Mueller was investigating whether President Trump obstructed justice, but that was only part of a busy week of news for the Russia probe.

Why it matters: The investigation escalated last week after former FBI director James Comey publicly testified about his uneasiness regarding the president's request to drop the FBI investigation of Mike Flynn. As Trump tweeted yesterday, now the investigation has turned in his own direction.

Sessions' testimony

Sessions' testimony got heated as he refused to answer questions in case Trump decides to invoke executive privilege sometime in the future. He denied meeting with Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel, and cited "a DOJ regulation" as his reason for recusing himself.

"I recused myself from the Russia probe, but I did not recuse myself from defending my honor against scurrilous and false allegations."
Mueller investigates

Jonathan Swan reported on Monday there was rumor that Trump was considering firing Mueller. But after WaPo's report, a GOP operative told Swan: "Can't fire him now."

The president accused WaPo of going "for obstruction of justice on the phony story" they created about collusion with Russia. But, Mike Allen detailed why the report had "White House officials and Republicans sweating profusely." Mueller also began investigating business dealings and finances of Jared Kushner, who has been criticized for reportedly setting up backchannel communication to the Kremlin.

Trump tweeted on Friday: "After 7 months of investigations & committee hearings about my "collusion with Russians," nobody has been able to show any proof. Sad!"

Jared's name also surfaced

The probe is reportedly investigating his business ties to Russia, although his people are poo-pooing the news.

Rod Rosenstein's statement

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein released this statement late on Thursday:

"Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous 'officials,' particularly when they do not identify the country – let alone the branch or agency of government – with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long-established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations."
Congress takes action

Articles of impeachment began circulating this week on the basis of obstruction of justice, although such talks have not expanded beyond the more radical parts of the Democratic caucus. Two more officials are set to testify before the House Intelligence Committee: Obama's former Homeland Security secretary Jeh Johnson, and Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Go deeper

14 mins ago - Health

Axios-Ipsos poll: Fear of voting

Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±3.0% margin of error for the total sample; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Democrats are twice as likely as Republicans to worry about in-person voting — with nearly two in three seeing it as a large or moderate risk to their health — according to this week's installment of the Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

Why it matters: This could pose a significant disadvantage for Joe Biden and other Democratic candidates in November if the pattern holds — especially in states where high infection rates persist, or where there are significant hurdles to mail-in, absentee or early voting.

Trump: Coronavirus is "under control"

President Trump said in an interview with “Axios on HBO” that he thinks the coronavirus is as well-controlled in the U.S. as it can be, despite dramatic surges in new infections over the course of the summer and more than 150,000 American deaths.

  • “They are dying, that's true. And you have — it is what it is. But that doesn't mean we aren't doing everything we can. It's under control as much as you can control it. This is a horrible plague,” he told Axios' Jonathan Swan.
Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 18,295,434 — Total deaths: 694,233 — Total recoveries — 10,926,704Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 4,717,716 — Total deaths: 155,471 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. Education — Fauci: Schools can reopen with safeguards, but those in virus hot spots should remain closed
  4. Politics: White House will require staff to undergo randomized testing — Pelosi says Birx "enabled" Trump on misinformation.
  5. Sports: 13 members of St. Louis Cardinals test positive, prompting MLB to cancel Tigers series — Former FDA chief says MLB outbreaks should be warning sign.
  6. 1 🎥 thing: "Tenet" may be the first major film to get a global pandemic release.