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Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

Michael Flynn told his former business associates that the Trump administration would get rid of Russia sanctions upon taking power, according to a whistleblower document revealed Wednesday by House Democrats. The New York Times first reported on the letter.

Why it matters, per the NYT: "The account is the strongest evidence to date that the Trump administration wanted to end the sanctions immediately, and suggests that Mr. Flynn had a possible economic incentive for the United States to forge a closer relationship with Russia."

How it happened: The whistleblower claimed that Alex Copson, the managing partner of ACU Strategic Partners who funded Flynn's trip to the Middle East, received a text from Flynn on inauguration day which said that the project was "good to go." Copson had said that Flynn's first order of business was to ensure the Russian sanctions were "ripped up," according to the whistleblower.

Refresher: While there were plans circulating in the Trump administration earlier this year to lift the sanctions Obama imposed on Russia, the sanctions were ultimately left in place.

Reactions:

  • Rep. Elijah Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform wrote a letter to Chairman Trey Gowdy calling for an investigation: “Our Committee has credible allegations that President Trump’s National Security Advisor sought to manipulate the course of international nuclear policy for the financial gain of his former business partners.  These grave allegations compel a full, credible, and bipartisan congressional investigation."

Go deeper

Austria set to make COVID vaccines mandatory for adults

A vaccination center installed at the Barbara Chapel of St Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images

Austria's lower house of parliament voted on Thursday in favor of making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for most adults from next month.

Why it matters: The bill is expected to soon pass the upper house and be signed by President Alexander Van der Bellen in order for the law to take effect Feb. 1, per Reuters. It'd make Austria the first EU nation to impose such a sweeping mandate.

Hope King, author of Closer
Updated 2 hours ago - Economy & Business

Peloton pumps its brakes

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Peloton’s popularity is falling as swiftly as it shot up.

Why it matters: Not all pandemic habits stick around. Peloton's trajectory over the past two years exemplifies how challenging it's been for companies to gauge shifts in consumer demand — particularly in sectors heavily altered by the pandemic.

Mitch McConnell's remarks on Black voters raise ire

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell during a Capitol Hill news conference earlier this year. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has been widely criticized for comments he made this week about Black American voters.

Driving the news: When asked by a reporter Wednesday about concerns among voters of color, McConnell said "the concern is misplaced, because if you look at the statistics, Black American voters are voting in just as high a percentage as Americans."