Rescue operations in Houston. David J. Phillip / AP

Tropical storm Harvey has lingered over SE Texas, pulling in moisture from the Gulf and pouring historic levels of rain over Houston and surrounding areas. President Trump will visit areas affected by the storm on Tuesday.

Authorities and volunteers have worked tirelessly to save stranded motorists and people trapped in their homes, with thousands of water rescues reported but many more people still seeking help. Five people have reportedly been killed in Houston and one in Rockport, but the full scale of the devastation may not be known for days.

  • National Weather Service: "This event is unprecedented & all impacts are unknown & beyond anything experienced. Follow orders from officials to ensure safety."
  • Gov. Greg Abbott: We "will continue to receive incredibly heavy rain that will lead to even more flooding and more danger."
  • President Trump: "Wow - Now experts are calling Harvey a once in 500 year flood! We have an all out effort going, and going well!"
  • Read more: Tropical Storm Harvey by the numbers

Rockport, TXEric Gay / AP HoustonDavid J. Phillip

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Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.

Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill

Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked a vote on Republicans' $500 billion targeted COVID-19 relief bill, a far less comprehensive package than the $1.8 trillion+ deal currently being negotiated between the Trump administration and House Democrats.

Why it matters: There's little appetite in the Senate for a stimulus bill with a price tag as large as what President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have been calling for. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) "skinny" proposal was mostly seen as a political maneuver, as it had little chance of making it out of the Senate.

The hazy line between politics and influence campaigns

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The recent firestorm over the New York Post’s publication of stories relying on data from a hard drive allegedly belonging to Hunter Biden shows the increasingly hazy line between domestic political “dirty tricks” and a foreign-sponsored disinformation operation.

Why it matters: This haziness could give determined actors cover to conduct influence operations aimed at undermining U.S. democracy through channels that just look like old-fashioned hard-nosed politics.