1 📺 thing
- Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did"
- Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill
- Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
- Health: New York reports most COVID cases since May — Studies show drop in coronavirus death rate
- Education: San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.
- World: Spain becomes first nation in Western Europe to exceed 1 million cases.
1 🎧 thing
Iran and Russia have obtained voter registration information that can be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced at a press conference Wednesday evening.
Why it matters: The revelation comes roughly two weeks before Election Day. Ratcliffe said Iran has sent threatening emails to Democratic voters this week in states across the U.S. and spread videos claiming that people can vote more than once.
The Supreme Court on Wednesday evening blocked a lower court order that would have allowed voters to cast ballots curbside at Alabama polling places on Election Day.
Whit it matters: With less than two weeks until Election Day, the justices voted 5-3 to reinstate the curbside voting ban and overturn a lower court judge's ruling designed to protect people with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic.
In his first campaign rally appearance on behalf of Joe Biden, former President Barack Obama urged Americans to vote, saying "we can't afford another four years" of a Trump presidency.
Why it matters via Axios' Hans Nichols: With less than two weeks until Election Day, Obama made his case for Biden in Pennsylvania, a state that Trump's campaign knows he needs to win.
Why it matters: Quibi had struggled to hit its subscriber growth targets amid the global pandemic. The app launched six months ago.
The Justice Department filed a 63-page antitrust lawsuit against Google related to the tech giant's search and advertising business. This comes just weeks after the House subcommittee on antitrust issued its own scathing report on Google and other Big Tech companies, arguing they've become digital monopolies.
Axios Re:Cap talks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the subcommittee on antitrust, about Google, the DOJ's lawsuit and Congress' next move.
Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.
Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.
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 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.
Pope Francis voiced his support for same-sex civil unions for the first time as pope in the documentary “Francesco,” which premiered Wednesday at the Rome Film Festival, per the Catholic News Agency.
Why it matters: The pope’s remarks represent a break from the position of the Roman Catholic Church, which has long taught that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered" and contrary to natural law.
The White House is attempting to leverage momentum from Israel's normalization deals with Bahrain and the UAE to get more Arab countries on board before the U.S. election.
Driving the news: President Trump wants Sudan's removal from the U.S. state sponsors of terrorism list to be accompanied by a pre-election announcement on Israel.
91% of likely voters nationally say they are "extremely motivated to vote," including 92% in battleground states Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, according to a Change Research/CNBC Poll.
Why it matters: The 2020 election could see record-breaking levels of voter turnout. Voters last week cast ballots at nearly five times the rate they did at this point in the 2016 election, per the U.S. Elections Project. Over 39 million ballots have been cast in early voting states as of Wednesday.
Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin, has agreed to plead guilty to three federal criminal charges and close the company as part of an $8.3 billion settlement, the Justice Department announced Wednesday.
Why it matters: The settlement marks a significant step in the federal government's efforts to hold a major drugmaker responsible for the country's opioid crisis, which has been linked to hundreds of thousands of deaths.
What has LeBron James as a pitchman, some slightly awkward promotional phrasing ("watts to freedom"), and a six-figure starting price? The electric GMC Hummer.
Driving the news: General Motors unveiled the vehicle — a reborn version of the deceased mega-guzzler — with a highly produced rollout Tuesday night that included a World Series spot. The company also began taking reservations.
U.S. consumers remain uncertain about the economic environment but CEOs are feeling incredibly confident, the latest survey from the Conference Board shows.
Why it matters: Confidence among chief executives jumped 19 points from its last reading in July, rising above the 50-point threshold that reflects more positive than negative responses for the first time since 2018.
Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly, the Louisville officer who led the botched police raid that caused the death of Breonna Taylor, said the No. 1 thing he wishes he had done differently is either served a "no-knock" warrant or given five to 10 seconds before entering the apartment: "Breonna Taylor would be alive, 100 percent."
Driving the news: Mattingly, who spoke to ABC News and Louisville's Courier Journal for his public interview, was shot in the leg in the initial moments of the March 13 raid. Mattingly did not face any charges after Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said he and another officer were "justified" in returning fire to protect themselves against Taylor's boyfriend.
The Justice Department fired the starter pistol on what's likely to be a years-long legal siege of Big Tech by the U.S. government when it filed a major antitrust suit Tuesday against Google.
The big picture: Once a generation, it seems, federal regulators decide to take on a dominant tech company. Two decades ago, Microsoft was the target; two decades before that, IBM.
If the impasse between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House on a new stimulus deal is supposed to be a crisis, you wouldn't know it from the stock market, where prices continue to rise.
- That's been in no small part because U.S. economic data has held up remarkably well in recent months thanks to the $2 trillion CARES Act and Americans' unusual ability to save during the crisis.
This story is from Barak Ravid's new weekly newsletter, Axios from Tel Aviv, which launches today. Sign up here.
Israel has been conducting undercover diplomacy in Bahrain for more than a decade through a front company listed as a commercial consulting firm.
Why it matters: The existence of the covert diplomatic mission in the Bahraini capital Manama shows the depth of a secret relationship that came out into the open with a White House ceremony last month.
The QAnon conspiracy theory is growing — and being weaponized to boost President Trump ahead of the election.
Why it matters: What began as a single conspiracy theory linking Hillary Clinton to child trafficking four years ago is now part of a convoluted web of falsehoods being spread to undermine Joe Biden.
The coronavirus pandemic will wreak havoc on the U.S. health care system long after it ends — whenever that may be.
Why it matters: The pre-pandemic health care system was already full of holes, many of which have been exposed and exacerbated over the past several months, and many Americans will be stuck with that system as they grapple with the long-term consequences of the pandemic.
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden had $177.3 million in the bank at the end of September, per the latest Federal Election Commission filings.
Why it matters: President Trump's re-election campaign reported having $63.1 million in the bank at the end of last month, as campaigning enters the final stretch ahead of Election Day on Nov. 3.
North Carolina can accept absentee ballots that are postmarked Nov. 3, Election Day, until Nov. 12, a federal appeals court decided Tuesday in a 12-3 majority ruling.
Why it matters: The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling against state and national Republican leaders settles a lawsuit brought by a group representing retirees, and it could see scores of additional votes counted in the key battleground state.
Goldman Sachs has agreed with the Department of Justice to pay over $2 billion for the bank's role in Malaysia's multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1MDB, Bloomberg first reported.
Why it matters: The settlement, expected to be announced within days, would allow Goldman Sachs to avoid a criminal conviction in the U.S. over the bribery and money laundering scandal that saw three of its former bankers banned for life from the banking industry by the Federal Reserve Board.