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Gaetz enlists Trumpworld for scandal-ridden reelection fight

The campaign committee for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) has enlisted a crew of prominent Trumpworld figures as he seeks re-election amid scandal and possible legal jeopardy, records reviewed by Axios show.

Why it matters: For a Republican in a party still dominated by the former president, little conduct could surpass fealty to Donald Trump in the minds of GOP voters. Newly released financial records show Gaetz, a steadfast ally of the former president, is leaning into that reputation amid scrutiny of his personal life.

What's new: The Gaetz campaign committee's second-quarter filing with the Federal Election Commission shows sizable payments to a number of Trumpworld luminaries.

  • Former Trump campaign adviser and surrogate Harlan Hill is by far Gaetz's largest vendor. His firm, the Logan Circle Group, was paid about $737,000 in Q2, itemized as "advertising" and "strategic campaign consulting."
  • Gaetz's third-largest vendor was a consulting firm affiliated with Kash Patel, a former Trump Pentagon aide. The campaign's $120,000 in fundraising consulting payments to the firm, Trishul LLC, listed a D.C. address owned by Patel.

That's not all.

  • Gaetz's campaign has paid $20,000 this year to a Florida consulting firm called Drake Ventures LLC, which is run by Trump operative Roger Stone. The Justice Department recently accused Stone and his wife of using the company as a vehicle to evade taxes.
  • The campaign also paid a little over $6,000 to a security company called Viking Executive Protection.
  • It's the Florida division of the Colorado Security Agency, which ran security at Trump campaign rallies. CSA's vice president of business development is the former security supervisor at Trump’s D.C. hotel.

What they're saying: Asked about Stone's and Patel's work for the campaign, Hill sent a statement he requested be printed in full.

  • "Four months into a fake scandal cooked up by a corporate media who should be — and will be — apologizing for their conduct towards Rep Gaetz, they are now ‘reporting’ on financial expenses incurred as a result of their own smear campaigns. If we were them, we’d be worried about our own financial liabilities having repeatedly libelled (sic) and lied.”

The big picture: Gaetz has employed that roster of Trump-adjacent companies and individuals while seeking re-election amid scrutiny of his ties to an admitted child sex trafficker.

  • The congressman's onetime associate, former Seminole County tax collector Joel Greenberg, has pleaded guilty to six criminal counts and agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
  • The investigation is said to be looking into Gaetz's conduct, as well as larger allegations of corruption in central Florida political circles.
  • Gaetz has denied any wrongdoing and alleged that a former Justice Department official attempted to extort him and his father with baseless allegations of criminal conduct.

American Carissa Moore wins first-ever women's Olympic gold in surfing

Team USA's Carissa Moore won gold in the first-ever Olympic women's surfing final, at the Tokyo Games on Tuesday.

The big picture: Brazil's Italo Ferreira won the gold medal in the inaugural men's Olympic surfing contest. The finals were brought forward a day due to the threat of Tropical Storm Nepartak.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Activist Tong Ying-kit found guilty of terrorism in first Hong Kong security law trial

Tong Ying-kit, the first person to be charged and tried under Hong Kong's national security law was found guilty of terrorism and inciting secession by three judges Tuesday, per Bloomberg.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Naomi Osaka eliminated from Olympic tennis tournament in Tokyo

Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka was eliminated from the Olympics after losing her Tokyo tennis tournament match 6-1, 6-4 in the third round to Czech Marketa Vondrousova on Tuesday.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Extreme drought pushes 2 major U.S. lakes to historic lows

Two significant U.S. lakes, one of which is a major reservoir, are experiencing historic lows amid a drought that scientists have linked to climate change.

What's happening: Lake Powell, the second largest reservoir in the U.S., has fallen 3,554 feet in elevation, leaving the crucial reservoir on the Colorado River, at 33% capacity — the lowest since it was filled over half a century ago, new U.S. Bureau of Reclamation data shows.

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North and South Korea restart hotline and pledge to improve ties

North and South Korea's leaders have pledged to improve relations and resumed previously suspended communication channels between the two countries, per Reuters.

Details: South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to "restore mutual confidence and develop their relationships again as soon as possible," South Korea's Blue House spokesperson Park Soo Hyun said in a televised briefing, AP notes.

  • This followed an exchange of letters between the two leaders since April.

Go deeper: Kim Jong Un says prepare for "dialogue and confrontation" with U.S.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

U.S. teen Lydia Jacoby wins Olympic gold medal in 100m breaststroke at Tokyo Games

Team USA's 17-year-old swimmer Lydia Jacoby has won the Olympic gold medal in the women's 100-meter breaststroke at the Tokyo Games.

Of note: The Alaskan is the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, and she beat Lilly King into second place.

Editor's note: This a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

Pelosi expected to extend proxy voting as Delta variant surges

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is expected to extend proxy voting through the fall — and potentially until the end of the year — Democratic lawmakers and aides tell Axios.

Why it matters: The spread of the Delta variant has alarmed both members and staffers anxious about interacting with the unvaccinated. Pelosi’s anticipated move — continuing an emergency COVID-19 measure enacted last year so lawmakers could vote remotely — is aimed at allaying those concerns.

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Jan. 6 panel to paint haunting scene of Capitol attack with graphic footage

The Jan. 6 select committee will paint a haunting picture of what unfolded during the attack on the Capitol during its first public hearing on Tuesday, Axios is told.

Why it matters: The nine-member panel will not only hear from four police officers on the grounds that day, but show graphic video footage similar to the chilling 13-minute video Democrats aired during Donald Trump's second impeachment trial.

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