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Roger Stone says he plans to campaign for Trump

Roger Stone told Axios in a phone interview that he plans to write and speak for President Trump's re-election now that Stone "won't die in a squalid hellhole of corona-19 virus."

"I'm asthmatic," said Stone, 67. "Sending me to a prison where I could not be socially distanced ... would, I think, be a death sentence."


Stone said he'll continue to follow one of his "Stone's Rules": "I will do anything necessary to elect my candidate, short of breaking the law."

  • "First, I'm going to write a book about this entire ordeal to, once and for all, put to bed the myth of Russian collusion."

I asked Stone about Peter Baker's New York Times analysis saying that in keeping Stone out of prison, Trump crossed a line that even Richard Nixon "in the depths of Watergate dared not cross. ... Nixon resigned ... without using his pardon pen."

  • Stone replied that the Friday evening commutation — for obstruction, witness tampering and false statements to Congress — shows Trump "has an enormous sense of fairness and justice and mercy."

Stone flatly predicted Trump will win, despite the bleak outlook:

  • "It'll be a very tough fight. He's got three obstacles: voter fraud ... internet censorship, which I have just recently experienced myself; and, of course, the constant falsehoods being pushed by the corporate-owned mainstream media. Those all make it a difficult race."
  • "But he is a great campaigner. He's a great communicator."

When I asked Stone how he can be so sure Trump will win, he said: "I know more about it than anybody else."

  • When I asked what he means, Stone cited his campaign work going back to his hero Nixon in 1968: "Who do you know who's been through more presidential campaigns than me?"

Stone said he "had no assurances" about the commutation before Trump called his cellphone Friday evening: "But I had prayed fervently, ... and I believe the whole matter was in God's hands and that God would provide. And He did."

Israel and Sudan begin normalization process after call with Trump

Sudan and Israel announced today that they will “end the state of belligerence” between them and start the process of normalizing ties.

Driving the news: The announcement came after a phone call hosted by President Trump with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, and the head of Sudan's governing council, Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Burhan.

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We're all guinea pigs for Tesla's latest self-driving tech

Tesla is beta-testing its latest self-driving technology with a small group of early adopters, a move that alarms experts and makes every road user — including other motorists, pedestrians and cyclists — unwitting subjects in its ongoing safety experiment.

Why it matters: Tesla hailed the limited rollout of its "full self-driving" beta software as a key milestone, but the warnings on the car's touchscreen underscore the risk in using its own customers — rather than trained safety drivers — to validate the technology.

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Trump removes Sudan from state sponsors of terrorism list

President Trump signed Friday an order to remove Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list, senior U.S. officials tell me.

Why it matters: Trump’s signature paves the way for the U.S. and Sudan to move forward on a larger deal — which will also include a Sudanese announcement on normalizing its relations with Israel.

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Big Ten football is back

The Big Ten football season kicks off tonight after months of a "will they, won't they" narrative.

The state of play: Each team will play eight regular season games, culminating in a ninth, cross-divisional matchup on Dec. 19 (i.e. the Big Ten Championship, but also No. 2 East vs. No. 2 West, etc.).

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Child care crisis is denting the labor market

Reproduced from Pew Research Center; Chart: Axios Visuals

New data from the Pew Research Center shows that parents are being hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and as far as job losses go, mothers and fathers are faring equally poorly.

Why it matters: Economists have been warning for months that the pandemic could do long-term damage to the economy as people remain unemployed for longer stretches of time.

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"This guy": Trump-Biden personal venom was on full display during final debate

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

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Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

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The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.

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