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Top Mueller prosecutor: "We could have done more"

Andrew Weissmann, one of former special counsel Robert Mueller's top prosecutors, says in his new book, "Where Law Ends: Inside the Mueller Investigation," that the probe "could have done more" to take on President Trump, per The Atlantic.

Why it matters ... Weissmann argues that the investigation's report didn't go far enough in making a determination regarding Trump's potential obstruction of justice: "When there is insufficient proof of a crime, in volume one, we say it. But when there is sufficient proof, with obstruction, we don’t say it. Who is going to be fooled by that? It’s so obvious."


  • "Had we given it our all—had we used all available tools to uncover the truth, undeterred by the onslaught of the president’s unique powers to undermine our efforts?" Weissmann asks in the book's introduction.
  • "Part of the reason the president and his enablers were able to spin the report was that we had left the playing field open for them to do so."

Flashback: In its report, Mueller's team compiled 10 different episodes where Trump may have potentially committed obstruction of justice.

  • The document's final words: "Accordingly, while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him."
  • That allowed Attorney General Bill Barr to say that the Department of Justice had concluded that the evidence was "not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense," noting that the government would have to prove such a case "beyond a reasonable doubt."

The bottom line: Weissmann told The Atlantic that Mueller "absolutely" let the American people down — before hedging that "the office" had done so — and agreed that the investigation had been "a historic missed opportunity."

Go deeper: 7 takeaways from the Mueller report

Murkowski says she'll vote to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said Saturday that she'll vote to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court on Monday, despite her opposition to the process that's recently transpired.

The big picture: Murkowski's decision leaves Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) as the only Republican expected to vote against Barrett.

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Post-debate poll finds Biden strong on every major issue

This is one of the bigger signs of trouble for President Trump that we've seen in a poll: Of the final debate's seven topics, Joe Biden won or tied on all seven when viewers in a massive Axios-SurveyMonkey sample were asked who they trusted more to handle the issue.

Why it matters: In a time of unprecedented colliding crises for the nation, the polling considered Biden to be vastly more competent.

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The murder hornets are here

Entomologists in Washington state on Thursday discovered the first Asian giant hornet nest in the U.S.

Why it matters: You may know this insect species by its nom de guerre: "the murder hornet." While the threat they pose to humans has been overstated, the invading hornets could decimate local honeybee populations if they establish themselves.

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Biden is highest-spending political candidate on TV ads

After spending an additional $45.2 million on political ads this week, former Vice President Joe Biden has become the highest-spending political candidate on TV ads ever, according to data from Advertising Analytics.

By the numbers: In total, the Biden campaign has spent $582.7 million on TV ads between 2019 and 2020, officially surpassing Michael Bloomberg's record spend of roughly $582 million. Biden's spend includes his primary and general election advertising.

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SurveyMonkey poll: Trump improves, but not enough

President Trump's final debate performance exceeded Americans' expectations, but it wasn't enough to shift the dynamics that left him trailing Joe Biden across most measures, according to a new Axios-SurveyMonkey poll.

What they're saying: "Liar" was the word used most by debate watchers to describe Trump's performance, followed by "lies," "strong," "presidential" and "childish." "Presidential" was the word used most to describe Biden's performance, followed by "liar," "weak," "expected" and "honest."

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Hunter Biden saga dominates online debate

Data: NewsWhip; Table: Axios Visuals

The mainstream media turned away. But online, President Trump's charges about Hunter Biden were by far the dominant storyline about the final presidential debate, according to exclusive NewsWhip data provided to Axios.

  • Coverage of business dealings by Joe Biden's son — and pre-debate allegations by one of his former business associates, Tony Bobulinski — garnered more than twice as much online activity (likes, comments, shares) as the runner-up.
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America was sick well before it ever got COVID-19

From high levels of obesity and opioid addiction to inequities in access to care, America's pre-existing conditionsmake the country an easy target for COVID-19, as well as future pandemics that could cripple the United States for decades to come.

Why it matters: One of the best ways the country could prepare for future threats — and boost its economy — is to improve Americans' overall health.

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Fauci says if people won't wear masks, maybe it should be mandated

NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN on Friday evening that if "people are not wearing masks, then maybe we should be mandating it."

Why it matters: Fauci made the comments the same day the U.S. hit its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the pandemic began.

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