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Putin, in July. Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Getty

As President Trump prepares to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, U.S. intelligence agencies are failing to help tech companies inoculate themselves against meddling in the November midterm elections, experts and reports say.

Why it matters: Facebook and other tech companies have said that, while they are working intensely to eliminate their vulnerability to fake and manipulated news, much of it from Russia, they can't guarantee 100% success. This is why any outside advice from intelligence agencies, with their own sources of information, could prove crucial.

In interviews on CBS and Fox today, national security adviser John Bolton said Trump will raise election intrusions with Putin. Bolton said he himself raised the issue with Putin last week, but that the Russian leader denied any state role.

  • But in terms of actual action, tech companies say they have been left largely on their own.

"The Trump administration clearly perceives a critical link between America’s digital technology industry and national security," Gregory Allen, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, tells Axios. "But, there’s a major disconnect when it comes to Russia. Tech companies are asking the U.S. intelligence community for help in understanding Russian cyber threats to their companies, and they aren’t getting it."

  • Last week, the NYT's Sheera Frenkel and Matthew Rosenberg described a May meeting at Facebook headquarters between eight big tech companies and officials from the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security.
  • The subject was Russian election meddling ahead of the midterms. The tech companies described their internal experiences, but neither of the government officials "was willing or able to share specific information about threats the tech companies should anticipate."
  • More broadly, the piece says, "In public and behind closed doors, intelligence officials have offered scant details about what Russia is doing, prompting frustration from Silicon Valley to Capitol Hill."

Says Allen: "If the national security community is going to ask the commercial tech industry to share their expertise in understanding and utilizing AI technology, they must be willing to return the favor by sharing their expertise about ongoing cyber threats. That means addressing Russia’s cyber-hostilities head on."

Go deeper

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Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

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