Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/GettyImages

It’s already too late to upgrade election system security for the 2018 midterms, but there are four things the U.S. can do to prepare for 2020, former Facebook chief information security officer Alex Stamos writes in Lawfare.

Why it matters: 14 states are currently unable to double check that election results accurately reflect votes cast. Congress earlier this year set aside million of dollars to help states with election security in the face of potential Russian cyberattacks — but it's likely not all of the funds will be used by the November midterms.

First, Stamos writes, “Congress needs to set legal standards that address online disinformation.” Stamos cites the Honest Ads Act as a “good start” to building some guardrails for misinformation policies, but says more needs to be done to encourage tech companies to share threats from misinformation actors.

Second, the U.S. "must carefully reassess who in government is responsible for cybersecurity defense.”

  • The current setup leads to overlapping authorities and responsibilities between the National Security Agency and the Pentagon’s U.S. Cyber Command. The Department of Homeland Security works on bolstering election infrastructure while the Federal Bureau of Investigation investigates cyber crimes after the fact.
  • Stamos argues it would be useful for the U.S. government to create an agency that’s focused on just defensive cybersecurity and lacks intelligence, law enforcement, and military responsibilities, to really zero in on threats.

Third, “Each of the 50 states must build capabilities on election protection,” similar to how Colorado has organized election security teams and developed verifiable voting standards.

  • This is a thorny issue: states have responsibility for elections but often can't afford new equipment and don't have the expertise to investigate cyberattacks originating overseas. But offers of federal support and federal standards can trigger complaints of federal overreach.
  • Just this week secretaries of state from around the country and the White House pushed back on a bipartisan election security bill that would require post-election audits. citing states’ rights concerns.

Finally, Americans should put pressure on the government, Stamos says: “Americans must demand that future attacks be rapidly investigated, that the relevant facts be disclosed publicly well before an election, and that the mighty financial and cyber weapons available to the president be utilized immediately to punish those responsible.”

The bottom line: “Recent history has shown that once a large, powerful nation-state actor demonstrates the effectiveness of a technique, many other groups rush to build cheaper, often more nimble versions of the same capability,” Stamos writes.

  • "After Facebook’s announcement on Tuesday, it is clear that Iran has also followed this playbook. There are many other U.S. adversaries with well-developed cyber-warfare capabilities, such as China or North Korea, that could decide to push candidates and positions amenable to them.”

Go deeper

7 hours ago - World

Biden seeks to reboot U.S. sanctions policy

Sanctions increased under Obama and dramatically under Trump. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

The Biden administration is rethinking the U.S. approach to sanctions after four years of Donald Trump imposing and escalating them.

The big picture: Sanctions are among the most powerful tools the U.S. has to influence its adversaries’ behavior without using force. But they frequently fail to bring down regimes or moderate their behavior, and they can increase the suffering of civilians and resentment of the U.S.

7 hours ago - World

Merkel's farewell spoiled by Poland crisis at EU summit

One last awkward EU "family photo." Photo: John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Angela Merkel took up her vaunted mantle as Europe's crisis manager for what could be the last time tonight, as she urged the EU to find compromise in its showdown with Poland.

Why it matters: The European Commission has threatened to withhold over $40 billion in pandemic recovery funds after Poland's constitutional tribunal — stacked with loyalists from the ruling right-wing populist party — rejected the principle that EU law has primacy over national law.

Republicans who put it all on the line

Rep. Nancy Mace speaks with reporters after voting to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A small contingent of House Republicans risked their political futures on Thursday, they say, in the name of constitutional responsibility.

Why it matters: The nine Republicans who voted to hold former Trump aide Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress are now in peril of becoming political pariahs. They've opened themselves up to potential primary challengers and public attacks from their party's kingmaker — former President Trump.