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House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) accused the Trump administration on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday of ending in-person election security briefings to Congress to "conceal the truth" about Russian interference in the 2020 elections.

Driving the news: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence canceled future in-person briefings on election security issues to the congressional intelligence committees, announcing it will only provide written updates in order to minimize the potential for leaks.

  • Schiff denied that he or members of his staff have leaked classified information to the press, as President Trump has accused him of doing. But he rejected the notion that ODNI has stopped the briefings because they're concerned about leaks.
  • "What changed is the president, probably in another fit, saying I don't want Congress informed," Schiff argued. "Because the last time that Congress was informed, the director of national intelligence had to put out another statement to acknowledge the fact that the Russians are helping Donald Trump again."

The big picture: The director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, William Evanina, said in early August that the Russian government is actively "using a range of measures" to "denigrate former Vice President Biden" before the November election.

  • The center has also assessed that China and Iran would prefer that Trump is not re-elected, but Democrats have argued that Russia is the only foreign adversary actively working to interfere in the election.

What he's saying: "He realizes if the country learns again that the Russians once again are intervening to try to help him in the election, he feels that that takes away from their assistance," Schiff said about President Trump.

  • "So he doesn't want the American people to know about it, he doesn't want Congress to know about it. He wants to draw some false equivalence between what the Russians are doing and what others are doing."
  • "He knows that if, and when, they do come and brief Congress, we ask questions and we can get to the bottom of things and that's what he doesn't want. After all, he fired a director for doing exactly this."

Go deeper

Barr appoints special counsel to continue investigating origins of Russia probe

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Attorney General Bill Barr told the AP on Tuesday he appointed veteran prosecutor John Durham as a special counsel on Oct. 19 to continue investigating the origins of the FBI's 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Why it matters: It's an extra layer of protection for Durham to continue investigating possible misconduct by Obama-era intelligence officials past Joe Biden's inauguration as president.

2 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.

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