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Dan Coats, then-director of National Intelligence, during a 2019 Senate hearing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Former Trump administration Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats spoke out during an interview with the Washington Post Wednesday against his successor's move to end in-person briefings to Congress on election security issues.

What he's saying: Coats told WashPost it's "imperative that the intelligence community keep Congress fully informed about the threats to our elections and share as much information as possible while protecting sources and method."

"We must stand united in defending the election security process from being corrupted and ensure that a vote cast is a vote counted."
— Coats' remarks to WashPost

Driving the news: The National Counterintelligence and Security Center 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.

  • Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe informed Congress later in the month that in-person briefings would no longer take place. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said he believed the Senate Intelligence Committee, of which he's acting chair, would still get such updates despite the directive.
  • Coats, a former GOP senator for Indiana, told WashPost such briefings "should be delivered to both the Senate and the House oversight committees and also should be delivered to the duly elected members of the House and Senate at the appropriate classification level when directed by the bipartisan leadership of both the House and the Senate."

Of note: Coats' comments come one day after his former deputy, Sue Gordon, wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post stating that "the national conversation around election security has turned vitriolic, diversionary and unhelpful, and we are doing our enemies’ work for them."

  • Coats told WashPost he "absolutely" agreed with Gordon's assessment, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin "ought to be very happy with the way this is turning out."
  • "He can only view his efforts as successful," Coats said.
  • The Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined Axios' invitation to comment on Coats' comments.

Go deeper: Woodward book: Former intel chief Dan Coats believed "Putin had something on Trump"

Go deeper

Dec 17, 2020 - World

Putin denies Russian agents poisoned opposition leader Navalny

Photo: Alexei Druzhinin\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday denied that Russian intelligence officers were involved in the near-deadly Novichok poisoning of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, suggesting with a laugh that they "would have probably finished the job," the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: A bombshell investigation led by open-source research group Bellingcat found that agents of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) with expertise in chemical weapons followed Navalny on more than 30 trips to and from Moscow starting in 2017 before he was poisoned in August.

House passes sweeping election and anti-corruption bill

Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

Photo: Stephen Maturen via Getty Images

The House voted 220 to 212 on Wednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.