Mar 1, 2017

DNI nominee backs Russia hacking probe

Alex Brandon / AP

Director of National Intelligence nominee Dan Coats testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee today. Here are the key takeaways:

  1. He would cooperate with the committee on their Russia hacking probe, including by providing intelligence community cables, sourcing, and other raw intelligence.
  2. He would be willing to investigate Russia's interference in U.S. elections — and in elections around the world.
  3. He supports keeping Guantanamo Bay open.
  4. He will seek to release the number of Americans currently being surveilled by the NSA.
  5. Coats said his goal is to have an apolitical intelligence community:
Our job is not to influence intelligence for political reasons…I will not tolerate anything that falls short of that standing.

If confirmed as DNI he would oversee 17 U.S. intelligence agencies amid investigations directly affecting the Trump administration, including the probe into contacts between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence.

History: Underlying this is Coats' less-than-harmonious relationship with Russia- the Kremlin placed him on a sanctions list in 2014.

Note, the former Indiana senator would be the first DNI who has not had a career in intelligence or diplomacy.

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,513,358 — Total deaths: 88,415 — Total recoveries: 329,329Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 430,376 — Total deaths: 14,739 — Total recoveries: 23,707Map.
  3. Federal government latest: Top Trump administration officials had been developing a plan to give cloth masks to huge numbers of Americans, but the idea lost traction amid heavy internal skepticism.
  4. States latest: New York has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe. Chicago's Cook County jail is largest-known source of coronavirus in U.S.
  5. Business: One-third of U.S. jobs are at risk of disappearing, mostly affecting low-income workers.
  6. World: WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged countries to put politics aside "if you don’t want to have many more body bags.”
  7. Environment: COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.
  8. Tech: A new report recommends stimulus spending to help close the digital divide revealed by social distancing.
  9. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

U.S. coronavirus updates: New York tops previous day's record death toll

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

New York's death toll surged to its highest one-day total on Wednesday — beating the previous day's record. 779 people died in the state in 24 hours. The state has reported more cases than the most-affected countries in Europe.

Why it matters: Public health officials have warned this would be a particularly deadly week for America, even as New York began to see declining trends of hospitalizations and ICU admissions.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 53 mins ago - Health

The pandemic and pollution

New York City's skyline on a smoggy day in May 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

COVID-19 is underscoring the connection between air pollution and dire outcomes from respiratory diseases.

Why it matters: Old-fashioned air pollution is almost certainly the single biggest environmental health threat, contributing to the deaths of some 7 million people a year according to the WHO, making it comparable to deaths from smoking.

Go deeperArrow4 hours ago - Health