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.

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Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

2 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.