Smoke coming out of a coal plant. Photo: Omar Maruqes/SOPA images via Getty Images

Ben Walker, the Department of Energy's assistant secretary for the Office of Electricity, said the department is "uniquely situated" as part of the intelligence community and makes "classified intelligence decisions," to secure the United States in response to criticism of administration plans to aid economically struggling coal-fired and nuclear power plants on the Columbia Energy Exchange podcast.

Why it matters: The comment shows how the department is positioning itself at a time when many critics from various quarters say the potential aid is unneeded and accuse the administration of grafting a new post-facto rationale onto their longstanding goal of saving coal plants.

Yes, but: Walker and other officials are arguing, in essence, that they have classified material that strengthens their case, and other parties are not as well equipped to understand.

Dig deeper: Walker discusses his office's work on security and assessing vulnerabilities more broadly.

"We’re not only looking at coal, nuclear generation, we’re looking at all generation and we’re looking at how the grid comes together which is why my team has been focused on developing the North American resiliency model which is focused on understanding and highlighting the interdependencies of the different systems," he said.

Flashback: Axios' Amy Harder looked at the national security debate around the grid here.

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New York Times digital revenue surpasses print revenue for first time

The New York Times building. Photo: Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress/Corbis via Getty Images

For the first time in its nearly 170-year history, the New York Times made more money from digital products than it did from its print newspaper during a three-month quarterly earnings period, the Times announced Wednesday.

Why it matters: It's a huge milestone for The Gray Lady, which six years ago published a digital "Innovation Report" that detailed the paper's shortcomings in adjusting its business to embrace the digital world.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib fends off Democratic primary challenge in Michigan

Rep. Rashida Tlaib. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Michigan Rep. Rashida Tlaib won her Democratic primary against challenger Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones, according to AP.

Why it matters: Tlaib, a democratic socialist and member of "The Squad," found herself in a vulnerable position, facing off against Jones after narrowly beating her two years ago.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 18,570,858 — Total deaths: 701,316 — Total recoveries — 11,163,388Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 a.m. ET: 4,771,846 — Total deaths: 156,839 — Total recoveries: 1,528,979 — Total tests: 58,239,438Map.
  3. Public health: Moderna skirts disclosures of coronavirus vaccine costs — There’s not much good news about kids and coronavirus.
  4. Business: Auto sales may have turned a corner.
  5. Sports: The return of high school sports hangs in the balance — UConn becomes first FBS team to cancel its football season.