Sep 28, 2019

FEC chair claims GOP commissioner blocked memo about foreign election interference

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Wientraub (L). Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Wientraub took to Twitter on Friday night to share a memo about prohibited electoral activity by foreign nationals that she says a Republican commissioner blocked from being published in a public weekly digest.

Why it matters: Weintraub's decision to share the memo about foreign involvement in U.S. elections comes as a whistleblower alleges President Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The complaint was referred by the director of national intelligence for investigation as a possible campaign finance violation, but was dismissed by the Justice Department. Its claims about Trump and Ukraine are now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.

What she's saying: Weintraub published her memo as a Twitter thread, with 57 posts in total.

  • Weintraub tweeted: "GOP FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter took the altogether unprecedented step of objecting to its being added to the Digest and blocked publication of the whole."
  • The memo focuses on the illegality of foreign nationals donating to American elections and defines various key terms used in the statute, such as "contribution," "anything of value" and "solicit."

Go deeper: FEC effectively shuts down after key resignation

Go deeper

Netanyahu says July 1 deadline for West Bank annexation won't change

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday at a Likud Party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel's parliament, that his July 1 deadline for starting the process of annexation in the West Bank will not change, according to people in attendance.

Why it matters: The White House and the State Department have stressed over the last few weeks that the deadline set by Netanyahu is "not sacred" to the Trump administration — and that any discussion of annexation needs to be in the context of renewed Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina if capacity reduced

President Trump on stage during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Ohio. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

President Trump threatened in a series of Monday tweets to move this summer's Republican National Convention from Charlotte if North Carolina's Democratic governor, Roy Cooper, doesn't allow the event to be held at full capacity.

The state of play: Mandy Cohen, the state's health and human services secretary, said last week that the GOP should "plan for the worst" as mass gatherings will be a "very big challenge" if the number of coronavirus cases in the state continues to increase, per NPR.

The wreckage of summer

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

We usually think of Memorial Day as the start of the summer, with all of the fun and relaxation that goes with it — but this one is just going to remind us of all of the plans that have been ruined by the coronavirus.

Why it matters: If you thought it was stressful to be locked down during the spring, just wait until everyone realizes that all the traditional summer activities we've been looking forward to are largely off-limits this year.