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Google employees protest the company's handling of sexual misconduct claims in November 2018. Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

Two leaders of the 2018 employee walkout at Google over sexual harassment claims say they have faced retaliation for their activism, a charge Google is denying.

What's happening: According to Wired, Meredith Whittaker was told that her role would be "changed dramatically" following uproar around a since-disbanded external AI ethics board. Whittaker, who leads Google's open research efforts, also helps run the AI Now Institute, which she co-founded at NYU.

  • Meanwhile, 12-year Google veteran Claire Stapleton also told Wired she was demoted from her position as a YouTube marketing manager.

What they're saying:

  • Whittaker said in a tweet: "I remain staunchly committed to my work @AINowInstitute. Google's retaliation isn't about me, or (Stapleton). It's about silencing dissent & making us afraid to speak honestly about tech & power. NOT OK. Now more than ever, it's time to speak up."
  • Stapleton told Wired: "My manager started ignoring me, my work was given to other people, and I was told to go on medical leave, even though I’m not sick. ... While my work has been restored, the environment remains hostile and I consider quitting nearly every day.”
  • Google said it prohibits retaliation in the workplace and investigates all allegations. "Employees and teams are regularly and commonly given new assignments, or reorganized, to keep pace with evolving business needs," Google said. "There has been no retaliation here."

The bottom line: Whatever is the reasoning for the shifts, it's not a good look for Google, which previously touted its support for the employees taking part in the walkout.

Go deeper: Read the Google staff's demands during their November walkout

Go deeper

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Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

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Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

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Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.