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Rep. Mike Conaway on NBC’s Meet The Press this morning. Photo: William B. Plowman / NBC / NBC NewsWire via Getty Images

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who's leading the House Intelligence Committee through the Russia investigation, tells Axios he's worried Vladimir Putin could "test some things" in the 2018 midterm elections that he "would want to fully develop and blow out in a bigger way... in the presidential [election] in 2020."

What he's thinking: Conaway, previewing the Republicans' coming findings and recommendations during an interview in his Capitol Hill office, said that given the Russians used a nerve agent in Britain and penetrated the U.S. power grid, he doesn't "put anything past this guy [Putin]."

  • Conaway laid out one of his nightmare scenarios: "As an example, if they got into the voter registration data and planted a cyber bomb to go off at 7 a.m. on Election Day, they'd scramble that information." 
  • "So when the people went to the polls to vote, it's like, 'Whoop.  No, you're not registered.  We don't have your name.'  Well, think of the chaos that would create at a point where it would be really difficult to reset it, to not having it."

What's next: The House Intelligence Committee expects to release some of its findings from the Russia investigation on Thursday. And they also expect to release some of their recommendations to better secure the U.S. electoral system against foreign enemies.

Subscribe to Axios AM/PM for a daily rundown of what's new and why it matters, directly from Mike Allen.
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Go deeper

36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

McConnell drops filibuster demand, paving way for power-sharing deal

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (R) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell attend a joint session of Congress. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has abandoned his demand that Democrats state, in writing, that they would not abandon the legislative filibuster.

Between the lines: McConnell was never going to agree to a 50-50 power sharing deal without putting up a fight over keeping the 60-vote threshold. But the minority leader ultimately caved after it became clear that delaying the organizing resolution was no longer feasible.

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Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

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Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.