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FBI Director Christopher Wray. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A federal grand jury in New York indicted two Iranian nationals on charges related to a cyber-based disinformation campaign to "undermine voter confidence" and "sow discord" in the 2020 election.

Why it matters: The indictment, unsealed Thursday, alleges that the hackers claimed to be members of the Proud Boys and sent messages to thousands of voters threatening them with "physical injury" if they didn't vote for former President Donald Trump.

  • Last year, the Director of National Intelligence warned that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to interfere in the 2020 election.
  • The hackers also demanded that registered voters change their party affiliation to Republican, adding, "We will know which candidate you voted for," per the indictment.

The big picture: Earlier this week, an advisory compiled by American, British and Australian officials outlined malicious activity perpetrated by hackers linked to the Iranian government.

  • The agencies noted that Iranian Government-sponsored hackers exploited computer vulnerabilities and targeted "multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors," namely the transportation and health care sectors.

Go deeper

Nov 30, 2021 - World

Weapons-grade enrichment would "imperil" nuclear talks, diplomats warn Iran

The talks resume in Vienna. Photo: EU Vienna delegation handout via Getty

Senior diplomats from France, Germany and the U.K. briefed reporters Tuesday on the sidelines of the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna, saying that if Iran starts enriching uranium to 90% purity, the level needed to produce nuclear weapons, it would "seriously imperil" the negotiations.

Why it matters: Israel has shared intelligence with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich weapons-grade uranium, as Axios first reported on Monday.

Senate Republicans shrug off debt default deadline

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen testifies before House members Wednesday. Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans are feeling far more relaxed about the impending Dec. 15 federal debt-default deadline this time around, with many suggesting the real drop-dead date isn't until January.

Why it matters: Their attitude toward the deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is distinctively different from the hair-on-fire rhetoric before the initial Oct. 18 date. But a Congress discounting the advice of a Treasury secretary is risky financial practice — and has the potential to affect markets itself.

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

GOP fights itself on shutting down government over vaccine mandates

Reporters question Senate Minority Whip John Thune before the Republican Party's weekly lunch on Tuesday. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

GOP leaders on Capitol Hill are scrambling to reach a deal with a bloc of 15 Senate Republicans threatening a government shutdown to force a fight over the Biden administration's vaccine mandates.

Why it matters: The push to defund the mandates — by holding the short-term government funding bill hostageis largely symbolic, and highly controversial within the Republican Party. A shutdown as early as midnight Friday could trigger everything from national park closures to delays in receiving Social Security checks.