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President Trump with Attorney General Bill Barr. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The Justice Department sent a letter on Monday to House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) providing details of its review of the intelligence gathering activities that took place before and during the FBI's investigation of the Trump campaign.

Why it matters: Defenders of President Trump have long demanded that the "investigators be investigated," with the president himself accusing the U.S. intelligence community of engaging in an attempted coup to overturn the results of the 2016 election.

"The Review is broad in scope and multifaceted, and is intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign surveillance services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals."

The big picture: Trump has granted Attorney General Bill Barr the authority to unilaterally declassify any information he chooses as he investigates whether the U.S. intelligence community improperly surveilled the Trump campaign leading up to the 2016 election. The U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham has been appointed to lead the investigation.

Between the lines: The language in the letter is likely to intended to mitigate some of the fears about Barr's new declassification powers, stressing that DOJ will work closely with the intelligence community to protect sources and methods.

  • Notably, the letter does not mention the term "spying," which Barr and many Trump allies have used when discussing surveillance of the campaign — language that has prompted significant backlash from Democrats and some national security officials. Instead, DOJ refers to "intelligence-gathering and investigative steps directed at persons associated with the Trump campaign."

Go deeper: What the Mueller report tells us about Trump and Russia

Go deeper

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Beto not even best Dem against Abbott

Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.

First look: Conservatives' 2022 big target: Tax increases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Conservative groups are unveiling huge ad-buys going after vulnerable House Democrats over tax increases and other revenue measures in their party's massive infrastructure spending bill, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: President Biden and Democrats have an immense amount of political capital riding on a $3.5 trillion bill facing razor-thin margins in both chambers. Conservatives are running ads targeting the House members who leaders will need to pass the measure.