Joe Uchill Feb 13
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Kaspersky Lab sues over second federal ban

Kaspersky celebrates its 20th anniversary in Milan in late 2017. 	Jacopo Raule / Getty
Photo: Getty Images

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab has filed a lawsuit targeting the second of two federal bans on its wares. The latest suit goes after language in a defense law explicitly blocking the purchase of Kaspersky products. An earlier suit targets a Homeland Security directive doing the same.

The bigger picture: With the White House reluctant to institute additional sanctions on Russia, White House Cyber Czar Rob Joyce pointed to Kaspersky as an example of the Trump administration taking Russia seriously. While Kaspersky isn't alleged to be involved in the election hacks of 2016, it's hard not to see the actions against the firm in the context of deteriorated relations with Moscow, as part of a growing spat between the two countries.

At the center of the Kaspersky bans are fears Russia could use its products in espionage operations. Media reports suggest U.S. intelligence believe this has already happened when spies reconfigured the malware detection feature of Kaspersky antivirus to search for classified documents. That has never been confirmed by the U.S. government and the company denies witting involvement in any such scheme.

Kaspersky argues, in a Monday filing in D.C. federal court, that the defense authorization serves as an unconstitutional "bill of attainder," a law targeted specifically at an individual or small group.

Jonathan Swan 7 hours ago
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Scoop: Kelly says Trump probably contributing to staff chaos stories

White House chief of staff John Kelly listens as Donald Trump speaks. Photo: Andrew Harrer-Pool / Getty Images

John Kelly acknowledged in an off-the-record session with reporters today that his boss, Donald Trump, is likely speculating about staff moves to people outside the White House and that reporters are then talking to those people. And that’s how a good deal of news is likely being made about all the possible replacements.

How we know this: Axios was not invited to the off-the-record session and is therefore not bound by the rules. We got our information from three sources familiar with the meeting, who paraphrased the discussion. 

Haley Britzky 1 hour ago
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Trump vetting HIV/AIDS expert to take over CDC

Outside of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters. Photo: James Leynse / Corbis via Getty Images

The Trump administration is vetting Robert Redfield, an HIV/AIDS expert at the University of Maryland Medical Center, to take over as the next director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Politico reports.

The bigger picture: The last CDC director, Brenda Fitzgerald, resigned at the beginning of the year after reports of her purchasing stock in tobacco companies surfaced. Redfield served on the advisory council on HIV/AIDS for President George W. Bush, Politico reports, and is co-founder of the Institute of Human Virology.