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Axios' Mike Allen (l) and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (r). Photo: Axios

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Microsoft President Brad Smith warned of ongoing election interference through technology on Thursday at an Axios virtual event on the Future of Employability.

What they're saying: "It was four years ago at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia that our eyes were first opened to nation-state cyberattacks on candidates and campaigns ... Here we are again four years later ... We have stronger defenses ... but the threats are becoming more sophisticated," Smith said.

  • "We are seeing attacks that are more likely to succeed than they were four years ago precisely because they are more numerous and more sophisticated," he added.

What to watch: "I think we need to be doing more not only to protect candidates and campaigns and journalists and think tanks, but where I think we really need to focus our energy is continuing to fight misinformation and securing our voting systems," Smith urged.

Klobuchar, who earlier in the year sought the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said: "Last election was a dress rehearsal for what [Russia is] going to try now. There's every reason to believe they're going to do it again."

  • Klobuchar also commented on President Trump's attempts to thwart mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, stating, "I would rather put ballots in the mailbox than voters in the hospital."
  • "...at least the mail-in ballot can't be hacked into," Klobuchar added.

Editor's note: This Axios event was sponsored by Microsoft.

Watch the event.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 13, 2020 - Axios Events

Watch: The future of health care in America

On Friday, November 12, Axios's Sam Baker hosted a conversation on how to expand health insurance access and increasing pandemic concerns, featuring Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) and President of The Foundation for Research on Equal Opportunity Avik Roy.

Sen. Smith discussed how the pandemic has exposed and exacerbated inequalities in American health care and highlighted the increasing need to expand telehealth options for vulnerable populations.

  • How telehealth can make mental health care more accessible: "The upsurge in depression, anxiety and also suicidal ideation are going up dramatically. These are things that telehealth can also help, not as a complete substitution for in-person care, but as a way of making care more accessible."

Avik Roy unpacked the current health care debate, focusing on the question of how to achieve universal coverage, how government subsidies support employer-based coverage, and where the Republican party stands on health care issues.

  • On the distinction between universal coverage and single-payer systems: "A lot of people on both sides of the debate don't appreciate that universal coverage is not the same thing as single payer government-run health care...a lot of countries in Europe, or at least a number of them, have achieved universal coverage with private insurance companies or private insurers."
  • Where the Republican party stands on health care: "There's no consensus among Republicans as to what they think about health care...there are those who say, let's repeal Obamacare and go back to the old pre-Obamacare system, then there are people in the middle who I think don't like being hammered on their lack of a plan or solution for the uninsured or for the affordability of health insurance."

Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei hosted a View from the Top segment with CEO of OptumHealth Services at UnitedHealth Group Heather Cianfrocco and discussed making health care more accessible and affordable.

  • On lessons from the pandemic: "What we learned from the pandemic was that the things that already didn't work in the system were even more broken. But then we learned that as we come together with private-public partnerships, we can advance very quickly."

Closed captioning available below:

Thank you United Health Group for sponsoring this event.

26 mins ago - World

Taiwan leader confirms U.S. troops on island training forces

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen in Taipei earlier this month. Photo: I-Hwa Cheng/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen told CNN Thursday that a small number of American troops are on the island for training purposes and she has "faith" the U.S. would defend the democracy against a Chinese military attack.

Why it matters: This is the first time a Taiwanese leader has publicly acknowledged the presence of U.S. troops on the self-governing island since the last U.S. garrison left in 1979, when Washington switched formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under de Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.