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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.

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 5 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.