Dec 1, 2018

5. Mattis claims Russia attempted to interfere in 2018 midterms

Defense Secretary James Mattis with President Trump. Photo: Win McNamee via Getty Images

Speaking at the Reagan National Defense Forum Saturday, Defense Secretary James Mattis said that Russia had attempted to interfere in the 2018 midterm elections and that Vladimir Putin has "continued efforts to try to subvert democratic processes," CNN reports.

"There is no doubt the relationship has worsened. [Putin] tried again to muck around in our elections this last month, and we are seeing a continued effort along those lines."

Why it matters: This appears to be the first instance of a high-level Trump administration official acknowledging that Russian electoral interference continued into the 2018 midterms. President Trump canceled a meeting with Putin at the G20 summit over Russia's aggression against Ukraine in the Kerch Strait, but had an "informal conversation" with the Russian president at dinner Friday night, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders.

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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

6 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.