Dec 1, 2018

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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Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi on Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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Judge sets "scheduling" conference call ahead of Roger Stone sentencing

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson has requested a Feb. 18 "scheduling" conference call in the Roger Stone case, two days before the former Trump associate is set to be sentenced.

Why it matters: Stone's defense team on Friday filed a sealed motion for a new trial — the second time they've done so — amid allegations of juror bias and a growing controversy over Attorney General Bill Barr's intervention in the case.

Biden says Bloomberg's money can't "erase" his record

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images.

Former Vice President Joe Biden said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that Michael Bloomberg's vast fortune cannot "erase" his record, and that scrutiny of Bloomberg's positions on things like race and policing will ramp up now that he's in the national spotlight.

Why it matters: Biden's polling free fall in the wake of poor performances in Iowa and New Hampshire has coincided with a surge for Bloomberg, who appeals to a similar moderate bloc of the Democratic Party. The billionaire's limitless spending capacity poses an especially stark threat to Biden, who has struggled with fundraising.