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Conaway before an Intel Committee hearing. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas), who's leading the House Intelligence Committee through the Russia investigation, tells Axios that President Trump called him twice — and he didn't answer.

Conaway, previewing the Republicans' coming findings and recommendations during an interview in his Capitol Hill office, said he wanted to be able to say he had no contact with the president during the investigation.

  • Conaway, who even resisted a Mar-a-Lago trip, told us: "[T]he team got back to the White House and explained why it was I could not take any calls from the president. And that's hard, because I [took calls] from President Obama."
  • "I have had no conversations, personal, phone, messaging systems with the president this entire time frame because ... I thought the other side would try to make more out of that than I could explain."
  • "[Y]our name pops up on TV, he wants to call you, he's going to call you. ... I have no idea what he wanted to talk about."

Conaway said he was disappointed "that we weren't able to conduct the investigation a little quieter, with less public fanfare."

  • "I'm embarrassed on behalf of our committee that we're such a sieve that we can't keep a secret. It's both sides."

Conaway said the GOP's coming recommendations include:

  • Setting up a notification system that allows the Department of Homeland Security, when a threat to a state election system is detected, "to immediately hit the right person" in the state to communicate the information.
  • "A little more fulsome" reporting to the Federal Election Commission, so that if "you've got your private entity paying a foreign agent to do something, ... making sure that we've got the right kind of disclosures."
  • Additional voter registration security.
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Go deeper

Scoop: CIA director Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to install Kash Patel as deputy

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

NRA declares bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

Wayne LaPierre of the National Rifle Association (NRA) speaks during CPAC in 2016. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and will seek to reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment."

The big picture: The move comes just months after New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.