Nov 14, 2018

Bipartisan effort to protect Mueller investigation blocked by McConnell

Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

A bipartisan effort by Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Chris Coons (D-Del.) to force a floor vote on a bill shielding Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being fired failed on Wednesday after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell dismissed the measure.

Why it matters: The fate of Mueller's Russia investigation has been under speculation following last week’s abrupt resignation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, at the request of President Trump, and the appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, who has publicly criticized the scope of the probe.

The details: The bipartisan measure had cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this year, but it hasn’t reached floor for a vote amid skepticism from some Republicans.

  • Flake and Coons were seeking unanimous consent on the measure to circumvent McConnell, who opposed scheduling it for a vote.
  • McConnell said earlier on Wednesday he believes the president will not fire Mueller, despite Trump's public opposition to the probe.

In an effort to get McConnell to support the legislation, Flake said that he will no longer confirm any of Trump's judicial nominees unless the Senate approves the Mueller bill.

  • Flake is a member of the Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have 11 members and Democrats have 10. His objection would make it harder for the committee and the full Senate to confirm judges for the remainder of the year.

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Scoop: New White House personnel chief tells Cabinet liaisons to target Never Trumpers

McEntee, shown with White House counselor Kellyanne Conway and White House senior adviser Stephen Miller, walks on the South Lawn of the White House Jan. 9. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Johnny McEntee called in White House liaisons from cabinet agencies for an introductory meeting Thursday, in which he asked them to identify political appointees across the U.S. government who are believed to be anti-Trump, three sources familiar with the meeting tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: McEntee, a 29-year-old former body man to Trump who was fired in 2018 by then-Chief of Staff John Kelly but recently rehired — and promoted to head the presidential personnel office — foreshadowed sweeping personnel changes across government.

How art can help us understand AI

Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

Activists and journalists have been telling us for years that we are handing too much of our human autonomy over to machines and algorithms. Now artists have a showcase in the heart of Silicon Valley to highlight concerns around facial recognition, algorithmic bias and automation.

Why it matters: Art and technology have been partners for millennia, as Steve Jobs liked to remind us. But the opening of "Uncanny Valley: Being Human in the Age of AI" tomorrow at the de Young Museum in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park puts art in the role of technology's questioner, challenger — and sometimes prosecutor.

The Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury fight is the rematch of the century

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The weekend's biggest sporting event is Wilder-Fury II, which despite its name is not an action movie sequel starring Jean-Claude Van Damme but, rather, a boxing match starring arguably the two best heavyweights in the world.

The backdrop: In their first meeting in December 2018, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put on a memorable show at Staples Center, with Fury surviving a brutal right hand in the 12th round to earn a split-decision draw.

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