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Photo: Yuri Kadobnov/AFP/Getty Images

Paul Nakasone, who heads both the National Security Agency and U.S. Cyber Command, has directed both security branches to coordinate actions to counter future Russian interference in this year’s midterm elections, the Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima reports.

Why it matters: U.S. security agencies are taking action on Russian meddling without guidance from the White House — which now stands in the crosshairs of U.S. intelligence assessments on whether Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. elections. President Trump’s stance was highlighted Monday when he was unable to stand behind U.S. intelligence and condemn Russian meddling during his press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

The details: Nakashima explains the NSA, which focuses on electronic spying, and the military's Cyber Command could launch joint offensive measures to disrupt adversaries’ computer networks. The NSA and Cyber Command would reportedly work with the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. A DHS official confirmed the coordination to Axios. Cyber Command would not offer comment to Axios. The White House, NSA, FBI, and CIA did not immediately return request for comment.

The state of play: The FBI and DHS have been in coordination on election meddling. The FBI initiated a task force on election meddling last year that works with DHS, while DHS provides security scans to states for their election infrastructure — one of many methods to help states bolster their election infrastructure.

  • Russia is showing no signs of letting up on its hacking. And while the DHS has assessed that Russia doesn’t have a robust targeting campaign so far this year, the threat still looms, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said this weekend.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
14 mins ago - Economy & Business

How to meme a painting

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

How can a physical artwork become an NFT? One new company has just spent $12.9 million on a Banksy in an attempt to try out a new way of converting the real into the virtual.

Why it matters: The art market globally sees volume of about $60 billion per year, almost all of which is trade in physical objects. Art-world insiders including former Christie's c0-chair Loïc Gouzer are on the lookout for ways to monetize physical paintings without necessarily giving up physical ownership of them.

Republicans threaten to shut down government over vaccine mandates

Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Capitol in November 2020. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Conservative Republicans in the House and Senate are planning to force a government shutdown Friday to deny funding needed to enforce the Biden administration's vaccine mandates on the private sector, according to Politico.

Why it matters: Congress has until the end of the week to pass a stopgap measure to extend funding into 2022, though objection from a small group of Republicans could shut down the government.

Electric car prices could go up before they come down

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The secret to affordable electric vehicles is cheaper batteries. But after years of falling prices, battery costs are now headed in the wrong direction.

Why it matters: Costlier batteries could drive up the price of electric vehicles — threatening the auto industry's transition away from fossil fuels, and, in turn, society's fight against climate change.