Feb 14, 2018

Pence said U.S. intel ruled out Russian election impact. They haven’t.

Vice President Mike Pence at an Axios event Wednesday. Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

"Irrespective of efforts that were made in 2016 by foreign powers, it is the universal conclusion of our intelligence communities that none of those efforts had any impact on the outcome of the 2016 election."
— Vice President Mike Pence at an Axios event Wednesday.

Fact check: U.S. Intelligence chiefs say they have made no such judgment.

What they know
  • U.S. intelligence chiefs have determined that Russia tried to meddle in the election.
  • Yesterday, during a hearing on world threats, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats even said Russia believes their efforts were successful, and sees the 2018 midterms as another potential target.
  • Department of Homeland Security officials said in September that 21 states had been targeted by Russian government hackers during the campaign, and some successfully infiltrated their elections systems, but said there was no evidence of any voting machines being affected.
What they don't know
  • According to a joint assessment on Russian interference released in January: "We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election. The US Intelligence Community is charged with monitoring and assessing the intentions, capabilities, and actions of foreign actors; it does not analyze US political processes or US public opinion."
  • That statement means not only have U.S. intel leaders not reached a conclusion on whether the outcome of the election was impacted, but it is not in their authority to analyze political processes.

Flashback: In October of 2017, the CIA was forced to walk Director Mike Pompeo's assertion that Russian efforts to influence the outcome of the election were unsuccessful, specifically stating no such determination had been made.

Go deeper

Wisconsin primary to continue as scheduled, as other states delay due to coronavirus

Photo: Barbara Davidson/Getty Images

Wisconsin's April 7 presidential primary will not be postponed, a federal judge ruled on Thursday, as 13 other states have delayed voting or made changes to promote social distancing to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: 23 other states and the District of Columbia haven't held primaries yet. The White House is recommending, for now, that Americans practice social distancing and gather in groups of no more than 10 people — while nearly 40 states have issued stay-at-home orders.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 6 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 1,002,159 — Total deaths: 51,485 — Total recoveries: 208,949Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 4:30 p.m. ET: 236,339 — Total deaths: 5,648 — Total recoveries: 8,861Map.
  3. 2020 update: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus.
  4. Jobs update: 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week — 3.5 million people likely lost their employer health insurance coverage.
  5. Business update: Instacart says it will send health safety kits to delivery workers
  6. Public health latest: FDA allows blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said startups will be eligible for coronavirus stimulus loans
  8. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  9. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Americans without IRS direct deposit may not receive stimulus checks for months

Trump at the stimulus bill signing. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Coronavirus stimulus payments will begin to be distributed in mid-April, but Americans without direct deposit accounts set up with the IRS may not receive checks until August, according to a House Ways and Means Committee memo first reported by CNN and confirmed by Axios.

Why it matters: The IRS estimates that only about 70 million of the roughly 150 million Americans eligible for the payments have direct deposit information on file, according to CNN.