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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

Brazil's health minister tests positive for COVID during UN summit in N.Y.

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro (L) and Health Minister Marcelo Queiroga in Brasilia, Brazil, in May. Photo: Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazil's Health Minister Marcelo Queirog has tested positive for COVID-19 while in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), he confirmed Tuesday night.

Why it matters: Hours earlier, Queirog had accompanied Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to the UNGA. The Biden administration expressed concern last week that the gathering of world leaders could become a coronavirus "superspreader event."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump sues New York Times and his niece over tax report

Former President Trump hosting a boxing match in Hollywood, Florida on Sept. 11. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Trump filed a $100 million lawsuit against the New York Times and his niece Mary Trump on Tuesday over the news outlet's 2018 reporting on his tax records, the Daily Beast first reported.

Details: The suit, filed in New York's Dutchess County, alleges NYT journalists "engaged in an insidious plot to obtain confidential and highly-sensitive records" and that they "convinced" Mary Trump to "smuggle records out of her attorney's office and turn them over to The Times."

House passes government funding, debt ceiling bill

Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The House passed a bill on Tuesday to fund the government through early December, along with a measure to raise the debt ceiling through December 2022.

Why it matters: The stopgap measure, which needs to be passed to avoid a government shutdown when funding expires on Sept. 30, faces a difficult journey in the Senate where at least ten Republicans would need to vote in favor.