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Will Hurd. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call

Republican Rep. Will Hurd has been removed from a keynote slot at this year's Black Hat cybersecurity conference, one day after being announced, after critics slammed the cyber-focused lawmaker's GOP-line record on women's issues including STEM funding and abortion.

What they're saying: "We misjudged the separation of technology and politics," wrote the conference in a emailed statement.

Background: Black Hat is one of the major conferences in cybersecurity. It does not appear a speaker has ever been removed under these circumstances at a similar conference in the field.

  • Hurd did, however, speak at Black Hat's sister conference, DEF CON, in the same city in the same week.

What they're saying: "Representative Hurd was honored to be invited and hopes that the Black Hat Conference is a success," said Katie Thompson, Hurd's communications director, via email.

  • "Congressman Hurd has always sought to engage groups of people that don't necessarily agree with all of his votes or opinions. That's why Rep. Hurd is one of the loudest voices for bipartisanship in Congress."
  • She continued: "This Congress alone he voted for equal pay for equal work, for the Violence Against Women Act and the Equality Act."

Go deeper

The Exvangelicals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Even as evangelicals maintain their position as the most popular religion in the U.S., a movement of self-described "exvangelicals" is breaking away, using social media to engage tens of thousands of former faithful.

The big picture: Donald Trump's presidency, as well as movements around LGBTQ rights, #MeToo and Black Lives Matter, drew more Americans into evangelical churches while also pushing some existing members away.

Updated 6 hours ago - Science

Huge wildfire reaches edge of Sequoia National Park

A plume of smoke and flames rise into the air as the fire burns towards Moro Rock during the KNP Complex fire in the Sequoia National Park near Three Rivers, California, on Saturday. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

Firefighters in Sequoia National Park were working into the night after two wildfires merged to reach the Giant Forest Saturday.

Why it matters: This forest contains over 2,000 giant sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree — the world's largest tree by volume. Park officials wrapped the redwoods in foil last week as the Paradise and Colony Fires, now known as the KNP Complex Fire, neared. Protection efforts appeared to be working overnight.

7 hours ago - World

Hong Kong holds first "patriots only" elections

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a news conference last Monday. Photo: Lui Siu Wai/Xinhua via Getty Images

Hong Kong's elections to choose the city's Election Committee members opened to a select group of voters on Sunday, under a new "patriots only" system imposed by China's government.

Why it matters: All candidates running to be members of the electoral college have been "vetted" by Beijing, per Reuters. They will go on to choose the Asian financial hub's next leader, approved by China's government, and some of its legislature.

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