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Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP

A Russian intelligence operation sent spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the election, which ran through a hack of a U.S. voting software supplier. The Russian cyber espionage operation was functional for months before the 2016 U.S. election, according to a classified NSA report obtained by The Intercept (which also says the May 5 document was independently authenticated).

Why it matters: As The Intercept wrote, it's "the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light." Plus, the report shows Russian hacking may have weaseled its way further into U.S. voting systems than was previously known.

  • The NSA leaves no room for doubt for who carried out the attack by pointing the finger at Russian military intelligence — specifically, the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU). That stands in stark contrast to Putin's denial that Russia has ever engaged in hacking the U.S. election at the state level.
  • Although the NSA doesn't name the breached company, it does reference a product made by a Florida-based vendor, VR Systems, which is used in eight states.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Inhofe loudly sets Trump straight on defense bill

Sen. Jim Inhofe speaks with reporters in the Capitol last month. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Senator Jim Inhofe told President Trump today he'll likely fail to get two big wishes in pending defense spending legislation, bellowing into his cellphone: "This is the only chance to get our bill passed," a source who overheard part of their conversation tells Axios.

Why it matters: Republicans are ready to test whether Trump's threats of vetoing the bill, which has passed every year for more than half a century, are empty.

Conspiracy theories blow back on Trump's White House

Sidney Powell. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

President Trump has rarely met a conspiracy theory he doesn't like, but he and other Republicans now worry the wild tales told by lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood may cost them in Georgia's Senate special elections.

Why it matters: The two are telling Georgians not to vote for Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler because of a bizarre, baseless and potentially self-defeating theory: It's not worth voting because the Chinese Communist Party has rigged the voting machines.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bolton lauds Barr for standing up to Trump

John Bolton. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

John Bolton says Attorney General Bill Barr has done more to undercut President Trump's baseless assertions about Democrats stealing the election than most Senate Republicans by saying publicly that the Justice Department has yet to see widespread fraud that could change the election's outcome.

What he's saying: “He stood up and did the right thing," Bolton said in a Wednesday phone interview.