Axios Mar 13
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Report: Trump's personal assistant fired

Trump's personal aide John McEntee.
McEntee follows Trump to Air Force One last year. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

There's been another ouster from President Trump's team. John McEntee was fired and "escorted out of the White House" yesterday over an "unspecified security issue", the Wall Street Journal reports, citing unidentified White House officials. The White House declined to comment to the WSJ.

Why it matters: McEntee was one of Trump's longest serving aides and Axios' Jonathan Swan reports he was beloved by the Trump family. The firing is sudden and shocking to Trump's inner circle.

Dave Lawler 7 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.

Shannon Vavra 5 hours ago
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Report: Kaspersky exposed a counterterrorism spy operation

Kaspersky logo.
Kaspersky logo. Photo: Jacopo Raule / Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab

Kaspersky Lab’s research exposed an ongoing U.S.-led counterterrorism spying operation, CyberScoop reports. According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the operation was focused on ISIS and al-Qaeda.

What happened: Kaspersky announced a malware campaign called “Slingshot," an advanced, persistent threat, indicating it may have state-backing, earlier this month. They said the malware was on thousands of devices in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kenya, Sudan, Somalia, Turkey, and Yemen. Current and former U.S. intel officials told CyberScoop that Slingshot is a program that is run through the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command.