Sen. Marco Rubio. Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/Getty Images

Acting Senate Intelligence Chair Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) warned his fellow Republicans in an interview with Politico not to fall victim to Russian disinformation as they move to probe the involvement of Obama administration officials, including Joe Biden, in the opening of the Russia investigation.

The big picture: Rubio has so far been reluctant to embrace ideas like "Obamagate," the conspiracy theory that former President Barack Obama ordered such investigations in order to undermine the incoming Trump administration, and he has distanced himself from GOP-led investigations into Biden's affairs in Ukraine.

  • The warnings about disinformation are consistent with those from Rubio's predecessor as intelligence chair, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), who stepped down amid a federal investigation into stock trades he made before the markets crashed in March.
  • Politico notes that position could put Rubio "on a collision course with Trump and his conservative allies" in Congress ahead of the November election.

What he's saying: "I’m not going to accuse any member who believes that they are exercising oversight to be colluding with a foreign power," Rubio told Politico.

  • "I will say to you that I think it’s pretty clear that the Russians are constantly pursuing narratives that they believe will drive conflict in our politics and divide us against each other."
  • "If we hear or see something, I’ll encourage them to go read up on the intelligence they have access to. ... Ultimately we can’t control what people decide to believe or say."
  • "I think as a society we should anticipate that that’s the new normal for the time to come. And we should view everything with massive grains of salt about the sourcing."

Worth noting: Despite repeated mentions of "Obamagate," Trump was unable to specify what crime he accused Obama of committing earlier this month, instead telling a White House press briefing that "the crime is very obvious to everybody."

Editor’s note: This post has been corrected to identify Richard Burr as the senator from North Carolina (not South Carolina).

Go deeper

Russia likely to keep amplifying criticism of mail-in voting, DHS says

Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf testifies to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on August 6. Photo: Alex Wong/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security's intelligence branch warned law enforcement Thursday that it believes Russian-controlled social media trolls and state media are likely to continue trying to sow distrust in U.S. election results and mail-in ballots, ABC News first reported.

Why it matters: Americans are expected to vote by mail in record numbers in November's election due to the coronavirus pandemic, which means it may be days or weeks after election day before it's clear who won the presidency and down-ballot races.

TikTok's content-moderation time bomb

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.

Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
50 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Zooming in on China's new energy plan

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!