Jun 7, 2017

Russia looms large over Senate surveillance hearing

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

The Senate Intelligence Committee holds a hearing Wednesday morning to discuss the reauthorization of Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a key provision of the law that is used to justify the digital surveillance of foreign nationals located abroad.

Why it matters: The provision expires at the end of the year unless lawmakers vote to reauthorize it. Privacy advocates — and some tech companies — take issue with the way that surveillance under the statute can capture the data of American citizens. Some Republican senators, meanwhile, have introduced legislation to re-up the provision and make it permanent.

What to watch: This hearing is going to cover much broader ground, thanks to the witnesses: acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, NSA Director Mike Rogers and Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general. Expect questions on Russia, particularly for Coats, as on the eve of the hearing the Washington Post reported that Trump asked him to pressure Comey to stop investigating Michael Flynn, the former national security advisor.

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Biden rolls out new policies in effort to court Sanders supporters

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The Biden campaign announced two new policies on Thursday on health care and student debt that are squarely aimed at appealing to supporters of Bernie Sanders, who ended his campaign for the Democratic nomination on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The policies don't go as far as Sanders' platform, but they signal that Biden is serious about incorporating elements of his former rival's agenda in an effort to help unify the Democratic Party and defeat President Trump in the general election.

Reports: Saudi Arabia and Russia reach major deal to cut oil production

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OPEC+, led by mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, reached a tentative agreement Thursday to impose large cuts in oil production as the coronavirus pandemic fuels an unprecedented collapse in demand, per Bloomberg and Reuters.

Why it matters: The revival of the OPEC+ collaboration patches up the early March rupture between the countries, which had pushed already depressed prices down much further by threatening to unleash even more new supplies into the saturated market.