The ongoing Russia probe framed the Senate Judiciary Committee's routine hearing to re-up Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act — a law that allows U.S. surveillance of foreigners as a counterterrorism strategy.

Why it matters: Prominent Republicans have raised concerns about parts of Section 702 in light of leaks that prompted the Russia probe. Sen. Lindsey Graham alluded to Michael Flynn's downfall at the hearing and asked point blank: Did you monitor my conversations?

Sen. Dick Durbin expressed concerns that the NSA said it could not provide a count of how many people are being watched. "How are we supposed to believe that transparency is really the guiding principle?" Durbin asked.

One of the most controversial parts of Section 702 is how the NSA records conversations about foreign agents. Earlier this year, the NSA announced it was stopping some "about" collection. But the NSA's Paul Morris said he was "nervous" about legally amending the "about" collection.

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Mike Allen, author of AM
31 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump-Biden venom on display during final debate

Photos: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images; Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden twice referred to President Trump as "this guy," and Trump called the former vice president's family "like a vacuum cleaner" for foreign money.

Why it matters: The personal venom — during Thursday's final presidential debate, in Nashville — was a reminder that even during a more normal debate, nothing this year is normal.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's hopes of nuclear deal with Putin come down to the wire

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A surprise offer from Vladimir Putin has the U.S. and Russia once again circling a potential pre-election nuclear deal.

The big picture: The last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russia, New START, is due to expire on Feb. 5, 2021, two weeks after the next U.S. presidential inauguration. For the first time since the height of the Cold War, the nuclear guardrails could come off.

The cliffhanger could be ... Georgia

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

It hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1992, but Georgia's changing demographics may prove pivotal this year — not only to Trump v. Biden, but also to whether Democrats take control of the Senate.

Why it matters: If the fate of the Senate did hinge on Georgia, it might be January before we know the outcome. Meanwhile, voters' understanding of this power in the final days of the election could juice turnout enough to impact presidential results.