Jul 16, 2018

Russian national arrested for trying to infiltrate the NRA

Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Maria Butina, a Russian national, has been arrested for failing to register with the Attorney General while operating as a foreign agent in the U.S. as part of an effort to infiltrate the NRA, according to the affidavit filed in a U.S. district court.

Why it matters: This shows Russian efforts to meddle in U.S. politics go beyond hacking and social media influence campaigns — it's also about wheeling and dealing with influencers. Butina was also a part of Russian efforts to create a backchannel of communications as part of the campaign, which Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to have approved, according to messages obtained by the FBI.

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This year's census may be the toughest count yet

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Community leaders are concerned that historically hard-to-count residents will be even harder to count in this year's census, thanks to technological hurdles and increased distrust in government.

Why it matters: The census — which will count more than 330 million people this year — determines how $1.5 trillion in federal funding gets allocated across state and local governments. Inaccurate counts mean that communities don't get their fair share of those dollars.

Live updates: Coronavirus spreads to Latin America

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

Brazil confirmed the first novel coronavirus case in Latin America Wednesday — a 61-year-old that tested positive after returning from a visit to northern Italy, the epicenter of Europe's outbreak.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,700 people and infected over 81,000 others. By Wednesday morning, South Korea had the most cases outside China, with 1,261 infections. Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, where 374 cases have been confirmed.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 1 hour ago - Health

Scoop: Census Bureau is paying Chinese state media to reach Americans

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign, which sends U.S. taxpayer dollars to community media outlets to run ads about the upcoming census, is including a Chinese state-run broadcaster as one of its media vendors.

Why it matters: After China's yearslong campaign to co-opt independent Chinese-language media in the U.S., Washington is now paying Beijing-linked media outlets in order to reach Chinese Americans.

Go deeperArrow2 hours ago - World