Aug 8, 2018

Senate Intelligence Committee calls on Julian Assange to testify

Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The Senate Intelligence Committee has asked Julian Assange to testify regarding its probe of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to WikiLeaks.

Why it matters: Assange is currently facing expulsion from the Ecuadorian embassy in London and could be extradited to the U.S. if his asylum status there is withdrawn. He is a person of interest in the Russia probe because of WikiLeaks' role in publishing hacked DNC emails and claims by Roger Stone that he was in touch with Assange during the 2016 campaign. Per WikiLeaks, Assange is considering the offer, but only if the testimony conforms to a "high ethical standard."

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Snapchat will no longer promote Trump's account in Discover

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Snapchat will no longer promote President Trump's account on its "Discover" page of curated content, a spokesperson tells Axios, after Trump tweeted comments that some suggested glorified violence amid racial justice protests.

Why it matters: Snapchat is taking action on the president's account for comments he made elsewhere. That's going farther than other big tech firms and signals a commitment to aligning content served to users with core values, rather than making moderation decisions based narrowly on each post made on its own platform.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Esper catches White House off guard with opposition to military use, photo op

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not currently support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.

Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.