Joe Uchill Feb 13
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Susan Rice letter could be next House Intel memo

Susan Rice
Photo: Cheriss May / NurPhoto / Getty Images

Two Republicans senators are taking aim at former National Security Advisor Susan Rice over an email she sent herself during her last day in office to document a meeting between former FBI Director James Comey, former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, and President Obama about the Trump investigation.

Quick take: This will be treated like the Nunes FISA warrant memo by both the left and the right.

Is sending the email to herself particularly weird?

  • The conservative case: Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and conservative media, seem to think so. The meeting took place on January 5, but the letter was not written until two weeks later.
  • The liberal case: The Obama administration took active steps to memorialize the investigation before the Trump administration took office to prevent the new administration from deleting it, according to multiple media reports. Like the Nunes memo, the Rice self-email contains some detail benefiting supporters of the investigation — Obama tried to detach the White House from the criminal investigation unless it was absolutely necessary to withhold information from a suspected Russian asset.

What's next: Grassley and Graham are not just emphasizing the "unusual" record keeping — they are also focusing on whether the meeting contained reference to the Steele dossier and Carter Page.

The pair have made a more nuanced argument than House Intelligence Republicans that the FISA warrant against Carter Page should not have been granted. This could indicate that investigation is ongoing despite the fizzle of the House memo.

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D.C.'s March for our Lives: "The voters are coming"

Protestor at D.C.'s March for our Lives.
Protestor at D.C.'s March for our Lives. Photo: Axios' Stef Kight.

D.C.'s March for our Lives event is expected to see more than half a million participants.

Why it matters: While D.C. is the primary march, there are hundreds of others around the world and across the country. Led by students, the march is "to demand that a comprehensive and effective bill be immediately brought before Congress to address" gun issues, per the organization's mission statement.

Haley Britzky 3 hours ago
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DOJ eyeing tool to allow access to encrypted data on smartphones

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

The Justice Department is in "a preliminary stage" of discussions about requiring tech companies building "tools into smartphones and other devices" that would allow law enforcement investigators to access encrypted data, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This has been on the FBI's mind since 2010, and last month the White House "circulated a memo...outlining ways to think about solving the problem," officials told the Times. Both FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, support finding ways for law enforcement to access data without compromising devices security.