Rebecca Zisser / Axios

As President Trump pointed out, his biggest problem has quickly become a leaking administration.

The real scandal here is that classified information is illegally given out by "intelligence" like candy. Very un-American! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 15, 2017

A grain of salt: Obama had major leaking problems too. Like in 2012, shortly after his re-election, when officials leaked to the New York Times that the then-President had authorized secret cyber attacks on Iran. Or Edward Snowden in 2013, the guy whose name has become synonymous with government whistleblowers.

  1. The "National Guard roundup": The AP published a story this week on a draft Homeland Security memo that would call up National Guard units to round up illegal immigrants. The administration quickly denied it was considering the idea, but someone leaked that memo.
  2. That dossier: CNN reported that Trump and Obama were briefed on documents that included scandalous allegations about Trump and his connections with Russia. BuzzFeed then published the unverified dossier.
  3. Torture executive order draft: Only days after the inauguration, a draft of an executive order started circulating detailing plans to reinstate the CIA's "black site" prisons and using Gitmo for detainees. It's uncertain where this came from, and nothing has come of it since.
  4. Religious freedom executive order draft: Another draft executive order was leaked by an unknown source. The order would let private companies choose not to cover contraceptives for their employees and to speak out "on moral or political issues from a religious perspective," without losing their tax-exemption. Many feared an order like that would lead to discrimination of the LGBT community. Turns out, Ivanka and Jared helped keep Obama's LGBT orders in place.
  5. His conversation with Australia: An official told the NYT that the call between Trump and Australia Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was heated and had an abrupt end.
  6. His conversation with Mexico: Dolia Estevez from Forbes reported that sources from both sides told her that Trump threatened to send U.S. military to Mexico during his "friendly" phone call with President Nieto.
  7. The raid in Yemen: Military personnel leaked information about the raid in Yemen, which led to the death of a Navy SEAL. They accused Trump of not having the proper intelligence before signing off on the raid.
  8. Gen. Flynn's phone call: Weeks after the FBI warned the Trump administration that then-National Security Advisor Michael Flynn talked about Obama's sanctions during his call with Russia in December, the information was leaked to the press, which ended up with Flynn forced resignation.
  9. The insiders: Republican Senator John McCain told reporters on Tuesday, "It's a dysfunctional White House, and nobody knows who's in charge." Others have told journalists, including our Mike Allen about the "borderline chaos" of Trump's administration, Steve Bannon's growing influence, Trump's dramatic process for selecting his SCOTUS, etc.
  10. Contact with Russia: Then last week, several news agencies reported on more contacts between Trump and Russia. The story was sourced to officials within the administration.

Go deeper

Over 73 million people watched the first debate on TV

Data: Nielsen; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

More than 73.1 million people watched the first presidential debate on television on Tuesday night, according to Nielsen ratings.

Why it matters: While that's a sizable audience for any American TV program, it's down more than 13% from the record number of TV viewers who tuned in for the first debate of the 2016 election. The chaotic nature of the debate and the overall uncertainty around this year's election may have pushed some viewers away.

Senate passes bill funding government through December

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday passed legislation to fund the federal government through Dec. 11, by a vote of 84-10.

Where it stands: The legislation will avert a government shutdown before funding expires Wednesday night and before the Nov. 3 election. The House passed the same measure last week by a vote of 359-57 after House Democrats and the Trump administration agreed on the resolution.

  • Both sides agreed early in negotiations that the bill should be a "clean" continuing resolution — meaning each party would only make small changes to existing funding levels so the measure would pass through both chambers quickly, Axios' Alayna Treene reported last week. The bill now goes to President Trump for his signature.
Bryan Walsh, author of Future
1 hour ago - Technology

The age of engineering life begins

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Synthetic biology startups raised some $3 billion through the first half of 2020, up from $1.9 billion for all of 2019, as the field brings the science of engineering to the art of life.

The big picture: Synthetic biologists are gradually learning how to program the code of life the way that computer experts have learned to program machines. If they can succeed — and if the public accepts their work — synthetic biology stands to fundamentally transform how we live.