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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Rep. Adam Schiff, top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said during a Thursday press conference that it is "highly concerning" that the White House letter — inviting ranking members of the committee to review the intelligence materials that chairman Devin Nunes has seen — came out the same day as the N.Y. Times story on Nunes' sources. "That timing is concerning," he added. Other notable takeaways:

  • Schiff said he will go to the White House as soon as they're ready for him, and noted that he will ultimately share what he finds with the rest of the committee.
  • On source of information: "To me this looks nothing like a whistle blower case," said Schiff. Paul Ryan previously suggested the source seems like 'whistle blower-type person.'
  • On Russia probe: "This won't distract us from our Russia investigation... if that's the object here, it will not be successful... this is too important not to go forward... We are going to get to the bottom of just what the Russians did and how they did it, and whether there was any coordination."

Go deeper

Defense taking steps to mitigate civilian harm after botched airstrikes

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin speaks during a news conference at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia on Sept. 1, 2021. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin issued a directive Thursday to improve the U.S. military's approach to civilian harm mitigation and response, calling it a "strategic and a moral imperative."

Why it matters: The Pentagon has faced criticism for years for amassing civilian casualties in its missions, especially in the Middle East. New York Times investigations have found systemic failures in efforts to prevent civilian deaths, as well as a cover-up of a 2019 airstrike that killed dozens of women and children in Syria.

2 hours ago - World

Mapped: The world's most and least corrupt countries

Expand chart
Data: Transparency International; Map: Jared Whalen/Axios

The most corrupt governments in the world are in South Sudan, Syria and Somalia, according to Transparency International's annual index, while the "cleanest" are in Denmark, Finland and New Zealand.

  • Breaking it down: The U.S. is 27th, China 66th, India 85th, Brazil 96th and Russia 136th. Scroll over the map to see each country's ranking.

Crypto leads to massive surge in online scams

Expand chart
Reproduced from FTC; Chart: Axios Visuals

Bogus cryptocurrency investments led to an unprecedented increase in online scams last year, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Why it matters: Cryptocurrency is an easy target because while it's surging in popularity, there's still a lot of confusion about how it works.