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Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

The Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats confirmed Thursday the intelligence community sees Russia has tried "to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike."

Why it matters: Microsoft's Tom Burt said hacking has happened to candidates without attributing it to Russia, and Sen. Claire McCaskill and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said hacking has happened to them. Coats is now confirming Russia is behind some attacks, although not necessarily these.

Speaking at a White House Press briefing alongside FBI Director Chris Wray, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and NSA and Cyber Command Director General Paul Nakasone, Director Coats explained, "We continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try to weaken and divide the United States. These efforts are not exclusive to this election…We know the Russians tried to hack into and steal information from candidates and government officials alike."

The details: Director Coats said the Russians don't appear to be distinguishing between party in their attempts to hack right now: "What we see is the Russians are looking for every opportunity regardless of party whether or not it applies to the election."

  • General Nakasone explained the U.S. is "prepared to conduct operations against those attempting to undermine our nation's midterm elections."

"In the context of 2018 we are not seeing the same kinds of efforts to target [election] infrastructure...voter registration databases in particular," Director Wray said when asked if they are seeing more targeting of election infrastructure by information warfare.

  • Director Wray added that "any moment is just a moment before the dial can be turned up…potential penetration of voter registration databases" is still possible, he said. "And that in turn can be a vehicle for them to…undermine confidence."

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Beto O'Rourke speaks at a rally at the Texas State Capitol in June. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Actor Matthew McConaughey’s nine-point lead in a theoretical matchup against Greg Abbott shows just how vulnerable the hard-right Texas governor could be in a general election.

Why it matters: Abbott has won conservative accolades for his abortion, mask and vaccine bans. Axios reported Sunday that former Rep. Beto O’Rourke is preparing to announce a gubernatorial challenge — but a recent poll shows he’s not even the most popular Democrat in the state.

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Delayed maps upend midterm campaigns

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Midterm candidates are panicking about how the congressional maps will ultimately be drawn, with several strategists telling Axios campaigns are in limbo.

Why it matters: Candidates are unsure if the district they're targeting will remain intact or be reshaped by the process. The uncertainty is especially vexing to Democrats, who are vying to maintain their narrow margin in the House.

First look: Conservatives' 2022 big target: Tax increases

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Conservative groups are unveiling huge ad-buys going after vulnerable House Democrats over tax increases and other revenue measures in their party's massive infrastructure spending bill, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: President Biden and Democrats have an immense amount of political capital riding on a $3.5 trillion bill facing razor-thin margins in both chambers. Conservatives are running ads targeting the House members who leaders will need to pass the measure.