Jun 3, 2017

Trump admin's changing stance on "unmasking"

Charles Dharapak / AP

The House Intelligence Committee, led by Devin Nunes and controlled by Republicans, asked spy agencies in the U.S. to "unmask" Americans last year, WashPost reports.

The committee wanted the agencies to reveal the names of five to six Americans or corporations identified in classified reports regarding Russian meddling in the election. On Thursday, Nunes tweeted: "Seeing a lot of fake news from media elites and others who have no interest in violations of Americans' civil liberties via unmaskings."

Why it matters: He and President Trump have been critical of the Obama Administration's "unmasking" efforts, but the Intelligence Committee under Trump and Nunes reportedly requested the same thing.

This week, the House Intelligence Committee issued seven subpoenas alleging the Obama Administration illegally collected information about citizens via unmasking. "The big story is the 'unmasking and surveillance' of people that took place during the Obama administration," Trump tweeted last Thursday.

Go deeper: U.S. intelligence agencies collect numerous documents related to foreign communications, and often those reports include information about Americans or American corporations. Because of their classified nature, the U.S. intelligence agencies will "mask" the identifying information about citizens and businesses. But, those higher up in the government can request an "unmasking" of this information if they have a legitimate reason or believe it will be vital to understanding the classified reports.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 1,014,673 — Total deaths: 52,973 — Total recoveries: 210,335Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 p.m. ET: 244,678 — Total deaths: 5,911 — Total recoveries: 9,058Map.
  3. 2020 updates: The Democratic National Committee said its July convention will be postponed until August because of the coronavirus. A federal judge declined to delay Wisconsin's April 7 primary election.
  4. Jobs latest: Coronavirus unemployment numbers are like a natural disaster hitting every state.
  5. Public health latest: Anthony Fauci called for all states across the U.S. to issue stay-at-home orders. The FDA will allow blood donations from gay men after 3-month waiting period, citing "urgent need."
  6. Business latest: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said oil companies are eligible for aid from new lending programs the Federal Reserve is setting up, but not direct loans from his department.
  7. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Navy removes captain of aircraft carrier who sounded alarm about coronavirus.
  8. 1 future thing: In developing countries, consequences of COVID-19 could be deeper and far more difficult to recover from.
  9. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  10. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Mark Meadows considers new White House press secretary

Photos: Alyssa Farah, Defense Department; Stephanie Grisham, Alex Wong/Getty Images; Kayleigh McEnany, Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows has privately discussed bringing on Pentagon spokesperson Alyssa Farah or Trump campaign spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany as a new White House press secretary, two sources familiar with the talks tell Axios.

Why it matters: Meadows' start on Tuesday as Trump's new chief presents a chance to overhaul a press shop that's kept a low profile since President Trump ended the tradition of daily press secretary briefings.

CNN: Fauci advises all states issue stay-at-home orders

Dr. Anthony Fauci listens to President Trump speak during a briefing on April 1. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Anthony Fauci recommended on Thursday that all states across the U.S. implement stay-at-home orders, at a CNN town hall.

Why it matters: The recommendation stands in contrast to President Trump's calls for "flexibility." Nearly 4o states have issued stay-at-home orders to promote social distancing as a way to combat the novel coronavirus — but the orders vary in strictness and duration.

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