Dec 21, 2018

DNI report confirms Russia sought to influence 2018 midterms

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. Photo: Aaron P. Bernstein via Getty Images

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats released a statement Friday confirming that Russia, China, Iran and other countries conducted "influence activities" and "messaging campaigns" in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, but that there is no indication any election infrastructure was compromised.

Why it matters: This is the first formal assessment by the U.S. intelligence community that concludes foreign influence campaigns were conducted during the 2018 campaign. Coats said the intelligence community did not make an assessment on what impact these activities had on the outcome of the election.

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Bernie Sanders wins Nevada caucus

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders waves to supporters at a campaign rally on Friday in Las Vegas. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders is projected to win the Nevada Democratic primary caucus, according to the Associated Press.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state with a diverse population to hold a nominating contest, highlighting candidates' abilities to connect with voters of color — particularly Latino voters. The Nevada caucus is the first to also test Sanders' to appeal to the Latinos.

South Korea and Italy see spikes in coronavirus cases

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting these are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the United States.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel and Lebanon, while Iran reported its sixth death from the virus. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 Friday to 433 on Saturday and Italy's case count rose from 3 to 62 by Saturday.

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America's rundown roads add to farmers' struggles

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

American farmers are struggling to safely use the roads that cut through their fields; decades of neglect and lack of funding have made the routes dangerous.

The big picture: President Trump has long promised to invest billions in rural infrastructure, and his latest proposal would allocate $1 trillion for such projects. Rural America, where many of Trump's supporters live, would see a large chunk of that money.