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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Eugene Kaspersky, founder of Kaspersky Lab, speaks at the 2018 Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit. Photo: Manuel Velasquez/Getty Images

Government officials are considering sanctions barring Kaspersky Lab from doing business in the U. S., CyberScoop reports.

Kaspersky's products have already been barred from federal systems as an alleged security risk, with reports the company's computer security software had been hijacked by Russian intelligence operatives to steal U.S. secrets. The company denies knowing involvement in any such scheme.

Why it matters: Barring Kaspersky Lab software from Federal computers is one thing, Barring the firm from doing business in the United States is significantly more onerous. Kaspersky's business in the United States declined after the reputational hit from the federal ban, but it still exists. The firm still employs American researchers in the U.S. and has an American headquarters in Massachusetts.

What Kaspersky is saying: “The continued actions by the U.S. government against Kaspersky Lab lack sufficient basis, have been taken without any evidence of wrongdoing by the company, and rely upon subjective, non-technical public sources, such as uncorroborated and often anonymously sourced media reports and rumors," Kaspersky Lab told Axios in a statement.

What lawmakers are saying: "The evidence of close ties and cooperation between Kaspersky Lab and the Kremlin is overwhelming, which is why I led efforts in Congress to rid Kaspersky products from federal systems," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) to reporters in a statement. "Sanctioning Kaspersky Lab is a logical next step."

Ties to the Kremlin: Kaspersky is Moscow-based. Its founder, Eugene Kaspersky, is accused of having close relationships with members of the Russian intelligence community, which he denies.

Rather than provide a specific allegation of wrongdoing against Kaspersky, the Trump administration said the ban was necessary because Russian laws would allow the Russian government to arbitrarily seize data sent to Kaspersky servers at any time. The company is currently challenging the ban in two court cases.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated Eugene Kaspersky's stance about alleged relationships with the Kremlin. He disputes them.

Go deeper

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

The bomb cyclone and atmospheric river seen via satellite on Sunday. The center of the storm is at the middle of the comma shape, due west of Washington State. (CIRA/RAMMB)

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest from this weekend, forecasters warn.

Why it matters: A strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is predicted to whiplash Northern California from drought to flood.

Mike Allen, author of AM
5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Fauci fires back at Rand Paul for slam on tonight's "Axios on HBO"

Responding to charges by Sen. Rand Paul on Sunday's "Axios on HBO," NIAID director Anthony Fauci told "ABC This Week" that it's "molecularly impossible" for U.S.-funded bat virus research in China to have produced COVID-19.

Why it matters: The issue 0f Wuhan research was reignited on the right last week with a National Institutes of Health letter to Congress disclosing more about the research.

Manchin, Schumer huddle with Biden in Delaware to discuss spending bill

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (left) and Sen. Joe Manchin at the U.S. Capitol in 2014. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) will meet with President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Sunday morning in Delaware as Democrats look to reach an agreement on the massive spending measure.

Driving the news: Democrats are still negotiating what to keep in the bill and how to pay for it, with Biden saying on Thursday that the party does not have the votes to raise the corporate tax rate.

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