Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

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

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Facebook general counsel Colin Stretch said 150 million individuals may have been exposed to the Russian effort. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Facebook said Wednesday that as many as 146 million Americans may have seen content associated with Russian election meddling, more than they had disclosed earlier in the week, but that it had no evidence that voter registration data was used by the Russians to target individuals.

Those admissions came as lawmakers on the Senate Intelligence Committee slammed the top lawyers for Facebook, Google and Twitter for their response to Russian election meddling on their platforms. It's the second day of grilling for the tech giants, who appeared before a Senate Judiciary Committee panel on Tuesday. "I don't think you get it," Sen. Dianne Feinstein told the companies. "You have a huge problem on your hands." More highlight here:

  • Facebook General Counsel Colin Stretch said an additional 16 million people had been exposed to Russian propaganda on Instagram since October 2016. Combined with the 126 million Americans who may have been exposed to the campaign on Facebook — and the possibility that four million people may have been exposed to Instagram content earlier — that means a "little less than" 150 million individuals may have had exposure to the Russian effort, he said.
  • The lawyers for Facebook and Twitter said they had not yet found evidence that United States voter registration data had been used to target individual voters by name during the Russian campaign.
  • Sen. Mark Warner, the committee's top Democrat, tore into the companies for their sluggish response to the investigation: "I hear all your words, but I have more than a little bit of frustration that many of us on this committee have been raising this issue since the beginning of this year, and our claims were frankly blown off by the leaderships of your companies.
  • Facebook and Twitter said they don't believe they've found all instances of Russian election meddling yet, and Google indicated its investigation is ongoing.
  • Multiple lawmakers expressed disappointment that the chief executives from the companies had not attended the hearings. "I wish your CEOS were here," said Sen. Joe Manchin. "They need to answer for this."
  • Republican Sen. James Lankford pushed the companies to provide more details about the ads they've identified so the public can see the types of ads foreign actors are trying to place. "Just giving the percentage of users who say it doesn't help us," he said. "We really do want these ads to get out in the public space."
  • Committee Chairman Richard Burr said that the companies' "actions need to catch up to your responsibilities." But he also pushed back on the idea that online ads from the Russians could have tipped the balance in battleground states.
  • Burr also told the companies it's their responsibility to make sure foreign money does not find its way into influencing future elections. He told them to collaborate, even if it means asking for an antitrust waiver to do so. "Don't let nation states disrupt our future. You're the front lines of defense for it."
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who represents the companies as a senator from California, hit the companies for giving "vague" answers at Tuesday's hearing. "You've created these platforms, and now they're being misused, and you're the ones who have to do something about it. Or we will," she said.

Worth noting: Democrats have, so far, been tougher on the companies than their Republican colleagues, were more focused on how the Russians used the campaign to cause general discord rather than trying to promote a candidate.

Go deeper: Our recap of the tech company testimony before a Senate Judiciary Committee subcommittee yesterday.

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.