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Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and Trump. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee received a whistleblower complaint from a former senior Department of Homeland Security official who alleges he was instructed to "cease providing intelligence assessments on the threat of Russian interference in the United States" because it "made the president look bad," Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday.

The big picture: U.S. intelligence officials have concluded that Russia is actively seeking to denigrate Joe Biden to assist President Trump ahead of the election.

  • The whistleblower, former intelligence and analysis acting undersecretary Brian Murphy, alleges that he was told to instead start reporting on interference activities by China and Iran, which he did not believe were on par with the actions of Russia.
  • Murphy alleges that he was told by acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf that the instructions came specifically from White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien.

The whistleblower complaint also alleges that acting DHS deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli directed Murphy to modify a Homeland Threat Assessment report to make the threat of white supremacist violence "appear less severe."

Read the full whistleblower complaint.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

Go deeper

Updated Nov 25, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump gives Biden access to presidential intelligence briefings

Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Trump White House on Tuesday gave President-elect Biden access to daily presidential intelligence briefings, a source familiar with the matter tells Axios.

Why it matters: Trump has refused to share the briefs until now, as he continues to challenge the result of the election and declines to concede. The president's acquiescence comes as another sign that the transition to a Biden administration is taking place.

Nov 25, 2020 - World

Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

The social media addiction bubble

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Right now, everyone from Senate leaders to the makers of Netflix's popular "Social Dilemma" is promoting the idea that Facebook is addictive.

Yes, but: Human beings have raised fears about the addictive nature of every new media technology since the 18th century brought us the novel, yet the species has always seemed to recover its balance once the initial infatuation wears off.

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