Intelligence

Election officials want security money, flexible standards
After 2016 Russian intrusion, slow progress seen toward securing rolls and paper ballots

Voters line up at a temporary voting location in a trailer in the Arroyo Market Square shopping center in Las Vegas on the first day of early voting in Nevada in October of 2016. Louisiana and Connecticut officials requested more money and clear standards from the federal government before voters head to the polls in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

State officials from Louisiana and Connecticut on Thursday asked for more money and clear standards from the federal government to help secure voting systems before the 2020 elections.

But the officials, Louisiana Secretary of State Kyle Ardoin and Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill, stressed the differences between their election systems and asked for leeway from the federal government in deciding how to spend any future funding.

Rep. Devin Nunes accuses retired farmer of conspiring against him in legal complaint
Even Republicans are scratching their heads

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., has filed a string of lawsuits this year alleging conspiracies against him. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A farmer, a newspaper and a fictional cow are all defendants in lawsuits filed by Rep. Devin Nunes in the last year. 

From his perch as ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Nunes has cast doubt on the findings of former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III by alleging, without evidence, a conspiracy by the president’s perceived enemies.

The lessons of Toni Morrison: Words matter, now more than ever
Trump may be missing what America needs, but late author’s writings light a path forward

With the death of Nobel Prize laureate Toni Morrison, the world lost a giant when so many of our leaders are so small, Curtis writes. (Brad Barket/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — “Language alone protects us from the scariness of things with no names.”

Of course, that language from Toni Morrison perfectly suits this time, when the names we give the things that scare us hardly seem enough.

Republican senators target Google’s relationship with Chinese tech giant Huawei
Senators criticized Google for working with Huawei to develop ‘smart speakers’ that may allow China to ‘listen in on Americans’ conversations’

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., was one of three senators to send a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday criticizing the tech giant for its relationship with Chinese government-aligned Huawei. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Republican Sens. Josh Hawley, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio excoriated Google on Wednesday for downplaying its activity in China despite a report last week that it had been working with Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop “smart speaker” technology.

In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, the senators expressed their concern that such devices can “enable untrustworthy companies to listen in on Americans’ conversations.”

Access DNI’d: Trump tweets that Ratcliffe will not be director of national intelligence
Dan Coats is leaving the post on Aug. 15

President Donald Trump picked Rep. John Ratcliffe, above, to succeed Dan Coats as director of national intelligence, but the Texas Republican withdrew his name from consideration Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In a pair of tweets Friday, President Donald Trump said Texas Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe had withdrawn his name from consideration for director of national intelligence after facing questions about his qualifications. 

Trump said over the weekend that the current director, Dan Coats, would be leaving on Aug. 15 and that he’d picked Ratcliffe, who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, to replace him. Ratcliffe has less experience than Coats, a former Indiana Republican senator, or previous national intelligence directors, and his confirmation in the Republican-controlled Senate was in question.

Texas Rep. Will Hurd announces retirement
Three-term congressman is third Texas Republican to opt against reelection this cycle

Texas Rep. Will Hurd is retiring after three terms. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Texas Rep. Will Hurd, the only African American Republican in the House, announced Thursday evening that he will not run for reelection next year. The news is a blow to House Republicans looking to win back the majority, since Hurd is in one of the most competitive districts in the country and withstood the Democratic wave in 2018. 

The three-term congressman, whose 23rd District stretches from El Paso to San Antonio along the U.S.-Mexico border, said he made the decision “in order to pursue opportunities outside the halls of Congress to solve problems at the nexus between technology and national security.” 

Maybe it’s time to untie the hands of special counsels
The way Mueller interpreted the special counsel’s limits to make a ‘prosecutorial judgment’ about a sitting president needs to be explored

Former special counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Intelligence Committee hearing on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Wednesday, July 24, 2019. He testified earlier in the day before the House Judiciary Committee. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ANALYSIS — Former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III made clear he wouldn’t discuss “deliberations within our office” when he took questions from two House committees July 24 about his investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and what Donald Trump’s presidential campaign knew and did about it.

That’s unfortunate. Even if you put aside the argument that Mueller writing that his report “does not exonerate” Trump really means he is “guilty” or “should be impeached,” the way Mueller interpreted the special counsel’s limits to make what he called a “prosecutorial judgment” about a sitting president needs to be explored further.

A new flood of Democrats call for impeachment proceedings, but does it matter?
21 Democrats have joined push for formal proceedings since Mueller’s testimony

Several House Democrats have signaled their approval of an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in the wake of testimony by former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 11:11 a.m. | The trickle of Democrats calling for an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump has turned into a flood, with 21 new members joining the push since former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III testified before the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees on July 24. 

The total number of House Democrats now supporting an impeachment inquiry is 118, half of their 235-member caucus. 

Texas Rep. Conaway, top Republican on Agriculture panel, not seeking reelection
Eight-term congressman to leave open seat in deep red district

Rep. K. Michael Conaway is not seeking reelection in 2020. The top Republican on the Agriculture Committee is term-limited from staying in that position. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Texas Republican Rep. K. Michael Conaway, ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, is planning to retire at the end of his current term, according to GOP sources. 

Conaway’s decision not to seek reelection in 2020, which he is not expected to formally announce until a press conference Wednesday, leaves an open seat in the deep red 11th District, a part of West central Texas that President Donald Trump won by 59 points in 2016.

New Medicare initiative aims to fill holes in patient health records
The demo connects health data from multiple providers directly to a patient’s doctor

President Donald Trump (L) acknowledges the audience as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma (2nd L) looks on at the South Court Auditorium of Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 18, 2018. Verma told reporters Monday that a new initiative will begin to fill the holes that exist in doctors’ views of their patients’ health. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday unveiled a new initiative that aims to connect the dots between a patient’s health records held by different providers.

The Data at the Point of Care, or DPC, demonstration seeks to bridge the data gap by connecting Medicare’s Blue Button — a tool that allows Medicare patients to download their health records and save them in computer files or apps — directly to a patient’s doctor. A doctor could then see claims data from a patient’s other providers that might not be accessible otherwise.