FEC chair claims GOP commissioner blocked memo about foreign election interference

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Wientraub (L). Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Federal Election Commission Chair Ellen Wientraub took to Twitter on Friday night to share a memo about prohibited electoral activity by foreign nationals that she says a Republican commissioner blocked from being published in a public weekly digest.

Why it matters: Weintraub's decision to share the memo about foreign involvement in U.S. elections comes as a whistleblower alleges President Trump tried to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate his 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. The complaint was referred by the director of national intelligence for investigation as a possible campaign finance violation, but was dismissed by the Justice Department. Its claims about Trump and Ukraine are now at the heart of an impeachment inquiry.

What she's saying: Weintraub published her memo as a Twitter thread, with 57 posts in total.

  • Weintraub tweeted: "GOP FEC Commissioner Caroline Hunter took the altogether unprecedented step of objecting to its being added to the Digest and blocked publication of the whole."
  • The memo focuses on the illegality of foreign nationals donating to American elections and defines various key terms used in the statute, such as "contribution," "anything of value" and "solicit."

Go deeper: FEC effectively shuts down after key resignation

Additional Stories

Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams testify in impeachment hearing

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the National Security Council's top Ukraine expert, and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, are testifying Tuesday morning as the House kicks off its second week of impeachment hearings.

Why it matters: This morning's hearing is the first time we'll hear publicly from witnesses who listened to the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that lies at the heart of the impeachment inquiry.

This post will be updated with new developments as the hearing continues.

Vindman refuses to answer questions amid fear of outing whistleblower

Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman faced a round of questioning from House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) over people with whom he discussed the July 25 call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Why it matters: After Vindman said he discussed the call — as a part of his position on the National Security Council — with State Department official George Kent and an unnamed intelligence official, the questioning devolved into a squabble over the impeachment inquiry's rules protecting the identity of the whistleblower.

A Teflon earnings season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With Q3 earnings season nearly over, investors are applauding, even cheering companies that fall short of expectations or signal next quarter won't be as rosy as previously thought.

Why it matters: Investors' renewed optimism that's pushed stock prices to all-time highs is giving businesses more leeway than in the past.

Trump Inc. leaks on itself

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

As televised impeachment hearings roll into Week 2, one surprise has been how many of the Trump team's wounds have been self-inflicted, because of his allies' curious habit of leaking on themselves.

Why it matters: The leaks and revelations have thrown President Trump into a constant state of defensiveness, and turned a growing number of Republicans into frustrated, sometimes bewildered, defenders.

Pro-Trump group finds swing voters are unconvinced on impeachment

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

The pro-Trump group America First says focus groups show that suburban swing voters — even some who strongly dislike President Trump — remain skeptical about impeachment.

Why it matters: These early findings will help shape Republican messaging about impeachment and Trump's top Democratic rivals.

Health industry expects little change from heart study

How a stent works. Photo: BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A new federal study said stents and bypass surgery are no more effective than drugs for treating blocked arteries, but the health care industry and its investors aren't banking on major changes to heart care as a result.

The big picture: Placing stents and performing bypasses are two of the most common operating room procedures. Science continues to say we don't need to be doing them so often, but overhauling that standard of care isn't easy — in part because hospitals and device makers make a lot of money from them.

Las Vegas mass shooting claims 59th victim, two years on

Tags outside Las Vegas Village bearing the names of those killed in the 2017 massacre. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

California woman Kimberly Gervais has become the 59th person to die from injuries sustained in the Las Vegas shooting massacre, a coroner confirmed in a statement on Monday.

Why it matters: The shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, which occurred when a gunman opened fire from his Mandalay Bay hotel room before killing himself, is the deadliest in modern U.S. history.

Protests paralyze Hong Kong: What you need to know

Hong Kong riot police fire teargas and rubber bullets as protesters attempt to leave The Hong Kong Poytechnic University on Monday.

Authorities say hundreds of student protesters have been arrested at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, but about 100 were defying police orders to surrender as the standoff entered a third day on Tuesday, AP reports.

The latest: The city's leader Carrie Lam said 600 demonstrators had left the campus, including 200 who are younger than 18, AP notes. Dozens of activists escaped from the building by "shimmying down plastic hosing from a bridge and fleeing on waiting motorbikes as the police fired projectiles," per Reuters.

Read more at Axios
© Copyright Axios 2019