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House Democrats ask DOJ watchdog for "emergency" probe of Durham's Trump-Russia investigation

Four Democratic House committee chairs on Friday asked the Justice Department's inspector general to launch an "emergency investigation" into whether Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney John Durham, his appointee, are taking actions that could "improperly influence the upcoming presidential election."

Catch up quick: Last year, Barr tapped Durham to conduct a sweeping investigation into the origins of the FBI's 2016 Russia probe, after he and President Trump claimed that it was unjustified and a "hoax."


  • Although Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz found "serious performance failures" by some FBI officials, he ultimately concluded that the FBI's investigation was not tainted by political bias.
  • Nora Dannehy, a senior prosecutor who worked with Durham on his investigation, abruptly resigned from the DOJ last week.
  • The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

What they're saying: The committee chairs are concerned that Barr could make "public disclosures" or "issue reports" before the election about the Durham investigation in ways that "appear intended to benefit President Trump politically."

  • "Few actions would prove more damaging to public confidence in the integrity of the DOJ and our democratic process than the perception that federal prosecutorial power can be used to prejudice a pending investigation or influence an upcoming election," the committee chairs wrote to Horowitz.

The big picture: Congressional Democrats have ramped up accusations that Barr is working to benefit Trump's re-election, and in May went so far as to allege that he is doing the president's "political bidding" by interfering in ongoing criminal cases — including dropping the agency's prosecution of former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Read the letter.

Trump plans to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” in effort to dramatize Hunter Biden emails

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails, Jonathan Swan tells me. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.

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Intel shares drop sharply despite mostly solid earnings report

Shares of Intel fell as much 10% in after-hours trading Thursday — after the company posted quarterly revenue and earnings generally in line with expectations.

Why it matters: The chip giant is a bellwether for the PC industry, and small signs of weakness may be playing an outsize role in spooking investors.

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FBI: Russian hacking group "Energetic Bear" stole data after targeting local governments

Energetic Bear, a Russian state-sponsored hacking group, has stolen data from two servers after targeting state and federal government networks in the U.S. since at least September, the FBI and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said on Thursday.

Driving the news: Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced Wednesday that Iran and Russia had obtained voter registration information that could be used to undermine confidence in the U.S. election system.

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FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment

Gilead Sciences on Thursday received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for remdesivir, an antiviral treatment that has shown modest results against treating COVID-19.

Why it matters: It's the first and only fully FDA-approved drug in the U.S. for treating the coronavirus.

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How the coronavirus pandemic might end

It's still the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, but history, biology and the knowledge gained from our first nine months with COVID-19 point to how the pandemic might end.

The big picture: Pandemics don't last forever. But when they end, it usually isn't because a virus disappearsor is eliminated. Instead, they can settle into a population, becoming a constant background presence that occasionally flares up in local outbreaks.

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Urban housing prices are on the rise

Data: ATTOM Data Solutions; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Home prices are rising rapidly across the U.S., according to ATTOM Data Solutions.

Driving the news: ATTOM released its 3Q 2020 figures this week, concluding that 77% of metro areas posted "double-digit annual home price gains." Profit margins rose in 86% of the 103 metropolitan statistical areas studied.

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Podcast: Quibi RIP (2020-2020)

Short-form video streaming app Quibi announced that it will cease operations, just six months after a high-profile launch backed by $1.75 billion in funding from studios and venture capitalists.

Axios Re:Cap digs into what went wrong and what happens next, with REDEF CEO Jason Hirschhorn.

Mayors plan multifront attack on census shutdown

A growing number of mayors are banding together to fight what they consider to be an inaccurate and abruptly curtailed 2020 census, using an arsenal of legal, legislative and congressional efforts.

Why it matters: The outcome may determine whether President Trump or Joe Biden controls the redistricting process, which governs everything from congressional representation and redistricting to funding for schools and Head Start.

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