What to Know in Washington: FBI Warns of Distrust in US Midterms

  • FBI sees Russia, China sowing division ahead of US elections
  • Trump correspondence with Kim Jong-un missing, agency says

There are no specific threats to US voting systems for the coming midterm elections, but messages that the result can’t be trusted are being amplified online, with Russia the most aggressive influence among foreign foes, the FBI said.

Such messaging, being pushed in states across the country by political candidates and others in the US, is being seized on by foreign adversaries to sow division, Federal Bureau of Investigation officials said Monday in a briefing with reporters in Washington. Russia, China and Iran are all acting opportunistically in the run-up to the Nov. 8 vote to advance their interests, according to the agency.

The agency doesn’t see the foreign actors as needing to create divisive content, as Russia did during the 2016 US presidential election. Instead, it said, they are leveraging existing domestic US content, especially material questioning the legitimacy of American elections. The Chinese government has primarily focused on more conventional efforts to advance its interests but is starting to take a page from Russia’s playbook to exploit rifts in the US, the FBI said.

It is also tracking threats to election workers across the country and has investigated more than 1,000 of them since June 2021, leading to four arrests so far, according to bureau statistics. Almost 60% of the threats were in states where controversy — and conspiracy theories — over the 2020 election results was hottest, such as Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. Read more from Chris Strohm.

Photographer: Emily Elconin/Bloomberg
A Southfield, Michigan polling location during the 2020 US election.

Happening on the Hill

Jan. 6 Panel Tentatively Reschedules Hearing for Next Week

The House committee investigating last year’s attack on the US Capitol has tentatively rescheduled its next public hearing for Oct. 13, a person familiar with the planning said, following last week’s abrupt postponement as Hurricane Ian made its way toward Florida.

Wall Street Watchdogs Seek More Muscle to Police Bitcoin Trades

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Lawmakers Urge Education Dept. to Extend Student Loans Waiver

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Elections, Politics & Probes

GOP Adds Black, Hispanic Hopefuls as Trump Stirs White Grievance

Republicans are fielding a more racially diverse array of candidates in the midterms, hoping to make gains among voters of color and counter criticism their party appeals only to White people.

Louisiana Congressional Candidate Shows Herself in Labor in Ad

Louisiana Democrat Katie Darling hopes to jump-start her longshot bid to unseat House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R) with one of the most intimate campaign ads in recent memory: It features a video of her giving birth.

Senator Urges IRS to Devote New Funds to Service, Evasion Probes

Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), in a letter obtained by Bloomberg, told the Treasury Department that the Internal Revenue Service should use its newly authorized $80 billion to improve customer service for taxpayers, audit the wealthy and stamp out offshore tax evasion.

Trump Correspondence With Kim Missing, Archives Tells Lawyers

The top attorney at the National Archives emailed former White House lawyers in May 2021 alerting them that the administration had failed to turn over correspondence between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg.

  • A newly unsealed Justice Department report details the range of documents that federal investigators found during the August search of Trump’s Florida home and the steps they took to identify documents the government shouldn’t access. Read more.

Trump Sues CNN for Defamation, Citing ‘Hitler’ Comparisons

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  • In a separate case, Trump asked a judge to put a defamation lawsuit by New York columnist E. Jean Carroll on hold — and delay his deposition — after a federal appeals court issued a preliminary ruling that could derail the case. Read more.

Around the Administration


  • At 3:30 p.m., Biden, Harris, and other Cabinet officials will attend a meeting of the Task Force on Reproductive Healthcare Access and give speeches.
  • At 1 p.m., Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre will give a briefing.

US to Announce New Limits on Chip Technology Exports to China

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Biden to Require Colleges to Protect Students Who Get Abortions

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Medicare Gives Biosimilars Boost, First Step in Drug Pricing Law

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Biden Tells Puerto Rico Storm Victims ‘All of America’ With Them

Biden assured residents of storm-ravaged Puerto Rico that the island would receive “every single dollar” in promised federal aid as he surveyed the damage from Hurricane Fiona.

US CDC Removes Covid Travel Health Notices Due to Limited Data

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday it removed its Covid-19 health advisories for international travel due to limited testing and reporting data from around the world.

SEC Issues Latest Warning Shot for Celebrities Promoting Crypto

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Big Tech Faces Section 230 Reckoning Before US Supreme Court

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Supreme Court Poised to Scrap US Waters Test, Attorneys Say

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Defense & Foreign Affairs

US ‘Strongly Condemns’ North Korea Missile Launch Over Japan

Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida plan to hold talks Tuesday about North Korea firing a missile over Japan. “The United States strongly condemns the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s dangerous and reckless decision to launch a long-range ballistic missile over Japan,” US National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said in a statement, using North Korea’s formal name.

Biden: Will Impose Costs for Violent Crackdowns of Iran Protests

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OPEC+ Production Cut Poses New Threat to Biden as Election Nears

The OPEC+ alliance of oil producing countries are poised to cut production by more than 1 million barrels a day to bolster global oil prices. A decision won’t be made until Wednesday.

US, Mexico Agree to Extend Talks on Energy Dispute Past Minimum

The Biden administration will continue consultations with Mexico over the nation’s energy policy after completing the minimum time period required for talks under their trade deal rather than immediately requesting arbitration.

Tillerson Criticizes Kushner at Trial of Trump Ally Barrack

Former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson testified at a criminal trial about the Trump administration’s seemingly chaotic foreign policy while leveling a veiled criticism at Jared Kushner.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michaela Ross in Washington at mross@bgov.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Katrice Eborn at keborn@bgov.com; Giuseppe Macri at gmacri@bgov.com