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Acting DHS chief says "all options" on the table for ending violent protests in Portland

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told ABC's "This Week" that "all options continue to be on the table" in terms of sending federal law enforcement into Portland to quell violent protests.

Why it matters: Tensions in Portland reached new heights after a person was killed on Saturday night during clashes between protesters and Trump supporters. Wolf could not share more details on the incident because the investigation is ongoing, but he called on local officials to allow federal law enforcement to step in.


Between the lines: Protesters in Portland repeatedly clashed with federal law enforcement officials earlier this summer, when the Department of Homeland Security deployed agents to protect the city's federal courthouse before beginning to phase them out in late July.

  • On Friday, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler sent President Trump a letter rejecting his offer of federal assistance.

What he's saying: "I do understand that there were a number of counterprotests and countergroups in Portland overnight, and I think this points to a larger issue that we have seen in Portland for the last three months," Wolf said. "And that is local and state officials not allowing law enforcement to do their job and really to bring this violent activity night after night after night to a close."

  • "So as you see that continue to unfold over the course of three months, you'll continue to see violent activity, and we've asked the governor, we've asked the mayor to step in. They don't have the resources."
  • "The president has been very clear on this as you know. We will be happy to provide resources to bring this violence to an end. Violence that, again, across the ideological spectrum, left or right. The violence needs to end."

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.

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Beware a Thanksgiving mirage

Don't be surprised if COVID metrics plunge over the next few days, only to spike next week.

Why it matters: The COVID Tracking Project warns of a "double-weekend pattern" on Thanksgiving — where the usual weekend backlog of data is tacked on to a holiday.

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Trump pardons Michael Flynn

President Trump on Wednesday pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who pleaded guilty in December 2017 to lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

Why it matters: It is the first of multiple pardons expected in the coming weeks, as Axios scooped last night.

This is a breaking story and will be updated with more details.

The emerging cybersecurity headaches awaiting Biden

The incoming administration will face a slew of cybersecurity-related challenges, as Joe Biden takes office under a very different environment than existed when he was last in the White House as vice president.

The big picture: President-elect Biden's top cybersecurity and national security advisers will have to wrestle with the ascendancy of new adversaries and cyberpowers, as well as figure out whether to continue the more aggressive stance the Trump administration has taken in cyberspace.

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Past friction between Biden and Erdoğan foreshadows future tensions

Ankara — The incoming Biden administration's foreign policy priorities and worldview will collide with those of the Turkish government on several issues.

Why it matters: The U.S. needs its NATO ally Turkey for its efforts to contain Russia, counter Iran and deal with other crises in the Middle East. But relations between Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are expected to be strained.

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Tesla's wild rise and European plan

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

Tesla's market capitalization blew past $500 billion for the first time Tuesday.

Why it matters: It's just a number, but kind of a wild one. Consider, via CNN: "Tesla is now worth more than the combined market value of most of the world's major automakers: Toyota, Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and its merger partner PSA Group."

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China's Xi Jinping congratulates Biden on election win

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a message to President-elect Biden on Wednesday to congratulate him on his election victory, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

Why it matters: China's foreign ministry offered Biden a belated, and tentative, congratulations on Nov. 13, but Xi had not personally acknowledged Biden's win. The leaders of Brazil, Mexico and Russia are among the very few leaders still declining to congratulate Biden.

This story is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

College basketball is back

A new season of college basketball begins Wednesday, and the goal is clear: March Madness must be played.

Why it matters: On March 12, 2020, the lights went out on college basketball, depriving teams like Baylor (who won our tournament simulation), Dayton, San Diego State and Florida State of perhaps their best chance to win a national championship.

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