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Biden opposes presidential commission to investigate Jan. 6

President Biden has decided against appointing his own commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection and will instead increase pressure on Congress to establish a committee, White House officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: Some House Democrats suggested Biden create a presidential commission after Senate Republicans blocked the establishment of a bipartisan commission. This decision signals his preference for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to take the lead.


What they're saying: “Congress was attacked on that day, and President Biden firmly agrees with Speaker Pelosi that Congress itself has a unique role and ability to carry out that investigation,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tells Axios.

  • “Because of that, the President doesn’t plan to appoint his own commission.
  • "The events of Jan. 6 were an unprecedented assault on our democracy — and he believes they deserve a full, and independent, investigation to determine what transpired and ensure it can never happen again."

The big picture: Biden isn't letting any daylight between himself and Pelosi, who on Wednesday previewed potential options for how a commission can review the events that led up to insurrection, according to NBC News.

  • They include holding a second Senate vote to try to force more members on the record and overcome the filibuster, or empowering the House Homeland Security Committee's chair and ranking members, Reps. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and John Katko, R-N.Y., to take the lead.

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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