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Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as FBI director

President Biden plans to keep Christopher Wray as director of the FBI, CNN first reported and an administration official confirmed to Axios.

The big picture: Wray, who was nominated by former President Trump in 2017 after he fired former FBI Director James Comey, came under heavy criticism from Trump and his allies over the past year.

  • Trump always distrusted the FBI and the intelligence community, and was angered by Wray's perceived failure to punish those involved in the Russia investigation and to investigate Hunter Biden's foreign business dealings.
  • Wray further angered the former president by testifying before Congress that the FBI had not found any evidence of widespread voter fraud, including through mail-in ballots, and that Antifa is an "ideology," not an "organization."

Between the lines: Amid speculation that Wray could be fired, the FBI Agents Association (FBIAA) sent letters to Biden and Trump in late October to urge them to allow the FBI director to finish his 10-year term and insulate the bureau from politics.

What to watch: The FBI is in the early stages of a massive investigation into felony cases "tied to sedition and conspiracy" after Trump supporters led a deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol. The probe spans several states, has so far resulted in over 125 arrests, and involves multiple U.S. Attorneys' offices.

The bottom line: FBIAA President Brian O’Hare wrote last year that the FBI is facing a “daunting threat environment,” citing domestic and foreign terrorism, espionage, cyber-attacks, and traditional crimes. After the siege on the Capitol, the agency only faces more potential threats to deal with.

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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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