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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.

Capitol review panel recommends boosting security with more police, mobile fencing

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

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Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.

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Chamber of Commerce decides against widespread political ban following Capitol insurrection

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce revealed Friday it won't withhold political donations from lawmakers who simply voted against certifying the presidential election results and instead decide on a case-by-case basis.

Why it matters: The Chamber is the marquee entity representing businesses and their interests in Washington. Its memo, obtained exclusively by Axios, could set the tone for businesses debating how to handle their candidate and PAC spending following the Jan. 6 Capitol attack.

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Scoop: CDC lets child migrant shelters fill to 100% despite COVID concern

The Centers for Disease Control is allowing shelters handling child migrants who cross the U.S.-Mexico border to expand to full capacity, abandoning a requirement they stay near 50% to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The fact the country's premier health advisory agency is permitting a change in COVID-19 protocols indicates the scale of the immigration crisis. A draft memo obtained by Axios conceded "facilities should plan for and expect to have COVID-19 cases."

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8 Senate Democrats vote against adding $15 minimum wage amendment to COVID relief

Eight Democratic senators on Friday voted against Sen. Bernie Sanders' amendment to ignore a ruling by the Senate parliamentarian and add a $15 minimum wage provision to the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

The state of play: The vote was held open for hours on Friday afternoon — even after every senator had voted — due to a standoff in negotiations over the next amendments that the Senate is set to take up.

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CDC: Easing mask mandates, re-opening restaurants led to higher COVID cases, deaths

Easing mask restrictions and on-site dining have increased COVID-19 cases and deaths, according to a study out Friday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: The report's findings converge with actions from governors this week easing mask mandates and announcing plans to reopen nonessential businesses like restaurants.

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Exclusive: GOP Leader McCarthy asks to meet with Biden about the border

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has requested a meeting with President Biden to discuss the rising numbers of unaccompanied migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border, in a letter sent on Friday.

Why it matters: Biden is facing criticism from the right and the left as agency actions and media reports reveal spiking numbers of migrant children overwhelming parts of the U.S. immigration system. Recent data shows an average of 321 kids being referred to migrant shelters each day, as Axios reported.

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Public desire for vaccine increases to 69%, but with partisan divide

69% of the public intends to get a COVID vaccine or already has, up significantly from 60% in November, according to a report out Friday from the Pew Research Center.

Yes, but: The issue has become even more partisan, with 56% of Republicans who say they want or have already received a coronavirus vaccine compared to 83% of Democrats.

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