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Biden to pick Jaime Harrison to head Democratic National Committee

President-elect Biden plans to pick former South Carolina Senate candidate Jaime Harrison to chair the Democratic National Committee, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: Harrison rose to national prominence while running in 2020 to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a close ally of President Trump. The Democrat smashed the all-time Senate fundraising record by raising $57 million in the third quarter of 2020, but ultimately lost to Graham by 10 points.


  • House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), whose endorsement of Biden before the South Carolina helped him secure the Democratic nomination, had pushed for the president-elect to choose Harrison to lead the DNC.
  • Harrison previously served as chair for the South Carolina Democratic Party and ran for the national committee role in 2016 before bowing out to Tom Perez.

The big picture: Harrison, who recently launched a PAC focused on long-term investments in areas seen as Democratic reaches, will be tasked with defending the Democrats' narrow majorities in the House and Senate in 2022.

Go deeper ... Jaime Harrison: "We have to transform the Democratic Party"

Gina Haspel almost resigned over plan to install Trump loyalist Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel almost resigned in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelations stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency.

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NRA files for bankruptcy, says it will reincorporate in Texas

The National Rifle Association said Friday it has filed for voluntary bankruptcy as part of a restructuring plan.

Driving the news: The gun rights group said it would reincorporate in Texas, calling New York, where it is currently registered, a "toxic political environment." Last year, New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit to dissolve the NRA, alleging the group committed fraud by diverting roughly $64 million in charitable donations over three years to support reckless spending by its executives.

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Biden: "We will manage the hell out of" COVID vaccine distribution

President-elect Joe Biden promised to invoke the Defense Production Act to increase vaccine manufacturing, as he outlined a five-point plan to administer 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations in the first months of his presidency.

Why it matters: With the Center for Disease Control and Prevention warning of a more contagious variant of the coronavirus, Biden is trying to establish how he’ll approach the pandemic differently than President Trump.

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Washington can expect a "new normal" — even after Biden's inauguration

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said Friday that the city should expect a "new normal" for security — even after President-elect Biden's inauguration.

The state of play: Inaugurations are usually a point of celebration in D.C., but over 20,000 troops are now patrolling Washington streets in an unprecedented preparation for Biden's swearing-in on Jan. 20.

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Outgoing VP Pence calls Vice President-elect Harris to offer congratulations, help

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

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CDC: Highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

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Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.

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Trump blocks banks from limiting loans to gun and oil companies

Big banks are no longer allowed to reject business loan applicants because of the industry in which they operate, according to a new rule finalized on Thursday by the Trump administration.

Why it matters: Wall Street has curtailed its exposure to industries like guns, oil and private prisons, driven by both public and shareholder pressures. This new rule could reverse that trend.

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