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Capitol assault just one reason for Trump impeachment

President Trump didn't earn his historic second impeachment just by inciting a riot on a single day. He laid its foundation event by event during the two months preceding it.

Why it matters: Uneasiness built to rage among some Republicans as the president challenged the election results, blocked important legislative accomplishments and cost the party its hold on the Senate.

  • Trump turned on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — who loyally defended him for four years — for recognizing Joe Biden as president-elect. The Senate majority leader did it only after the Electoral College ratified his win.
  • The president threatened to shut down the government over the holidays by demanding $2,000 stimulus checks, setting McConnell’s caucus upon itself.
  • Those same senators also had to override Trump’s veto of a massive annual defense spending bill after he demanded they eliminate a social media regulation unrelated to national security.
  • Along the way, the president spent more time attacking GOP officials in Georgia than Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, the two Democrats whose wins cost the Republicans their Senate majority.
  • The pot-stirring culminated in Trump’s mafioso-style phone call with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, during which the president asked him to "find" a winning margin of votes.
  • The last straw was the insurrection at the Capitol, which followed the president's inflammatory speech to a pro-Trump rally.

The end result was another impeachment. Ten House Republicans, many of whom relied on Trump to get elected, voted with the Democrats.

  • Given the swelling support for impeachment among Republicans, including McConnell, Trump could make history again by becoming the first president to be convicted by the Senate after leaving office.

Kellyanne Conway: "Power should be used sparingly yet strategically"

Kellyanne Conway has seen power exercised as a pollster, campaign manager and senior counselor to President Trump. Now that his term in office has concluded, she shared her thoughts with Axios.

Why it matters: If there's a currency in this town, it's power, so we've asked several former Washington power brokers to share their best advice as a new administration and new Congress settle in.

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Pro-Trump reps continue plan to oust Cheney

Pro-Trump holdouts in the House are forging ahead with an uphill campaign to oust Rep. Liz Cheney as head of the chamber's Republican caucus even though Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy told them to back down.

Why it matters: What happens next will be a test of McCarthy's party control and the sincerity of his opposition to the movement. Cheney (R-Wyo.) is seen as a potential leadership rival to the California Republican.

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Democrats aim to punish House Republicans for Capitol riot

House Democrats plan to take advantage of corporate efforts to cut funding for Republicans who opposed certifying the 2020 election results, with a plan to target vulnerable members in the pivotal 2022 midterms for their role in the Jan. 6 violence.

Why it matters: It's unclear whether the Democrats' strategy will manifest itself in ads or earned media in the targeted races or just be a stunt to raise money for themselves. But the Capitol violence will be central to the party's messaging as it seeks to maintain its narrow majorities in Congress.

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Google's parent shuts down effort to deliver Internet via balloons

Alphabet is shutting down Loon, one of its "moonshots" which aimed to deliver Internet service via high-altitude balloons.

Why it matters: The effort was one of several approaches designed to get high-speed connectivity to some of the world's remote spots and also proved useful in the aftermath of disasters that shut down traditional infrastructure.

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What has and hasn't changed as Biden takes over U.S. foreign policy

President Biden swiftly recommitted the U.S. to the Paris climate pact and the World Health Organization, but America's broader foreign policy is in a state of flux between the Trump and Biden eras.

Driving the news: One of the most striking moves from the Biden administration thus far was a show of continuity — concurring with the Trump administration's last-minute determination that China had committed "genocide" against Uyghur Muslims.

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McConnell to propose February impeachment trial

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to propose later today that the impeachment trial of former President Trump begin in February to allow for due process, two sources familiar with the proposal tell Axios.

Why it matters: The impeachment trial is likely to grind other Senate business to a halt, including the confirmation process for President Biden's Cabinet nominees.

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Podcast: Net neutrality on the line under Biden

Federal net neutrality rules are back on the table in the Biden administration, after being nixed by Trump, but now might be complicated by the debate over social media companies' behavior.

Axios Re:Cap digs into why net neutrality matters and what comes next with Nilay Patel, editor-in-chief of The Verge and host of the Decoder podcast.

House grants waiver for Biden's Pentagon pick Gen. Lloyd Austin

The House voted 326-78 on Thursday to grant retired Gen. Lloyd Austin a waiver to lead the Pentagon, clearing the way for the Senate to confirm President Biden's nominee for defense secretary as early as this week.

Why it matters: Austin's nomination received pushback from some lawmakers, including Democrats, who cited a law that requires officers be out of the military for at least seven years before taking the job — a statute intended to reinforce the tradition of civilian control of the Pentagon.

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