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GOP Sen. John Cornyn says he when he disagrees with Trump, he does so "privately"

In an interview with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram editorial board, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said that he's disagree with President Trump on trade agreements with China, budget deficits, COVID-19 stimulus aid but has always brought his concerns up privately, rather than publicly criticize the president.

Driving the news: Cornyn said his relationship with Trump was“maybe like a lot of women who get married and think they’re going to change their spouse, and that doesn’t usually work out very well."


Why it matters: Cornyn, a high ranking Republican in the Senate who is currently in a tight re-election race against Democrat MJ Hegar. Weeks ago, he chided Trump for letting "his guard down" on the coronavirus.

  • “I applaud him for standing up to China but, frankly, this idea that China is paying the price and we’re not paying the price here at home is just not true,” Cornyn said.
  • Cornyn described himself as a "defense hawk" who said he disagreed with the use of national security funds to build portions of a border wall, though he voted against a measure that would have overturned Trump's order to use the funds.
  • He praised the administration when it came to judicial nominations, Hurricane Harvey relief, a U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade deal and tax cuts.
  • “I have found that has allowed me to be much more effective, I believe, than to satisfy those who say I ought to call him out or get into a public fight with him.”

The big picture: Several Republicans have begun to distance themselves from Trump just weeks before the election, sounding the alarm over a potential electoral blowout. Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), for example, recently unloaded on the president in a call with constituents, questioning why Republicans thought "selling a TV-obsessed, narcissistic individual to the American people was a good idea?"

Tim Kaine, Susan Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Donald Trump

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on-the-record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

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Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

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AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

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Biden makes a down payment on racial equity with a series of executive orders

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from former President Trump.

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Most Senate Republicans join Rand Paul effort to dismiss Trump's 2nd impeachment trial

Forty-five Senate Republicans, including Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, joined Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday in an effort to dismiss former President Trump's second impeachment trial.

Why it matters: The vote serves as a precursor to how senators will approach next month's impeachment trial. The House impeached Trump for a second time for "incitement of insurrection" following events from Jan 6. when a pro-Trump mob stormed the Capitol.

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Texas judge temporarily halts Biden's 100-day deportation freeze

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Biden administration's 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants.

Why it matters: Biden has set an ambitious immigration agenda, but could face pushback from the courts.

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Reddit is running Wall Street

Wall Street is locked in a battle of will between professional investors who live in Greenwich and amateur investors who congregate on Reddit. So far, the amateurs are winning, judging by increases in their chosen stocks, like GameStop and Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what's really happening, the mechanics of stock "shorting" and what it means for the markets' future, with Axios chief financial correspondent Felix Salmon.

Biden holds first phone call with Putin, raises Navalny arrest

President Biden on Tuesday held his first call since taking office with Vladimir Putin, pressing the Russian president on the arrest of opposition leader Alexey Navalny and the Russia-linked hack on U.S. government agencies, AP reports.

The state of play: Biden also planned to raise arms control, bounties allegedly placed on U.S. troops in Afghanistan and the war in Ukraine, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki, who said the call took place while she was delivering a press briefing. Psaki added that a full readout will be provided later Tuesday.

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