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Pelosi announces "9/11-type Commission" to probe Capitol attack after Trump acquittal

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said in a letter to House Democrats Monday an independent "9/11-type Commission" would be set up to investigate the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection.

Why it matters: Calls for a bipartisan commission to investigate the deadly attack have grown in recent weeks, and escalated since former President Trump was acquitted on Saturday.


  • This could be the last avenue for some lawmakers to hold Trump to account for the siege.
  • Republicans to support an independent inquiry include Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a key ally of the former president who voted to acquit him.

What she's saying: "To protect our security, our security, our security, our next step will be to establish an outside, independent 9/11-type Commission to 'investigate and report on the facts and causes relating to the ... domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex," Pelosi said in her letter.

  • "And relating to the interference with the peaceful transfer of power, including facts and causes relating to the preparedness and response of the United States Capitol Police and other Federal, State, and local law enforcement in the National Capitol Region."

For the record: Pelosi last month appointed Lt. General Russel Honoré to conduct a security infrastructure review of the Capitol following the riots.

  • After consulting with Honoré, Pelosi wrote Monday that she would move forward with plans for emergency funding laws "to provide for the safety of members and the security of the Capitol."

Of note: Reps. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), James Comer (R-Ky.), Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) wrote to Pelosi on Monday to express concerns about the independence of Honoré and his final recommendations, and whether the Speaker would have an influence on the outcome.

What to watch: Legislation would probably be needed to establish a commission, like the one created following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which saw then-President George W. Bush signed a law giving the panel investigation powers, the New York Times notes.

House passes For the People Act to expand voting rights

The House voted 220-210Wednesday to pass Democrats' expansive election and anti-corruption bill.

Why it matters: Expanding voting access has been a top priority for Democrats for years, but the House passage of the For the People Act (H.R. 1) comes as states across the country consider legislation to rollback voting access in the aftermath of former President Trump's loss.

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House passes George Floyd Justice in Policing Act

The House voted 220-212onWednesday evening to pass a policing bill named for George Floyd, the Black man whose death in Minneapolis last year led to nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice.

Why it matters: The legislation overhauls qualified immunity for police officers, bans chokeholds at the federal level, prohibits no-knock warrants in federal drug cases and outlaws racial profiling.

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Republicans are demanding a full 600-page reading of Biden’s COVID relief bill

Republicans are demanding a full, 600-page bill reading — and painful, multi-hour "vote-a-rama" — as Democrats forge ahead with their plan to pass President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package.

Why it matters: The procedural war is aimed at forcing Democrats to defend several parts the GOP considers unnecessary and partisan. While the process won't substantially impact the final version of the mammoth bill, it'll provide plenty of ammunition for future campaign messaging.

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Here’s how a single resignation, retirement or death could flip control of the 50-50 Senate

Note: Bernie Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Data: Axios Research/ProPublica/NCSL; Chart: Will Chase/Axios

Nineteen seats in the U.S. Senate could potentially flip parties if there's an unexpected vacancy, according to Axios' analysis of state vacancy rules, which most often allow the governor to appoint a replacement.

Why it matters: Depending on the senator, a single resignation, retirement or death — by accident or old age — could flip control of the 50-50 Senate, or give Democrats a two-vote cushion.

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White House works with Democrats to ensure Biden quickly fills any federal court vacancies

The White House is quietly working with Senate Democrats to ensure President Biden has a steady stream of nominees for the federal courts, according to people familiar with the matter and an administration official.

Why it matters: Biden wants the federal judiciary to better reflect the country’s demographics, and to try to shield his unfolding legislative agenda from a judiciary currently dominated by Trump appointees.

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Journalists around the world face record persecution

Around the world, journalists are being targeted at record levels by despots, eager to silence the press.

Why it matters: Experts worry that the United States' wavering stance on press freedoms over the past few years may have empowered autocrats looking to gain power and undermine democracy by going after journalists.

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FBI, Homeland Security warn of increasing threat to Capitol

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report reviewed by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says an unidentified group of extremists discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

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Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

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