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Twitter permanently suspends accounts of Michael Flynn, Sidney Powell

Twitter permanently suspended the accounts of former national security adviser Michael Flynn and President Trump's lawyer Sidney Powell on Friday for breaking the platform's "Coordinated Harmful Activity" policy.

Why it matters: The action comes as part of the platform's crackdown on QAnon-related content. Both Flynn and Powell have promoted the far-right conspiracy theory that purports without evidence that the "deep state" is waging against President Trump.


Context: The bans come after Twitter temporarily suspended Trump's account and threatened to permanently remove him from the platform if he continues to post false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him.

What they're saying: "When we determine that a group, movement, or campaign meets the criteria for designation as engaged in Coordinated Harmful Activity, we may suspend accounts whose primary use is to propagate and/or encourage engagement in the identified coordinated harmful activity," a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement

  • "We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm, and given the renewed potential for violence surrounding this type of behavior in the coming days, we will permanently suspend accounts that are solely dedicated to sharing QAnon content."

The big picture: The platform also removed the accounts of Michael Flynn Jr., and Ron Watkins, the administrator of 8kun, the website formerly called 8chan that hosts posts from Q — the anonymous figure behind the conspiracy theory.

Go deeper: The Capitol siege's QAnon roots

Incoming White House plans extraordinary steps to protect Biden from COVID-19

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

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Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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Netflix tops 200 million global subscribers

Netflix said that it added another 8.5 million global subscribers last quarter, bringing its total number of paid subscribers globally to more than 200 million.

The big picture: Positive fourth quarter results show Netflix's resiliency, despite increased competition and pandemic-related production headwinds.

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Biden's Treasury pick plays down debt, tax hikes during hearing

Janet Yellen, Biden's pick to lead the Treasury Department, pushed back against two key concerns from Republican senators at her confirmation hearing on Tuesday: the country's debt and the incoming administration's plans to eventually raise taxes.

Driving the news: Yellen — who's expected to win confirmation — said spending big now will prevent the U.S. from having to dig out of a deeper hole later. She also said the Biden administration's priority right now is coronavirus relief, not raising taxes.

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Trump gives farewell address: "We did what we came here to do"

President Trump will give a farewell video address on Tuesday, saying that his administration "did what we came here to do – and so much more."

Why it matters: Via Axios' Alayna Treene, the address is very different from the Trump we've seen in his final weeks as president — one who has been refusing to accept his loss, who peddled conspiracy theories that fueled the attack on the Capitol, and who is boycotting his successor's inauguration. 

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Europeans have high hopes for Joe Biden

Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Joe Biden's inauguration will be greeted with enthusiasm in Europe, with three new polls making clear that most Europeans can't wait to bid Donald Trump adieu.

The big picture: Europeans generally expect brighter days ahead under Biden, according to the polls, but his election has not fully assuaged doubts about U.S. democracy and global leadership.

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U.S. surpasses 400,000 coronavirus deaths on Trump's final full day in office

Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Over 400,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. as of Tuesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

Why it matters: It only took a little over a month for the U.S. to reach this mass casualty after 300,000 COVID deaths were reported last month. That's over 100,000 fatalities in 36 days.

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Special report: How U.S. policy toward China transformed under Trump

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

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