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Axios' Mike Allen interviewing Sen. Mark Warner. Photo: Chuck Kennedy / Axios

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chief Democratic lawmaker on the Senate Intelligence Committee, sketched out his concerns Thursday over efforts by President Trump's supporters to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe in an interview with Axios' Mike Allen.

The big quote: "Mike, I'm not suggesting anything other than the fact that the tone and tenor of the comments coming out of the president's allies both elected and otherwise should send a chill through all of us," said Warner to Allen.

Warner also warned of the problems with the just-passed GOP tax bill as well as Silicon Valley's failure to rid their platforms of hackers.

  • He predicts a "fix it" tax bill will be needed within 6 months to revise all of the mistakes with the tax code, and said the push to get it done before the arbitrary Christmas deadline was largely responsible for its problems. He added that the bill "is probably the single most disappointing piece of legislation" in his time in the Senate.
  • He thinks tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Youtube were too slow in recognizing the interference of Russian hackers during the elections, and expects that Silicon Valley will need to create new companies that solely deal with cyber warfare.
  • He said there needs to be an "independent third-party, almost academic analysis" of the vast trove of content posted by Russian accounts in an alleged attempt to sow chaos during the 2016 election.

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The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Senate passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate voted 50-49 on Saturday to approve President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: COVID relief has been a central promise for Biden, and passing the sweeping package has been a major priority for the administration and congressional Democrats.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
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Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.