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Alan Dershowitz, a member of President Trump’s defense team, responded to a question on quid pro quos on Wednesday, stating: "If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment."

The flip side: Lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff replied: "I would assume in every impeachment case, yes, you have to show the president was operating from a corrupt motive, and we have."

The big picture: Senators began the 16-hour question-and-answer phase of the impeachment trial on Wednesday. Both sides will have eight hours over the next two days to submit pre-written questions to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, who will direct them to House impeachment managers or Trump's legal team for five-minute responses.

  • Whether to call witnesses remains a looming issue among lawmakers as senators gear up for a vote on Friday.

Go deeper... Live updates: Senators to get their turn for questions

Go deeper

4 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.