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Haines. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Avril Haines was quickly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the director of national intelligence (DNI) in a vote of 84-10.

Why it matters: Haines is the first of President Biden's nominees to receive a full Senate confirmation and she will be the first woman to serve as DNI. She's previously served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

  • Among other commitments, Haines has pledged to conduct a public assessment of the threat that the QAnon conspiracy theory poses on American security.
  • She has also committed to releasing the declassified report on Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi's murder which the Trump administration previously withheld.
  • Haines will further be tasked with restoring trust in the intelligence community.

The big picture: The confirmation came just hours after Democrats took back the majority in the Senate. Sens. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Alex Padilla (D-Ca.) were sworn-in on Wednesday afternoon.

  • The Senate split is now 50-50, with Vice President Kamala Harris presiding as the tiebreaker.

What to watch: Secretary of the Treasury nominee Janet Yellen is expected to be another priority for confirmations, with much of the responsibilities for COVID-19 economic stimulus falling on the Treasury.

  • A vote is also expected tomorrow on whether to grant Secretary of Defense nominee Lloyd Austin a waiver to serve in the role.
  • Austin needs the waiver because he has not been out of the military for more than seven years.

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

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 to 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.

Students vandalize and steal from schools for viral TikTok challenge

TikTok logo displayed on a phone screen in Krakow, Poland on July 18, 2021. Photo: Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images

A viral TikTok challenge is leading students nationwide to shatter mirrors, steal fire alarms and intentionally clog toilets, The Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: Dubbed the the “Devious Licks challenge, students are showing off their "devious licks" on TikTok — with a sped-up version of "Ski Ski BasedGod" by rapper Lil’ B playing in the background.

Axios-Ipsos poll: People of color face more environmental threats

Expand chart
Data: Axios/Ipsos poll; Note: ±2.5% margin of error; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Americans of color are much less likely than white Americans to experience good air quality or tap water or enough trees or green space in their communities, and they're more likely to face noise pollution and litter, a new Axios-Ipsos poll finds.

The big picture: Our national survey shows Black and Hispanic Americans are more likely than their white counterparts to live near major highways or industrial or manufacturing plants — and to have dealt in the past year with water-boil notices or power outages lasting more than 24 hours.

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