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On Thursday, October 1 Axios' Mike Allen hosted a conversation following the first presidential debate featuring Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms (D) and Biden Foreign Policy Advisor Antony Blinken.

Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms discussed voting early and safely, as well as her reaction to Tuesday's first presidential debate.

  • On the importance of voting in this election: "We are not the first generation that's faced challenges in voting. And this is what makes it now more important than ever for us to exercise our right to vote."
  • On the role that Georgia has as a state with many swing voters: "My hope is that in Georgia, where there are still so many swing voters and even many undecided voters, that this was a visual representation of the trouble that our country is in. That in watching President Trump, we watch someone who refuses to denounce white supremacists."

Antony Blinken unpacked the foreign policy approach of a Biden administration and his view of President Trump's effect on the relationships between the United States and its allies.

  • On a 'diplomacy first' approach: "I think a Biden administration would actually reassert American leadership, leading with our diplomacy. We'd actually show up again day in, day out, and we'd engage the world."
  • His view of the current administration's approach to foreign policy: "We've got a president who can't tell our friends from our foes."

Sen. Marsha Blackburn preparation for safe voting practices in Tennessee, the idea of statehood for D.C. and the Supreme Court Nomination of Amy Coney Barrett.

  • When asked to respond to Trump's refusal to denounce white supremacy on Tuesday night: "I think that it is imperative that we denounce all forms of violence and these extremist groups, whether they are from the left or from the right. And this there is no place for this in civil society."
  • On the possibility of D.C. statehood: "D.C. is the district. It is the nation's capital. Why would we turn that into a state? How would that work? And [my constituents] are just very unsettled."

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this conversation.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

The Republicans who acknowledged Biden's win after the Electoral College vote

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is the latest Republican to accept Joe Biden as president-elect after the Electoral College affirmed his election victory on Monday.

Why it matters: Many GOP lawmakers have for weeks refused to accept Biden's win, highlighting President Trump's influence over the party, even as his efforts to overthrow the election based on false allegations of widespread voter fraud proved unsuccessful.

Updated 5 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.

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