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Confederate Commander Robert E. Lee guards a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond. (Steve Helber/AP)

"The political crisis in Virginia threatens to turn a state that has trended Democratic back into a battleground, a development that could complicate the party's effort to defeat President Trump next year," AP's Bill Barrow reports.

Why it matters: "Virginia's increasingly diverse and urban population has fueled Democratic victories at the state and presidential level for a decade. But Democrats are anxious that the dizzying developments could suddenly halt their progress."

The lead story of today's WashPost ... "Pressure to oust Northam is easing":

  • "Party leaders have urged elected Democrats to stay off television, say as little as possible publicly and wait to try to regroup until the situation becomes clearer."
  • "While they continue to call publicly for Northam to resign, most Democrats now want the governor to stay in office at least until there is clarity on the issues involving" the lieutenant governor and attorney general, both Ds.
  • "Because the line of succession goes from the governor to lieutenant governor to attorney general, keeping [attorney general Mark] Herring in office is a backstop against handing the Executive Mansion to the third in line, the House Speaker [Kirk Cox], who is a Republican.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

White House stands by imperiled Tanden nomination after Senate panel postpones hearing

Neera Tanden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden's nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

The latest: Asked Wednesday afternoon whether Tanden has offered to withdraw her nomination, Psaki told reporters, "That’s not the stage we’re in." She noted that it's a "numbers game" and a "matter of getting one Republican" to support the nomination.

Acting Capitol Police chief: Officers were unsure of lethal force rules on Jan. 6

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman wrote in prepared remarks for a House hearing on Thursday that officers in her department were "unsure of when to use lethal force" during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Why it matters: Capitol Police did deploy lethal force on Jan. 6 — shooting and killing 35-year-old Ashli Babbit — but have faced questions over why officers appeared to be less forceful against pro-Trump rioters than participants in previous demonstrations, including those over Black Lives Matter and now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

United CEO is confident people will feel safe traveling again by 2022

Axios' Joann Muller and United CEO Scott Kirby. Photo: Axios

United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby believes that people will feel safe traveling again by this time next year, depending on the pace of vaccinations and the government's ongoing response to the pandemic, he said at an Axios virtual event.

Why it matters: Misery for global aviation is likely to continue and hold back a broader economic recovery if nothing changes, especially with new restrictions on international border crossings. U.S. airlines carried about 60% fewer passengers in 2020 compared with 2019.