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President Trump flanked by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley (third from right) and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. John Hyten (right), May 9, 2020. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

The Joint Chiefs of Staff condemned last week’s deadly siege on the U.S. Capitol in a letter on Tuesday, calling the invasion "a direct assault on the U.S. Congress, the Capitol building, and our Constitutional process."

Why it matters: The JCS, chaired by Gen. Mark Milley, is comprised of the Defense Department's most senior military officers. The condemnation is seen as a meaningful shift, given they typically avoid taking political positions. President Trump has lost a number of allies since the Jan. 6 riot.

What they’re saying: "The rights of freedom of speech and assembly do not give anyone the right to resort to violence, sedition and insurrection," the letter states.

  • "As Service Members, we must embody the values and ideals of the Nation. We support and defend the Constitution. Any act to disrupt the Constitutional process is not only against our traditions, values, and oath; it is against the law."
  • The letter also makes clear that President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated and "become our 46th Commander in Chief" on Jan. 20.
  • "To our men and women deployed and at home, safeguarding our country—stay ready, keep your eyes on the horizon, and remain focused on the mission."

Read the letter:

What to watch: The FBI has opened files into more than 170 people and made charges in over 70 cases as it investigates the siege on the Capitol.

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Elijah Nouvelage, Alex Wong/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 7: Trump turns on Pence. Trump believes the vice president can solve all his problems by simply refusing to certify the Electoral College results. It's a simple test of loyalty: Trump or the U.S. Constitution.

"The end is coming, Donald."

The male voice in the TV ad boomed through the White House residence during "Fox & Friends" commercial breaks. Over and over and over. "The end is coming, Donald. ... On Jan. 6, Mike Pence will put the nail in your political coffin."

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.