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J. Scott Applewhite / AP

In the House Republicans' conference meeting on Capitol Hill this morning, the mood among members was subdued and somewhat anxious. One source described members as "shellshocked."

Paul Ryan sought to project steadiness amid an avalanche of Russia-related news — all of it bad — from the White House. The Speaker told his colleagues, according to a source in the room:

"We should take our oversight responsibilities seriously regardless of who is in power. ... That means before leaping to judgment we get all the facts. OGR [the Oversight Committee] has requested documents. And we'll see where the facts lead."

Behind the scenes: Republican leaders are distressed by what's going on, but don't want to join the pile on. They're watching Democrats bray for impeachment and ballooning media mentions of the 25th Amendment to remove Trump because he's "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office."

The posture (for now): let's get the facts out there and try to be "sober" about them. The last thing GOP leaders want is for pertinent facts to remain undisclosed, because all that means is the news media will ferret them out, blast them out and further shake the system.

Go deeper

Updated 37 mins ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by the Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.

Trump threatens to veto Defense spending bill over social media shield

Photo: Erin Schaff - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Tuesday a threat to veto a must-pass end-of-year $740 billion bill defense-spending authorization bill unless Congress repeals a federal law that protects social media sites from legal liability.

Why it matters: Trump's attempt to get Congress to end the tech industry protections under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is the latest escalation in his war on tech giants over what he and some other Republicans perceive as bias against conservatives.

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