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Reporters watch as Rep. Jim Jordan arrives Friday for a closed-door deposition by Marie Yovanovitch. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

As Congress returns from break this week, at least 2 witnesses plan revealing testimonies in off-camera depositions for House investigators.

Driving the news: On Monday, Fiona Hill, former senior director for Europe and Russia on President Trump's National Security Council, plans to testify that Rudy Giuliani and EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland circumvented normal process "to pursue a shadow policy on Ukraine," NBC News reports.

On Thursday, Sondland "intends to tell Congress this week that the content of a text message he wrote denying a quid pro quo with Ukraine was relayed to him directly by President Trump in a phone call," the WashPost's Aaron Davis and John Hudson report.

  • "It’s only true that the president said it, not that it was the truth," a person familiar with Sondland’s testimony told the Post.

Go deeper: What matters most in the Trump-Ukraine scandal

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

House cancels Thursday session as FBI, Homeland Security warn of threat to Capitol

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security predict violent domestic extremists attacks will increase in 2021, according to a report obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: The joint report says extremists have discussed plans to take control of the Capitol and "remove Democratic lawmakers" on or about March 4. The House canceled its plans for Thursday votes as word of the possible threats spread.

3 hours ago - World

Pope Francis set to make first papal visit to Iraq amid possible turmoil

Data: Vatican News; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Pope Francis is forging ahead with the first papal trip to Iraq despite new coronavirus outbreaks and fears of instability.

The big picture: The March 5–8 visit is intended to reassure Christians in Iraq who were violently persecuted under the Islamic State. Francis also hopes to further ties with Shiite Muslims, AP notes.

"Neanderthal thinking": Biden slams states lifting mask mandates

States that are relaxing coronavirus restrictions are making "a big mistake," President Biden told reporters on Wednesday, adding: "The last thing we need is Neanderthal thinking."

Driving the news: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said Wednesday he will end all coronavirus restrictions via executive order, although some businesses are continuing to ask patrons to wear face masks. Mississippi is lifting its mask mandate for all counties Wednesday, per Gov. Tate Reeves (R).