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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The FBI is doubling down on sexual misconduct within its ranks and taking a harsher stance against agents found to be perpetrators, AP reports.

Why it matters: An AP investigation last year exposed a series of sexual assault and harassment allegations against senior officials who were allowed to "quietly avoid discipline and retire or transfer even after the claims were substantiated."

The state of play: Changes include a centralized 24/7 tip line to report abuse, a working group that reviews policies and procedures on misconduct, faster response to allegations and victim support.

  • The FBI has committed to firing or at least demoting employees found guilty of misconduct so they have no path to leadership, per AP.
  • The FBI’s Victim Services Division, which had primarily focused on victims of federal crimes outside the bureau, will now also provide aid to employees who are victims of internal misconduct.

What they're saying: The bureau's actions send a strong message that employees who are tempted to engage in sexual misconduct should be scared, AP writes. If they do so, "we’re coming for them," FBI deputy director Paul Abbate told AP.

  • "That’s a strong approach, a forceful shift and we mean it. And it’s coming from the top," Abbate said. "Individuals who engage in this type of misconduct don’t belong in the FBI and they certainly should not have supervisory oversight of others. Period."

The big picture: Congress and advocacy groups have called for new whistleblower protections for rank-and-file FBI employees and an external review of the bureau's disciplinary cases, according to AP.

  • The FBI is currently facing a class-action lawsuit alleging systemic sexual harassment at its Quantico, Virginia training academy.

Go deeper

FBI fires agent accused of failing to investigate Nassar allegations

Larry Nassar appears for sentencing in Eaton County Circuit Court on Feb. 5, 2018, in Charlotte, Michigan. Photo: Rena Laverty/AFP via Getty Images

The FBI has fired an agent accused of failing to properly investigate the sexual assault allegations against USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Michael Langeman was fired just days before Wednesday's public hearing into the FBI's handling of the Nassar case — which will feature testimony from gymnasts Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Maggie Nichols and Aly Raisman.

Clinton-linked lawyer indicted in investigation of FBI's Russia probe

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images

A grand jury has returned an indictment against Michael Sussmann, a lawyer whose firm represented the 2016 Clinton campaign, for lying to the FBI about not representing "any client" when he presented them with allegations about a secret Trump Organization back-channel to a Russian bank.

Why it matters: It's the second criminal charge stemming from special counsel John Durham's review of possible misconduct by the intelligence community and prosecutors who investigated the 2016 Trump campaign's ties to Russia.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.