A heroin user reads an alert on fentanyl. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security has considered designating fentanyl a weapon of mass destruction in certain situations, Task & Purpose scooped yesterday.

What they're saying: "Fentanyl's high toxicity and increasing availability are attractive to threat actors seeking nonconventional materials for a chemical weapons attack," James McDonnell, a senior DHS official, wrote in a memo obtained by Task & Purpose.

Between the lines: Yes, fentanyl — which is much more potent than prescription opioids — can be deadly and, yes, it's a huge problem.

  • But the public discussion over the opioid epidemic has not to date been about opioids becoming weapons of mass destruction. And yet the administration has been discussing this possibility for years, according to the memo.

Go deeper ... CDC: Fentanyl is the deadliest drug in the U.S.

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Media prepares to fact check debates in real time

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

From live blogs to video chyrons and tweets, media companies are introducing new ways to fact check the presidential debates in real time this year.

Between the lines: The debates themselves are likely to leave less room for live fact-checking from moderators than a traditional news interview would.

Life after Roe v. Wade

The future seems clear to both parties: The Supreme Court will overturn Roe v. Wade in the next few years, either gradually or in one fell swoop, and the abortion wars will move to a state-by-state battle over freedom and restrictions. 

What's new: Two of the leading activists on opposite sides of the abortion debate outlined for “Axios on HBO” the next frontiers in a post-Roe v. Wade world as the balance on the Supreme Court prepares to shift.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Jerome Powell, Trump's re-election MVP

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios. Getty Images photos: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP and Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket

President Trump trails Joe Biden in most polls, has generally lower approval ratings and is behind in trust on most issues. Yet polls consistently give him an edge on the economy, which remains a top priority among voters.

Why it matters: If Trump wins re-election, it will largely be because Americans see him as the force rallying a still-strong U.S. economy, a narrative girded by skyrocketing stock prices and consistently climbing U.S. home values — but the man behind booming U.S. asset prices is really Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.