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Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post via Getty Images

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) urged his colleagues Wednesday to speak out against President Trump's attacks on the free press, driving home how damaging the relationship between Trump and the truth is to American democracy:

"No politician will ever get to tell us what the truth is and is not ... When a figure in power reflexively calls any figure that doesn't suit him 'fake news,' it is that person who should be the figure of suspicion, not the press."

Flashback: Flake's plea is reminiscent of his emotional Senate retirement speech in October, where he condemned the "flagrant disregard of truth and decency" in politics today.

Key quotes:

  • "The enemy of the people,’ was what the president of the United States called the free press in 2017 ... It is a testament to the condition of our democracy that our own president uses words infamously used by Joseph Stalin to describe his enemies."
  • "Despotism is the enemy of the people, a free press is the despot's enemy."
  • "We are in an era in which the authoritarian impulse is reasserting itself."
  • Flake also pointed to other countries whose authoritarian governments demonize their own press to get away with human rights abuses.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Prosecutors charge parents of Michigan school shooting suspect

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

The parents of a 15-year-old accused of killing four students and wounding seven other people at a Michigan high school have been charged with involuntary manslaughter, according to court documents.

Driving the news: James and Jennifer Crumbley were each charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter.

2 hours ago - World

Putin to demand legal guarantee against NATO expansion in call with Biden

Biden and Putin meeting in Geneva in June. Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin is demanding a legally binding guarantee that NATO will not expand east — including to Ukraine — and plans to raise the issue in an upcoming phone call with President Biden, according to the Kremlin.

Why it matters: Russia has massed more than 94,000 troops on the border with Ukraine and could be preparing for a large-scale invasion at the end of January, Ukraine's defense minister said Friday.