J. Scott Applewhite / AP

The retired general came to Capitol Hill today to face questions from the Senate Armed Services committee.

The big story: Mattis cleared his main hurdle today, securing Senate support for a waiver allowing him to speed up the waiting process for retired military officers to become Secretary of Defense. The vote wasn't close, at 81 to 17.

What's next: A House vote on the waiver, and a Senate vote on confirmation. He'll pass both. (Hearing recaps below.)

  1. On threats to global order: Mattis named Russia, terrorist groups and China as the big three threats. He elaborated in an exchange with John McCain, below: Retired Gen. James Mattis: The world order is under the biggest attack since WWII https://t.co/j6jNyCkKvZ https://t.co/JXtwKNd7ul— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) January 12, 2017
  2. On the Iran deal: "When America gives its word, we have to live up to it.""It's not a deal I would have signed."
  3. On women in the military: "I have no plan to oppose women in any aspect of our military. In 2003 I had many marines who happened to be women serving."
  4. On allowing the LGBT community to openly serve: "Frankly Senator, I've never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with."
  5. On when he'll be willing to advocate other opinions to Trump: "On every circumstance."
  6. On whether Congressional AUMF is a must: "Yes, senator, it is."
  7. On using necessary force with North Korea: "I don't think we should take anything off the table."

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Why it matters: In her resignation letter, Information Minister Manal Abdel-Samad called change "elusive" and apologized for not delivering more to the country, which had been devastated by a financial crisis and the coronavirus pandemic even before the blast destroyed much of the capital city.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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Police and protesters clash in Belarus after "Europe's last dictator" claims election win

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Riot police clashed with protesters in Belarus overnight after a government exit poll predicted Sunday President Aleksander Lukashenko, an authoritarian who has ruled the Eastern European country since 1994, had overwhelmingly defeated a pro-democracy opposition candidate.

Why it matters: It's a precarious moment for the former Soviet republic, where decades of repression and a complete disregard for the coronavirus pandemic threaten to topple "Europe's last dictator." There were reports of police in Minsk using excessive force on protesters in a brutal crackdown.