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Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced on Wednesday that he has selected Republican donor and businesswoman Kelly Loeffler to fill the soon-to-be vacant U.S. Senate seat of Johnny Isakson.

Why it matters: In appointing Loeffler, Kemp is defying pressure from President Trump and other GOP leaders who have backed Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.), a staunch ally of the president who would be a lock to vote against removal in the event of an impeachment trial in the Senate.

  • The decision is likely to prompt backlash from some hardline conservatives, who have criticized Loeffler for donating to establishment Republicans like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
  • Collins had previously signaled that he may pursue a primary against Loeffler in 2020 if he was not selected for the position.
  • Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), another close Trump ally, warned on Twitter that Kemp himself may face a primary from a Trump-backed candidate as a result of the pick: "It’s not the establishment you are screwing with your donor-induced stubbornness. You are hurting President Trump. You know this because he told you.”

The backdrop: Trump told Kemp and Loeffler in a meeting last month that he wasn't sure how his supporters would respond to the choice and raised concerns about Loeffler's experience, according to Politico. Trump said during a tense exchange that he preferred Collins for the position and questioned why they were holding the meeting if Kemp had already made a decision, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Most teachers are white. Most students aren't.

Expand chart
Data: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics; Chart: Baidi Wang/Axios

The nation's 6.6 million teacher workforce has grown more racially and ethnically diverse over the past three decades — but not nearly fast enough to keep pace with a student population that's nearing majority-minority in public schools, two new reports show.

Why it matters: The disparities are especially acute between Hispanic students and teachers, and in schools with 90% or higher non-white student populations.

Updated 12 hours ago - World

UK government: Kremlin has plan "to install pro-Russian leadership" in Ukraine

British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss. Photo: Gints Ivuskans / AFP via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's Foreign Secretary on Saturday night said the government has "information that indicates the Russian Government is looking to install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine."

Driving the news: U.S. National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne called the intelligence "deeply concerning" in a statement to Axios. The Biden administration has said Russia is actively manufacturing a pretext for invasion and warned that Putin could use joint military exercises in Belarus as cover to invade from the north.

Updated 13 hours ago - Science

This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Nuclear physicists trying to piece together how atoms are built are about to get a powerful new tool.

Why it matters: When the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams begins experiments later this spring, physicists from around the world will use the particle accelerator to better understand the inner workings of atoms that make up all the matter that can be seen in the universe.