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Bobby Caina Calvan,/ AP

Roughly 24 hours after being charged with assault, Republican Greg Gianforte was elected as Montana's next congressman.

Gianforte won the typically safe Republican seat — previously held by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke — by about 7%.

What the results tell us: Quist cut into Zinke's 15% margin in 2016, but that was with the help of massive fundraising and support from the likes of Bernie Sanders — and moral victories will only go so far. The anti-Trump surge is formidable, but it hasn't swept any Dems into Congress as yet.

Smart take from the Washington Post's Paul Kane: "If results stay on this arc, wake-up call for Dems & activists to recruit serious, sober, quality candidates. Not quirky personalities." Quist is a folk musician and first-time candidate.

In case you missed it: Witnesses say Gianforte body-slammed Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs Wednesday after becoming irritated by questions on the GOP health care plan, with audio of the incident spreading widely in the hours before polls opened. Gianforte's campaign later issued a statement, seemingly contradicted by the audio, saying it was Jacobs who had been "aggressive." Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault and is scheduled to appear in court next month.

Gianforte apologized in his victory speech: "When you make a mistake you have to own up to it... last night I made a mistake, and I took an action that I cannot take back. I'm not proud of how I acted." He then apologized directly to Jacobs and to the witnesses.

The effect: Approximately 60% of the vote came in early, before Wednesday's incident. According to 538, there may have been a small shift toward Quist on election day, but it wasn't enough to make much of a difference.

Awkward entrance: President Trump and Vice President Pence made robocalls for Gianforte, and Donald Trump Jr. was the tech entrepreneur's most high-profile surrogate. But the White House wouldn't say Thursday whether Trump or Pence still endorsed Gianforte after the alleged assault, and Paul Ryan called on Gianforte to apologize.

Go deeper

3 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

The U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the US-Mexico border wall at Friendship Park in San Ysidro, California in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.

Biden picks up his pen to change the tone on racial equity

Vice President Harris looks on as President Biden signs executive orders related to his racial equity agenda. Photo: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images

President Biden is making a down payment on racial equity in a series of executive orders dealing with everything from private prisons to housing discrimination, treatment of Asian Americans and relations with indigenous tribes.

The big picture: Police reform and voting rights legislation will take time to pass in Congress. But with the stroke of his pen, one week into the job, Biden is taking steps within his power as he seeks to change the tone on racial justice from the Trump administration.