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Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Democratic Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.), Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) and Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) requested documents Wednesday from the Justice Department regarding Ukraine and President Trump's impeachment inquiry under the Freedom of Information Act.

"These factual revelations raise serious concerns about the Justice Department's involvement in politically-motivated investigations, at the behest of the White House and Rudy Giuliani. Therefore, we submit a request for records seeking information about the White House's attempts to interfere with federal law enforcement to pursue politically beneficial outcomes."

Why it matters: The request comes as the House is trying to gain access to documents from the Trump administration — often through subpoenas that the White House can simply ignore.

  • Yes, but: Document requests filed under FOIA can take months or even years to fulfill, so it's unlikely the senators will get the documents they've requested anytime soon.

The big picture: Harris has been slowly slipping in the polls for the 2020 presidential race, but she previously gained national attention for her intense questioning of Trump officials and nominees, including Attorney General Bill Barr and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

  • While a trial in the Senate after a potential Trump impeachment could help to bolster her national profile once again, it would pull her away from the trail for weeks during a critical time in the campaign.

Read the FOIA request letter:

Go deeper: Kamala Harris on the issues, in under 500 words

Go deeper

51 mins ago - Health

COVID-19 drives smell loss awareness, research

A health worker carries out an olfactory test outside Buenos Aires. Photo: Alejandro Pagni/AFP via Getty Images

The pandemic has thrust a relatively unknown ailment, anosmia — or smell loss — into the international spotlight.

Why it matters: Researchers hope smell testing becomes as standard as the annual flu shot, helping to detect early signs of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Senate passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Senate voted 50-49 on Saturday to approve President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: COVID relief has been a central promise for Biden, and passing the sweeping package has been a major priority for the administration and congressional Democrats.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
3 hours ago - Health

Why we need to know COVID's origins

The WHO's headquarters in Geneva. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Geopolitical tensions are foiling efforts to get to the bottom of how COVID-19 originated.

Why it matters: Insights into how COVID-19 began can help us prevent future pandemics — especially if it involved any kind of leak or accident at a virology lab.

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