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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

House Democrats on Wednesday unveiled sweeping legislation aimed at preventing presidential abuse and corruption, strengthening transparency and accountability, and protecting elections from foreign interference.

Why it matters: While the bill has practically no chance of becoming law while Trump is in office and Republicans hold the Senate, it's a pre-election message from Democrats on how they plan to govern should Trump lose in November. It also gives Democratic members an anti-corruption platform to run on in the weeks before the election.

Details: The package, introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and seven Democratic chairs of House committees, is called the "Protect Our Democracy Act."

  • The bill gives Congress more oversight over investigations, enhances protections for whistleblowers, and says that a president can only remove an inspector general at an agency for cause.
  • It also requires the attorney general to maintain a log of certain communications between the Department of Justice and the White House, strengthens Congress' ability to enforce subpoenas, and requires political committees to report foreign contacts to the FBI.

What they're saying: "Since taking office, President Trump has placed his own personal and political interests above the national interest by protecting and enriching himself, targeting his political opponents, seeking foreign interference in our elections, eroding transparency, seeking to end accountability, and otherwise abusing the power of his office," the chairs said in a joint statement.

  • "Our democracy is not self-effectuating – it takes work and a commitment to guard it against those who would undermine it, whether foreign or domestic."
  • "It is time for Congress to strengthen the bedrock of our democracy and ensure our laws are strong enough to withstand a lawless president."

Go deeper

Dec 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley says he will object to Electoral College certification

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) said in a statement Wednesday that he will object to the certification of President-elect Joe Biden's Electoral College victory during the joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, alleging that some states failed to follow their election laws and that Big Tech interfered on behalf of Biden.

Why it matters: Hawley is the first senator to say he will object to the certification, joining a group of House Republicans. Biden will still be certified the winner, but the move will force Senate Republicans to go on the record on whether they agree with Trump's baseless allegations — many of which have been thrown out in court — that there was widespread election fraud.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.