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Michel Euler / AP

With the Islamic State claiming responsibility for the shooting death of a policeman on Paris' iconic Champs-Élysées just ahead of Sunday's first-round French elections, social media and commentators see a change in the voting atmosphere that could benefit the far-right populist Marine Le Pen.

Why it matters: If she won the runoff May 7, it would be a seismic manifestation of the global populist and nationalist trends that propelled Trump and the Brexit.

On the Twitters: "Another terrorist attack in Paris. The people of France will not take much more of this. Will have a big effect on presidential election!" Trump tweeted this morning.

Axios' Shane Savitsky says she could win, and notes she has promised a referendum to leave the EU:

  • "If Trump's victory taught us anything, it should be that Le Pen certainly might win the French presidency. But Trump taught us something else — talking the talk is easy, but following through once in power can be much harder. Le Pen's call to destroy the 'anti-democratic monster' of the EU works well as a sound bite, but implementing it won't be easy."
  • For one thing ... Frexit would be more difficult than Le Pen lets on because France's participation in the EU is codified in its constitution.

Axios' Steve LeVine, a longtime foreign correspondent for the big papers, sees a "better than 50-50 chance" LePen goes all the way, based partly on the "rule of threes" following the upset victories for Trump and Brexit. Steve emails me:

  • A wild card: "The first round is a tight race among four candidates, and one of them — Jean-Luc Mélenchon — is every bit [the firebrand] as Le Pen, only from the far left. It's conceivable that the second round will pit [them] against one another. Like Le Pen, Mélenchon threatens to abandon the euro — which would likely lead to a collapse of the unifying monetary union. In addition, Mélenchon vows to quit NATO, the IMF and the World Trade Organization."
  • The takeaway: "These positions are why the French election ultimately is more important to the U.S. than Brexit."
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Go deeper

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 10 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
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John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”