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Former White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster said at a Foundation for Defense of Democracies event on Thursday that it's "absolutely not" appropriate for the president to solicit foreign election interference, but that it's up to Congress to decide whether he did so with Ukraine.

REPORTER: "Is it appropriate for the president of the United States to solicit foreign interference in our political process?"
MCMASTER: "Of course no. No, it's absolutely not. And of course, what has to happen here is seeing our democracy play out, our separation of powers play out. And for the American people, through their representatives in Congress, to make a judgment of whether that happened."

Why it matters: Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry over allegations that he pressured the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden. McMaster, a 3-star general who served as the 2nd of Trump's 4 national security advisers, was widely considered one of the more responsible high-ranking officials to serve in the president's inner circle — part of a loose alliance in the early days of the Trump presidency that saw it as their duty to protect the nation from disaster.

Go deeper: Trump's trifecta of calling on foreign powers to interfere in elections

Go deeper

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.

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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

Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.