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J. Emilio Flores / Invision for the Television Academy via AP

John Oliver's last push for strict net neutrality rules arguably moved both the issue and his HBO show into the mainstream. Oliver revisited the issue Sunday night as the Republican-led FCC moves to scrap the legal foundation for those rules.

Why it matters: Oliver helped rally the troops when this battle was last waged in 2014, with some estimating that his segment drove 45,000 comments to the agency. He clearly hopes lightning will strike twice.

Worth noting: Oliver also got more personal in his attacks on the affable Pai.

  • "But the dangerous thing about Pai is he presents himself as a fun, down-to-earth nerd," the comedian said.
  • He mentioned Pai's giant Reese's-branded mug. "Yes, Ajit Pai is the kind of guy who has a fun, oversized novelty mug, and he is really proud of it," Oliver said, later adding, a (bigger) mug in hand, "Your mug's not that big."

Details: Oliver characterized FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's argument that the legal regime behind the current rules is unnecessary as "deeply disingenuous" and bought GoFCCYourself.com to direct members of the public to the page where they can comment in support of the rules. That page appeared to be malfunctioning early on Monday morning, leading some to speculate online that Oliver's plea had crashed that part of the FCC's website.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.