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Lisa Monaco during a confirmation hearing with the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C., in March 2021. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Image

The Senate voted 98-2 on Tuesday to confirm Lisa Monaco as deputy attorney general for the Justice Department, making her the agency's second highest-ranking official.

Why it matters: Monaco is expected to play a key role in Attorney General Merrick Garland's pledge to crack down on violence from domestic extremist groups, including the department's sweeping investigation of the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.

  • Sens. Rand Paul and Ted Cruz voted against confirming Monaco.

Background: Monaco served as assistant attorney general for national security and White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser under President Obama.

  • She led reforms to the Obama administration’s response to the kidnappings of Americans by Islamic State fighters, mandating that victims' families be involved in the process, according to the New York Times.
  • Monaco, who has experience with cybersecurity issues, is also expected to assist with the Biden administration's response to recent cyberattacks against the federal government and U.S. companies, including the massive SolarWinds breach by Russian-backed hackers that became public in December 2020.

The big picture: Monaco is viewed as a consensus-builder, according to the Times. She joins the DOJ at a moment when U.S. intelligence agencies warn that domestic terrorism motivated by political or racial bias poses an "elevated threat" to the nation.

Go deeper

Merrick Garland: Domestic terror is "still with us"

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.

41 mins ago - World

Blinken to visit Ukraine as Russia invasion threat looms

Blinken (R) with President Zelensky. Photo: Efrem Lukatsky/Pool via Getty

Secretary of State Antony Tony Blinken will travel to Ukraine on Tuesday as the country faces an ongoing threat of Russian invasion.

Driving the news: Blinken will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, as well as officials at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv to discuss contingency planning. He'll then travel to Berlin to meet German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and attend a meeting of the "Transatlantic Quad" — France, Germany, the U.K. and U.S.

Updated 47 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.