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Cliff Owen / AP

Axios got a copy of Senator Mark Warner's (D-VA) opening statement ahead of James Comey's testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee later this morning.

Bottom line: "This is not how a President of the United States behaves. Regardless of the outcome of our investigation into those Russia links, Director Comey's firing and his testimony raise separate and troubling questions that we must get to the bottom of."

Key excerpts:

"The testimony that Mr. Comey has submitted for today's hearing is disturbing... I do want to emphasize what is happening here - the President of the United States is asking the FBI Director to drop an ongoing investigation into the President's former National Security Advisor. In further violation of clear guidelines put in place after Watergate to prevent any whiff of political interference by the White House into FBI investigations, the President then called the FBI Director on two separate occasions – March 30 and April 11 - and asked him to 'lift the cloud' of the Russia investigation...
"At the same time the President was engaged in these efforts with Director Comey, he was also allegedly pressuring senior leaders of the intelligence community to downplay the Russia investigation or intervene with Director Comey. DNI Coats and NSA Director Admiral Rogers had plenty of opportunities to deny those reports yesterday. They did not."

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Biden has arrived at the White House and he will sign executive orders and other presidential actions.

30 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

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