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Screengrab via YouTube of Mattis testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee

Defense Secretary Mattis was asked Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing whether he believes it is in America's "national security interest at this time to remain" in the Iran nuclear deal. After a lengthy pause, Mattis replied to Sen. Angus King: "Yes Senator, I do."

Why it matters: Trump has an October 15 deadline to certify Iran's compliance with the deal, or decline to do so. Trump has slammed the pact as "the worst deal ever", and has been wrestling with whether to take a step toward ending it. This also puts Mattis directly at odds with Iran hawks like John Bolton who are urging Trump to rip up the deal, and say it's a disaster for national security.

Go deeper

The Biden climate doctrine emerges at summit

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

President Biden's climate summit is highlighting a White House approach that blends diplomacy, executive power, salesmanship and a few threats too.

  • Here are a few pillars of the emerging Biden doctrine.

Biden gets mixed grades on revolving door

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden is getting mixed marks for his reliance on industry insiders to staff his administration during its first 100 days.

Why it matters: Progressives have leaned on the new president to limit the revolving door between industry and government. A new report from the Revolving Door Project praises him on that front but highlights key hires it deems ethically questionable.

Exclusive: Sen. Coons sees new era of bipartisanship on China

Sen. Chris Coons. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 insurrection was a "shock to the system," propelling members of Congress toward the goal of shoring up America's ability to compete with China, Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) told Axios during an interview Thursday.

Why it matters: Competition between China's authoritarian model and the West's liberal democratic one is likely to define the 21st century. A bipartisan response would help the U.S. present a united front.