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Mitch McConnell. Photo: Pool / Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell alerted House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy Tuesday morning that he would congratulate President-elect Joe Biden for winning the Electoral College vote.

But, but, but: McCarthy is refusing to do the same, and a group of 26 incoming GOP House members sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a letter asking her to investigate alleged voter fraud.

Why it matters: While the Senate majority leader is trying to return a sense of equilibrium to his chamber, McCarthy — who's already plotting his run for House speaker in 2022 — is refusing to do anything that may upset President Trump.

  • As Axios scooped Tuesday evening, McConnell alerted White House chief of staff Mark Meadows about his planned congratulations, so the president would not be caught off guard.

Axios also learned McConnell placed a separate call to McCarthy, the California Republican, who serves as House minority leader.

  • McCarthy ignored repeated questions from reporters Tuesday night about whether he would join McConnell in recognizing Biden’s victory.

The group of incoming Republican freshmen is showing a similar reluctance in the letter they sent Tuesday night to Pelosi.

  • “Under your leadership over the past several years, the House has demonstrated a zest for all sorts of investigations, and we believe that you have the strong capacity to initiate a thorough investigation into these voting irregularities,” the letter says. 

Go deeper

The post-Trump GOP, gutted

McConnell (L), McCarthy (R) and Trump. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Republicans will emerge from the Trump era gutted financially, institutionally and structurally.

The big picture: The losses are stark and substantial.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden readies massive shifts in policy for his first days in office.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.
  6. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.
Dave Lawler, author of World
3 hours ago - World

Alexey Navalny detained after landing back in Moscow

Navalny and his wife shortly before he was detained. Photo: Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty

Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny was detained upon his return to Moscow on Sunday, which came five months after he was poisoned with the nerve agent Novichok. He returned despite being warned that he would be arrested.

The latest: Navalny was stopped at a customs checkpoint and led away alone by officers. He appeared to hug his wife goodbye, and his spokesman reports that his lawyer was not allowed to accompany him.