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Photo: Alex Edelman/Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters Tuesday that he will not act as an "impartial juror" in the likely event of a Senate trial, stating: "This is a political process."

Why it matters: Senators must take the following oath before being sworn in for an impeachment trial: "I solemnly swear (or affirm, as the case may be,) that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment of [name of person being impeached], now pending, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws: so help me God."

  • A number of Republican senators have cited the impartiality requirement to ward off questions on impeachment, but McConnell and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have been open about their intentions to acquit Trump as fast as possible.

Between the lines: McConnell has been working in close coordination with the White House over impeachment.

  • McConnell is expected to limit a Senate trial to roughly two weeks, in a plan agreed to by Trump, and he is refusing to call new witnesses requested by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)
  • In a speech on the Senate floor Tuesday, McConnell said it's the House's job to investigate: "If they fail, they fail. It is not the Senate’s job to leap into the breach and search desperately for ways to get to guilty. That would hardly be impartial justice."

Go deeper: Inside the McConnell-Trump impeachment trial playbook

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
12 mins ago - Economy & Business

2021: The year of surprise shortages

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

American consumers and businesses face any array of shocking shortages in 2021 — the result of corporate miscalculations in the early days of the pandemic. The shortages range from labor to lumber to rental cars.

Why it matters: As vaccinations rise and the economy grows back to its pre-pandemic size, Americans are tantalized by the prospect of the country reverting to something approaching the familiar old normal. While that might happen eventually, it could take a surprisingly long time for a new equilibrium to establish itself.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
41 mins ago - Health

Why waiving vaccine patents might be a bad idea

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It will take more than waiving patent protections for coronavirus vaccines — which the Biden administration now says it supports — to fix the gaping global divide in access.

Why it matters: Waiving drug companies' intellectual property rights risks setting a bad precedent for future investment in new drugs. And that risk may not be worth it without additional steps to meaningfully increase the availability of shots across the world.

Coronavirus cases hit a seven-month low

Expand chart
Data: CSSE Johns Hopkins University; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus infections in the U.S. are now at their lowest levels in seven months, thanks to the vaccines.

The big picture: The vaccines are turning the tide in America's battle with the coronavirus. Deaths and serious illnesses have dropped significantly, and now cases are falling too — an important piece of protection for the future, if we can keep it up.