J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters Friday he would consider an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) so long as it strengthened the President's hand. He warned that Obama's requests for new AUMFs were too "restrictive" since they would have limited future executive action:

I would be interested in taking a look at an AUMF if the president feels like he needs it…if it strengthens his hand.

Why it matters: Some Senators are saying the 2001 Bush-era AUMF doesn't give Trump the authority to escalate beyond airstrikes in Syria.

On the airstrikes: McConnell added he is generally supportive of the strikes Trump carried out in Syria: "I think the president had the authority to do what he did and I'm glad he did it," adding, "The Russians are not our friends."

On solutions:

  • For Syrian refugees: McConnell wouldn't comment on whether Trump should let refugees into the U.S., but said it would be beneficial to create a safe zone in Syria, "which would require some military action…so people don't feel like they have to run for their lives."
  • For dealing with Assad: "I don't see how there can possibly be any settlement in Syria that includes Bashar al-Assad."

Go deeper

Updated 44 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day — Fauci says U.S. may not return to normal until 2022
  2. Politics: Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases
  4. Europe faces "stronger and deadlier" wave France imposes lockdown Germany to close bars and restaurants for a month.
  5. Sports: Boston Marathon delayed MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
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Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Many of the states where coronavirus cases have recently skyrocketed are also seeing the highest death rates in the nation, a painful reminder that wherever the virus goes, death eventually follows.

Between the lines: Deaths usually lag behind cases by a few weeks. Given America's record-high case counts, it's reasonable to expect that death rates across the country will continue to rise in tandem.

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic is throwing a wrench into Americans' understanding of science, which has big implications for climate change.

Driving the news: Recent focus groups in battleground states suggest some voters are more skeptical of scientists in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, while surveys reveal the persistence of a deep partisan divide.