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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told MSNBC's Hugh Hewitt that he's wary about regulating political advertisements on social media. McConnell also said the U.S. needs to "retaliate" against Russia for their interference in the 2016 election:

"What we ought to do in regard to the Russians is retaliate, seriously retaliate against the Russians. And these tech firms could be helpful in giving us a way to do that."

Why it matters: Hearings with the three major tech giants — Facebook, Twitter, and Google — started this week, in which lawmakers probed their response to Russia's interference. Per Axios' David McCabe, "they also repeatedly revealed a discomfort with the size, power and limited accountability of the large web platforms."

Go deeper

Omicron cases confirmed in 4 U.S. states

A healthcare worker inserts a Covid-19 rapid test into a machine in Denver, Colorado. Photo: Daniel Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Five cases of the newly-discovered Omicron variant were detected in New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday, making New York the fourth state with confirmed cases.

The latest: In addition to New York, the variant has been confirmed in California, Colorado and Minnesota.

Early winter heat shatters records in U.S., Canada

Temperature departures from average on Dec. 2, 2021, as depicted by the GFS computer model. (Weatherbell.com)

A widespread and intense heatwave is roasting large portions of the U.S. and Canada, shattering daily and monthly temperature records.

Why it matters: Winter is the fastest-warming season across the U.S., and the lingering warmth is shortening the snow season in places like Colorado and Montana, where mountain snowpack is a critical source of water during the summer months.

5 hours ago - Science

COVID time warp

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic seems like a lifetime ago to some, and just yesterday to others. Scientists are beginning to unpack the way people processed the passage of time amidst the stress, uncertainty and isolation of the 1 year, 8 months and 21 days since WHO declared a pandemic.

Why it matters: The pandemic's global effects on how people experience time could provide new insights into the brain's ability to perceive and predict time — a fundamental feature of life.