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A furious Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) emerged from Wednesday's classified briefing by the Trump administration on the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, calling it "insulting and demeaning" that briefers instructed senators not to debate the appropriateness of further military action against Iran.

"They're appearing before a co-equal branch of government responsible for their funding, for their confirmation, for any approval of any military action they might undertake. They had to leave after 75 minutes, while they were in the process of telling us that we need to be good little boys and girls and run along and not debate this in public. I find that absolutely insane. I think it's unacceptable."
— Mike Lee

Why it matters: Lee said that he entered the briefing "undecided" on whether to vote for a Senate resolution curbing President Trump's military action toward Iran and left the briefing "decided."

  • It's rare to see a Republican senator so harshly rebuke the Trump administration, but Lee — along with fellow libertarian-leaning Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) — did not hold back on condemning officials for suggesting that members of Congress debating military action would further embolden Iran.
  • "They were asked repeatedly, what, if anything, would trigger the need for the administration to come back to Congress for a declaration of war or an Authorization for the Use of Military Force," Lee added. "At one point, I believe one of the briefers said something like, “I’m sure we can think of something.” But they struggled to identify anything."

Go deeper: House to vote to curtail Trump's war powers against Iran

Go deeper

New York prepares for staff shortages from health vaccine mandate

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul during a news conference Tuesday in New York City.. Photo: Mark Kauzlarich/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) announced Saturday she would declare a state of emergency if there were health worker shortages due to New York's upcoming COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

Why it matters: Hochul moved to reassure concerns of staffing shortages in the health care sector in a statement that also outlined plans to call in medically trained National Guard members, workers from outside New York and retirees if necessary when the mandate takes effect Monday.

California to remove word "alien" from state laws

Gov. Gavin Newsom during a September news conference in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images

California is removing the word "alien" from its state laws and replacing it with words such as "noncitizen" and "immigrant," Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) announced.

Why it matters: The word "alien" began to be used in the 1990s "as a political dog whistle to express bigotry and hatred without using traditionally racist language," per a statement from Newsom's office.

7 hours ago - Health

Axios AM Deep Dive: Covid forever

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

It was 563 days ago that the WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by healthcare reporter Caitlin Owens, looks at our Covid future.