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Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and U.S. State Department officials in Baghdad Tuesday. Photo: Mendel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an abrupt trip to Baghdad on Tuesday amid escalating tensions with Iran and reported security threats involving U.S. presence in the region, the Washington Post reports.

Details: The State Department reportedly said the unscheduled visit was due to "pressing issues," and according to AP, Pompeo explained that his trip was meant to reaffirm U.S. support for "a sovereign, independent" Iraq, free from the interference of neighboring Tehran. Pompeo also met with Iraq’s president and prime minister.

  • The Trump administration claims Iran is planning to retaliate against the United States' stepped-up sanctions, but the AP noted that "threat information remains vague." U.S. national Security adviser John Bolton said on Sunday that the U.S. is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Persian Gulf to send "a clear and unmistakable message."
  • Iranian officials pushed back on U.S. claims that new intelligence shows Iran is planning attacks against the U.S. and its allies in the Gulf.

Go deeper: Trump's next moves to tank the Iranian economy

Go deeper

Reddit traders look to pummel Wall Street's old guard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Reddit traders are taking on Wall Street pros at their own game with this basic mantra: Stocks will always go up.

Why it matters: Their trades — egged on in Reddit threads — have played a role in historic market activity in recent days.

The week the Trump show ended

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Donald Trump was eclipsed in media attention last week by President Biden for the first time since Trump took office, according to viewership data on the internet, on social media and on cable news.

Why it matters: After Trump crowded out nearly every other news figure and topic for five years, momentum of the new administration took hold last week and the former president retreated, partly by choice and partly by being forced off the big platforms.

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.

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