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Mitch McConnell (left) wants the Ethics Committee to investigate Al Franken (right). Photos: AP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has called on the Ethics Committee to formally investigate Sen. Al Franken's behavior, per Politico. This comes after a report that Sen. Franken kissed and groped a journalist in 2006 without her consent. Sen. Franken announced in an updated statement that he is also asking that an ethics investigation be undertaken and that he will cooperate. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement he expects the committee to investigate the conduct. A spokesperson for the chairman of the ethics committee, Sen. Johnny Isakson, shared no comment on the matter.

Why it matters: McConnell has a long history of taking sexual misconduct claims seriously, especially when it meant saving the Senate and the GOP's image, as NYT's Carl Hulse details. (He was previously the chairman of the Ethics Committee.) Calling for a formal investigation suggests that McConnell will continue to pursue these claims in the larger effort to clean up the sexual harassment that has been reportedly rampant on Capitol Hill.

"As with all credible allegations of sexual harassment or assault, I believe the Ethics Committee should review the matter. I hope the Democratic Leader will join me on this," McConnell said. "Regardless of party, harassment and assault are completely unacceptable—in the workplace or anywhere else." Minutes later,

Go deeper: Read the claims from Leeann Tweeden against Sen. Franken.

This post has been updated.

Go deeper

Supreme Court agrees to hear challenges to Texas abortion law

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear two cases challenging Texas' abortion law, which bans the procedure as soon as six weeks into pregnancy, but left the law in place in the meantime.

Why it matters: The court is moving extraordinarily fast on the Texas case, compressing into just a few days a process that normally takes months. And that schedule means the court will take up Texas' ban a month before it hears another major abortion case — a challenge to Mississippi's ban on abortions after 15 weeks.

Officials warn 5 key tech sectors will determine whether China overtakes U.S.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

U.S. intelligence officials responsible for protecting advanced technologies have narrowed their focus to five key sectors: artificial intelligence, quantum computing, biotechnology, semiconductors and autonomous systems.

Why it matters: China and Russia are employing a variety of legal and illegal methods to undermine and overtake U.S. dominance in these critical industries, officials warned in a new paper. Their success will determine "whether America remains the world’s leading superpower or is eclipsed by strategic competitors."

5 hours ago - Health

Pfizer says COVID vaccine over 90% effective in kids

Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

Pfizer and BioNTech said their COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective at protecting children between the ages of 5 and 11 from symptomatic infections from the virus, according to a study posted online by the FDA Friday.

Why it matters: Pfizer is seeking an emergency use authorization to vaccinate children — one of the last groups of Americans still largely ineligible to receive a coronavirus vaccine.