A photo of the letter provided to Axios. The letter has sections covered to conceal identifying info.

Mitt Romney explained his vote to convict President Trump in a note to his Republican colleagues, hand-signed “Mitt” in blue ink and delivered Wednesday to their individual boxes in the Senate cloakroom.

Why it matters: The Utah senator and 2012 presidential nominee was the only Republican to go against Trump during impeachment. His notes reflect how much pressure he'll be under to justify himself to a party that's pledged loyalty ahead of Trump's re-election bid.

  • Donald Trump Jr. has called for Romney's expulsion from the party and Romney's niece, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel, has publicly criticized him.
  • Romney, who once contemplated serving as Trump's secretary of state, has knowingly set himself up for extended backlash with his vote.

Details: The hand-signed printouts contain relevant excerpts from his floor speech ahead of today's vote.

  • "I take an oath before God as enormously consequential," he wrote in one excerpt explaining how his faith guided his decision.
  • "Corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and disruptive violation of one's oath of office that I can imagine."
  • He also said he was prepared to be denounced by some and that "my vote is an act of conviction" that followed his conscience.

Go deeper

12 mins ago - Podcasts

House antitrust chair talks USA vs. Google

The Justice Department filed a 63-page antitrust lawsuit against Google related to the tech giant's search and advertising business. This comes just weeks after the House subcommittee on antitrust issued its own scathing report on Google and other Big Tech companies, arguing they've become digital monopolies.

Axios Re:Cap talks with Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), chair of the subcommittee on antitrust, about Google, the DOJ's lawsuit and Congress' next move.

24 mins ago - Economy & Business

Boeing research shows disinfectants kill coronavirus on airplanes

Electrostatic spraying of disinfectant. Photo: Delta Air Lines

Boeing and researchers at the University of Arizona say their experiment with a live virus on an unoccupied airplane proves that the cleaning methods currently used by airlines are effective in destroying the virus that causes COVID-19.

Why it matters: Deep cleaning aircraft between flights is one of many tactics the airline industry is using to try to restore public confidence in flying during the pandemic. The researchers say their study proves there is virtually no risk of transmission from touching objects including armrests, tray tables, overhead bins or lavatory handles on a plane.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted COVID relief bill McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election.
  2. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  3. Health: Studies show drop in COVID death rate — The next wave is gaining steam — The overwhelming aftershocks of the pandemic.
  4. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots — San Francisco public schools likely won't reopen before the end of the year.