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Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) tore into President Trump on Twitter Saturday night for his "unprecedented" firing of multiple inspectors general in recent weeks, calling his actions "a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power."

Why it matters: Romney was the sole Republican senator to vote to convict Trump for abuse of power after his impeachment trial in January. He remains one of the few members of the GOP who will directly criticize the president.

  • Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who has long advocated for the independence of federal watchdogs, said in a statement, "As I've said before, Congress requires written reasons justifying an IG's removal. A general lack of confidence simply is not sufficient detail to satisfy Congress."
  • Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted on Saturday night that she has "long been a strong advocate" of inspectors general and that Trump "has not provided the kind of justification for the removal" of Linick required by law.

Driving the news: Trump moved to fire State Department inspector general Steve Linick on Friday night, the fourth government watchdog he has removed in the last six weeks. Three of the announcements have come on a Friday night, and all have prompted allegations of political retaliation.

  • Linick was reportedly investigating Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for allegedly using agency staff for personal tasks for him and his wife. Pompeo recommended his firing and Trump agreed, according to a White House official.
  • Top Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee have announced an investigation into Linick's removal.

What they're saying: "The firings of multiple Inspectors General is unprecedented; doing so without good cause chills the independence essential to their purpose," Romney tweeted. "It is a threat to accountable democracy and a fissure in the constitutional balance of power."

Go deeper: Trump's moves against federal watchdogs signal "deep state" war

Go deeper

Jeff Flake joins "Republicans for Biden" group

Former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, along with more than two dozen former GOP members of Congress, signed onto a "Republicans for Biden" effort, Fox News reports.

Why it matters: The group is part of the Biden campaign's strategy to appeal to moderate Republicans currently on the fence about backing President Trump.

Updated 7 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Bomb cyclone prompts blizzard warnings from Virginia to Maine

Computer model projection showing the intense storm off of Cape Cod on Jan 29, 2022, with heavy snow and strong winds lashing the coastline. (Weatherbell.com)

Blizzard warnings are in effect for 11 million people from coastal Virginia to eastern Maine as a historic winter storm is set to slam the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast beginning Friday.

Why it matters: The storm will bring hazards ranging from zero visibility amid hurricane force wind gusts and heavy snow, to coastal flooding that will erode vulnerable beaches and threaten property from the Jersey shore to coastal Massachusetts.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Contact tracing fizzles across America — New clues emerge on long COVID — Omicron is finally burning out — It's very difficult to get access to antiviral COVID treatments — Axios-Ipsos poll: Omicron's big numbersAnother wave of death — FDA limits use of Regeneron and Lilly antibody treatments.
  2. Vaccines: Pfizer begins clinical trial for Omicron-specific vaccine — The shifting definition of fully vaccinated.
  3. Politics: Virginia AG says public colleges can't mandate COVID vaccines —Alaska governor joins Texas lawsuit over National Guard vaccine mandate — Navy discharges 45 sailors for refusing vaccine — Spotify to remove Neil Young's music after his Joe Rogan ultimatum — White House: 60M households have ordered free COVID-19 rapid tests.
  4. World: U.K. to lift travel testing requirement for fully vaccinated — Beijing Olympic Committee lowers testing threshold ahead of Games.
  5. Variant tracker