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Jun 8, 2021

Axios AM

Happy Tuesday! Smart Brevity™ count: 1,179 words ... 4½ minutes. Edited by Zachary Basu.

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1 big thing: Capitol Police saw attack plans weeks before riot

Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 6. Photo: Mostafa Bassim/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Senate report out this morning finds that the Capitol Police intelligence division was gathering data online about plots to breach the Capitol — including maps of tunnels — in December, but the threat wasn't relayed.

  • Capitol Police leadership, rank-and-file officers and federal law enforcement were left in the dark — and thus unprepared for the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812, Axios' Alayna Treene and Orion Rummler write from the 127-page report.

Capitol Police "began gathering information about events planned for January 6 in mid-December 2020," the report says.

  • "Through open source collection, tips from the public, and other sources, [the intelligence division] knew about social media posts calling for violence at the Capitol on January 6, including a plot to breach the Capitol, the online sharing of maps of the Capitol Complex's tunnel systems, and other specific threats of violence."
  • Then there were intelligence, operational and security failures, the senators found: The information wasn't shared, up or down the line.

The report — by the Democratic chairs and ranking Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security and Rules committees — found:

  • Capitol Police had no operational or staffing plan for the Jan. 6 joint session to count and certify the 2020 Electoral College votes.
  • Capitol Police officers didn't have adequate equipment or training.
  • The intelligence wasn't relayed to the FBI and departments of Homeland Security, Justice or Defense.
  • The Pentagon wanted to avoid looking over-militarized after its response to Black Lives Matter protests.
  • DOJ was the lead federal agency for security and response on Jan. 6, but never created a security plan and didn't coordinate a response, former Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy told the committees.

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2. Axios-Ipsos poll: 50-50 split on vaccine mandate in workplace
Data: Axios-Ipsos poll (1,027 U.S. adults, March 5-8 and June 4-7, 2021). Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Americans are returning quickly to things we haven't done in a long time — and see little risk in pre-pandemic lifestyles, Axios managing editor David Nather writes from the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

  • Even though Americans are still divided by party over COVID precautions, there's been a huge drop in anxiety across the board over the past three months.
  • 87% of Republicans, 58% of Democrats and 70% of independents said they saw little to no risk in returning to pre-pandemic life.

Americans were split nearly down the middle on whether employers should require vaccines before employees can return to the workplace.

  • 52% said they support that; 48% were opposed.

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3. Record 70% support same-sex marriage
Graphic: Gallup

With Pride Month underway, Gallup reports this morning that U.S. support for legal same-sex marriage hit a record 70%.

  • It's a 10-point gain since 2015, when the Supreme Court ruled that states must recognize same-sex marriage.

For the first time, Republicans show majority support (55%).

  • Age breakdown: 84% of young adults, 72% of middle-aged adults, and 60% of older adults.
4. 🗳️ Virginia Democrats hold primary today
Former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy, a Democratic candidate for Virginia governor, greets a supporter at a rally in Hampton, Va., last week. Photo: Steve Helber/AP

Among the five Democrats in Virginia's gubernatorial primary today is Jennifer Carroll Foy, a former state delegate who shaved her head when she became a Rat — a first-year Virginia Military Institute cadet.

  • "I wore a man's uniform," she told me over coffee as she campaigned in Old Town Alexandria. "And it was some of the most trying times and experiences that I've ever had."
  • "I graduated," she said. "I marched, sweat, and bled beside over a thousand male cadets — and they all knew my name."

Foy, 39, a lawyer who's from Petersburg and lives in Woodbridge, today has another ferocious fight — running against former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, 64, the huge favorite in today's primary.

  • "When I travel throughout the Commonwealth," Foy told me, "what I'm hearing is that Virginians want a governor who has walked in their shoes ... who has that 'Virginia-lived' experience."
Terry McAuliffe gets hair advice from Karin Harris (right), her daughter Nicole Harris (left) and Caroline Mayfield at Karen's House of Beauty in Petersburg on May 29. Photo: Steve Helber/AP

The big picture: The question for voters is whether McAuliffe, with decades of experience, is right for the moment in a state in the throes of unsettling change, AP writes.

  • The field also includes state Sen. Jennifer McClellan, Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax and Del. Lee Carter, a socialist.
5. Earth's C02 hits 4.5 million-year high
Glen's Frozen Custard, outside GenOn's Cheswick Generating Station, which burns coal to make electricity outside Pittsburgh in Springdale, Pa. Photo: Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

Carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere has reached its annual peak, climbing to 419 parts per million (ppm) in May, Axios' Andrew Freedman writes from a report by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NOAA.

  • Why it matters: It's the highest CO2 reading since reliable instrument data began 63 years ago. Evidence shows it's also a peak since well before the start of human history.

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6. Political ads: "Fake news" out, policy in
Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive. Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Policy issues — foreign policy, climate, voting rights — account for a much bigger share of political ads on Facebook under President Biden vs. the Trump era, Axios Media Trends author Sara Fischer writes.

  • Why it matters: Ad spending can be a good proxy for the issues gaining traction among policymakers and interest groups.

Big Tech has become one of the biggest topics in recent weeks, accounting for 6% of all political and advocacy ads on Facebook. Ads from Facebook itself have driven some of that increase.

  • "Fake news" has virtually disappeared from Facebook ads compared to last year. At one point ahead of the 2020 race, that was the biggest topic for Trump campaign ad spending on Facebook.
  • "Antifa" and "far-left" have fallen from the high levels they reached during last summer's Black Lives Matter protests.

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7. White House briefing room, 2021
Monday in the briefing room. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The James S. Brady Press Briefing Room returned to 100% capacity yesterday — all 49 assigned seats filled, and people in the aisles.

  • The White House Correspondents' Association had been running a rotation system, allowing reporters to socially distance in the seats.
8. Renaissance for Venus

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

NASA is sending missions to Venus for the first time in more than 30 years, breathing new life into the scientific quest to understand the oft-ignored planet, Axios Space author Miriam Kramer writes.

  • Why it matters: Understanding Venus is a key to learning more about how habitable worlds form in our solar system — and outside it.

The big questions: Scientists think Venus could have evolved in one of two ways. One theory posits the world once had a magma ocean that effectively ruined it from the start, creating the thick atmosphere enveloping the planet today.

  • The other theory holds that Venus was habitable, with water on its surface before extreme volcanic eruptions created the runaway greenhouse effect seen there today.

Keep reading.

9. Best-selling evangelist retires

Dr. Rick Warren delivers the invocation during President Obama's Inauguration in 2009. Photo: Jason Reed/Reuters

Evangelical megachurch pastor Rick Warren — author of "The Purpose Driven Life," which he says has been translated into 137 languages and sold 50 million copies — announced his retirement after 42 years of leading Saddleback Church in Southern California.

Warren, 67, told his congregation by video Sunday that he'll continue as lead pastor until a successor is in place, The Orange County Register reported (subscription).

  • "That's always been my goal, to serve God's purpose in my generation," Warren said. "God has given me the privilege to serve multiple generations."
  • Saddleback has grown to 14 locations in Southern California (average weekly attendance: 30,000), plus four international campuses.

Warren told The New Yorker's Michael Luo in December that during the pandemic, he was encouraging congregants to attend virtual services, meet online in small groups and volunteer at pop-up food pantries.

  • Warren told Luo by email: "Shepherds (that’s what 'pastor' means) are called to protect God’s Flock not expose it to danger, and I’m not willing to risk people’s health just to have a live audience to speak to."
10. 1 bug thing: Cicadas show up on radar

NBC Washington and WTOP meteorologist:

Via Twitter

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