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Then-President Barack Obama and then-Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid in Las Vegas in 2015. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Former President Barack Obama said following the death of former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday that he wouldn't be president were it not for the Nevada senator's "encouragement and support."

The big picture: Reid helped Obama reach some of his biggest legislative accomplishments — notably the Affordable Care Act. Obama released a letter Tuesday that he sent to Reid before his death in which he said: "I wouldn't have got most of what I got done without your skill and determination."

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

McConnell threatens retaliation if Democrats change filibuster rules

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday said Republicans would immediately retaliate if Democrats change the Senate's filibuster rules.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a letter to colleagues earlier this month that the Senate will debate and vote on changing Senate rules by next Monday if Republicans block a vote on the Freedom to Vote Act.

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Driving the news: Local police responded to a 911 call at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, about an hour after the synagogue's 10 a.m. CST Shabbat services, which were being livestreamed on Facebook.

  • The FBI's Dallas Field Office, including crisis negotiators, and Texas Department of Public Safety then spent the next 10-plus-hours working alongside local authorities to resolve the standoff with Akram.
  • Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted around 9:30 p.m. CST, "Prayers answered. All hostages are out alive and safe."

"Around 9 p.m., the HRT — hostage rescue team — breached the synagogue, they rescued the three [remaining] hostages, the suspect is deceased," Miller said. One of the hostages had been released earlier on Saturday.

  • Matt DeSarno, the special agent in charge at the FBI's Dallas Field Office, said Saturday night that the suspect was focused on "one issue that was not specifically threatening to the Jewish community."
  • According to Texas Department of Public Safety, the suspect said he wanted to see Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist, who is serving an 86-year sentence nearby. Siddiqui was convicted in 2010 for assaulting U.S. federal agents, employees and nationals in Afghanistan.

"We strongly condemn the hostage-taking at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, TX," Siddiqui's attorney Marwa Elbially, said in a statement earlier on Saturday, per CNN. "We implore the hostage taker to immediately release all hostages and turn himself in."

  • "We want to verify that the perpetrator is NOT Dr. Aafia's brother who is a respected architect and member of the community. Whoever the assailant is, we want him to know that his actions are condemned by Dr. Aafia and her family," the statement continued.

What they're saying: "This was an act of terror," President Biden said on Sunday, according to pool reports. The president also said he would be speaking with Rabbi Cytron-Walker.

  • "There is more we will learn in the days ahead about the motivations of the hostage taker. But let me be clear to anyone who intends to spread hate—we will stand against anti-Semitism and against the rise of extremism in this country," the president said in a statement on Saturday.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout.

Updated 13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker

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