Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.
The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.
President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, an administration official told Axios.
Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is calling on President-elect Biden to deny intelligence briefings to President Trump once he leaves office, arguing that Trump has politicized intelligence and poses a national security risk.
What he's saying: "I don't think he can be trusted with it now, and in the future he certainly can't be trusted," Schiff told CBS' "Face the Nation," on Sunday.
President Trump is heading into his final days in office with the lowest approval ratings of his term, according to a set of new polls.
Why it matters: The polls indicate Trump has seen diminished support, even from his own party, in the wake of the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, with a majority of Americans favoring efforts in Congress to bar him from holding elected office again.
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) called on the Republican Party to rebuild itself and "repudiate the nonsense that has set our party on fire" in an in an op-ed for The Atlantic Saturday on the QAnon conspiracy theory.
Why it matters: Many of the Trump-supporting mob involved in the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol Hill riots wore items signaling their support for the far-right QAnon and a prominent member of the cult was among those arrested following the siege.
Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.
Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.
Joe Biden will start his presidency next week with relatively strong performance ratings, according to a Pew Research Center survey.
On the other hand: President Trump will leave the the White House with his lowest approval rating ever.
Introducing a new show from Axios, How It Happened: Trump's Last Stand.
In How It Happened: Trump's Last Stand, national political reporter Jonathan Swan reveals the inside story of Donald Trump’s last few months in office.
Credits: This show is produced by Amy Pedulla, Naomi Shavin and Alice Wilder. Dan Bobkoff is the executive producer. Margaret Talev is managing editor of politics. Sara Kehaulani Goo is Axios’s executive editor. Sound design by Alex Sugiura and original music by Michael Hanf.
Firearms background checks in the U.S. hit a record high in 2020.
The big picture: This past year took our collective arsenal to new heights, with millions of Americans buying guns for the first time. That trend coincides with a moment of peak political and social tension.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a resignation letter delivered to President Trump this week that the "actions and rhetoric" after the election and especially during last week's siege on the Capitol "threaten to tarnish" the outgoing administration's legacy, Axios confirmed Friday.
Between the lines: Azar is leaving the same day President-elect Joe Biden takes office, so his resignation effectively changes nothing. But he joins a list of other top Trump aides and officials who have condemned the president after last week's deadly riot.