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Poznan, Poland (@OnetWiadomosci via Twitter).

Strains of populism continue to rend Europe, as a Polish government move to weaken judicial independence triggered protesting crowds on Thursday night estimated at nearly 100,000 in Warsaw and other Polish cities, per Buzzfeed.

  • The protests broke out after the Sejm, the Polish parliament, okayed a bill that would compel all 83 of the country's Supreme Court judges to resign, apart from those appointed by the ruling Law and Justice Party. They would then be replaced by the Minister of Justice. The bill must now be approved by the Senate, which could vote as early as today, and signed by President Andrzej Duda.
  • Critics say the move will be fatal stroke against Polish democracy. Duda has disputed that, and attempted to compromise by saying he will veto any bill that excludes a 60% threshold for the approval of any new judge. But some EU officials say that, should the bill become law, Poland could trigger a suspension of its voting rights within the EU.
  • Why it matters: Along with Hungary, Poland has been drifting further and further away from the democracy established a quarter century ago with Eastern Europe's break from the Soviet Union. Their shift, along with Brexit, is complicating unity on hard political questions within the already-fractious EU.

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.