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Carlos Osorio / AP

Axios sat down with Rep. Fred Upton yesterday, the former Energy and Commerce Committee chairman who now leads the energy subcommittee. A few notes from our conversation in the Michigan Republican's office:

Upton revealed he may join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which currently has 48 members split evenly between the parties.Why it matters: Membership from Upton would add stature to the group, given his longtime prominence on energy policy and seniority in GOP circles.Upton said Democrat Jan Schakowsky approached him this week about joining, and that he's "running the traps" on the idea. (Note: It's a "Noah's Ark" caucus with equal party representation, so members join in bipartisan pairs.)

Paris: Upton is "disappointed" that President Trump is abandoning the Paris climate accord. He noted that the agreement does not impose emissions mandates or penalties, and noted the provisions that improve monitoring of China's and India's emissions."I didn't think it was worth joining Syria and Nicaragua as being the only two other countries that were not signatories to it," he said.Go deeper: Upton was among the 46 Republicans who broke with most of their colleagues by voting last week to support new Defense Department's work to assess the national security threat of climate change.

Go deeper

Ina Fried, author of Login
58 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google is investigating the actions of another top AI ethicist

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Photo by Mateusz Wlodarczyk/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Google is investigating recent actions by Margaret Mitchell, who helps lead the company's ethical AI team, Axios has confirmed.

Why it matters: The probe follows the forced exit of Timnit Gebru, a prominent researcher also on the AI ethics team at Google whose ouster ignited a firestorm among Google employees.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The incoming administration is planning extraordinary steps to protect its most prized commodity, Joe Biden, including requiring daily employee COVID tests and N95 masks at all times, according to new guidance sent to some incoming employees Tuesday.

Why it matters: The president-elect is 78 years old and therefore a high risk for the virus and its worst effects, despite having received the vaccine. While President Trump's team was nonchalant about COVID protocols — leading to several super-spreader episodes — the new rules will apply to all White House aides in "high proximity to principals."

Justice Department drops insider trading inquiry against Sen. Richard Burr

Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) walking through the Senate Subway in the U.S. Capitol in December 2020. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

The Department of Justice told Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) on Tuesday that it will not move forward with insider trading charges against him.

Why it matters: The decision, first reported by the New York Times, effectively ends the DOJ's investigation into the senator's stock sell-off that occurred after multiple lawmakers were briefed about the coronavirus' potential economic toll. Burr subsequently stepped down as chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.