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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell after the joint session of Congress resumed. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

It is an ironic, poetic ending to the raucous reign of Donald J. Trump: Enabled — and enabling — Republicans put the final knives in their beloved, besieged, beaten president:

  • It was often conservative judges appointed by Trump who rejected his desperate lawsuits to overturn the election results state by state.
  • It was Trump appointees on the Supreme Court, who he assumed would do his bidding, who rejected his pleas for Supreme salvation.
  • It was the Georgia governor he almost single-handedly helped put in office, and Trump supporters below him, who refused his unprecedented pressure to flip the state his way.
  • It was Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who turned a blind eye and silent mouth to countless Trump actions he privately ridiculed, who took to the Senate floor to insist that Congress certify President-elect Biden's victory.
  • It was Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a key Trump ally on the Hill and a 2024 contender, who loudly condemned what Trump is doing — a sign that some believe Trump, as ex-president, won't be the scary political threat he hopes to be.
  • It was scores of Republicans, most of whom sucked up to Trump for four-plus years, who voted against final pleas to reject the election of Joe Biden. (At 3 a.m., the House voted 282-138 against an objection to Pennsylvania's electoral votes; the Senate shut down the same objection, 92-7, just after midnight.)
  • And it was his own vice president, Mike Pence, who will go down in history as one of the most loyal supplicants to serve in his office, who rejected intense pressure to violate the Constitution to deny Biden his office.

The big picture: There are no heroes here — courage brimmed only at the precipice. But a few people who watched the system breach, in the end, did not allow it to break. Only in time will we learn the reward or consequences of their actions.

Go deeper: Republicans consider drastic options to stop Trump

Go deeper

Senate Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In a closely divided Congress, the Senate’s Mischief Makers could thwart their leaders' best-laid plans with their own agendas.

Why it matters: On Wednesday night, we shared a list of House members who our leadership sources on the Hill consider some of the top troublemakers. But their Senate counterparts may be even more impactful in a 50-50 chamber, where Vice President Kamala Harris holds the tiebreaking vote.

Updated 2 mins ago - World

At least 3 dead after Tonga volcano eruption and tsunami

A satellite image of the explosive eruption of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha'apai volcano on Saturday. Photo: UNICEF/NOAA

At least three people are confirmed to have died in Tonga following the undersea volcanic eruption that sent tsunami waves toward the island nation and across the Pacific over the weekend, officials said Tuesday.

The big picture: Officials reported major damage along the western coast of the main island of Tongatapu, where the capital, Nuku'alofa, was covered in ash and dust, including on the runway of the airport. Officials in Tonga confirmed three deaths in the country's first official statement since the crisis began.

Mike Allen, author of AM
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Charted: GOP surged as Biden slumped

Expand chart
Reproduced from Gallup. (Independents were asked their party leaning.) Chart: Axios Visuals

Gallup polling found a huge shift in party preference over the course of 2021, from a 9-point Democratic advantage in the first quarter to a 5-point Republican edge in the fourth quarter.

Why it matters: It's the biggest swing in one calendar year for Gallup's 30 years of tracking.