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Sen. Thad Cochran to resign April 1

Thad Cochran
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sen. Thad Cochran, a Republican from Mississippi and the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, has announced his intent to resign April 1, citing health reasons. Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint someone to temporarily fill Cochran's seat until Nov. 6, at which point Mississippi will host a special election.

Why it matters: This leaves many speculating that Chris McDaniel will drop his primary challenge against incumbent Sen. Roger Wicker and instead run in November's special election. Mississippi is viewed as an incredibly safe Republican seat — but then again, so was the Alabama seat now occupied by Doug Jones.

Lauren Meier 1 hour ago
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Facebook's growing problems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Facebook is caught in the middle of a rapidly unfolding scandal over Cambridge Analytica's improper gathering of data on millions of users, and what that exposed about the company's data collection. The fiasco has drawn the interest of lawmakers and regulators and rekindled the debate over its role in the 2016 presidential election.

Why it matters: The bad headlines continued to pile up; "A hurricane flattens Facebook" said Wired, "Silicon Valley insiders think that Facebook will never be the same" per Vanity Fair, "Facebook is facing its biggest test ever — and its lack of leadership could sink the company" from CNBC, and — as we've yet to hear from the company's top leaders — "Where is Mark Zuckerberg?" asks Recode.

Dave Lawler 8 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.