Susan Walsh / AP

The Senate moved unanimously to block President Trump from making appointments during the August break Thursday evening. Democrats had said they'd make such a move after reports emerged that Trump was considering replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions during the recess.

  • The Senate agreed to hold pro forma sessions throughout the recess. This procedure was also used to block appointments during the Obama administration.
  • Worth noting: the announcement was made by moderate Republican Lisa Murkowski, who split from Trump over health care. The Senate also made a slew of confirmations and passed several measures before shutting down for the summer.
  • Another update: The Senate will not hold any legislative sessions until September. Mitch McConnell had previously intended to delay the break until August 11 to allow the now-stalled health care plan to move forward.

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Parties trade election influence accusations at Big Tech hearing

Photo: Michael Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

A Senate hearing Wednesday with Big Tech CEOs became the backdrop for Democrats and Republicans to swap accusations of inappropriate electioneering.

Why it matters: Once staid tech policy debates are quickly becoming a major focal point of American culture and political wars, as both parties fret about the impact of massive social networks being the new public square.

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Germany goes back into lockdown

Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will enact one of Europe's strictest coronavirus lockdowns since spring, closing bars and restaurants nationwide for most of November, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Germany is the latest European country to reimpose some form of lockdown measures amid a surge in cases across the continent.

How overhyping became an election meddling tool

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

As online platforms and intelligence officials get more sophisticated about detecting and stamping out election meddling campaigns, bad actors are increasingly seeing the appeal of instead exaggerating their own interference capabilities to shake Americans' confidence in democracy.

Why it matters: It doesn't take a sophisticated operation to sow seeds of doubt in an already fractious and factionalized U.S. Russia proved that in 2016, and fresh schemes aimed at the 2020 election may already be proving it anew.