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Avril Haines. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Republicans are heeding calls to protect national security, agreeing to hold a confirmation hearing Friday for Joe Biden's nominee for director of national intelligence.

Why it matters: The president-elect's transition team has argued swift confirmation hearings — especially for its national security nominees — are crucial following last week's attack on the Capitol, threats of violence surrounding next week's inauguration and global political tensions.

The details: The hearing will take place at noon via WebEx. It will occur virtually, since senators are in recess until Jan. 19. The hearing will be held by the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose top Democrat is Mark Warner of Virginia.

The backdrop: The nominee for ODNI, Avril Haines, served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015, and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

  • She has a long history of working on critical cybersecurity and digital challenges facing the intelligence community.

Editor's note: Updates to add that hearing will be held by Senate Intelligence Committee.

Go deeper

Senate confirms Antony Blinken as secretary of state

Antony Blinken. Photo: Alex Edelman/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

The Senate voted 78-22 on Tuesday to confirm Antony Blinken as secretary of state.

Why it matters: Blinken, a longtime adviser to President Biden, will lead the administration's diplomatic efforts to re-engage with the world after four years of former President Trump's "America first" policy.

28 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

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