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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

Biden administration unveils plan to combat domestic extremism

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

White House press secretary Jen Psaki announced at a briefing on Friday that the Biden administration will roll out a three-pronged interagency plan to assess and combat the threat posed by domestic violent extremism.

Why it matters: The federal government's approach to domestic extremism has come under scrutiny in the wake of the Jan. 6 attacks on the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob. In his inaugural address, Biden repudiated political extremism, white supremacy and domestic terrorism, vowing to defeat them.

Jan 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Sullivan speaks with Israel's national security adviser for the first time

Israeli national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat U.S. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/Getty Images. U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Photo: Chandan Khanna/Getty Images

U.S. national security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke on the phone Saturday with his Israeli counterpart Meir Ben Shabbat, Israeli officials tell Axios.

Why it matters: This is the first contact between the Biden White House and Israeli prime minister's office. During the transition, the Biden team refrained from speaking to foreign governments.

3 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.

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