Senate confirms Andrew Wheeler as EPA administrator

Andrew Wheeler. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Senate has voted 52-47, mostly along party lines, to confirm former coal lobbyist and current acting EPA administrator to permanently head up the agency.

Why it matters: Wheeler has acknowledged climate change is a problem, though he doesn't consider it a priority at EPA and is rolling back or freezing many of the regulations that address it. His predecessor Scott Pruitt more outspokenly dismissed mainstream climate science. Wheeler has served as acting administrator of the EPA since July, and came under scrutiny during his confirmation hearing for attributing increased wildfires in California to forest management, rather than climate change-induced drought.

Go deeper: Meet the former coal lobbyist replacing Scott Pruitt

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University of Minnesota student jailed in China over tweets

Xi Jinping. Photo: Noel Celis - Pool/ Getty Images

A University of Minnesota student has been arrested in China and sentenced to six months in prison for tweets he posted while in the United States, according to a Chinese court document viewed by Axios. Some of the tweets contained images deemed to be unflattering portrayals of a "national leader."

Why it matters: The case represents a dramatic escalation of the Chinese government's attempts to shut down free speech abroad, and a global expansion of a Chinese police campaign a year ago to track down Twitter users in China who posted content critical of the Chinese government.

Go deeperArrow6 mins ago - World

⚖️ Live updates: Opening arguments begin in Trump impeachment trial

The second day of the Senate impeachment trial of President Trump will see a full day of opening arguments from Democratic House impeachment managers.

What to watch for: Democrats now have 24 hours — spread out over three days — to take their time to lay out their case against the president's alleged abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It'll also allow them to highlight gaps that could be filled out by additional witnesses and documents from the administration.

This post will be updated with new developments as the trial continues.

Go deeperArrowJan 21, 2020 - Politics

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