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Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Utah Senator Orrin Hatch has come under fire after defending Rob Porter, his former chief-of-staff who resigned as White House staff secretary Wednesday over allegations that he abused his two ex-wives.

The latest: After initially backing away from his defense of Porter, Hatch said Porter was a "very good man" who should "fight on" rather than step down.

The timeline:

  1. Yesterday, Hatch released a fiery statement defending Porter and disparaging news outlets for publishing the allegations, which he called a "vile attack on such a decent man."
  2. Today at 2 p.m., in a statement released by the White House, Hatch called all domestic violence “abhorrent and unacceptable,” and offered prayers for everyone involved.
  3. The Latest According to NBC News’ Frank Thorp, Orrin called Porter a “very good man” and urged him not to resign:
“I told him he shouldn’t (resign)...he should fight his way through this, and he’s got a lot to give to the administration and to all of us.... I know Rob, he’s a very fine fellow and very good man, and it’s been a tremendous embarrassment to him. But he’s going to hang in there I think.”

Go deeper

13 hours ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.