Sessions speaks at Georgetown University Law Center as protestors gather outside. Photos: Jacquelyn Martin / AP (left); Zoya Afridi / GU Law student (right)

Speaking at Georgetown University on free speech on college campuses, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department "will enforce federal law, defend free speech and protect students' free expression." He said the department is filing a Statement of Interest in a campus free speech case this week and pledged to file more in the future.

Why it matters: Sessions and the Justice Department are moving forward on free speech in the midst of a tense political climate fueled by the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia and, most recently, the NFL's national anthem protest controversy which President Trump has inflamed.

  • One line that's getting some pushback: "In this great land, the government does not tell you what to think or what to say."
  • The case: Sessions said the department is filing a Statement of Interest in a case involving the First Amendment rights of a Christian group at a college in Georgia.
  • On Trump's NFL tweets: "The president has free speech rights too ... It's a big mistake to protest in that fashion ... I would condemn their actions not them as human beings."
  • On campus speech: Sessions decried the establishment of "free speech zones" on certain U.S. college campuses.
  • Worth noting: Students and faculty who arrived to protest Sessions' speech were given three designated zones to do so by Georgetown Law's Dean of Students.
  • On the violence in Charlottesville: "Let me be clear: protecting free speech does not mean condoning violence like we saw recently in Charlottesville."

Go deeper: The thinking behind the decision by Sessions to give this speech

Go deeper

28 mins ago - Technology

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread


A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.