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Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Capitol Hill, Tuesday. Photo: Alex Brandon / AP

Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not answer questions about the presidential power to issue pardons today while testifying before the House Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: President Trump has the authority to pardon anyone (except in an impeachment conviction), whether or not they have already been charged with a crime — such as Paul Manafort or Rick Gates, and that power is absolute, extending to his family and members of his administration. Read more on the facts of presidential pardons.

What was said in an exchange between Rep. Deutch and Sessions:

  • "I'm not able to comment on" whether Trump could pardon Manafort or Gates before their trial or conviction. "I haven't researched that question."
  • What do you think the settled law is on that question? "I don't know"
  • When asked if Trump could pardon family members, including Donald Trump Jr. for his messages with WikiLeaks: "I would not be able to answer that at this moment."

Go deeper

1 hour ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.

Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Nov. 20. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday urged Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to use a $908 billion bipartisan coronavirus relief framework as a basis for jumpstarting negotiations.

Why it matters: The framework, introduced by a group of bipartisan senators on Tuesday, calls for significantly less funding than Pelosi had previously demanded — a sign that Democrats are ready to further compromise as millions of Americans endure economic hardship.