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Pressed on whether it was appropriate for President Trump to solicit foreign interference from Ukraine and China, Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said on ABC's "This Week" that the president is a "human" and that "things happen."

The exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: I asked if it was okay to solicit. We've seen the president in public ask the Ukrainians to get involved, ask the Chinese to get involved.
SHELBY: Well, those were just statements, political. They make them all the time.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So it's okay?
SHELBY: I didn't say it was okay, I said people make them. People do things. Things happen.

Why it matters: There has been a range of responses from Republicans on the question of whether Trump's conduct toward Ukraine was appropriate, with some arguing that it was improper but not impeachable — and others disputing the claim that he was soliciting foreign interference.

  • Shelby's response reflects the discomfort some Republicans have with admitting they had issues with Trump's behavior, when the president himself has insisted he did nothing wrong.
  • Shelby, who has been sworn in as an "impartial juror" in the Senate impeachment trial, said he doesn't believe Trump's conduct "rises to the standard of an impeachable offense," but added: "I still think we should wait and see what comes out in the trial itself."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

8 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

10 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.