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Attorney General Jeff Sessions takes his seat ahead of speaking at the Heritage Foundation. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

The Trump administration will be apologizing to Tea Party groups that underwent extra IRS scrutiny when applying for tax-exempt status during the 2012 election, and the settlement will include a "very substantial" payout, according to a lawyer representing more than 400 groups in the class-action suit. The Department of Justice did not make reference to a payout.

Why it matters: The payout would go to the "conservative, anti-establishment movement that is something of a forerunner to Donald Trump's populist, America-first presidential campaign" and it "would close a chapter in a political scandal that dogged the Obama administration and remains a source of outrage for Republicans," AP's Sadie Gurman writes.

The background: The IRS admitted targeting groups with words such as "Tea Party" or "Patriot" in their names, and some of the delays they experienced lasted years. The DOJ under Obama announced in 2015 no one at the IRS would be prosecuted, following an investigation. Jeff Sessions said during a speech Thursday that these cases against the IRS "never would have been necessary if government had acted properly."

Go deeper

Mike Pence calls Kamala Harris to offer congratulations and help

Mike Pence. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty

Vice President Mike Pence called Vice President-elect Kamala Harris on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance in the transition, the New York Times first reported.

Why it matters: The belated conversation came six days before the inauguration after a contentious post-election stretch. President Trump has neither spoken with President-elect Joe Biden, nor explicitly conceded the 2020 election.

Updated 1 hour ago - Health

The coronavirus variants: What you need to know

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New variants of the coronavirus circulating globally appear to increase transmission and are being closely monitored by scientists.

Driving the news: The highly contagious variant B.1.1.7 originally detected in the U.K. could become the dominant strain in the U.S. by March if no measures are taken to control the spread of the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

1 hour ago - World

Abbas announces first Palestinian elections in 15 years

Abbas is 85 and in the 15th year of a 4-year term. Abbas Momani/AFP via Getty

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas published a decree on Friday announcing the dates for parliamentary and presidential elections in the Palestinian Authority.

Why it matters: This is the first time in 15 years that such a decree has been published. The last presidential elections took place in 2005, with Abbas winning, and the last parliamentary elections took place in 2006, with Hamas winning.

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