Aerial photo of the Pentagon in Arlington, Virgina. Photo: Andy Dunaway/USAF via Getty Images

The Defense Department will start conducting security clearance checks for the federal government, hoping to fix a flawed system that allowed people like the Navy Yard shooter and Edward Snowden to obtain high-level clearances, the Associated Press reports, citing U.S. officials.

The details: The department aims to use "increased automation and high-tech analysis to tighten controls and tackle an enormous backlog of workers waiting for security clearances," the AP adds. The department says it plans to take over full responsibility for every background check of its military and civilian employees over the next three years, as well as outside contractors that work with the military.

Yes, but: The AP explains that "the White House is expected to soon give the department authority to conduct security reviews for nearly all other government agencies as well," according to a U.S. official.

Flashback: Jared and Ivanka's long road to obtaining a clearance.

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Cleanup on aisle Biden

Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

After two gaffes and a low blow from President Trump questioning his faith, Joe Biden spent Thursday evening off his own message — clarifying comments and responding to attacks.

Why it matters: Biden’s responses reflect what we could see a lot more of in the next few months — cringeworthy comments and Trump smears, smacking into each other and pulling the Democrat off course.

2020 election strategy: Hire all the lawyers

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The coronavirus has sent overall U.S. unemployment into the double digits — but it's a sort of full-employment act for election law attorneys.

The big picture: The prospect of extended court fights over COVID-19-related voting changes, an absentee ballot avalanche, foreign interference and contested presidential results has prompted a hire-all-the-lawyers binge by candidates and campaigns — not just in swing states but around the country.

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Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The three biggest anti-Joe Biden storylines in right-wing media over the last year have either fizzled or are getting less online traction than they used to, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This dynamic has rendered a formidable media ecosystem less effective in boosting President Trump as we move into the heart of the 2020 campaign.