Tuesday’s top stories
Senate leaders are planning to hold final votes for the week on Tuesday night so members can fly home early for Yom Kippur, three aides familiar with the talks tell Axios.
Why it matters: Senate Democrats, who returned on Monday from their monthlong recess, are planning to leave town one day before Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's (D-N.Y.) "soft" deadline for the House and Senate committees to finish drafting their portions of the $3.5 trillion infrastructure reconciliation plan.
In the wake of the Capitol riot Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took covert steps to prevent President Trump from potentially ordering a military strike or launching nuclear weapons, a CNN preview of Bob Woodward and Robert Costa's new book "Peril," reveals.
Driving the news: According to Woodward and Costa, Milley believed the president had gone into "serious mental decline" following the election and was worried he might "go rogue."
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Secretary of State Antony Blinken testified Tuesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, facing a second day of interrogation from Republican lawmakers highly critical of the Biden administration's withdrawal from Afghanistan.
Driving the news: The committee's chair, the hawkish New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, pulled no punches in his opening statement, threatening to subpoena Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and other Biden officials who decline to voluntarily appear before the committee.
Senate Democrats on Tuesday introduced a pared-down voting bill — with support from both progressive and centrist wings of the party — aimed at expanding voter access and countering nationwide Republican-led efforts to alter election laws.
Why it matters: The Freedom to Vote Act is the product of negotiations overseen by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and was built from a framework put forward by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose vote is crucial to Democratic efforts to advance legislation in the chamber.
Apple on Tuesday debuted the iPhone 13 alongside modest improvements to the iPad and Apple Watch, which now features a larger display.
Why it matters: Apple has enjoyed robust sales throughout the pandemic, but needs to convince another wave of customers to upgrade.
The Senate Republicans' campaign arm raised $8 million last month, a new record for the group during the August of an off-year, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: The National Republican Senatorial Committee saw a spike in donations following criticism of the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan and amid the rising cases in COVID-19. It's also reporting a record number of new donors, and saw the biggest digital fundraising month so far this cycle.
Derek Chauvin and three other former Minneapolis police officers accused of violating George Floyd's civil rights pleaded not guilty to federal charges on Tuesday, AP reports.
Driving the news: Chauvin, Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao were indicted by a federal jury for allegedly violating Floyd's rights when they handcuffed and pinned him face-down on the ground. Floyd's death ignited nationwide protests and calls for police reform.
From color TV to medical breakthroughs that led to the birth control pill, Latin America and the Caribbean have had game-changing influences on the world.
Why it matters: Hispanic Heritage Month begins Wednesday and over the next four weeks, the Axios Latino newsletter is highlighting Latinos' contributions to the world, from ancient agricultural practices to more recent innovations in medicine, science and education.
The Department of Justice announced Tuesday that would scale back federal law enforcement agencies' use of chokeholds and "no-knock" search warrants.
Why it matters: The federal policy overhaul comes as the Justice Department pursues investigations of misconduct in police departments across the country.
In one of the worst years ever for the economy and labor market, America's poverty rate dropped, per one measure that takes into account pandemic-era aid, the government said Tuesday.
Why it matters: It underscores the colossal impact stimulus checks, expanded unemployment payments and other benefits had on households in 2020 — even as millions lost jobs. Without them (and other safety nets, like Social Security), the poverty rate jumped for the first time in five years by one percentage point to 11.4%.
The scramble is intensifying to lay the groundwork for achieving tangible results at a key United Nations climate summit just seven weeks away.
Driving the news: UN Secretary-General António Guterres and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson will convene a heads-of-state-level gathering Monday on the sidelines of the General Assembly.
Facebook has long said that it applies the same rules to all posts, but internal documents obtained by the Wall Street Journal paint a picture of a company that allowed millions of politicians, celebrities and other high-profile users to break those rules without consequence.
Why it matters: It's hard to limit misinformation on a platform when you give a free pass to those with the most reach.
The S&P 500 is just below its record high. But most stocks in the index are actually down significantly, which has some concerned.
Why it matters: This implies that the gains driving the market index to record highs are not evenly distributed. But, it’s also not an unusual dynamic in the S&P’s recent history.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will isolate himself for an undisclosed amount of time after people in his inner circle tested positive for the coronavirus, the Kremlin said Tuesday.
Why it matters: Putin has tested negative for the virus and received his second dose of the Russian coronavirus vaccine, Sputnik V, in April, according to ABC News.
The Biden administration sent another warning to Big Tech on Monday in nominating longtime privacy advocate Alvaro Bedoya to the Federal Trade Commission.
Why it matters: Bedoya's expertise on data collection and surveillance, combined with Biden's pick to lead the FTC, tech antitrust legal scholar Lina Khan, signals aggressive action from both the consumer protection and antitrust arms of the agency.
The "Big Lie," a falsehood peddled by Donald Trump that the 2020 election was "stolen," is now being peddled by conservative figures amid other down-ballot elections, most notably, the California recall election.
Why it matters: Now that the precedent has been set, some conservatives will likely use unfounded allegations of election fraud as a basis for undermining all potential election outcomes they don't agree with.
An energy coalition launched by Bill Gates is backing a new publication called "Cipher" dedicated to the coverage of the climate crisis, its new editor tells Axios.
Why it matters: The outlet promises to have complete editorial independence from its backer, Breakthrough Energy, a six-year-old climate advocacy network founded by Bill Gates.
The growing urgency of tackling global warming is colliding with the world’s deeply uneven use of the heat-trapping energy resources that are causing it.
The big picture: The long-simmering debate over the role rich and poor countries should fill in tackling climate change is reaching a boiling point.
Plant-based meat firms aren't just going after vegans and vegetarians anymore. They're betting that closely mimicking the taste of meat will let them chip away at the meat-eating market too.
Why it matters: Diets that include meat — especially beef — have a steep climate impact. If plant-based protein gains popularity, more and more people could reduce or even halt their meat consumption.
SoftBank announced Tuesday it will create a $3 billion private investment fund focusing on technology companies in Latin America.
Why it matters: The launch of the SoftBank Latin America Fund II comes after the Japanese investment giant started a $5 billion fund in the region two years ago that became one of Latin America's most active venture capital players.
A majority of Americans — including suburban voters — support vaccine mandates for federal workers as well as private companies, according to the latest installment of the Axios/Ipsos Coronavirus Index.
Why it matters: The findings, on the heels of President Biden's mandates announcement last week, suggest that while his move was divisive, it may be politically safer than his opponents hope.
New data finds that Americans have a much better understanding of the three branches of government than ever before, likely due to the massive increase of politics in our media diets.
Why it matters: “This knowledge appears to have been purchased at a real cost," said Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. "It was a contentious year in which the branches of government were stress-tested.”
The all-civilian Inspiration4 crew, launching to orbit this week, will force the space industry to contend with just how much risk ordinary people are willing to take on in order to build humanity's future in space.
Why it matters: The private space industry's goal of building an economy in space hinges on sending more people to orbit in the near future. But spaceflight is still an incredibly risky endeavor and it will likely remain that way for the foreseeable future.
Hurricane Nicholas made landfall near Sargent Beach, Texas, Tuesday morning — threatening to bring up to 18 inches of rainfall and flooding to parts of the state and Louisiana, per the National Hurricane Center.
What's happening: Heavy rains, high winds and "dangerous" storm surges were ongoing, said the NHC, confirming just before 2am that the Category 1 hurricane had hit the state. Nearly 200,000 customers had lost power in Texas by 3:30am, per the utility tracking site poweroutage.us.
President Joe Biden said while campaigning for Gov. Gavin Newsom in California that if the Democrat is ousted in Tuesday's recall election, voters will end up with a "clone of Donald Trump" as governor.
Between the lines: Although Biden never mentioned him by name, conservative talk radio host Larry Elder has emerged as Newsom's biggest threat. Elder in 2019 described Trump's 2016 election win as "God-sent," and state Democrats have sought to imply that a vote for him is a vote for Trumpism.
The Biden administration is quietly pressuring India to restart vaccine exports with plans to offer a higher-profile role for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an upcoming COVID-19 global summit in New York if he agrees to release vaccines soon, sources with direct knowledge of the high-level discussions told Axios.
Why it matters: India is the world's biggest vaccine maker. In March, Modi halted exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine — one of the cheapest on the market — because the virus was ravaging his own population.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) is negotiating the size and scope of President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget plan armed with her own spreadsheets about the costs and tax hikes needed for each program, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.
Why it matters: While Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is getting attention for balking at a $3.5 trillion top-line price tag, Sinema's accountant-like focus on the bottom line will be equally important to winning the votes of them and other key Democrats.