Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he believes President Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine to "encourage" its government to investigate the Bidens, but that he will vote to acquit Trump on Wednesday because he believes the consequences of the president's actions should be decided in the next election.

Why it matters: Alexander, who is retiring at the end of his term and thus doesn't have to worry about re-election pressure, was viewed as a possible Republican swing vote in last week's vote to call witnesses in the impeachment trial. He and moderate Sen. Lisa Murkowski voted against the motion, essentially ensuring Trump's swift acquittal.

"If you have eight witnesses who say someone left the scene of an accident, why do you need nine? I mean, the question for me was: Do I need more evidence to conclude that the president did what he did? And I concluded no."
— Sen. Lamar Alexander to NBC's Chuck Todd

What he's saying: Alexander said he believes Trump should not have withheld military assistance from Ukraine or asked Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

  • "I think he shouldn't have done it. I think it was wrong. Inappropriate was the way I'd say — improper, crossing the line," he said. "I think what he did is a long way from treason, bribery, high crimes and misdemeanors."
  • Alexander said Trump should have taken his concerns about corruption in Ukraine to the Department of Justice rather than asking the country directly. When asked why he did not go to DOJ, Alexander said, "Maybe he didn't know to do it."

Pressed on whether an acquittal would embolden Trump to continue to solicit foreign election interference, Alexander responded: "I hope not."

  • "I mean, enduring an impeachment is something that nobody should like," Alexander said. "Even the president said he didn't want that on his resume. I don't blame him. So if a call like that gets you an impeachment, I would think he would think twice before he did it again."

The other side: Lead House impeachment manager Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that it's "remarkable" that Republican senators are saying that the House proved its case.

  • He disagreed that the election should decide the consequences of Trump's actions, arguing that the president is "threatening to still cheat" in November by soliciting foreign interference.
  • "To call solicitation, coercion, blackmail of a foreign power, an ally at war, by withholding military aid to get help in cheating in the next election merely inappropriate, doesn't begin to do justice to the gravity of this president's misconduct," Schiff added.

The big picture: Alexander said the voters in the 2020 election have a right to decide if Trump's actions were wrong and that removing Trump could establish a "perpetual impeachment" on partisan lines that would "immobilize" the Senate and the presidency.

  • A majority of Americans believe Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress in the impeachment inquiry, according to an NBC/WSJ poll.
  • Just 46%, however, believe that he should be removed from office.

Go deeper: The daily highlights from Trump's Senate impeachment trial

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

1 hour ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.