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Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, a veteran of the Iraq war and an active member of the Hawaii National Guard, accused Trump's "chicken hawk Cabinet" of leading the U.S. "to the brink of war with Iran" at the first Democratic primary debate on Wednesday.

"A war with Iran would be far more costly and far more devastating than anything that we experienced in Iraq. It would take many more lives, it would exacerbate the refugee crisis. This would turn into a regional war."

Context: President Trump approved military strikes "on a handful of Iranian targets" last week but called them off at the last minute, amid heightened tensions that have brought back fears that the U.S. could be on course for war with Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, both of whom are considered hawks by the foreign policy establishment, have steered the Trump administration's campaign of "maximum pressure" against Iran.

What they're saying: Sen. Cory Booker was the only candidate on stage to say the 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a "mistake," adding: "I'm not going to have a primary platform to say, unilaterally, I'm going to rejoin that deal...If I have an opportunity to leverage a better deal, I'm going to do it."

  • Sen. Amy Klobuchar said she would re-negotiate the U.S. back into the Iran deal, and — in a shot at Trump — added: "I don't think we should conduct foreign policy in our bathrobe at 5 o'clock in the morning."

Go deeper: A timeline of how Trump and Tehran came to the brink of war

Go deeper

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.
Off the Rails

Episode 3: Descent into madness ... Trump: "Sometimes you need a little crazy"

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 3: The conspiracy goes too far. Trump's outside lawyers plot to seize voting machines and spin theories about communists, spies and computer software.

President Trump was sitting in the Oval Office one day in late November when a call came in from lawyer Sidney Powell. "Ugh, Sidney," he told the staff in the room before he picked up. "She's getting a little crazy, isn't she? She's really gotta tone it down. No one believes this stuff. It's just too much."