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Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is seizing the reins of a powerful Senate panel and gearing up to be a formidable figure in pressing Congress' case against Big Tech.

Driving the news: Klobuchar makes her debut Thursday as the chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee, which oversees the agencies charged with policing monopoly power.

The big picture: Thursday's hearing will lay out Klobuchar's ideas for changing antitrust law for the digital age, a sign that she is using her new national stature to put pressure on the tech industry.

  • "We have gotten more interest in antitrust and we are making antitrust cool again," Klobuchar told Axios.
  • She said she sees antitrust moves against tech as part of a larger effort to "rejuvenate capitalism."
  • "We're starting big in terms of talking about the economy as a whole," she said. "Tech is the most obvious, with the gateway issues and all the consolidation. But you've also had consolidation in everything from cat food to caskets and online travel and cable, you name it."

Between the lines: Klobuchar has long been vocal on this issue, but now she can drive the Senate's agenda. In February, she introduced sweeping new antitrust legislation. This week, she re-introduced a bill along with House colleagues on antitrust changes for news media and Big Tech.

  • She is more centrist than some of her Democratic colleagues who work on this issue — more a consensus builder than a firebrand calling for corporate breakups.

Klobuchar has influential friends, thanks to her presidential candidacy. She's close with President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, a former Judiciary committee member.

  • She's rallied Republican and Democratic members around the idea that the DOJ and FTC should have more resources and funding to pursue big cases.
  • She is also working on a book about antitrust and the digital age, slated for release next month.

What they're saying: Klobuchar said Thursday's hearing is the first in a series focused on antitrust issues, and she's working on getting Republican support for her legislation.

  • Klobuchar says she and ranking Republican for antitrust Mike Lee (R-Utah), agree that there's too much consolidation across various industries and that he's currently reviewing her bill: "Maybe he will join me in parts of it."

Yes, but: Klobuchar and Lee do not always see eye to eye on the appropriate way to handle antitrust issues, despite their friendly relationship.

  • Lee, who has accused Big Tech of censorship, has advocated moving antitrust enforcement to one agency rather than splitting it between the FTC and DOJ, and opposes widening the "consumer welfare" standard, under which monopolies are only judged illegal if they harm consumers.
  • It's a trickier dynamic than in the House, where antitrust lead Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) has benefitted from increasing amounts of support from ranking member Ken Buck (R-Co).

What to watch: Thursday's hearing witnesses include academics and advocates on both sides of the antitrust reform debate, and lawmakers will say whether they support Klobuchar's initial ideas for antitrust legislation this Congress.

  • Watch for how many Republicans find areas where they can agree with Klobuchar and other Democrats, and where Lee and Klobuchar appear to find common ground.

Go deeper

In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

Team USA's Ryan Murphy, Zach Apple, Michael Andrew and Caeleb Dressel celebrate winning gold in the final of the men's 4x100m medley relay swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Aug. 1. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

Day nine of the Tokyo Olympic Games Sunday saw the final day of swimming competition end with a historic win for Team USA.

The big picture: The U.S. men's 4x100-meter medley relay team set a new record world as they won the final and Caeleb Dressel earned a fifth gold — becoming the fifth American to do so. Team USA's Bobby Finke won the 1,500-meter freestyle.

Trump PACs raise over $82M for first half of 2021

Former President Trump during the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas, Texas, on July 11. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Former President Trump's political action committees (PACs) raised more than $82 million in the first half of 2021, per Federal Election Commission filings published on Saturday.

Why it matters: It's a significant amount for a former president who's been banned from major social media platforms. It demonstrates his ability to raise huge sums of money should he choose to run for the presidency for a third time.

Updated 6 hours ago - Sports

Olympics dashboard

Team USA's Caeleb Dressel celebrates winning gold in the final of the men's 50m freestyle swimming event at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Gameson Sunday. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP via Getty Images

🚨: Simone Biles won't compete in Olympic floor finals, individual vault or uneven bars

🏊: U.S. wins gold in men's 4x100-meter medley relay, earning Caeleb Dressel fifth gold — American Bobby Finke wins gold in men's 1,500-meter freestyle

🏊‍♀️: Katie Ledecky wins gold in women's 800m freestyle

🏌️‍♂️: Golfer Xander Schauffele wins gold for U.S. by one shot

🇬🇧: Britain wins gold in new BMX freestyle category and gold in first-ever Olympic mixed 4x100m medley relay

📷: In photos: Tokyo Olympics day 9 highlights

🏳️‍⚧️: Axios at the Olympics: Games grapple with trans athletesTrans athletes see the Tokyo Games as a watershed moment

Go deeper: Full Axios coverage

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