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For over a year, Axios has been investigating a suspected Chinese intelligence operative who cultivated extensive ties with local and national U.S. politicians, including a sitting congressman.

Today, we present a special episode: the story of the alleged intelligence operation, which offers a rare glimpse into the lengths Beijing will go to access U.S. political circles.

Guests: Axios' Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, Axios Codebook author Zach Dorfman of the Aspen Institute, former Cupertino, Calif. Mayor Gilbert Wong, former CIA intelligence official Rodney Faraon and Alameda County chief-of-staff Shawn Wilson.

Credits: This story was edited by Alison Snyder, Scott Rosenberg and Sara Goo. This special podcast episode was produced by Dan Bobkoff and Carol Wu and mixed by Alex Sugiura. Special thanks to Mike Allen, Qian Gao and Naomi Shavin.

Go deeper ... Exclusive: Suspected Chinese spy targeted California politicians

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Off the rails: Behind Trump's post-election meltdown

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: 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 special series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

  • This page will be updated as more episodes are published.
  • Our podcast on the series is called "How it happened: Trump's last stand." Episodes will be released each Monday, beginning on Jan. 18.

China sanctions top Trump alumni one day after Uyghur genocide determination

Photo: Andrew Harnik/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

China's Foreign Ministry announced Wednesday it would sanction 28 "anti-China" U.S. politicians, including a slew of top officials from the outgoing Trump administration such as former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, former national security adviser John Bolton and former chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Between the lines, via Axios China expert Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian: Chinese government officials have traditionally decried the use of unilateral sanctions by Western countries, even though China regularly blocks foreign companies and individuals from its markets for perceived political slights.

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
26 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.