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Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton,. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / AP

A photo Wednesday of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and his wife, Louise Linton, posing with a sheet of new $1 bills — the first notes bearing his signature — prompted a frenzy online. Some remarked that the pair resembled James Bond villains. Here is how AP's Jacquelyn Martin, who took the photo, tells it:

  • "My assignment ... was to photograph Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, getting a glimpse of the first dollar notes with their signatures on them."
  • Mnuchin "walked down the hall with his wife, Louise Linton, who I was surprised to see with him, and she was wearing full-length black leather gloves. ... [H]e turned to the camera and held up the bills, which I hadn't expected him to do so early in the tour. Mnuchin turned his head and gestured to Linton to join him. He then had her help him hold up the sheet of bills for the photo.
  • When Mnuchin "gestured for Linton to come over and be in the photo op, ... I knew for sure this image would get some interest. Based on their history and previous images that have been put out there — I had a feeling that this would take off. There is something about this couple that people are just fascinated by."
  • "Her direct gaze at the camera and the touch of her gloved hand on his as they hold a sheet of money together seems to have struck a chord."

Go deeper

5 hours ago - World

Top general: U.S. losing time to deter China

Stanley McChrystal. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Stanley McChrystal, a top retired general and Biden adviser, tells Axios that "China's military capacity has risen much faster than people appreciate," and the U.S. is running out of time to counterbalance that in Asia and prevent a scenario such as it seizing Taiwan.

Why it matters: McChrystal, the former commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently briefed the president-elect as part of his cabinet of diplomatic and national security advisers. President-elect Joe Biden is considering which Trump- or Obama-era approaches to keep or discard, and what new strategies to pursue.

Progressives shift focus from Biden's Cabinet to his policy agenda

Joe Biden giving remarks in Wilmington, Del., last month. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

Some progressives tell Axios they believe the window for influencing President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet selections has closed, and they’re shifting focus to policy — hoping to shape Biden's agenda even before he’s sworn in.

Why it matters: The left wing of the party often draws attention for its protests, petitions and tweets, but this deliberate move reflects a determination to move beyond some fights they won't win to engage with Biden strategically, and over the long term.

Dave Lawler, author of World
7 hours ago - World

Venezuela's predictable elections herald an uncertain future

The watchful eyes of Hugo Chávez on an election poster in Caracas. Photo: Cristian Hernandez/AFP via Getty

Venezuelans will go to the polls on Sunday, Nicolás Maduro will complete his takeover of the last opposition-held body, and much of the world will refuse to recognize the results.

The big picture: The U.S. and dozens of other countries have backed an opposition boycott of the National Assembly elections on the grounds that — given Maduro's tactics (like tying jobs and welfare benefits to voting), track record, and control of the National Electoral Council — they will be neither free nor fair.