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Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) is the chair of the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A behind-the-scenes battle to shape Capitol Hill scrutiny of Big Tech's power will burst into public view this week in the most significant way yet.

Driving the news: Representatives of Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple will face questions Tuesday from members of the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee as part of its investigation into their market power.

What we're hearing: The companies — all of which have briefed committee staff in the last month — are bringing antitrust heavy hitters to the hearing.

  • Google witness Adam Cohen has been a prominent part of its attempt to defang antitrust concerns in Europe.
  • Amazon's Nate Sutton is a veteran of the Justice Department's price-fixing case against Apple for allegedly conspiring with publishers to raise the price of ebooks.
  • What they're saying: An Apple spokesperson pointed Axios to its public website on the competition issue, while a Google spokesperson referred us to CEO Sundar Pichai's previous comments. Amazon and Facebook declined to comment.

Behind the scenes: Competitors and critics hoping to turn the heat up on the tech giants have been making the rounds in Washington.

  • Yelp chief executive and Google antagonist Jeremy Stoppelman took meetings on Capitol Hill last week.
  • Spotify, which is pursuing an antitrust case against Apple in Europe, has also been working Congress in advance of the hearing, according to two people familiar with its efforts.

The big picture: Numerous congressional committees and members are scrutinizing the major tech players, after several years of mounting criticism of the companies on different fronts.

  • Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) announced last week she'd be leading a tech task force for the Senate Judiciary Committee. She also met for more than half an hour last week with Chris Hughes, the Facebook co-founder who has called to break up the social giant.

What to watch: Whether the Justice Department or Federal Trade Commission pursue formal cases against any of the four companies testifying on Tuesday.

  • Yes, but: Even if they come to fruition, these cases can take years to develop.

Go deeper

21 mins ago - Podcasts

Podcast: After the Biden inaugural

Joe Biden was sworn in today as America's 46th president in an inauguration unlike any other in modern history.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into the speech, the atmosphere and what it all tells us about the incoming administration, with Axios political reporters Hans Nichols and Alexi McCammond.

Biden embarks on a consequential presidency

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Donald Trump tried everything to delegitimize the rival who vanquished him. In reality, he's set Joe Biden on course to be a far more consequential U.S. president than he might otherwise have become.

The big picture: President Biden now confronts not just a pandemic, but massive political divisions and an assault on truth — and the aftermath of the assault on the Capitol two weeks ago that threatened democracy itself.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Inauguration Day dashboard

U.S. Capitol and stage are lit at sunrise ahead of the inauguration of Joe Biden. Photo: Patrick Semansky - Pool/Getty Images

President Biden has delivered his inaugural address at the Capitol, calling for an end to the politics as total war but warning that "we have far to go" to heal the country.

What's next: Representatives from all branches of the military escort the 46th president to the White House.