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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

U.S. Attorney General nominee Bill Barr was asked repeatedly about antitrust issues as they may relate to big technology companies, during his confirmation hearings this week.

Why it matters: Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions wasn't asked any similar questions during his confirmation hearings just two years ago. In fact, he was only asked two total questions related to antitrust, and there were zero mentions of Amazon, Facebook or Google.

  • Such issues are near top of mind for many senators, which may give a window into their legislative agendas as much as their attorney general analysis. Silicon Valley has more reason to worry than ever before, as do investors who view big M&A as their preferred exit avenue.
  • A key quote from Barr, who worked with AT&T on its defense against DOJ on the Time Warner purchase: “I don’t think big is necessarily bad, but I think a lot of people wonder how such huge behemoths that now exist in Silicon Valley have taken shape under the nose of the antitrust enforcers.”

Go deeper: Tim Cook calls on Congress to pass privacy legislation

Go deeper

35 mins ago - World

Netanyahu and Israel reluctantly adjust to a post-Trump Washington

Netanyahu (R) and Biden in 2010. Photo: Avi Ohayon/GPO via Getty

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his close aides are very nervous about the transition to a new U.S. administration after a four-year honeymoon with Donald Trump. One Israeli official told me it felt like going through detox.

What he's saying: Netanyahu congratulated Biden minutes after he was sworn in, saying in a statement that he looked forward to working together to "continue expanding peace between Israel and the Arab world and to confront common challenges, chief among them the threat posed by Iran."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. State of play: New coronavirus cases down, but more bad news ahead.
  2. Politics: Biden set to immediately ramp up federal pandemic response with 10 executive actions — Scoop: Joe Biden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. World: Biden will order U.S. to rejoin World Health OrganizationBiden to bring U.S. into global COVAX initiative for equitable vaccine access.
  4. Vaccine: Amazon offers to help Biden administration with COVID vaccine efforts.
Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 hours 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%.