Mary Altaffer / AP

Tony James, president of The Blackstone Group, said in a media call this morning that his firm's new infrastructure investment effort will not be impacted by whether or not President Trump's promised $2 trillion infrastructure plan comes to fruition:

"We think that based on today's market conditions, today's regulations and today's market that there's a huge opportunity for the fund we're raising. There has been around $9 billion of opportunity we've been unable to action in just the past year, that would have gone into this fund."

Background: Blackstone announced in May that it is raising up to $40 billion for its debut infrastructure fund, including up to a $20 billion commitment from Saudi Arabia and up to $500 million from Blackstone itself. At the time, the White House was still talking about infrastructure as a viable 2017 priority — something that is longer operative. Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman also was chair of a CEO advisory council that has since disbanded, in the wake of Trump's comments about Charlottesville.

Timing: James says to expect a first close on the fund by the end of Q1 2018.

Go deeper

Fed chair warns economy will feel the weight of expired stimulus

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Fed Chair Jay Powell bump elbows before House hearing on Tuesday. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday that the expiration of Congress' coronavirus stimulus will weigh on the U.S. economy.

Why it matters: Powell warned that the effects of dried-up benefits are a looming risk to the economy, even if the consequences aren't yet visible.

37 mins ago - World

Beijing draws Chinese companies even closer

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Chinese Communist Party Secretary Xi Jinping announced last week that the party must strengthen its leadership over private companies, and that entrepreneurs must meet the party's needs. 

Why it matters: Xi's new announcement will increase fears that Chinese businesses may serve as a Trojan horse for the CCP.

Scoop: Trump to meet with Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa on Friday

Lagoa and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

President Trump plans to meet with shortlisted Supreme Court candidate Barbara Lagoa during a campaign visit to Florida on Friday, according to two sources familiar with his plans.

What we're hearing: Sources who know both Trump and Lagoa say they still expect the president to pick Judge Amy Coney Barrett, but they view the Lagoa meeting as a wild card because they say she has a charismatic personality that would appeal to Trump.

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