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Photo: Xinhua/Joel Lerner via Getty Images

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating claims by former Boeing manager Ed Pierson that he warned the company of issues affecting 737 Max planes months before two deadly crashes involving the fleet.

Where it stands: Pierson is due to testify before Congress this week on the firm's safety failures. He told NBC News that he lobbied Boeing executives in the summer of 2018 through spring 2019 to check on conditions at a Boeing plant in Renton, Washington.

  • Pierson claims a drive to increase 737 production at the plant sparked a "factory in chaos" and risked tired workers making dangerous mistakes, per NBC.
  • "All my internal warning bells are going off," Pierson wrote to Scott Campbell, the manager of the 737 Max program in June 2018, the New York Times notes.
  • "And for the first time in my life, I’m sorry to say that I’m hesitant about putting my family on a Boeing airplane," Pierson added.

What they're saying: In a statement, Boeing said: "Although Mr. Pierson did not provide specific information or detail about any particular defect or quality issue, Boeing took his concerns about 737 production disruption seriously."

The big picture: A 737 Max made at the Renton plant went down near Indonesia in October 2018. Another 737 Max crashed in Ethiopia in March.

  • No conclusive evidence shows that the problems Pierson reported are linked to the crashes.
  • Max 737s have been grounded while investigations continue.

Go deeper: Boeing exec exits as 737 MAX crisis continues

Go deeper

Off the Rails

Episode 4: Trump turns on Barr

Photo illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios. Photos: Drew Angerer, Pool/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. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 4: Trump torches what is arguably the most consequential relationship in his Cabinet.

Attorney General Bill Barr stood behind a chair in the private dining room next to the Oval Office, looming over Donald Trump. The president sat at the head of the table. It was Dec. 1, nearly a month after the election, and Barr had some sharp advice to get off his chest. The president's theories about a stolen election, Barr told Trump, were "bullshit."

In photos: Protests outside fortified capitols draw only small groups

Armed members of the far-right extremist group the Boogaloo Bois near the Michigan Capitol Building in Lansing on Jan. 17. About 20 protesters showed up, AP notes. Photo: Seth Herald/AFP via Getty Images

Small groups of protesters gathered outside fortified statehouses across the U.S. over the weekend ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

The big picture: Some protests attracted armed members of far-right extremist groups but there were no reports of clashes, as had been feared. The National Guard and law enforcement outnumbered demonstrators, as security was heightened around the U.S. to avoid a repeat of the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riots, per AP.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
8 hours ago - World

China's economy grows 6.5% in Q4 as country rebounds from coronavirus

A technician installs and checks service robots to be be used for food and medicine delivery in Jiaxing, Zhejiang Province, China, on Sunday. Photo: Hu Xuejun/VCG via Getty Images

China's economy grew at a 6.5% pace in the final quarter of 2020, the national statistics bureau announced Monday local time, topping off a year in which it grew in three of four quarters and by 2.3% in total.

Why it matters: No other major economy managed positive growth in 2020. Although the COVID-19 pandemic was first detected in China, the country got the virus under control and became one of the main positive drivers of the global economy even as the rest of the world was largely under lockdown.

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