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Jeff Bleich. Photo: Stefan Postles / Getty Images

Cruise, the San Francisco-based self-driving startup, has hired Jeff Bleich, a prominent California attorney and chairman of Pacific Gas & Electric, as its chief legal officer.

Why it matters: Cruise is likely to face extensive regulatory issues as it works toward the deployment of self-driving cars, starting with its home market in San Francisco.

  • Bleich is well-connected in government circles, having served as president of the California State Bar, as well as White House special counsel under President Obama, and ambassador to Australia.

What to watch: Bleich presumably still has a lot on his plate at PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy protection last year after amassing tens of billions of dollars in debt related to wildfires caused by its equipment. Bleich joined the PG&E board last year.

Go deeper

50 mins ago - World

Maximum pressure campaign escalates with Fakhrizadeh killing

Photo: Fars News Agency via AP

The assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear program, is a new height in the maximum pressure campaign led by the Trump administration and the Netanyahu government against Iran.

Why it matters: It exceeds the capture of the Iranian nuclear archives by the Mossad, and the sabotage in the advanced centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Scoop: Biden weighs retired General Lloyd Austin for Pentagon chief

Lloyd Austin testifying before Congress in 2015. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Joe Biden is considering retired four-star General Lloyd Austin as his nominee for defense secretary, adding him to a shortlist that includes Jeh Johnson, Tammy Duckworth and Michele Flournoy, two sources with direct knowledge of the decision-making tell Axios.

Why it matters: A nominee for Pentagon chief was noticeably absent when the president-elect rolled out his national security team Tuesday. Flournoy had been widely seen as the likely pick, but Axios is told other factors — race, experience, Biden's comfort level — have come into play.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: WHO: AstraZeneca vaccine must be evaluated on "more than a press release."
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York COVID restrictions.
  3. World: Thailand, Philippines sign deal with AstraZeneca for vaccine.
  4. Economy: Safety nets to disappear in December Black Friday shopping across the U.S., in photosAmazon hires 1,400 workers a day throughout pandemic.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.