Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

What doesn't really matter:

  1. Trump tweeting two months in advance that he'll skip the White House Correspondents' Association dinner April 29. It's a fine night in a crammed room with episodic humor and celebrity sightings, with scholarships awarded to journalism students who have contagious enthusiasm and idealism. In the scheme of things, the president's presence doesn't make or break it.
  2. Spicer cherry-picking media orgs for briefings. The briefings are marginally useful at best (transcript here of what the excluded reporters missed), and a terrific waste of time at worst. Twitter will tell you anything of substance that happened. So the time is better spent working the phones.

What really does matter:

  1. The double-barreled shots by Trump and Bannon at CPAC. Bannon: "If you think they're going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken. ... [E]very day, it is going to be a fight."
  2. "Wary of Trump unpredictability, China ramps up naval abilities," from Reuters: "The PLA Navy is likely to secure significant new funding in China's upcoming defense budget as Beijing seeks to check U.S. dominance of the high seas and step up its own projection of power around the globe."
  3. Republican "Rep. Darrell Issa [told Bill Maher] that a special prosecutor should be tapped to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, a stance that mirrors the calls of congressional Democrats to sideline the U.S attorney general from such inquiries."

Meanwhile, in the new NBC/ WSJ poll, Trump hits record low for a new president: 44% approve, 48% disapprove.

Go deeper

There's little consensus on TikTok's specific national security threat

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

TikTok has become a Rorschach test for how U.S. politicians view China, with little consensus on the specifics of its threat to homeland security.

The big picture: Much of what D.C. fears about TikTok is fear itself, and that's reflected in President Trump's executive order to ban the app by Sept. 20 if it's not sold by parent company ByteDance — alongside another focused on Chinese messaging app WeChat and its parent company Tencent.

U.S. sanctions Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam

Photo: Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

The Treasury Department on Friday placed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam, following months of tension as she has allowed continued overreach by Beijing to subvert Hong Kong's autonomy.

Why it matters: It's the toughest sanction yet imposed on China for its destruction of Hong Kong’s relatively free political system.

GM's high-stakes electric move

The Cadillac Lyriq. Image courtesy of Cadillac

Cadillac on Thursday unveiled the Lyriq, the luxury brand's first all-electric model and GM's first consumer electric vehicle unveil since the Chevy Bolt several years ago.

Why it matters: It's the first reveal by GM of an electric vehicle that will use the company's new modular platform and Ultium battery system — technologies meant to underpin the 20 electric vehicles that GM plans to launch by 2023.