Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with the Axios AM and PM newsletters. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to the Axios Closer newsletter for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with the Axios Sports newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Des Moines newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Tampa Bay newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top DC news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios DC newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Leon Neal/Getty Staff, Fabrice Coffrini/Getty Contributor

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is inching toward a decision that could profoundly harm the "special relationship" between Britain and the United States under President Trump.

Driving the news: Johnson is expected to decide, as soon as this week, whether to defy Trump's request that he ban Chinese technology giant Huawei from the U.K.'s 5G wireless network.

  • Johnson's decision comes after repeated private and public warnings from Trump and senior administration officials, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert O'Brien, U.S. officials tell Axios.

Behind the scenes: "This is a highly consequential decision that the British prime minister's going to be making," a senior Trump administration official told me in a phone interview on Saturday.

  • "Not only in terms of their relationship with the United States, but first and foremost for their own citizens," added the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive diplomacy still happening across the Atlantic.
  • "People are going to be a bit shaken by the U.K.'s judgment if they make this decision."

Why it matters: The Huawei debate — which may seem abstract to many Americans — has become one of the most urgent foreign policy priorities of the Trump administration and one of the more serious tests of the U.S.-U.K. relationship in recent times.

  • It could ultimately lead to the U.S. government curtailing the intelligence it shares with its closest ally, U.S. officials told Axios.
  • Some British officials have countered that, with severe restrictions, it's possible to safely include Huawei equipment in a 5G network.

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been a leading voice, globally, in warning about the risks of allowing the Chinese company to embed itself in western mobile networks.

  • Turnbull told me in a phone interview on Saturday that he shared his assessment of Huawei with the Trump administration in early 2017. (Australia is part of America's most important intelligence-sharing alliance, the "Five Eyes.")
  • Turnbull said he spent a lot of time personally investigating the subject in consultation with Five Eyes partners.
  • "To be honest with you, I'm surprised that the U.K. is taking the approach it is," Turnbull said. "The ability to mitigate the risk is very, very questionable."

The big picture: The battle over Huawei is what a "tech Cold War" begins to look like.

  • In recent remarks at the the Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi, Trump's deputy national security adviser Matthew Pottinger said: "Can you imagine a situation where, in the '80s, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher have a conversation and they say, 'You know, I think we should have the KGB come and build all of our telecommunications and computer network systems because they're offering a great discount.'"

Between the lines: 5G mobile networks will allow humans and machines to communicate at unfathomable speeds. When people talk about the Internet of Things, they are referring to a world in which everything from driverless cars to home appliances to hospital equipment will be connected and constantly exchanging data.

  • "When you're talking about 5G, everything will become critical infrastructure," said the senior Trump official.
  • Some countries, including the U.S. and Australia, have banned Huawei from providing equipment for 5G. Intelligence and national security analysts in these countries have determined that once Chinese gear is embedded in the network, there is no way of guaranteeing that the Chinese state won't use it for nefarious purposes.
  • Top officials in the Five Eyes have privately discussed nightmare scenarios ranging from the Chinese government forcing Huawei to conduct mass-scale spying on foreign citizens to more extreme scenarios.
  • Some worry that China, in a future conflict with a Western country, could use its embedded Huawei gear to disrupt critical infrastructure.

The other side: Senior government officials inside the U.K. and Germany have claimed it's possible to safely include Huawei in mobile networks, so long as it is restricted and kept away from "core" elements of the network. Senior Trump administration officials, and others like Turnbull, say this is not possible.

  • British and German officials also say they can't afford to exclude Huawei. They say that doing so would leave their countries with unaffordable alternatives and would leave them behind in the global technology race.
  • Axios' China reporter Bethany Allen-Ebrahimian, who attended the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, reported that business leaders aren't buying U.S. rhetoric about Huawei being dangerous (or at least, this is their public line). And, generally speaking, they aren't fans of the U.S.-China battle over Huawei.

What's next: The senior Trump administration official said allies should work with the U.S. to quickly develop affordable alternatives to Huawei.

  • One option is for the U.S. government to provide Huawei's competitors with subsidies — the same tactic the Chinese have used to give Huawei an unfair advantage over its competitors.
  • But the Trump official said there are other, more market-friendly ways, such as tax breaks, that the U.S. government can use to incentivize trusted tech companies.

The bottom line: The Trump official said the administration is still hopeful that Johnson and Angela Merkel might change their minds and ban Huawei. Merkel, in particular, is under pressure from some of her colleagues to block Huawei from Germany's 5G network.

  • "Yogi Berra, it ain't over till it's over," the senior Trump administration official said.
  • Pompeo framed the choice starkly in a Sunday tweet: "The UK has a momentous decision ahead on 5G. British MP Tom Tugendhat gets it right: 'The truth is that only nations able to protect their data will be sovereign.'"

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Credit: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine Thursday night, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

4 hours ago - World

Zelensky questions U.S. warnings of "imminent" invasion in Biden call

Biden and Zelensky at the White House last October. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

President Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had a back-and-forth in their call this evening about just how "imminent" the threat of a Russian invasion might be, according to three sources briefed on the call.

Why it matters: Biden has said previously that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin will probably "move in" to Ukraine, and White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday afternoon that "an invasion could come at any time."