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Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Images via Getty Images

The broad trajectory of the stock market last week can be explained pretty simply.

What happened: A Monday spike on optimism about a trade truce between China and America, followed by a downward spiral after news emerged that seemed to indicate the trade war continues to be prosecuted aggressively.

  • Meng Wanzhou, the CFO of Chinese telco Huawei, appeared in a high-security Vancouver courtroom Friday, facing extradition to the U.S. on fraud charges.
  • China came to Huawei's defense, with state media saying that the U.S. was behaving like a "despicable rogue." China is treating this as an attack by one sovereign on another.
  • Huawei, which made $7 billion last year on revenues of $19 billion, has been effectively banned from selling many of its products in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand.

Canada won't arrest and extradite foreign citizens for violating U.S. sanctions, but it will arrest and extradite foreign citizens for committing fraud. Meng was arrested on the basis of a 2013 PowerPoint presentation she made to HSBC, in which she said there was no relationship between Huawei and Skycom, which was doing business in Iran. That statement, if untrue, can be seen as an attempt to fraudulently mislead HSBC.

  • These kind of arrests are rare, but far from unheard-of. America is well-versed in using international criminal law to advance its foreign policy, and directors of foreign companies are often caught complainingthat the U.S. should not be able to prosecute actions taken abroad that were entirely legal in the place where they happened.
  • The timing of Meng's arrest could hardly have been worse. It's pure coincidence that Meng was arrested on the same day that Trump had his friendly dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Now all of that goodwill seems like a thing of the distant past.

The big question: "The Justice department and the Trump administration have an important question to answer: What do we want out of this?" writes Bloomberg's Tim Culpan. "It’s not clear that they know."

The bottom line: Meng's fate could have multitrillion-dollar geopolitical implications, especially if China retaliates by arresting American executives. For the time being, however, the trade talks are still on.

Go deeper: Canada tumbles into the middle of the U.S.-China trade war.

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.