Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. 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 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!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on 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!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The United States has evidence that Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei can covertly obtain data from networks that use its equipment, White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien and other officials told the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters: The U.S. is stepping up its campaign to pressure allies to reject Huawei equipment in their 5G networks, after the U.K. recently decided to grant Huawei limited access.

  • “We have evidence that Huawei has the capability secretly to access sensitive and personal information in systems it maintains and sells around the world,” O'Brien told the Journal.

The big picture: U.S. officials have had limited success convincing allied leaders, including the U.K.'s Boris Johnson and Germany's Angela Merkel, that the Chinese government could coerce Huawei into using its equipment to spy or disrupt foreign networks.

  • Australia, meanwhile, has come to a similar conclusion as the U.S. that there is no way to mitigate the threat, while British signals intelligence has also issued numerous warnings about potential vulnerabilities.

Details:

  • The Trump administration had previously maintained that it did not need to provide evidence of the threat Huawei poses.
  • But in December, deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger revealed the previously classified information to counterparts in Berlin.
  • A confidential memo then circulated in the German government calling it proof of a "smoking gun."
  • U.S. officials said they have known of this capability since 2009.

The other side: Huawei has denied the allegations, saying that it “has never and will never do anything that would compromise or endanger the security of networks and data of its clients."

The bottom line: It's increasingly clear that both Washington and Beijing view the fight over 5G as a key global battleground.

Go deeper

15 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump revokes ethics order barring former aides from lobbying

Photo: Spencer Platt via Getty

Shortly after pardoning members of Congress and lobbyists convicted on corruption charges, President Trump revoked an executive order barring former officials from lobbying for five years after leaving his administration.

Why it matters: The order, which was signed eight days after he took office, was an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise to “drain the swamp.”

  • But with less than 12 hours left in office, Trump has now removed those limitations on his own aides.

Trump pardons former fundraiser Elliott Broidy

President Trump has pardoned Elliott Broidy, a former top Republican fundraiser who pleaded guilty late last year to conspiring to violate foreign lobbying laws as part of a campaign to sway the administration on behalf of Chinese and Malaysian interests.

Why it matters: Broidy was a deputy finance chair for the Republican National Committee early in Trump’s presidency, and attempted to leverage his influence in the Trump administration on behalf of his clients. The president's decision to pardon Broidy represents one last favor for a prominent political ally.

Trump grants flurry of last-minute pardons

Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump issued 73 pardons and commuted the sentences of 70 individuals, hours from leaving office early Wednesday, hours from leaving office.

Why it matters: It's a last-minute gift to some of the president's loyalists and an evident use of executive power with only hours left of his presidency. Axios reported in December that Trump planned to grant pardons to "every person who ever talked to me."

You’ve caught up. Now what?

Sign up for Mike Allen’s daily Axios AM and PM newsletters to get smarter, faster on the news that matters.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!