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Photo: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Huawei lost a round in court Tuesday, with a federal judge ruling that Congress was within its rights to exclude agencies and contractors from buying gear from Huawei and ZTE.

The big picture: This is one battle in the larger and more multifaceted conflict between Washington and Beijing that's playing out in courts, through trade negotiations and in public rhetoric.

Context: As part of the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress put limits on how government agencies and contractors could do business with certain companies, using language that specifically targeted Huawei and ZTE.

  • Huawei sued over the move last year, arguing the law was unconstitutional.
  • The judge ruled that Congress was acting within its rights to decide how the government spends its money.

What's next: Huawei says it will consider further legal options. Meanwhile the fight continues on many levels, with the U.S. enacting several policies designed to limit Huawei's ability to do business in the U.S. and weighing further actions.

  • Most recently, per the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration has been weighing whether to require those using U.S.-made chip gear to certify their products won't be used for Huawei products.

Meanwhile: In a series of Tuesday tweets, President Trump threw his administration's Huawei policy into confusion.

  • He suggested that his own team's efforts to block U.S. sales to Chinese companies like Huawei were driven by a "National Security excuse," and said, "We don't want to make it impossible to do business with us."
  • Trump's comments will make it even harder for U.S. officials trying to persuade allies to bar Huawei equipment from their 5G networks.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sydney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director defends agency's response to pandemic — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Empire State Building among hundreds to light up in Biden inauguration coronavirus tribute.
  3. Vaccine: Fauci: 100 million doses in 100 days is "absolutely" doable.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode again.
  5. Tech: Kids' screen time sees a big increase.

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