Photo: Olivier Douliery, Pool/Getty Images

Some experienced North Korea analysts believe hardline elements within the North Korean intelligence apparatus have been opposed to the idea of the summit between Kim Jong-un and Trump.

Between the lines: One source said Kim Jong-un's decision to send the former spy chief Gen. Kim Yong-chol to the U.S. was likely designed to signal to any internal skeptics that he's taking a tough-minded approach.

  • The U.S. intelligence community believes Kim "has been the mastermind of some of North Korea's most nefarious recent activities," said the source, who has studied the U.S. intelligence assessments of Kim.
  • The source said these nefarious activities include the 2010 sinking of a South Korean Navy vessel — by a torpedo fired from a North Korean submarine — which killed 46 sailors.

Behind the scenes: Kim Yong-chol had never visited the West before his recent trip to New York and Washington, the source said.

  • Part of Mike Pompeo’s plan was to show Kim what's possible and how far behind they are, economically. When they met in New York, Pompeo showed Kim sweeping views of the city.

Go deeper

Congress' next moves to rein in Big Tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

After grilling the CEOs of Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple last week, members of Congress are grappling with whether to accuse any of the firms of illegal anticompetitive behavior, to propose updating federal antitrust laws — or both.

The big picture: Congress is just one arm of government making the case against these companies. Google is expected to be the first of the firms to face possible antitrust litigation from the Justice Department before summer's end, but all four face a full-court press of investigations by DOJ, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general.

Fauci: Coronavirus task force to examine aerosolized spread


A sneeze. Photo: Maartje van Caspel/Getty Images

The White House coronavirus task force will examine more closely just how much SARS-CoV-2 might be transmitted via aerosols, and not just from droplets, NIAID director Anthony Fauci said Wednesday at an online forum sponsored by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Why it matters: The longer the coronavirus can remain infectious in the air, the more likely it can infect people, particularly indoors — leading to the possible need to alter air filtration and circulation within buildings.

The next wave to hit Main Street

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Call it the great retail wash. A wave of defaults, bankruptcies and evictions expected in cities across the U.S. is poised to remake the retail landscape across the country, but there may be some upside for consumers and small businesses.

Why it matters: Rather than an overnight descent into a collection of urban wastelands full of Starbucks, Amazon fulfillment centers, Chase bank branches and nothing else, the coronavirus pandemic and resulting retail apocalypse may just mean that, in major U.S. cities, less is more.