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Photo: Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

President Trump's chief economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC's Delivering Alpha conference Wednesday morning that he believes that Chinese President Xi Jinping is "holding the game up" on a trade deal with the United States — all while playing down the idea that the two countries are engaged in a trade war.

Our thought bubble from Axios’ Dan Primack: After first giving some lip service to generally opposing blanket tariffs, Kudlow stated "the president is doing exactly the right thing here" and China’s "local party leaders" are similar to "mafioso dons." I’ve had a tough time finding anyone at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen who has amended, or is thinking about amending, their tech investment strategy because of the trade wars.

  • On China: "Look, I'm not a big fan of tariffs, you know that. I don't like blanket tariffs. ... But I have been a long-term critic of China."
  • More on Xi: "So I think he needs to move. We are waiting for him. The ball is in his court. And the tit-for-tat business, which is nobody's favorite path, but nonetheless, they can end that this afternoon, this afternoon, by providing a more satisfactory approach."
  • On inflation and the rising deficit: "No recession in sight. No recession in sight. I just want to make that point. No recession in sight right now."

What's next: "Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of EU, is coming to Washington next week. We will be in discussions. I am told he is bringing a very important free trade offer. Okay. I'm told. I can't confirm that. This is what I'm hearing."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Trump supporter found with pipe bombs accused of plot to attack Democrats

Five improvised explosive devices that the FBI says "were fully operational and could cause great bodily harm or injury if handled improperly." Photo: FBI/Justice Department

The FBI believes California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and the Bay Area headquarters of Twitter and Facebook were targets of a man facing federal explosives charges, according to a criminal complaint.

Driving the news: Prosecutors charged Ian Benjamin Rogers after finding weapons including five pipe bombs, 49 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition following a Jan. 15 search of his Napa County home and auto repair business. His alleged goal was to ensure former President Trump remained in office.

4 hours ago - Health

Fauci: COVID vaccine rollout needs to prioritize people of color

Anthony Fauci. Photo: Alex Wong via Getty Images

Infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci highlighted the need to address racial disparities in the COVID-19 vaccination process, per an interview with The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

What he’s saying: "I think that's the one thing we really got to be careful of. We don't want in the beginning ... most of the people who are getting it are otherwise, well, middle-class white people."

The Mischief Makers

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Several Republican and Democratic lawmakers are emerging as troublemakers within their parties and political thorns for their leadership.

Why it matters: We're calling this group "The Mischief Makers" — members who threaten to upend party unity — the theme eclipsing Washington at the moment — and potentially jeopardize the Democrats' or Republicans' position heading into the 2022 midterms.

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