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Alex Brandon / AP

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told the House Armed Services Committee Monday evening he sees "no evidence Mr. Putin wants a positive relationship" with the U.S., but added he thinks North Korea is the "most urgent and dangerous threat to peace and security," putting it past Russia.

Mattis also critiqued the defense budget, noting he is "shocked" by the low level of U.S. military preparedness. Trump's proposal aims to remedy that by boosting defense spending, but not by as much as many hawks would like:

  • Trump vs. Obama: Trump's proposal calls for $603 billion for the DOD, whereas Obama's called for $584 billion — that is to say "it's basically the Obama approach with a little bit more, but not much," as committee chairman Mac Thornberry put it.
  • That's not enough for defense hawks. They want another $37 billion. John McCain said, the "request is inadequate to the challenges we face" and "illegal under current law" — that's because the 2011 Budget Control Act which is still in place, and means his proposal is $54 billion over budget caps, per the Washington Examiner.

There are even cuts affecting the military: The proposal would lead to military base closures in 2021, which is likely to upset lawmakers, according to The Hill. Mattis said this could generate $2 billion or more in yearly savings.

What else Mattis said:

  • Although Korea is the most dangerous threat to the U.S., he's confident the U.S. can defend itself.
  • The situation in Qatar is "not tidy" but "moving in the right direction."
  • "ISIS and other terrorist organizations represent a clear and present danger."

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Stuart Haselden steps down as CEO of luggage startup Away

Away co-founder Jen Rubio, who will step in as interim CEO. Photo by Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Glamour

Stuart Haselden is stepping down as CEO of smart luggage-maker Away, Axios has learned. He'll be succeeded on an interim basis by company co-founder Jen Rubio, and an outside search firm has been retained to find a permanent successor.

Why it matters: Haselden, formerly with Lululemon, appeared to have established executive stability at Away, whose co-founder Steph Korey previously resigned as CEO before retaking the reins alongside Haselden and then resigning again.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
2 hours ago - Sports

2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

10 months ago, the Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Now, less than six months ahead of their new start date, the dreaded word is being murmured: "canceled."

Driving the news: The Japanese government has privately concluded that the Games will have to be called off, The Times reports (subscription), citing an unnamed senior government source.

Biden's centrist words, liberal actions

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Biden talks like a soothing centrist. He promises to govern like a soothing centrist. But early moves show that he is keeping his promise to advance a liberal agenda.

Why it matters: Never before has a president done more by executive fiat in such a short period of time than Biden. And those specific actions, coupled with a push for a more progressive slate of regulators and advisers, look more like the Biden of the Democratic primary than the unity-and-restraint Biden of the general election.