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Photo: Pedro Gonzalez Castillo/Getty Images

Nearly 100 days on from his inauguration, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador remains immensely popular and on very good terms with President Trump. That's in part because, as the NYT reports, he's "carrying out the Trump administration’s immigration agenda across wide stretches of the border."

What to watch: Roberta Jacobson, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico from 2016 to 2018, says that's a "bromance that's destined to sour" despite López Obrador's desire to maintain good relations with Washington. Domestically, though, little stands in his way.

  • Speaking on Altamar, the global affairs podcast, Jacobson said no other major political figure has any "standing to speak up on the corruption issue."
  • But she says the steps López Obrador has taken so far on corruption are "weak" and "expedient." She asks: "At what point, if at all, do the majority of people become disillusioned with bread and circuses instead of real institutional changes."
  • "López Obrador is not an institutionalist. He's an 'I alone can fix it' type of president. And that's a real concern. Will he take relatively weak domestic institutions and fail to make them stronger, or in fact weaken them on corruption and a whole host of other issues."

Her bottom line: "I'm hoping he doesn't become an authoritarian."

Behind the scenes: Jacobsen spent some time with López Obrador prior to his election. She says he's smart and engaging, but has "a tendency to view any criticism as personal, and I think that could be his Achilles' heel."

Go deeper

Toyota to build $1.3 billion U.S. battery plant in North Carolina

The all-electric Toyota bZ4X, the company's first battery-electric vehicle, at the Los Angeles Auto Show in Los Angeles, California on Nov. 17. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Toyota announced Monday it's investing $1.3 billion to construct an electric vehicle battery "megasite" near Greensboro, North Carolina, set to open in 2025.

Why it matters: Toyota's Prius hybrid won environmental plaudits when it launched in 1997, but it has since lost ground to electric vehicle world leader Tesla, per Axios' Joann Muller. This battery plant will be the first to produce automotive batteries for Toyota in North America.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congress hunts for shortcut to pass defense funding, debt limit combo

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer returned to his office Monday. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

The scramble in Congress to pass the National Defense Authorization Act is being complicated by an effort to tie it to a needed hike in the federal debt limit.

Why it matters: The House and Senate are rapidly coming up against a series of deadlines they must address before the end of the year — or risk disrupting crucial military funding and upending the economy. Congressional leaders are now hoping they can knock out both "must-pass" priorities in one, complex swoop.

Scoop: Inside Jake Sullivan's call with U.S. hostages' families

Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

National security adviser Jake Sullivan spoke last week with relatives of U.S. hostages and others wrongfully detained abroad, after more than two dozen families expressed frustrations about their inability to get a meeting with him or President Biden, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Participants on the video call, which began at 7pm ET Friday and lasted more than an hour, told Axios they didn't get satisfactory answers to many of their questions. Nonetheless, they were encouraged by Sullivan's commitment to follow up and pledge to be personally available to them and others going forward.