Axios PM

An analog clock with only two symbols instead of twelve: the symbols read 'AM' and 'PM'.

May 12, 2022

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 484 words, a 2-minute read.

1 big thing: GOP plans revenge

Kevin McCarthy walking in a hallway surrounded by reporters

House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy heads to his office surrounded by reporters after the Jan. 6 committee subpoenaed him. Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP

House Republicans were already plotting revenge before the Jan. 6 committee decided to subpoena five of their members, including Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Why it matters: Outside of individual ethics probes, lawmakers don’t subpoena other sitting lawmakers.

  • Setting new precedent could unleash a major escalation when Republicans retake the House.

The committee believes those five members have crucial information about the day itself or the events leading up to it, committee chair Rep. Bennie Thompson said today.

  • Those subpoenaed are House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), along with Reps. Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) and Mo Brooks (R-Ala), Axios’ Andrew Solender and Erin Doherty report.

Go deeper: The reasons for each subpoena

2. Crypto craters

Performance of select cryptocurrencies
Data: CoinGecko; Table: Axios Visuals

If a new bear market has settled on the cryptocurrency industry, it feels different than the last one, Axios Crypto reporter Brady Dale reports.

Why it matters: Extreme volatility is normal for crypto, where a 20% drop could just be a weird Tuesday.

  • But the industry is on firmer footing today than it was in 2018's Crypto Winter, the last bear market.

Flashback: The last bear market kicked in when word started going around that the SEC was knocking on the doors of startups funded by initial coin offerings.

  • Today, there's no such clear single cause, in part because the cryptocurrency market has more use cases and more operational companies now.
  • As early as 2021, projects started hedging their volatile treasury holdings by shifting part of their funds into dollar-backed stablecoins so they could ride out a downturn.

The bottom line: More than $200 billion was lost across crypto in a day, Bloomberg reports.

3. Catch up quick

Pennsylvania U.S. Senate candidate Kathy Barnette. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

  1. Former President Trump warned Republicans in Pennsylvania against nominating Kathy Barnette for an open Senate seat. "She has many things in her past which have not been properly explained or vetted," he said in a statement. Go deeper.
  2. Twitter is pausing most hiring and backfills, and two top execs are leaving. Go deeper.
  3. President Biden ordered flags at half-staff to honor the Americans who have died from COVID-19 as the death toll nears 1 million.

4. 📷 Parting shot: Our own black hole

The first image of Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way. Source: Event Horizon Telescope Collaboration

Astronomers have captured the first image of the black hole at the center of the Milky Way, Axios Science author Alison Snyder reports.

Why it matters: The "historic breakthrough" offers an unprecedented look at the extreme object driving the evolution of our galaxy.

  • Astronomers imaged Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) using the Event Horizon Telescope.

Most galaxies are thought to have a supermassive black hole at their center.

  • The false orange-yellow color in the image is the silhouette of the black hole created by matter teetering on its edge, or event horizon.
  • Light can't escape a black hole, but hot plasma swirling around it emits short radio waves that radio telescopes can pick up. In the image, the gas silhouettes the black hole itself.