Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus our best scoops.
🍿 Tonight on "Axios on HBO": Jim VandeHei returns to a bar of his youth to mix it up with Don Jr. before a hopped-up audience of Trump supporters in Oshkosh, Wisconsin — a swing town in 2020's marquee battleground.
Tonight's newsletter is 2,194 words, an 8-minute read.
Jim VandeHei and Don Jr. in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Photo: "Axios on HBO"
In an interview for "Axios on HBO," Donald Trump Jr. told Jim VandeHei he wants to debate Hunter Biden over who has benefited more financially from their father's government service.
Driving the news: "We can go full transparency, we show everything, and we can talk about all of the places where I am supposedly grifting but Hunter Biden isn't," said the president's eldest son, who still runs the Trump Organization with his brother Eric.
Why it matters: After spending much of the past year aggressively attacking Joe Biden over his son's business dealings with a corrupt energy company in Ukraine while he was vice president, Republicans mostly stopped talking about Hunter when it looked like his father wouldn't make it through the primaries.
What's next: Biden's allies have hit back, saying Democrats should fight fire with fire by subpoenaing Trump's children.
The bottom line: Don Jr. has now publicly embraced that conversation.
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Shannon Finney/Getty Images
In an interview for "Axios on HBO," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told me that the $7.25-an-hour federal minimum wage would be "very difficult" to live on and that in his view it should be higher.
Driving the news: "I don't have any problem with raising the minimum wage," Carson said. "My personal opinion is that it should be indexed."
Why it matters: This is the first time, as HUD secretary, that Carson has publicly admitted that America has a problem with its minimum wage.
Details: Carson, one of the most important but undercovered figures in national politics, is the top federal government official charged with housing the poorest and most vulnerable people in America.
Between the lines: In our interview, Carson conceded that the current minimum wage is too low after I cited a study by the National Low Income Housing Coalition that found that a worker earning $7.25 must work "103 hours per week (more than 2.5 full-time jobs) to afford a one-bedroom rental home at the national average fair market rent."
The big picture: "Axios on HBO" joined Carson on his recent bus tour to California, where he met with local officials to discuss federal-state solutions for the state's homelessness and housing affordability crises.
Key exchange: I asked Carson whether he could support a family and himself on the federal minimum wage.
Yes, but: Carson made clear he still heavily favors market solutions.
Photo: "Axios on HBO"
In the same interview, Carson said police officers should be empowered to clear homeless people off the streets and put them in tent cities like the facilities the U.S. government has for migrants at the southern border.
Why it matters: Under current law, police aren't allowed to arrest homeless people simply for sleeping on the streets if they don't have alternative shelter arrangements. Carson wants to open up federal land and build tent cities quickly to facilitate police relocations of the homeless.
Between the lines: Some California cops have resisted calls to move homeless people against their will.
Carson also said "there are a lot of states" elsewhere that people who are homeless in California "could move to and immediately get a job and have a place to live. But they don't want to do that."
Other highlights from the interview:
1. The HUD budget: Carson said he doesn't actually want to eliminate some of the programs that his agency's latest budget calls for eliminating.
2. Trump's tweets: When he was addressing local officials in California, Carson preached about the need to put politics aside and work together to solve the homelessness crisis.
3. Transgender homelessness: In a clip that didn't make it to air, I asked Carson why homelessness among the transgender population is growing at 43% — far higher than the rise in homelessness in the overall population.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Leaders in Washington are bracing for the brunt of the coronavirus to sweep the U.S., with officials at the White House and on Capitol Hill floating a series of ideas to help mitigate the negative effects pounding small businesses and the travel industry, Axios' Alayna Treene reports.
The big picture: Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press" this morning: "I think we're getting a better sense as the days go by. Unfortunately, that better sense is not encouraging because we're seeing community spread. And whenever you see community spread, you can do contact tracing."
Go deeper. Coronavirus updates
Sanders and Biden on the debate stage in Charleston, South Carolina, Feb. 25. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images
Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders will go head-to-head again this Tuesday in a series of primaries poised to hand the former Vice President another triumph, Alayna writes.
Why it matters: After Biden's stellar performance on Super Tuesday and a blitz of huge endorsements (the latest from Sen. Kamala Harris), he's barreling ahead toward clinching the Democratic nomination.
FiveThirtyEight's 2020 primary tracker has Biden winning in every state except Washington.
The bottom line, via FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver: "Sanders has to come back quickly when the momentum is currently against him in a bunch of states that are not very good for him."
Photo: Aurora Samperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images
The House will vote on the “No Ban Act,” this week, which would repeal Trump’s travel ban and prevent the administration from imposing future travel bans, Alayna writes.
The Senate will vote Monday on a substituted amendment to Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Joe Manchin’s energy innovation bill.
President Trump’s schedule, per a White House official: