Axios Sneak Peek

The back of a propped up cardboard cut-out of the U.S. Capitol.
January 04, 2022

❄️❄️ Welcome back to Sneak. Snowmageddon 2 blanketed Washington.

🚨Breaking: Rep. Bobby Rush of Illinois became the 24th House Democrat to say they will not seek re-election this year.

Smart Brevity™ count: 1,124 words ... 4 minutes. Edited by Glen Johnson.

1 big thing: Bannon's 1/6 attack

Animated gif of two elephants involved in a tug of war with their trunks
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Former President Trump and fervent allies, including Steve Bannon, plan to go on the offense during Thursday's anniversary of the Capitol insurrection — in fiery contrast with House and Senate Republican leaders, who plan no events, sources with direct knowledge tell Axios' Jonathan Swan.

Why it matters: The starkly differing approaches underscore tensions remaining within the GOP about how to address the deadly riot.

Behind the scenes: Bannon — Trump's former chief strategist who's been indicted for contempt of Congress after refusing to testify about his conversations with the former president ahead of Jan. 6 — is far from chastened after his arrest.

  • Bannon told Axios that on Thursday morning, he'll host a special edition of his podcast "WarRoom" featuring two of Trump's most fervent supporters — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.).
  • Bannon says he'll also host Darren Beattie. He was a major character in the incendiary documentary Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson produced about the Capitol riot.
  • Based on their previous statements, it's likely Bannon and his allies will portray the arrested Jan. 6 rioters as political prisoners and MAGA martyrs.

The show is designed as counterprogramming to a series of Washington events House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House are planning.

  • "If [Kevin] McCarthy won't program, Greene and Gaetz will," was how Bannon previewed his special show.

Trump himself will hold a press conference at 5pm Thursday at Mar-a-Lago. He'll assail the bipartisan select committee that Pelosi formed to investigate the attack.

  • A source familiar with Trump's plans said the former president would call Pelosi's investigation a "witch hunt" and embrace the protests of Jan. 6 as a legitimate reaction to a "stolen" election on Nov. 3, 2020.
  • Trump has issued statements attacking Pelosi's committee but hasn't, until now, held an event designed entirely to defend and legitimize Jan. 6.

Keep reading.

2. Scoop: Biden targets Raskin for Fed vice chair

Sarah Bloom Raskin is seen posing for a portrait.
Sarah Bloom Raskin. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Sarah Bloom Raskin has emerged as the leading candidate to be President Biden’s choice for vice chair of supervision at the Federal Reserve, with an announcement as early as this week, people familiar with the matter tell Axios' Hans Nichols.

Why it matters: By settling on Raskin, a former deputy Treasury secretary, for the powerful bank regulator position, Biden is giving progressive senators like Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) a policy and personnel win on a position about which they care deeply.

  • He's also avoiding a potentially perilous confirmation fight in a 50-50 Senate.
  • Raskin, currently a law professor at Duke University married to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), served as a Fed governor before she joined President Obama’s Treasury department. She's been confirmed by the Senate twice, the last time by a voice vote.
  • A White House official said no final decisions have been made.

The big picture: After Biden announced in November his intent to renominate Fed Chair Jay Powell, a Republican, progressives made it clear they wanted a candidate more in line with them ideologically for the powerful bank regulator slot.

  • “It’s no secret I oppose Chair Jerome Powell’s renomination, and I will vote against him," Warren said in November. "Powell’s failures on regulation, climate and ethics make the still-vacant position of vice chair of supervision critically important."
  • Warren is supportive of Raskin's candidacy, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Keep reading.

3. Charted: Hike in a high honor

Data: Architect of the Capitol; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The frequency of public figures lying in state or honor in the U.S. Capitol has increased during the past two decades, according to data from the Architect of the Capitol reviewed by Hans.

Why it matters: A tribute largely reserved for presidents and other political leaders has now trickled down to ordinary citizens and guardians of the building itself, as Congress has sought to allow the nation to collectively acknowledge men and women who've left their mark on the country.

  • Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be the latest accorded the honor, when he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 12, congressional leaders announced Sunday.
  • Last month, another former majority leader, Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) received the same public tribute.
  • In 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also was honored at the Capitol — but she lay in state next to the Rotunda in Statuary Hall.

By the numbers: Since 2000, the number of deceased Americans who have lain in the Capital is 13.

  • In the previous two decades, it was four, including two Capitol police officers killed in the line of duty, Florida Sen. Claude D. Pepper and an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War.
  • In the 1960s and '70s, Congress honored eight Americans, including four presidents.

4. Scoop: Chinese surveillance firm attacks U.S. critic

An illustration shows a camera connected to barbed wire.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Chinese surveillance giant Hikvision is going after its top U.S. media critic as part of a ramped-up policy fight aimed at staving off a federal ban on its products, Axios' Lachlan Markay has learned.

Why it matters: Hikvision's quiet offensive against the surveillance technology trade publication IPVM is a significant escalation in its fight against measures it considers contrary to law. They are aimed at cracking down on what federal regulators have dubbed potential national security threats by Chinese technology companies.

  • IPVM has published a number of key investigations revealing that Hikvision and other tech companies are providing technology and services that power the surveillance state and mass internment camps targeting Uyghurs in Xinjiang.
  • The Federal Communications Commission is considering a measure to revoke equipment authorizations for any company, like Hikvision, it's deemed a national security risk.
  • The company maintains the FCC doesn't have the authority to do so.

What's happening: In a letter sent last year and obtained by Axios, Hikvision asked congressional ethics officials to investigate potential lobbying disclosure violations by IPVM, a prominent critic of the company.

  • The letter accused IPVM staff of pushing "punitive measures against Hikvision" in meetings with U.S. policymakers and suggested that was a violation of federal law.
  • "It is our understanding that IPVM’s failure to register after making these contacts is a violation of the" Lobbying Disclosure Act, the company wrote.
  • It came shortly after Hikvision resigned its membership in a leading trade association, citing IPVM's role with the group.

Keep reading.

5. Pic du jour: Snow shadow

A Secret Service agent is seen shadowing President Biden as he descends snow-covered steps from Air Force One.
Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

A Secret Service agent stayed close as President Biden returned to Joint Base Andrews this morning.

The White House pool reports — written by our friend Hailey Fuchs of Politico — captured the ensuing drama.

  • "Due to the snow, deboarding the plane was delayed about a half hour so that the tarmac could be plowed."
  • "As the motorcade traveled to the White House from JBA, for part of the trip, traffic going the opposite way was at a standstill. Police seemed to have stopped them. Roads and trees were covered in snow."
  • "The motorcade was significantly slower than usual and was stop and start. At one point, the pool’s bus stopped for at least five minutes."

📬 Thanks for reading. A reminder your family, friends and colleagues can subscribe to Sneak or any of Axios’ other free local and national newsletters through this link.