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Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Xi may soon come to Mar-a-Lago. President Trump's advisers have informally discussed holding a summit there next month with Chinese President Xi Jinping to try to end the U.S.-China trade war, according to two administration officials with direct knowledge of the internal discussions.
The big picture: Perhaps the darkest cloud of economic uncertainty hanging over the Trump administration is the status of his trade war with China. Global markets are holding their breaths over the fate of hundreds of billions of dollars of trade.
Behind the scenes: Trump's upcoming meeting with Kim Jong-un in Vietnam has complicated logistics for the Xi summit. Trump wanted to meet with Xi before his tariff ceasefire with China ends on March 1, but three sources with direct knowledge said the events couldn’t be planned so close together.
The bottom line: It doesn't appear that the U.S. and China have made much progress, so far, on the biggest structural issues that Trump has promised to conquer. These include China's rampant theft of U.S. intellectual property, forced transfer of U.S. technology and trade abuses that China's leaders have used to grow their economy at America’s expense.
What to watch: Congressional China hawks are pushing Trump to hold the line on China. The Senate Small Business Committee, which Sen. Marco Rubio chairs, will release a report on Tuesday "laying out the challenges with China’s campaign of industrial espionage and coercion," according to a source with direct knowledge.
Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios
Our lead item last week — a leak of three months of Trump’s private schedules — enraged White House officials.
This crackdown has not stopped the leaking. Alexi obtained four of the president's private schedules from last week. You can view them here, retyped in their original format for source protection.
Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images
Bipartisan negotiations to strike a border security deal and to keep the federal government open have broken down over the past 24 hours.
What's next? Very unclear. If the talks are dead, Trump is so dug in he has only two options: shut down the government again or use his emergency powers to get the money.
Trump speaks at news conference about new US-Mexico-Canada trade deal, Oct. 1, 2018, Washington, DC. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
About 10 days ago, a deputy to Trump's top trade negotiator gave a shockingly optimistic forecast on the political fate of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) — the president’s renegotiated NAFTA deal.
Between the lines: Nobody we’ve spoken to on Capitol Hill thinks Mahoney's prediction is remotely possible. The two sources on the call called his comments "naïve," saying they betrayed only a tenuous grasp of the USMCA’s troubled politics.
Why it matters: Regardless of Lighthizer and Mahoney’s true convictions, the USMCA — Trump's most urgent legislative priority besides government funding — has a tough row to hoe.
What we're hearing: While the White House woos moderate Hill Democrats, they are sending up emergency flares. Wisconsin Democrat Rep. Ron Kind, a member of the trade subcommittee on Ways and Means, is one of those Democrats.
The bottom line: Nancy Pelosi is the most important person here. She'll decide when the USMCA comes to the House floor. And while she's indicated she's open to Trump's trade deal, Republicans anticipate she'll use her leverage over Trump to extract something substantial (and possibly unpalatable).
Former White House official Marc Short. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
Well-connected Republican operatives have launched the group Trade Works for America, which aims to spend more than $10 million pushing members of Congress to support USMCA, according to two officials who set up the group.
Why it matters: Republicans and industry groups are starting to panic about Trump's NAFTA replacement bill, USMCA. And for good reason.
CEO of T-Mobile John Legere (L) and executive chairman of Sprint Marcelo Claure (R) at Senate hearing, June 27, 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
T-Mobile's plan to merge with Sprint will face a key test this week as the chief executives of both companies testify before skeptical lawmakers, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Why it matters: The deal would reduce the number of major national wireless carriers from four to three. The hearings, of the House Energy and Commerce and Judiciary committees, are scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday.
Driving the news: The fierce lobbying battle over the $26 billion deal has divided Democrats.
Yes, but: Congress can't kill a deal, it can only put pressure on the FCC and the Department of Justice to do so. The companies have aggressively lobbied both agencies.
The big picture: Regulators have been weighing a series of major mergers that stand to transform how Americans get information and entertainment.
The bottom line: The deal's opponents are fighting an uphill battle, but the hearings this week supply a chance to raise the pressure.
The House had planned to spend this week voting on a funding compromise to keep the government open past Feb. 15, according to a senior Democratic aide. But this weekend's breakdown in the bipartisan talks has thrown those plans into disarray.
The Senate expects to pass the bipartisan "lands package" early this week, according to a senior Republican aide. (Summary here).
President Trump's public schedule, per a White House official: