Welcome back to Sneak. Smart Brevity™ count: 971 words ... 3.5 minutes.

🇨🇳 Situational awareness: China's top diplomat in D.C. warned that Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's stops in the U.S. — where she will meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — "could lead to serious, serious, serious confrontation in the U.S.-China relationship."

1 big thing: Zients' zen White House

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

White House Chief of Staff Jeff Zients' first appointment in the morning is reserved for himself: 20 minutes of transcendental meditation at 4:30am.

  • For the rest of the day, inclusivity is his mantra, Axios' Hans Nichols reports.

Why it matters: As White House officials adjust to new management under Zients, who succeeded Ron Klain in early February, they're in more meetings than before, according to administration officials. Zients, a longtime management consultant, is a big believer in delegating.

  • The new approach puts more officials directly before the president and appears to be leading to some faster decisions from Biden.
  • Two early examples: The announcement of Julie Su for Labor secretary and Ajay Banga to lead the World Bank, just weeks after their predecessors indicated they were leaving. That's lightning speed for a personnel decision in Biden world.

Yes, but: There has been at least one unforced error in Zients' tenure so far — Biden infuriated vulnerable House Democrats when he announced that he would not veto Republicans' D.C. crime bill after first indicating he opposed it.

  • Some progressives, who counted Klain as an ally, have been grumbling about Zients' political instincts, according to Politico.

Behind the scenes: After his daily meditation and ritual workout, Zients is at the White House by about 7am.

  • His first official meeting takes place in his corner office at 8:15am, with fewer than a dozen participants, including senior adviser Anita Dunn and counselor Steve Ricchetti.
  • At 8:40am, the meeting expands to around 30 and moves to a crowded Roosevelt Room, with roughly two-thirds of the participants attending in person and the rest, like Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, attending virtually.
  • Mid-morning, it's time to brief Biden in the Oval Office. Zients starts on his own, but then policy experts or senior advisers are summoned to discuss specific issues.
  • Presentations are tight — as short as two minutes — but the president can always linger on an issue if he wants to. The goal is to reach a decision.

Between the lines: Klain's morning sessions with Biden tended to be more one-on-one.

  • Current officials are reluctant to publicly compare the two leaders, but privately, the differences are obvious and frequently discussed.
  • Klain — supremely confident in his abilities to do just about every White House job — made many decisions on his own, or in direct consultations with the president.

The intrigue: At Klain's happy hours, french fries from the White House mess were washed down with beers.

  • In Zients' White House, the offerings include charcuterie boards and South African wines (as well as beer).

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2. 🔎 Poll du jour: Indictment skeptics

Trump at his rally in Waco, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Suzanne Cordeiro/AFP via Getty Images

The Manhattan grand jury investigating former President Trump's alleged hush money payments to a porn star is expected to break until the end of April for a hiatus tied to the religious holidays, Politico first reported.

Why it matters: It's been just over a week since the date Trump predicted he would be arrested — a stunning declaration that produced a monsoon of media coverage, created new tension with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, and helped Trump raise millions of dollars from his supporters.

Between the lines: 62% of Americans believe Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg's case is motivated mainly by politics, compared to 32% who believe it's mainly motivated by the law, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.

  • That majority includes 93% of Republicans, 70% of independents and 29% of Democrats.
  • If criminal charges are brought against Trump in either Manhattan, Georgia or the two special counsel investigations, 57% of Americans believe it should disqualify him from running for president.

Full poll results.

3. ⚡ Senate's Wednesday frenzy

Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz clashed with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) over alleged union busting at a hearing today. Photo: Nathan Posner/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A banner day for the "world's greatest deliberative body":

  • The Senate voted 66-30 to repeal the 1991 and 2002 authorizations for the use of force (AUMF) in Iraq, a historic bipartisan vote that comes 20 years after the U.S. invasion.
  • Four Senate Democrats and independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona voted with all Republicans to overturn the Biden administration’s signature water policy, setting up a likely veto.
  • Over a dozen Democrats voted with all Republicans to end the COVID-19 national emergency earlier than the White House planned, after Biden signaled he would not veto the GOP-led measure.
  • Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) blocked an attempt by Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) to unanimously pass his bill banning TikTok — citing concerns about censoring speech and alienating millions of young Americans.

What we're watching: Sen. John Fetterman (D-Pa.) is expected to return to the Senate the week of April 17. He checked himself into the hospital in mid-February to receive treatment for clinical depression.

4. 🤝 Charted: Partisan priorities

Votes for past H.R. 1 bills, by political party
Data: Quorum; Table: Axios Visuals Note: H.R. 1 legislation for the 106th, 109th, 113th and 114th Congresses did not make it to a floor vote

House Republicans' H.R. 1 bill — a label historically used to signal the party in power's top legislative priority — may get bipartisan support for the first time since 2007, Axios' Stef Kight reports from Quorum data.

Driving the news: At least two Democrats — Texas Reps. Henry Cuellar and Vicente Gonzalez — will support the sweeping GOP energy bill when it receives a floor vote as soon as this week.

Why it matters: The past four H.R. 1 bills received entirely partisan votes. Republicans' energy package would slash environmental regulations, expand oil and gas drilling on public lands and waters, and repeal parts of Democrats' signature climate law.

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5. ❤️ Pic du jour

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who was resuscitated after suffering a cardiac arrest during an NFL game in January, joined Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to promote a bill establishing grants for AED and CPR programs in schools.

📬 Thanks for reading tonight. This newsletter was copy edited by Kathie Bozanich.