Welcome to Sneak Peek, our weekly lookahead from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue, plus our best scoops.
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Tonight's newsletter is 1,568 words, a 6-minute read.
A researcher works in a lab that is developing testing for the coronavirus. Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images
A top federal scientist sounded the alarm about what he feared was contamination in an Atlanta lab where the government made test kits for the coronavirus, sources familiar with the situation in Atlanta tell me and Axios' Caitlin Owens.
Why it matters: At a time when the administration is under scrutiny for its early preparations for the virus, the potential problems at the lab became a top internal priority for some officials. But the Trump administration did not talk publicly about the Food and Drug Administration’s specific concerns about the Atlanta lab.
FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn said, in a statement to Axios, that government agencies have already worked together to resolve the problems with the coronavirus tests.
The big picture: The FDA says it now has full confidence in the coronavirus diagnostic kit, but a slew of new cases announced over the weekend suggest the virus has spread throughout the country while the U.S. government tested only a narrow subset of the population for it.
The big question: It was not immediately clear if or how possible contamination in the Atlanta lab played a role in delays or problems with testing. Nor was it clear how significant or systemic the contamination concerns may be; whether it was a one-time issue that's easily resolved, or a broader concern involving protocols, safeguards or leadership.
Behind the scenes: The FDA official who visited the Atlanta lab, Timothy Stenzel, is the director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics and Radiological Health.
On Thursday afternoon, the concerns about the Atlanta laboratory were raised in a conference call that included senior government officials from multiple agencies including the FDA, HHS, the CDC, and the National Institutes of Health.
Go deeper: Read our full story in the Axios stream
Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios
Trump rallies are the centrifugal force driving his campaign. And the campaign has weaponized them to hoover up maximum attendee data. "Axios on HBO" looked inside the campaign's systematic efforts to gather as much information as possible about attendees — information they hope will supercharge the Trump re-election bid.
Here's how it works: Trump's team has designed the sign-up process — and key parts of the rally buildup — to suck a maximum of information from the people attending. Cellphone numbers are their most prized assets.
Why it matters: Sources in the Trump camp say they hope to cash in on the base-first strategy that put their candidate in the White House back in 2016. For that to work, they need to know everything about their base. And these rallies may make that possible.
The big picture: The affection between the Trump campaign team and the thousands of people who flock to his rallies is mutual — and strong. In fact, impromptu campsites also spring up around the rallies, as our film crew documented last month in freezing conditions in Manchester, New Hampshire.
And Manchester is no fluke. Trump supporters have also literally pitched their tents for overnight stays before rallies around the country:
"I did it once — it's addictive," one of the frozen MAGA campers told "Axios on HBO." "It's like, I've gotta do another one. Because I've never had the opportunity to express such love. Everybody's in love here."
Team Trump is in love, too.
Brett Kavanaugh participates in a ceremonial swearing in by retired Justice Anthony Kennedy, Oct. 08, 2018. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images
The Supreme Court this week will wade into its first big abortion case since Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the bench.
Why it matters: It will give us the clearest indication yet of how just how quickly and aggressively the newly expanded conservative majority is likely to move in curtailing abortion rights, Axios' Sam Baker writes.
Driving the news: The court will hear arguments Wednesday over a Louisiana law that requires abortion providers to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
That may sound familiar. Louisiana's law is nearly identical to one the court struck down just four years ago. The justices said in 2016 that Texas' admitting-privileges requirements made abortion harder to access but not any safer, and were therefore an unconstitutional "undue burden" on abortion access.
What we're watching: Kavanaugh matters here because he made the court more conservative by replacing Kennedy — not because he's seen as a likely swing vote.
Go deeper: Read Sam's full story in the Axios stream
Photo: Dan Thornberg/EyeEm/Getty Images
The House is expected to vote on a series of bills this week, including emergency funding supplemental legislation to deal with the coronavirus, Axios' Alayna Treene writes.
The Senate will vote Monday on a motion to proceed on Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Joe Manchin's (D-W.Va.) energy innovation measure, the American Energy Innovation Act.
President Trump's schedule, per a White House official:
Photo: "Axios on HBO"
Roger Stone was never shy about speaking his mind — until a federal judge slapped a gag order on him last year. In an interview with Mike Allen for "Axios on HBO," he broke his silence (legally).
Why it matters: It's his first on-camera sit-down since a judge sentenced him to 40 months in prison for witness tampering, lying to Congress and obstructing an official proceeding.
Between the lines: Instead, Stone told Mike that he's renewed his faith in God since he got into legal troubles.
Mike noted that Stone was "spotted" at the church service. A picture of him ended up on social media. Stone's reply: "The only thing worse than being infamous is never being famous at all."