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Photo: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The electric and fuel cell truck startup Nikola is increasingly under the microscope following a short-seller's allegations that it made false statements about its tech and planned products.

Driving the news: The Financial Times reported Tuesday that the Justice Department is "making inquiries" following last week's claims by Hindenburg Research.

  • The Wall Street Journal confirmed the report about inquiries from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.
  • The news follows revelations of a SEC inquiry into the Hindenburg report that called Nikola an "intricate fraud." Nikola disputes the findings.

Catch up quick: The turmoil comes on the heels of the Sept. 8 announcement that GM is taking an 11% stake in Nikola, will engineer and manufacture its Badger pickup, and supply tech for that product and its planned semitrucks.

Why it matters: The controversy comes at a time of growing investor interest in EV startups and corporate partnerships with legacy automakers.

Go deeper: Hear what Nikola's troubles mean for GM on the latest "Axios Re:Cap" podcast.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 21, 2020 - Economy & Business

GM dives full-throttle into electric

GMC Hummer EV. Photo courtesy of General Motors

What has LeBron James as a pitchman, some slightly awkward promotional phrasing ("watts to freedom"), and a six-figure starting price? The electric GMC Hummer.

Driving the news: General Motors unveiled the vehicle — a reborn version of the deceased mega-guzzler — with a highly produced rollout Tuesday night that included a World Series spot. The company also began taking reservations.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.