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Palmer Luckey, a founder of Facebook-owned VR company Oculus, has stealth a new company working on surveillance technology that could be deployed on country borders and military bases, according to a report from the New York Times. Peter Thiel and his VC fund, Founders Fund, are said to be planning to fund the venture.

"We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer," said Luckey in an email to the Times. Luckey has reportedly discussed border technology with Trump advisor Stephen Bannon and recently met with the secretary of interior.

Why it matters: Luckey and Thiel are part of the small part of Silicon Valley that backs President Trump, and the only two who have been public about it, investor Marc Andreessen recently told Axios's Dan Primack. Thiel made headlines last year when he donated to Trump's campaign and spoke at the Republican National convention, while Luckey's support for anti-Hillary Clinton organization was made public last year and reportedly led to his eventual departure from Facebook.

Go deeper

13 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Kevin McCarthy's rude awakening

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kevin McCarthy is learning you can get torched when you try to make everyone happy, especially after an insurrection.

Why it matters: The House Republican leader had been hoping to use this year to build toward taking the majority in 2022, but his efforts to bridge intra-party divisiveness over the Capitol siege have him taking heat from every direction, eroding his stature both with the public and within his party.

The next big political war: redistricting

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Democrats are preparing a mix of tech and legal strategies to combat expected gerrymandering by Republicans, who are planning to go on legal offense themselves.

Why it matters: Democrats failed to regain a single state legislature on Election Day, while Republicans upped their control to 30 states' Houses and Senates. In the majority of states, legislatures draw new congressional district lines, which can boost a party's candidates for the next decade.

43 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.