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Peter Thiel removes himself from Silicon Valley

Trump and Thiel
Donald Trump shakes the hand of Peter Thiel. Photo: Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Billionaire entrepreneur and member of the Facebook board, Peter Thiel is reportedly leaving Silicon Valley to relocate his home and independent investment firms to Los Angeles, per the Wall Street Journal.

Why it matters from Axios' Kim Hart: Thiel got a lot of heat from his Silicon Valley peers for supporting Donald Trump, and has reportedly become increasingly frustrated with the tech industry's views of government and general direction. With Thiel's new distance, Silicon Valley also loses one of the few tech insiders with a relationship with the White House. That could come back to bite Silicon Valley in the next few years as it faces more scrutiny from policymakers.

Jonathan Swan 7 hours ago
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Trump asked Netanyahu if he genuinely cares about peace

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Trump at the White House in March. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

In a phone call last year with Bibi Netanyahu, President Trump said something that shocked some of the people who helped prepare his briefing materials for the conversations. According to three sources familiar with the call, Trump asked Bibi bluntly if he actually cares about peace or not.

The details: Trump was pressing Bibi on the importance of striking a "deal" for Mideast peace. He'd read news reports about Bibi planning to build additional settlements to please his conservative base in Israel. Trump thought Bibi was unnecessarily angering the Palestinians. So, in the course of a longer conversation that was mostly friendly and complimentary, he bluntly asked Bibi whether or not he genuinely wants peace.

Jonathan Swan 7 hours ago
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Kellyanne Conway rises — again

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Kellyanne Conway has never actually wanted the job of White House communications director, according to sources who've discussed it with her, but Axios has learned that she left many in the White House communications team this week with the impression that she'd be leading the team in some capacity.

Behind the scenes: Senior White House communications official Mercedes Schlapp convened an off-site team-building and planning retreat last week for the White House comms team. They held the session on Thursday at the General Services Administration building a couple blocks from the WH (the same building that once housed the transition).