The Sterling Group is a Texas private equity firm that has focused on mid-market buyouts for more than 30 years. But now it's raising up to $225 million for its first-ever private credit fund, according to an SEC filing. This comes one day after Capital Dynamics said it was launching a private credit business, which itself followed numerous similar announcements from private equity shops that look a lot more like Sterling Group than giants KKR or Blackstone (which began building credit arms years ago).

  • Numbers: Private credit funds raised $21.1 billion in Q1 2017, which was up 63% over the same period from last year, according to EY. Over half of that was for direct lending.
  • Why it matters: We hear a lot from politicians about how "banks have stopped lending" to anything but the largest of companies, thus requiring a rollback of financial regulations. But if you buy the first part of that argument, it seems that private equity is moving in to fill the void.

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Updated 52 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Americans feel Trump's sickness makes him harder to trustFlorida breaks record for in-person early voting.
  2. Health: The next wave is gaining steam.
  3. Education: Schools haven't become hotspots.
  4. World: Ireland moving back into lockdown — Argentina becomes 5th country to report 1 million infections.

Meadows confirms Trump's tweets "declassifying" Russia documents were false

Photo: Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows confirmed in court on Tuesday that President Trump's tweets authorizing the disclosure of documents related to the Russia investigation and Hillary Clinton's emails "were not self-executing declassification orders," after a federal judge demanded that Trump be asked about his intentions.

Why it matters: BuzzFeed News reporter Jason Leopold cited the tweets in an emergency motion seeking to gain access to special counsel Robert Mueller's unredacted report as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. This is the first time Trump himself has indicated, according to Meadows, that his tweets are not official directives.

2 hours ago - World

China embraces hostage diplomacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Chinese government is threatening to detain foreign citizens unless their home governments do what Beijing demands. In some cases, China has already made good on those threats.

The big picture: This marks a potential evolution of China's "wolf warrior diplomacy" to outright rogue state behavior, putting it in the company of countries like North Korea and Iran, which have also engaged in hostage diplomacy.