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Kevin Moloney / Fortune Brainstorm Tech

Peter Thiel, the wealthy venture capitalist and rare Silicon Valley Trump supporter, was looking into building a new conservative cable news network that would rival Fox, Buzzfeed reports. Sources tell Buzzfeed that Thiel was in touch with the Mercer family, Republican billionaire donors that financed Breitbart, about funding the project.

Why it matters: It's another example of growing interest in creating a right-of-center cable news network to rival Fox. The idea had been tossed when conservative-leaning Sinclair Broadcasting Corporation bid $3.9 billion for a takeover of Tribune Media, which would offer them access to a cable news channel. Speculation about forming another right-wing cable network out of the conservative-leaning Newsmax brand began to surface when Bill O'Reilly was ousted from Fox News.

  • Thiel also discussed his plans with late Fox News president Roger Ailes, according to a controversial new book from Michael Wolff. Ailes had reportedly offered to bring Fox News talent, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly, to Thiel's new venture.
  • Thiel and Rebekah Mercer, daughter of billionaire investor Robert Mercer, served on President Trump's transition board together. A source tells Buzzfeed that Thiel was interested in expanding his influence after serving on the transition team and speaking at the RNC.
  • Thiel has a long history with the media. He was an early Facebook investor — now a board member — and gained national attention when it was revealed that he secretly funded a lawsuit that took down the popular news gossip website, Gawker. As Buzzfeed notes, he was an early investor in PandoDaily, a technology news site.

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Trump to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations before leaving office

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump plans to issue at least 100 pardons and commutations on his final full day in office Tuesday, sources familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: This is a continuation of the president's controversial December spree that saw full pardons granted to more than two dozen people — including former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort, longtime associate Roger Stone and Charles Kushner, the father of Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

  • The pardons set to be issued before Trump exits the White House will be a mix of criminal justice ones and pardons for people connected to the president, the sources said.
  • CNN first reported this news.

Go deeper: Convicts turn to D.C. fixers for Trump pardons

Schumer's m(aj)ority checklist

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Capitalizing on the Georgia runoffs, achieving a 50-50 Senate and launching an impeachment trial are weighty to-dos for getting Joe Biden's administration up and running on Day One.

What to watch: A blend of ceremonies, hearings and legal timelines will come into play on Tuesday and Wednesday so Chuck Schumer can actually claim the Senate majority and propel the new president's agenda.

The dark new reality in Congress

National Guard troops keep watch at security fencing. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

This is how bad things are for elected officials and others working in a post-insurrection Congress:

  • Rep. Norma Torres (D-Calif.) said she had a panic attack while grocery shopping back home.
  • Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) said police may also have to be at his constituent meetings.
  • Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) told a podcaster he brought a gun to his office on Capitol Hill on Jan. 6 because he anticipated trouble with the proceedings that day.