Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Kin Cheung / AP

Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson has disavowed a campaign against National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, which is being pushed by a group Adelson funds, the Zionist Organization of America.

Andy Abboud, who represents Adelson, tells me: "Sheldon Adelson has nothing to do with the ZOA campaign against McMaster. Had no knowledge of it. And has provided zero support, and is perfectly comfortable with the role that McMaster is playing."

Update: Abboud followed up with another phone call to clarify that Adelson doesn't know McMaster and hasn't developed an opinion about him. Adelson doesn't want his intervention to be interpreted as a political endorsement; but rather that he has had nothing to do with, and doesn't support, the campaign against McMaster.

Why this matters: Adelson is one of the biggest financial donors in Republican politics, and his influence over national security and Israel-related matters is substantial. His is a voice listened to by President Trump and other senior White House officials like Jared Kushner.

  • The campaign Adelson is disavowing is being led by the Zionist Organization of America — a conservative pro-Israel group funded by Adelson.
  • ZOA's president Mort Klein, who is close to White House chief strategist Steve Bannon, has accused McMaster of being soft on Israel and unserious about the threat of radical Islamic terrorism. He's called for Trump to "reassign" McMaster "to another position where he can do no further harm on these critical national security issues."
  • Klein is increasingly isolated in his opposition to McMaster. His only senior ally inside the White House is Bannon; the rest of the senior staff has united in disgust at the outside campaign against McMaster.
  • David Friedman, Trump's staunchly pro-Israel ambassador, is vouching for McMaster, though he was unable to convince Klein.

Go deeper

54 mins ago - World

Biden freezes U.S. arms deals with Saudi Arabia and UAE

Trump struck several large arms deals with Mohammed bin Salman (L) and Saudi Arabia. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has put on hold two big arms deals with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates which were approved in the final weeks of the Trump administration, a State Department official tells Axios.

Why it matters: The sales of F-35 jets and attack drones to the UAE and a large supply of munitions to Saudi Arabia will be paused pending a review. That signals a major policy shift from the Trump era, and may herald sharp tensions with both Gulf countries.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
2 hours ago - Podcasts

Robert Downey Jr. launches VC funds to help save the planet

Robert Downey Jr. on Wednesday announced the launch of two venture capital funds focused on startups in the sustainability sector, the latest evolution of a project he launched two years ago called Footprint Collective.

Between the lines: This is a bit of life imitating art, as Downey Jr. spent 11 films portraying a character who sought to save the planet (or, in some cases, the universe).

DHS warns of "heightened threat" because of domestic extremism

Supporters of former President Trump protest inside the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

The Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday issued an advisory warning of a "heightened threat environment" in the U.S. because of "ideologically-motivated violent extremists."

Why it matters: DHS believes the threat of violence will persist for "weeks" following President Biden's inauguration. The extremists include those who opposed the presidential transition, people spurred by "grievances fueled by false narratives" and "anger over COVID-19 restrictions ... and police use of force[.]"