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U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad. Photo: Chen Jimin/China News Service/VCG via Getty Images

Eric Branstad, son of U.S. Ambassador to China, Terry Branstad, has used his connections to President Trump to improve his business ties in the country, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: The younger Branstad is a former Trump official, having worked as the U.S. Commerce Department's White House liaison until the beginning of this year. According to the Journal, this isn't technically outlawed by ethics rules, as former U.S. officials have done this before, but it does "raise the appearance of ethical conflicts."

Wheeling and dealing

  • Brandstad recently spoke in at an event in Shanghai called "How to React to (Potential) U.S.-China Trade War?"
  • His company, Mercury Public Affairs LLC, plans to open an office in China, and Branstad highlighted his "personal connection" with Trump during the seminar in order to improve his business in the country.

Branstad's partner at Mercury, Michael McKeon, told the WSJ: "He is well versed in the ethical obligations he has as a former member of the Trump administration and has been scrupulous in adhering to the high standards he sets for himself."

Go deeper

21 mins ago - World

Two years of COVID-19

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

Two years ago Wednesday, the first case of a mysterious new respiratory disease was discovered in Wuhan, China. Now, the Omicron variant has deepened concerns about just how much longer the coronavirus pandemic will last.

The big picture: More than 5 million people have died since that first case. Most people on earth have lived through some form of lockdown. 54% of the global population has had at least one vaccination, though the shots have been distributed unevenly.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

14 hours ago - Economy & Business

CNN fires Chris Cuomo

Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for CNN

CNN said Saturday evening it has fired one of its star anchors, Chris Cuomo, following new revelations from a legal review made by the company into Cuomo's involvement in the management of his brother's sexual harassment scandal.

Why it matters: Saturday's firing speaks to how much pressure CNN was under by employees and critics to address Cuomo's behavior.