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 the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

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!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of 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!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

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!

Peter Thiel. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Investor Peter Thiel's charge Sunday that Google is in bed with China apparently wasn't a one-off attack. It's increasingly looking like the first shot on a new front in the war between Trump's Washington and Silicon Valley.

Why it matters: Tech companies are already defending themselves against charges of privacy invasion, political bias and monopoly power. Now, they're being accused of being unpatriotic — and even treasonous.

Driving the news: Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted that his administration will "take a look" at Thiel's claims.

  • Thiel, a billionaire who now sits on Facebook's board and who is Silicon Valley's highest-profile Trump supporter, appeared Monday on Fox News' Tucker Carlson Tonight to expand on charges — including "seemingly treasonous" behavior — that he first leveled during a conservative conclave Sunday.
  • He asked: "How many foreign intelligence agencies have infiltrated Google? Have the Chinese, in particular, infiltrated? And why are you working with Communist China and not the U.S.?" He also called on the FBI and CIA to investigate Google.
  • Joe Lonsdale, a co-founder with Thiel of Palantir, called Google "not patriotic" in a CNBC appearance Monday.

Yes, but: Neither Thiel nor anyone else has backed up these charges with evidence, and Google denies them.

  • By raising the issues as questions, the accusers get to spread suspicions without being accountable.

The big picture: Thiel threw his bombshell only days after Trump gathered conservative social media stars at the White House to gripe about tech-platform "censorship" — and just ahead of another round of congressional hearings on Big Tech.

  • A version of Thiel's questions may turn up on the notepads of GOP members of Congress at those hearings.

Between the lines: Thiel claims that "Google is working with Communist China, but not with the U.S. military, on its breakthrough AI technology."

  • But Google pulled its search service out of China in 2010 rather than submit to censorship. That’s in contrast to Microsoft, which operates a search engine in China subject to government censorship, and other Big Tech companies that do business in China, including Apple.
  • More recently, Google has explored ways of returning to the giant Chinese market and has prototyped a version of its search engine that would be compatible with Chinese censorship.
  • Last year, Google withdrew from an AI contract with the U.S. military after worker protests.

Threat level: China is widely believed to engage in extensive intellectual property theft, and Lonsdale claimed that Google's open, "academic" culture leaves it easy prey to China.

  • Under Thiel and Lonsdale's argument, every Chinese citizen is essentially a government spy. "In working in China, you have to work for the government. Everything in China is the government," Lonsdale told CNBC.
  • But China's influence strategy is less about infiltration and more a matter of working the free market system in its favor, says Robert Spalding, a Hudson Institute senior fellow and former senior director for strategy to President Trump.

What they're saying: Inside Google, sources tell Axios, Thiel’s accusations were met with little concern over their merits — and with renewed annoyance toward an already disliked figure within the company.

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - World

North Korea claims latest missile test new weapon launched from submarine

North Korean state media claims the country's military fired this missile on Tuesday. Photo: Korean Central News Agency

North Korean state media announced that a detected ballistic missile launch off its east coast on Tuesday was a newly developed weapon test-fired from a submarine.

Why it matters: Pyongyang's latest in a series of recent missile launches into the sea happened hours after U.S. officials emphasized their commitment to restart negotiations on North Korea's nuclear weapons program, which have stalled since talks broke down during the Trump administration, AP notes.

5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Manchin's massive means test

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is offering progressives a trade: He'll vote for their cherished social programs if they accept strict income caps for the recipients, people familiar with the matter tell Axios.

Why it matters: Manchin’s plan to use so-called means-testing for everything from paid family medical leave to elder and disabled care would drastically shrink the size and scope of the programs. It also would bring a key moderate vote to the progressive cause.

The China whisperer

Nick Burns. Photo: Chen Mengtong/China News Service via Getty Images

President Biden's nominee for ambassador to China will face aggressive questioning Wednesday about the most important, and potentially perilous, bilateral relationship in the world.

Why it matters: While Nick Burns is an experienced diplomat with support on both sides of the aisle, lawmakers want to use his confirmation hearing to force the administration into some tough positions on China.