Jul 9, 2019

Billionaire Tom Steyer launches 2020 presidential campaign

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for for J/P HRO Gala/Getty Images

Billionaire Democratic activist and donor Tom Steyer announced Tuesday that he will enter the 2020 presidential race.

Why it matters: Steyer, whose recent work has focused on impeaching President Trump, promised to sink at least $100 million of his own money into his campaign, via the New York Times, which could instantly make him a player in the race.

The big picture: Steyer essentially has no limitations on how much of his own money he can spend on his campaign. The NYT notes that Steyer "can be expected to deliver his message aggressively over the airwaves, potentially crowding out other competitors who may hope to raise their profiles with paid advertising."

What he's saying: As president, Steyer wants to reform the "broken political system" and combat climate change.

Go deeper: 2020 presidential election: Track which candidates are running

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Chinese coronavirus test maker agreed to build a Xinjiang gene bank

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A leading Chinese gene sequencing and biomedical firm that said it would build a gene bank in Xinjiang is supplying coronavirus tests around the world.

Why it matters: U.S. officials are worried that widespread coronavirus testing may provide an opportunity for state-connected companies to compile massive DNA databases for research as well as genetics-based surveillance.

13 mins ago - World

Trump administration to ban Chinese airlines from flying to U.S.

An Air China aircraft landing in New York City in January 2020. Photo: Nicolas Economou/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The Department of Transportation announced Wednesday that Chinese passenger airlines will be banned from flying to the United States starting June 16.

Why it matters: Heated tensions between Washington and Beijing are now beginning to impact the airline industry, as the DOT has accused the Chinese government of preventing U.S. airlines from resuming flights to China after suspending them earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Esper says he does not support use of military forces to quell protests

Defense Secretary Mark Esper said at a press briefing Wednesday that he does not support invoking the Insurrection Act, an 1807 law that permits the president to use active-duty troops on U.S. soil, in order to quell protests against racial injustice.

Why it matters: President Trump threatened this week to deploy military forces if state and local governments aren't able to squash violent protests. Axios reported on Wednesday that Trump is backing off the idea for now, but that he hasn't ruled it out.