Feb 20, 2019

Trump admin. says it will cancel $929 million for California rail project

California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Scott Varley/MediaNews Group/Daily Breeze via Getty Images

The Transportation Department said Tuesday it intends to cancel $929 million in federal grant funds for California's scaled-back high-speed rail network, and that it is "actively exploring every legal option" to take back $2.5 billion in funds already given to the state for the project.

The big picture: Last week, California's newly elected Gov. Gavin Newsom disputed Trump's claim that California owes the federal government $3.5 billion for scaling back its plans to build an estimated $77 billion high-speed train from San Francisco to Los Angeles, saying the money was allocated by Congress. In a new statement, Newsom said: "This is clear political retribution by President Trump, and we won’t sit idly by. This is California’s money, and we are going to fight for it.”

  • Newsom also noted: "It’s no coincidence that the Administration’s threat comes 24 hours after California led 16 states in challenging the President’s farcical ‘national emergency.’"

Go deeper: California's $77 billion derailment

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Kenan Thompson and Hasan Minhaj to headline White House Correspondents' Dinner

Kenan Thompson on "SNL" in 2018. Photo: Rosalind O'Connor/NBC via Getty Images

Kenan Thompson, the longest-tenured "Saturday Night Live" cast member, will host the White House Correspondents' Association dinner on April 25.

And Hasan Minhaj — host of Netflix’s "Patriot Act with Hasan Minhaj," and the entertainer at the 2017 dinner — will return as featured entertainer.

"Billions": Season 2020

Mike Bloomberg speaks at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery in Richmond, Va., on Saturday. Photo: James H. Wallace/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP

Money alone can’t buy a presidential election, but it surely gets you VIP access.

Why it matters: Billionaire Michael Bloomberg is duking it out with Billionaire Donald Trump, often on Billionaire Jack Dorsey’s Twitter and in ads on Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook, all chronicled in Billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. 

Biometrics invade banking and retail

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Banks have been quietly rolling out biometrics to identify customers — verifying them by their fingerprint, voice or eye scan — and retailers like Amazon are getting into the game.

Why it matters: These companies are amassing giant databases of our most personal information — including our gait, how we hold our cellphones, our typing patterns — that raise knotty questions about data security and privacy.