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POTUS arrives in a rainy Osaka. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The centerpiece of this year’s G-20 summit is a bilateral meeting on Saturday between President Trump and China’s Xi Jinping.

The backdrop: It comes at a crucial tipping point, with Trump threatening tariffs on an additional $300 billion in Chinese imports, a move analysts say could tip the global economy into recession.

  • David Dollar of the Brookings Institution says there's a high likelihood of a "mini-deal" that sees Trump hold off on the tariffs and open up a new period of negotiation. He says a more substantial deal seems far off.
  • The WSJ reports that Xi is arriving in Osaka with a list of preconditions for any deal, including "insisting that the U.S. remove its ban on the sale of U.S. technology" to Huawei.

Trump already met with Australian PM Scott Morrison.

Up on Friday are...

  • Japanese PM Shinzo Abe
  • Indian PM Narendra Modi
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro

And on Saturday...

  • Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman
  • Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

What to watch: There are “two Trump foreign policies,” says Tom Wright of Brookings, noting that “official” U.S. policy often “exists in tension” with the president. At the G-20, Trump will be “front and center.”

  • “When you talk to administration officials they’ll often say these trips are when they feel least in control,” says Wright. And the “possibility of real events driven by the president” is highest.

Go deeper: Putin reflects on Trump ahead of G-20 meeting

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
59 mins ago - Economy & Business

America on borrowed time

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Economic recovery will not be linear as the world continues to grapple with the uncertainty of the pandemic.

Why it matters: Despite being propped up by an extraordinary amount of fiscal stimulus and support from central banks, the state of the global economy remains fragile.

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.