The Trump transition team has built a Hollywood-worthy stage set so Cabinet nominees can practice confirmation hearings, which begin tomorrow and will dominate Washington's week.

A chandelier hangs above the wood-paneled rostrum. Photos of the real senators are tacked beneath the volunteers who play questioners during the "murder boards" — 30 so far, lasting a total of 70 hours, with an average of 120 questions apiece. Fake "Code Pink" demonstrators occasionally interrupt a "hearing."

  • Trump's nominees face an unusual hurdle: They don't just have to defend themselves — they'll be barraged with questions about their boss's tweets and campaign statements. The hearings are the highest profile chance Democrats have had to bash the president-elect, and they plan to take advantage.
  • People prepping the nominees tell me that the strategy is to answer the topic not the question, and let Trump fight his own fights. On the border wall, for example, nominees are coached to say they understand the role Congress has to play, "and we look forward to working with you."
  • The one absolute rule: Don't say anything bad about Trump.
  • Republicans are proudly "flooding the zone" — two hearings tomorrow and four on Wednesday, when coverage of Trump's news conference in New York will distract from the hearings. "You can't kill four people in one day," a transition team member said. Democrats can't stop the hurry-up hearings, but say they'll drag their feet when the nominees are ready for a floor vote.

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Fund managers start to board the stock bandwagon

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Asset managers at major U.S. investment firms are starting to get bullish with their clients, encouraging stock buying and trying not to get left behind right as the metrics on tech stocks rise back to highs not seen since the dot-com crash of 2000.

What's happening: Appetite for stocks is starting to return, but slowly as institutional money managers were overwhelmingly sitting on the sidelines in cash during April and May.

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China bans Cruz and Rubio over Xinjiang criticism

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China said Monday that it will ban entry to Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas) over their criticisms of human rights abuses in Xinjiang, the AP reports.

The big picture: The move seems to be retaliatory after the U.S. announced sanctions on four Chinese officials for human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in the region last week.

Roger Stone says he plans to campaign for Trump

Roger Stone appears yesterday outside his home in Fort Lauderdale. Photo: Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Roger Stone told Axios in a phone interview that he plans to write and speak for President Trump's re-election now that Stone "won't die in a squalid hellhole of corona-19 virus."

"I'm asthmatic," said Stone, 67. "Sending me to a prison where I could not be socially distanced ... would, I think, be a death sentence."