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AP

Uber has fired self-driving car executive Anthony Levandowski, amid a legal battle with Alphabet's Waymo unit over alleged trade secret theft, according to an internal email obtained by the New York Times and confirmed to Axios by the company. Levandowski, who left Waymo more than a year ago and whose self-driving truck startup (Otto) was eventually acquired by Uber, has refused to hand over files he allegedly stole, instead asserting his Fifth Amendment rights.

Context: Uber last week told Levandowski that he could be terminated if he declines to cooperate with the court's orders. According to an Uber spokesperson, he failed to meet Uber's deadline to comply. Eric Meyhofer, who took over some of Levandowski's duties in April, will fully replace him.

Why it matters: Firing Levandowski is likely the last thing Uber wanted to do. Not only is he a rare expert in autonomous driving technology, but Uber effectively paid $680 million to hire him when it acquired Otto.

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Former President Donald Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Florida, on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged that Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

48 mins ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.