Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images

The U.S. intends to continue its joint drills with South Korea at the conclusion of the Olympics and Paralympics, a senior administration official told reporters Tuesday. Seoul announced that North Korea said it might be willing to talk with the U.S. about denuclearization, a step the regime has previously said it would never take.

Why it matters: North Korea views those joint drills as highly threatening and as preparation for invasion. This alone could stymie any potential talks between the North and the U.S.

What they’re saying: A halt to North Korean nuclear tests is not enough for the U.S. to come to the table to talk since “mass-producing nuclear warheads and nuclear missiles…could continue even in the absence of them doing test launches,” the senior administration official said.

  • Calling North Korea’s bluff: “If their plan is simply to buy time in order to continue building their arsenal...talks aren’t going to get very far at all,” the official said. “We’ve seen that move before, we’ve seen it several times.”
  • North Korea has come to the negotiation table before to discuss denuclearization and a freeze, both of which have fallen through.
  • Takeaway: The announcement from Seoul may not be the breakthrough it appears to be, and it remains to be seen how amenable to compromise both the North Koreans and the U.S. might be.
  • The U.S. has not directly heard from the North Koreans regarding their alleged interest in talking.

What’s next: The U.S. will be having talks with allies later this week, according to the senior administration official. They said the U.S. would like to hear more about what steps the North would take to denuclearize.

Go deeper

45 mins ago - Technology

Scoop: Google won't donate to members of Congress who voted against election results

Sen. Ted Cruz led the group of Republicans who opposed certifying the results. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Google will not make contributions from its political action committee this cycle to any member of Congress who voted against certifying the results of the presidential election, following the deadly Capitol riot.

Why it matters: Several major businesses paused or pulled political donations following the events of Jan. 6, when pro-Trump rioters, riled up by former President Trump, stormed the Capitol on the day it was to certify the election results.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Minority Mitch still setting Senate agenda

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Chuck Schumer may be majority leader, yet in many ways, Mitch McConnell is still running the Senate show — and his counterpart is about done with it.

Why it matters: McConnell rolled over Democrats unapologetically, and kept tight control over his fellow Republicans, while in the majority. But he's showing equal skill as minority leader, using political jiujitsu to convert a perceived weakness into strength.