Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

The United States wants to strengthen its ability to scrutinize Chinese investment in American tech companies, especially when it comes to artificial intelligence, per Reuters.

Why it matters: American officials fear that China's investment in AI companies is a prime example of an effort to overwhelm the U.S. with soft power. They say it puts some of America's most cutting-edge companies at the risk of becoming beholden to the defense whims of a foreign adversary.

The concern: China is attempting to circumvent U.S. oversight laws with selective early-stage investments in American technologies that might bolster its military capacity. Such investments could lock up advances that the U.S. Defense Department might otherwise obtain. One prime area: image processing for drone aircraft that might learn to recognize significant developments on the ground.

A potential fix: Increase the powers of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a board that includes representatives from major executive departments, to look into the backgrounds of high-tech investors from countries deemed to be potential security threats.

Go deeper

Biden to Trump: "I have not taken a penny from any foreign source ever in my life"

Former VP Joe Biden pushed back Thursday against allegations from President Trump, saying he had never profited from foreign sources. "Nothing was unethical," Biden told debate moderator Kristen Welker about his son Hunter's work in Ukraine while he was vice president.

Why it matters: Earlier on Thursday, Hunter Biden's former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, released a statement saying Joe Biden's claims that he never discussed overseas business dealings with his son were "false."

Trump claims COVID "will go away," Biden calls his response disqualifying

President Trump repeated baseless claims at the final presidential debate that the coronavirus "will go away" and that the U.S. is "rounding the turn," while Joe Biden argued that any president that has allowed 220,000 Americans to die on his watch should not be re-elected.

Why it matters: The U.S. is now averaging about 59,000 new coronavirus infections a day, and added another 73,000 cases on Thursday, according to the Covid Tracking Project. The country recorded 1,038 deaths due to the virus Thursday, the highest since late September.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did" — Senate Democrats block vote on McConnell's targeted relief bill.
  2. Business: New state unemployment filings fall.
  3. Economy: Why the stimulus delay isn't a crisis (yet).
  4. Health: FDA approves Gilead's remdesivir as a coronavirus treatment How the pandemic might endMany U.S. deaths were avoidable.
  5. Education: Boston and Chicago send students back home for online learning.
  6. World: Spain and France exceed 1 million cases.