Tensions over 5G have come to a head within the Trump administration, prompting acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to convene a high-level White House meeting to hammer out policy disputes between government agencies, according to two administration officials and another source familiar with the matter.

What we're hearing: The Thursday morning meeting, led by President Trump's top economic adviser Larry Kudlow, included high-level attendees such as Commerce Department official Earl Comstock and FCC chair Ajit Pai, as well as multiple officials from Defense, State and Education, one official said.

Why it matters: Comstock has been at the center of disagreements over how to repurpose airwaves for commercial 5G services, in addition to being at odds with several officials, particularly Kudlow, on a number of other issues, the sources said.

  • However, one official stressed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross doesn't share those frustrations.
  • "The Trump Administration is supportive of a private sector, free enterprise approach," a White House official told Axios: "We believe the U.S. is winning the race to 5G with record deployments in cities across the United States."

The intrigue: Repurposing valuable wireless airwaves almost always ends up in a bureaucratic tug-of-war.

  • A key point of contention is the use of a chunk of super-fast airwaves (known as the 24 ghz band) that the White House and FCC want to free up for 5G.
  • But the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (within the Commerce Department) and NASA have raised alarms that doing so will cause interference with existing weather forecasting sensors located near those airwaves.

The big picture: The Trump administration has taken steps to help speed up the U.S. roll-out of 5G networks to try to stay ahead of China. The FCC has aggressively tried to free up airwaves for commercial 5G use.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

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Early voting eclipses 2016 total with 12 days until election

People stand in line to vote early in Fairfax, Virginia in September. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

Americans have cast more than 47.1 million ballots in the 2020 presidential election, surpassing the total early-vote count for 2016 with 12 days left until Election Day, according to a Washington Post analysis of voting data.

Why it matters: The election is already underway, as many states have expanded early and mail-in voting options because of the coronavirus pandemic.

What to expect from the final debate of the 2020 election

Trump and Biden at the first debate. Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Image

Watch for President Trump to address Joe Biden as “the big guy” or “the chairman” at tonight's debate as a way of dramatizing the Hunter Biden emails. Hunter's former business partner Tony Bobulinski is expected to be a Trump debate guest.

The big picture: Trump's advisers universally view the first debate as a catastrophe — evidenced by a sharp plunge in Trump’s public and (more convincingly for them) private polling immediately following the debate.