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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.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Kaine, Collins pitch Senate colleagues on censuring Trump

Sen. Tim Kaine speaks with Sen. Susan Collins. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP via Getty Images

Sens. Tim Kaine and Susan Collins are privately pitching their colleagues on a bipartisan resolution censuring former President Trump, three sources familiar with the discussions tell Axios.

Why it matters: Senators are looking for a way to condemn Trump on the record as it becomes increasingly unlikely Democrats will obtain the 17 Republican votes needed to gain a conviction in his second impeachment.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Anthony Coley to lead Justice Department public affairs

Photo: Xinhua/Ting Shen via Getty Images

Judge Merrick Garland, President Biden’s nominee for attorney general, has tapped Anthony Coley, an Obama-era Treasury Department official, to serve as a senior adviser and to lead public affairs at the Department of Justice, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: As the public face of the DOJ, Coley will help explain — and defend — the department's actions, from sensitive cases to prosecutorial decisions, including the investigation into Hunter Biden.

AP: Justice Dept. rescinds "zero tolerance" policy

A young girl waves to onlookers through the fence at the U.S.-Mexico border wall in San Ysidro, California, in Nov. 2018. Photo: Sandy Huffaker/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson issued a memo on Tuesday to revoke the Trump administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy, which separated thousands of migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, AP first reported.

Driving the news: A recent report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz emphasized the internal chaos at the agency over the implementation of the policy, which resulted in 545 parents separated from their children as of October 2020.