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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

Big European soccer teams announce breakaway league

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) after striking the ball during the UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg match between Liverpool F.C. and Real Madrid at Anfield in Liverpool, England, last Wednesday. Photo: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

12 of world soccer's biggest and richest clubs announced Sunday they've formed a breakaway European "Super League" — with clubs Manchester United, Liverpool, Barcelona Real Madrid, Juventus and A.C. Milan among those to sign up.

Why it matters: Britain and Italy's prime ministers are among those to express concern at the move — which marks a massive overhaul of the sport's structure and finances, and it effectively ends the decades-old UEFA Champions League's run as the top tournament for European soccer.

3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats settling on 25% corporate tax rate

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.). Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The universe of Democratic senators concerned about raising the corporate tax rate to 28% is broader than Sen. Joe Manchin, and the rate will likely land at 25%, parties close to the discussion tell Axios.

Why it matters: While increasing the rate from 21% to 25% would raise about $600 billion over 15 years, it would leave President Biden well short of paying for his proposed $2.25 trillion, eight-year infrastructure package.

GOP pivot: Big business to small dollars

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Republican leaders turned to grassroots supporters and raked in sizable donations after corporations cut them off post-Jan. 6.

Why it matters: If those companies hoped to push the GOP toward the center, they may have done just the opposite by turning Republican lawmakers toward their most committed — and ideologically driven — supporters.