Photo: Paco Freire/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

President Trump on Thursday told the Commerce Department to help determine the future use of radio frequencies that power the mobile economy.

The big picture: Mobile carriers are getting ready to roll out 5G mobile service to consumers, putting pressure on policymakers to free up airwaves, or spectrum, for the super-fast, low-delay technology.


  • A new presidential memorandum asks the Secretary of Commerce to develop a "National Spectrum Strategy" and to report back every year.
  • The secretary will look at "how to improve spectrum management and assess research and development priorities to create new technologies and improve United States competitiveness," per a White House fact sheet. The memo also asks federal agencies to lay out their demands for airwaves.

An administration official indicated the teams behind the memo were embracing a private sector-focused approach, as opposed to a nationalization strategy advocated by some in the administration earlier this year. That plan met wide skepticism.

The FCC, which oversees commercial spectrum use, is gearing up to auction off airwaves later this fall and wants to free up others for 5G use. The task force created by the White House memo will coordinate with the FCC.

What they're saying: "A spectrum strategy will help create a roadmap for industry to better guide their business decisions," said Deputy Assistant to the President for Technology Policy Michael Kratsios in prepared remarks. "Additionally, it will provide clarity to federal agencies who rely on spectrum to carry out their mission."

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on our 5G future

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Robert Mueller speaks out on Roger Stone commutation

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller testifies before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on Capitol Hill on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Photo: The Washington Post / Contributor

Former special counsel Robert Mueller responded to claims from President Trump and his allies that Roger Stone was a "victim" in the Justice Department's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, writing in a Washington Post op-ed published Saturday: "He remains a convicted felon, and rightly so."

Why it matters: The rare public comments by Mueller come on the heels of President Trump's move to commute the sentence of his longtime associate, who was sentenced in February to 40 months in prison for crimes stemming from the Russia investigation. The controversial decision brought an abrupt end to the possibility of Stone spending time behind bars.

Trump dons face mask during Walter Reed visit

Trump wearing a face mask in Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on July 11. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump wore a face mask during his Saturday visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, according to AP.

Why it matters: This is the first known occasion the president has appeared publicly with a facial covering as recommended by health officials since the coronavirus pandemic began, AP writes.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 12,607,510 — Total deaths: 562,338 — Total recoveries — 6,948,863Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5:30 p.m. ET: 3,228,884 — Total deaths: 134,600 — Total recoveries: 983,185 — Total tested: 38,919,421Map.
  3. Public health: Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter: "Please wear a mask to save lives" Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  4. Food: How the coronavirus pandemic boosted alternative meat.
  5. Sports: Charge of "money grab" by college football.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.