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Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders told CNN's Brianna Keilar on Sunday that "of course" he would use tariffs as president, but only if used in a "rational way within the context of a broad, sensible trade policy" — unlike what he believes President Trump is doing in his trade war with China.

The exchange:

KEILAR: "You have made clear that China is treating the U.S. unfairly when it comes to trade. I understand that you don't agree with the president's tactics or his style. But if you were president, would you use tariffs to negotiate a deal with China?"
SANDERS: "That is one tool that you have. What the president is doing is totally irrational and destabilizing the entire world economy. You do not make trade policy by announcing today that you're going to raise tariffs by X percent and the next day by Y percent, by attacking the person you appointed as head of the Federal Reserve as an enemy of the American people, by denouncing the president of China, who last year you really loved as a great leader. This kind of instability and irrationality on the part of the president is causing very serious harm to the entire world economy. 
KEILAR: "I understand your criticism of that. But you say this would be a tool. Is it a tool that you would use? Would you use tariffs?"
SANDERS: "Yeah, of course. If it is used in a rational way, within the context of a broad sensible trade policy, it is one tool that's available. You're looking at somebody, by the way, who helped lead the effort against permanent normal trade relations with China and NAFTA because trade policies that we have had in the past have lost us millions of good paying jobs and were written primarily by large corporations at the expense of workers and farmers. We need a rational trade policy today, not what Trump is doing by tweet."

The big picture: The populist Sanders has previously said that he does not believe in "unfettered free trade" and that he was "on the picket line in opposition to NAFTA" when it first came into effect.

  • Sanders' campaign told Axios last month that if elected, he would "begin a full review of tariffs against China, including advice from experts about which tariffs are working and what policies might better help American workers and change Chinese behavior. Tariffs may be 'part' of the answer, but the Trump administration lacks a serious strategy for managing China."

Go deeper: 2020 Democrats punt on Trump's China tariffs

Go deeper

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

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Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.

Off the Rails

Episode 5: The secret CIA plan

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer, Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. This Axios series takes you inside the collapse of a president.

Episode 5: Trump vs. Gina — The president becomes increasingly rash and devises a plan to tamper with the nation's intelligence command.

In his final weeks in office, after losing the election to Joe Biden, President Donald Trump embarked on a vengeful exit strategy that included a hasty and ill-thought-out plan to jam up CIA Director Gina Haspel by firing her top deputy and replacing him with a protege of Republican Congressman Devin Nunes.